View Full Version : would appreciate some advice...

01-12-2006, 02:11 PM
Hi all,

I stumbled across this page a few days ago when trying to find out what has possibly happened to my mead. ???
I am impressed - I wish i had found it a while back.
It is a little difficult to find decent or even precise recipes on german sites so i stuck to the basic and simple ones - which I thougt would be best for the start anyhow - to get a feel for the fundamental product before starting experiments.

Here is what I did according to one of the recipes: (all equipment sanitized)

Heated 1 gallon of water to approx. 45°C
added 7.7 pounds of honey and let to cool down to the needed temp. for the yeast.
I also added 0.14 gallons of natural 100% apple juice(no additives) and 2 tablespoons of flour.
The mixture was poured into a carboy.

Whilst waiting to cool, i prepared the starter according to the instructions on the packet (I will tell you what yeast exactly it was when i get the packet again). All i can remember now is that it was white wine yeast and the starter needed only 15 minutes at about 21 to 25°C before adding to the water/honey mixture.

Fermentation started quickly - with airing at the start - and lasted for about 3 months, then I racked.
By then the colour had turned from the creamy-light-brown at the beginning to a darker clearer brown. The taste was quite sharp but definitely honey (smell also). So i decided to leave it to ripen a while in the hope that the taste would improve.
All in all one year has passed and i had another look last week.
The mead is still not 100% clear but you can read through it, it still tastes a bit sharp, the smell is that of honey.
My problem is that it leaves the impression that I am drinking honey flavoured water that "feels" like a very dry wine only it doesn't taste as if there is alcohol in it.
The FG is 1.000.
I have no idea what the SG was as I only now bought the hydrometer hoping it would help me find out what has happened.

I would appreciate any kind help, hints, ideas...

Should i restart fermentation by adding more honey, nutriants and yeast - it would be a shame to pour it down the drain.
(if it is beyond rescue then i will have to)

Thanks and greetings


01-12-2006, 02:28 PM

Welcome to the forum!!!

7.7 lbs of honey in a gallon and it finished at 1.00? Thats one hell of a yeast you have there' are you sure it wasn't 1.7 lbs which would put you in the range of a light alcohol honey flavored water. 7.7 lbs of honey is over a 1/2 gallon which means you'd have to have hit about 22%+ alcohol to reach 1.00.

If your info is correct I'm at a loss how you managed it.


01-12-2006, 05:34 PM
Hi Wrathwilde,

thanks for the warm welcome!

Here is the original recipe: (Metric)
7 litres of water
1 liter of apple juice
3,5 kilograms of honey
20 grams of flour
2 grams og white wine yeast

Makes about 10 - 11 litres of mead.

aaaah... i spot the mistake! sorry! :-[
7 litres should be about 2 gallons of water not 1 (1 gal. = 3,79 litres)

That sounds better i take it.

Thanks for the fast response.



01-12-2006, 06:30 PM
The mead is still not 100% clear but you can read through it, it still tastes a bit sharp, the smell is that of honey.
My problem is that it leaves the impression that I am drinking honey flavoured water that "feels" like a very dry wine only it doesn't taste as if there is alcohol in it.
The FG is 1.000.
I have no idea what the SG was as I only now bought the hydrometer hoping it would help me find out what has happened.

I would appreciate any kind help, hints, ideas...

Should i restart fermentation by adding more honey, nutriants and yeast - it would be a shame to pour it down the drain.
(if it is beyond rescue then i will have to)


Welcome to Gotmead.

First, it sounds like you have a fine mead, especially for a first try. The fact that it does not betray the presence of alcohol is a desirable effect! The fact that it still has some honey character is a desirable effect! The fact that it tastes like a wine is good! In ways, the fact that you are displeased with it is confusing...

What were you expecting your mead to taste like? How does it differ from your expectations?

Did you expect there not to be any trace of the honey at all? I am not sure how strong the honey presence is. If it is overpowering, did you use a varietal honey with a very strong character? If the honey presence is somewhat subtle and you still find it unpleasant, maybe mead is not for you. Most meads have a pretty good probability of having some honey flavor and/or aroma present. Maybe wines, which are made using a lot of the same brewing methods, where sugar and/or juices are used instead of honey, would better suit you? You can find plenty of good advice for making wine on this site that would not have honey involved.

More honey and another fermentation will probably not get you what you want. It might actually worsen the honey presence. The FG of 1.000 indicates that there isn't a lot of the sugar from the honey left in the mead (possibly .006 worth).

Well that's my thoughts without knowing more...

Good luck and welcome,

01-12-2006, 08:17 PM
Hi Pewter,

I love mead, drink it frequently - that's why i want to produce my own. Sadly it is not easy to find stores/beekeepers that sell it here.

The smell and taste of honey ist good and what i want - i might have put it wrong. It just seems to be too tangy and watery for my taste (i would describe it as "lacking body"). Thats why i thought it might have gone wrong somewhere down the line. Especially after reading about yeast not having enough nutrients resulting in an end of fermentation.

