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View Full Version : How long does a melomel keep?



Talon
08-01-2004, 10:41 PM
What I'm doing is making mead for my stepson and his best friend this year as they start highschool. I'm going to age it for the 4 full years and on their graduation at their graduation party, they will get 1 of the 6 gallons. The remaining 5 will sit and bulk age again until they are 21. Then it will be bottled and given to them then.

They are thinking of possibly a melomel and I wasn't sure a melomel would last that long due to the fruit. Ultimately the question is, how long will a melomel keep and still be drinkable before it turns to a putrid mess?

I've had a wine keep for 5 years before having an off taste is a melomel like that? Or does the honey help preserve the flavor and drinkablitiy of the mead?

Thanks,
Talon.

Rurouni85Samurai
08-02-2004, 02:30 AM
I thought it could be aged basically forever? Would like to know also.

Norskersword
08-02-2004, 03:15 AM
I'm no expert on this but my understanding is that as long as you follow the sanitation rules, you should be fine. Alcohol doesn't go bad after awile the way fruit juice does, as long as you are clean.

Supposedly it is possible to over age, but I doubt 5 years is over aging. Certain factors will have an impact on how long you can keep it, though, like how much headspace you have (oxidization).

Talon
08-02-2004, 06:59 PM
I'm thinking along the same lines as you since honey is a natural antibiotic, etc, that a melomel should keep for a good while, but as I'm not 100% on the subject, I figured I'd get a concensus. ;)

Talon.

Jmattioli
08-02-2004, 10:36 PM
My understanding is that honey is not a natural antibiotic AFTER diluting it with water or fruit. If you want to store a mead for 5 to 10 years, it is best done in corked bottles and the use of a Campden tablet, and minimum headspace would be highly recommended along with cool temperatures such as those in a cellar. Higher alcohol contents are also a plus in long term storage. Melomels stored this way have been reported in excess of 10 years of age without spoiling on the gotmead forum.
Joe

Derf
08-02-2004, 10:52 PM
Honey's main antibacterial property is that it is so dry. Properly cured honey is no more than 17.4% moisture and is actually "hygroscopic". That is, it will actually suck up moisture from it's surroundings. This includes right through the cell walls of any nasty bacteria or wild yeast that are fool enough to try to grow in raw honey. That is enough to kill off any of the little beasts, or at least render them inactive--Untill along comes a happy mead-maker who dilutes the honey three pounds to the gallon in nice warm water. The honey is now really not much more than sugar water and is a much more hospitable home for yeast and bacteria. Once you dilute the honey, it's not much more antibacterial than crushed grapes, but the same precautions that keep a bottle of wine safe for years should work just as well for a bottle of mead. Just don't get any false sense of security based on honey's more mythic qualities. Follow Joe's advice with regards to bottling and storage and you should be able to age your mead for as long as your patience lasts.

Talon
08-03-2004, 01:28 AM
So, would you say a campden tablet and a half teaspoon of potassium sorbate per gallon would work to keep a melomel fairly stable and from spoiling?

Norskersword
08-03-2004, 01:31 AM
That's too much. Just use one or the other, not both. I've also been told even 1 campden tablet per gallon is too much, and that a half a tablet per gallon is recommended. Too much can supposedly effect the taste.

Jmattioli
08-03-2004, 06:13 AM
Actually, if you read the instructions on the Campden tablets bottle it will indicate 1 tablet per gallon for red wine which is a rate of 50ppm (parts per million) of sulfite. In Ken's book on page 42 he recommends one crushed tablet per gallon for pre treatment, one at 1st racking and 1/2 tablet at bottling time. That is a good recommendation. I personally, when I choose to use them for long term storage use the 1/2 tablet per gallon at bottling as others have commented here and that is all but that is just my own personal procedure since I am particular in my handling and sanititation up to that point. If you haven't used any at all up to bottling time then the 1 tablet per gallon will give you 50ppm total which will definitely not adversely affect taste or nose. White wines typically use 2 tablets per gallon! And as long as your combined total from rackings and bottling of the melomel doesn't exceed 150ppm, you should not be able to detect it in the nose or taste afer some aging.
Hope this helps,
Joe

Jmattioli
08-03-2004, 07:25 PM
So, would you say a campden tablet and a half teaspoon of potassium sorbate per gallon would work to keep a melomel fairly stable and from spoiling?
Yes the Potassium Sorbate would stabilize the mead from renewed fermentation if there is residual sugar (otherwise not needed) and the Campden tablet would act as a preservative and sanitizer along with preventing oxidation and discoloration from light.
Joe

Norskersword
08-03-2004, 09:56 PM
Actually, if you read the instructions on the Campden tablets bottle it will indicate 1 tablet per gallon...

Then I have been misinformed! Thanks for clearing this up Joe.


Yes the Potassium Sorbate would stabilize the mead from renewed fermentation...

Sorry, I read this wrong. I thought it said "Potassium Metabisulfite". ;D