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Jmattioli
10-27-2003, 05:01 AM
My first batch of mead is 2 months old and after racking and tasting I noted it had no off flavors but extremely acidic and still has a BRIX of 5. I looked back at my notes for this 1 gallon batch and had followed a recipie from "Making Mead" by Brian Action and Peter Duncan. In the book they recommended an advanced mead makers additive mixture consisting of 10g (1/4oz) Tartaric and 15g (1/2oz) Malic acid.
I doubled checked the recipie on page 31 and the measurements given on page 27 and they were indeed for 1 gal US. In fact almost all recipies in their book use that ratio to 1 gal Must. After tasting I converted grams to teaspoons and found thats about 5g/teaspoon or 5 teaspoons of Acid!!!
Unfortunately I used a Gram scale I had from weighing gold so I didn't translate to teaspoons. Anyway, What can I do short of tossing it out to reduce the acid taste or will it be okay aged a year or so. Other than the extreme tartness it taste okay. Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated

JamesB
10-27-2003, 06:39 AM
You can always try to mix it in with another batch, and thus dilute it. However, I've never had much success doing such, and often have ended up throwing out batches that I had tried to mix. My suggestion would be just to shelve it for about 6 months, and then try it.

Don't be ashamed if you find you have to pour it down the drain. I've done that with several of mine.

Dan McFeeley
10-28-2003, 01:12 PM
My first batch of mead is 2 months old and after racking and tasting I noted it had no off flavors but extremely acidic and still has a BRIX of 5. I looked back at my notes for this 1 gallon batch and had followed a recipie from "Making Mead" by Brian Action and Peter Duncan. In the book they recommended an advanced mead makers additive mixture consisting of 10g (1/4oz) Tartaric and 15g (1/2oz) Malic acid.
I doubled checked the recipie on page 31 and the measurements given on page 27 and they were indeed for 1 gal US. In fact almost all recipies in their book use that ratio to 1 gal Must. After tasting I converted grams to teaspoons and found thats about 5g/teaspoon or 5 teaspoons of Acid!!!

Hello Joe --

I checked the book and unfortunately the amounts are for Imperial gallons, not U.S. gallons. You'll see this in the ratio of liters to gallons listed in the book -- 4.5 liters to 1 gallon. One English Imperial gallon = 4.546 liters; one U.S. gallon = 3.785 liters. Some more conversion figures: 1/4 teaspoon malic acid = 1.1 grams, one teaspoon = 4.5 grams; 1/4 teaspoon tartaric acid = 1.3 grams, one teaspoon = 5.0 grams. You can find a more complete listing of conversion figures at these URL's:

http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/measures.asp
http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/convers.asp

Acton & Duncan are British authors so, even if it's not specifically stated, I would expect all the measurements to be according to the English system. Also -- this is a very old book, published in 1965. Although the recipes worked, the principles they follow are quite dated and could sometimes cause problems. Adding acid at the start of the fermentation is not recommended because it can sometimes cause a stalled fermentation due to dropping the pH too low. Even if the fermentation doesn't stall out, it can struggle on for a prolonged period of time. The recipe reflects this in the advice given for racking -- rack just before the fermentation finishes out, a second time after a heavy deposit forms, and then every 3 to 4 months as needed. That's a lot of racking! Meadmakers who ferment the honeymust naturally, no acid added at the start of the ferment, find that the mead finishes in about 4 weeks. Two weeks is possible with strict control of the pH using calcium carbonate. There is also an extended aging period recommended by Acton & Duncan. One to three years for light honeys, longer for fuller flavored honeys. No doubt the lengthy aging was needed due to the extended fermentation time and the high acid levels.

Hope this is helpful!

Dan McFeeley
10-28-2003, 02:52 PM
I was playing with the conversion figures for Acton & Duncan's basic acid blend. For a five U.S. gallon batch, it comes out to a total of 7.4 tablespoons of acid blend. Yikes! That's a lot of acid. :o

Jmattioli
10-28-2003, 11:07 PM
Dan, You were right :-[ it is Imperial gallons not US gallons. A bad oversight on my part. Fortunately it was only a gallon batch. Also I have taken your advise and for darker honeys use no acid whatsoever.That was my first batch after reading the book I bought at the supply store. After reading your response I calculate 3.785/4.546 = .8326 or 1 US = 83% of an imperial gal. 83% of the 25g (10Tar. + 15Mal.) in their recipie = 20.75g total which is a little over 4.4 teaspoons of acid for one US Gallon. Yes, Still too much by any modern recipies. Put jug aside and will check every 6 months hoping for malo lactic fermentation and time to correct by .6 teaspoon error which 3 years from now we may never know the difference. Anyone want a free making mead book? On second thought , I wouldn't do that to anyone til my three years are up to see how everything turns out. :-/

Dan McFeeley
10-29-2003, 03:12 PM
. . . Put jug aside and will check every 6 months hoping for malo lactic fermentation and time to correct by .6 teaspoon error which 3 years from now we may never know the difference. Anyone want a free making mead book? On second thought , I wouldn't do that to anyone til my three years are up to see how everything turns out. :-/

I wouldn't want to pass on Acton & Duncan's _Making Mead_ just yet. Yes, it's an old book, published in 1965 and never updated, but it has a lot of historical value. It'll give you a glimpse into what British meadmakers were thinking and doing at that time, plus give you a better perspective on where certain ideas in meadmaking came from.

Eventually the most reliable meadbook you'll have is your own journal notes on which honeys worked best in combination, and with which yeasts, etc. etc. :-)

-- Dan M.