My taste is more toward the sweeter meads - so I will have to increase the amount of honey in the mixture of my next batch.

As I want the mead to taste of honey (which it does) but is missing its roundness in taste, would it be advisable/wise to restart fermentation by adding more honey, rehydrated yeast and this time some nutrients?
Or should i just sweeten to taste - which i guess will leave the "dryness" but bring some viscosity?

Thanks for the help.



01-12-2006, 09:59 PM
A quick thought for you.
Do you know what variety of honey you used in this mead? I have found that if I use a light honey like clover, alfalfa, or basswood in a straight mead that goes dry (<1.003) the mead seems to have no body what-so-ever. I would think that this is the case rather than some nutrient issue, after all the yeast did eat all the sugar.
As for sweetening it, you might want to consider stabilizing and back-sweetening this mead. Although if you think the honey flavor is strong enough, you might want to add a flavorless sugar to the mead when you backsweeten.
just a few thoughts..

01-13-2006, 12:25 AM
I'm agreeing with Hedgehog, at 1.000 you've got a dry mead. If you want to sweeten it up, stablize with Potassium Metabisulphite (kills active stuff and protects) and Potassium Sorbate (prevents renewed fermentation, but doesn't stop active processes), then add a little honey. Ken Schramm's scale is:

0.990-1.006 Dry
1.006-1.015 Med
1.012-1.020 Sweet
1.020+ Dessert

Make sure you add/subtract for the temp of the mead according to the directions for your hydrometer.

01-13-2006, 07:59 AM
Thanks for the inspiration and tips,

the honey i used was standard blossom honey as i didn't want to spend a fortune on my first try.

I will try and get some of the Potassium meta. and sorb. from the pharmacy.



01-13-2006, 11:23 AM

Just thinking out loud here...

Not sure that additional honey will add more body. It might and it certainly will add more sweetness...

I don't believe that you listed any spices in your recipe. I would suggest trying that before adding chemicals or refermenting. Nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon are all popular choices. See the brewlogs people have for what some of us use. Mine is 6 sticks cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger in a 6 gallon batch. You could scale it appropriately. Possibly prepare a strong tea with the ones you want then add a cup or two to the batch. You can always work this in small quantities using a little of the tea and a little of the batch until you find something you like. Then do the same ratios to the rest of the batch...

I am thinking you might need to do a Pymeth, Cyser, or Melomel to get the type of body you are talking about. I do agree with the comment that a bland honey in a straight mead will result in a bland mead.

Good luck and have a great weekend,

01-13-2006, 03:23 PM
Personally, I think the addition of honey will increase the body and mouthfeel of your mead. However, as it is already a year old, if you really want it to be sweeter, I advise that you stabilize and backsweeten as Lugh suggested. If you do not stabilize, the mead is likely to restart fermentation and this will lengthen the aging process.

IMHO, it is more challenging to produce good dry meads than sweet meads. Next time I recommend using more honey for a sweet mead, maybe 2 kg / imp gallon. That or try a yeast with a lower alcohol tolerance. Also check out the mead calculator here: http://www.gotmead.com/making-mead/mead-calculator.shtml.

I plugged in the numbers for your current mead and it looks to be around 16% abv.


01-13-2006, 05:52 PM
Wilkommen, Corvus!

Another thought, for your next mead: I, like you, like sweeter meads and more body. It is actually more difficult to get a 'perfect' mead when doing a plain (honey,water,yeast) mead, than if you try something different.

I have found that fruit meads (melomels) are much easier to get both sweet and full-bodied. You can see the recipes we have here:
http://www.gotmead.com/component/option,com_pccookbook/page,viewcategory/cat_id,2/ for melomels.

The best 'mouth-feel' or 'body' I've gotten so far in a fruit mead has been with my peach melomels and apple cysers (especially if I add spices).

Apple cysers are *easy* to make, quick to become drinkable, and appeal to a lot of people. You can find cyser recipes here:

Again, welcome, and I hope you enjoy Gotmead!

01-13-2006, 08:12 PM
Hi Vicky,

also thanks for the warm welcome!
I must say it is great to read, what people that know their stuff write.
I a few days I have had more quality info from this page than I have gathered since I started a year ago.

I ordered "The complet meadmaker" today as it is praised here - so it's got to be worth it.
I also ordered the K-Sorbate and K-Metabisulphite from my chemist around the corner - they had it delivered to them within 2 hours - so i have it allready ;D and it was as cheap as chips.
The only thing - I have no dosages to work on. I got 20 grams of each for now.

The info I have, is that 10 grams are sufficient for 100 litres of mead/wine. Does this sound o.k.?

I will prob. only use K-Sorbate on this batch as there has been no activity for about 8 months. (might give it a few days of fridge treatment)
But generally I understand - if i choose to put chemicals in my mead that is - that I would put the K-Metabisulphite in first to kill the yeast and then a few days later add the K-Sorbate to stop any secondary fermentations or other processes that might turn up from another source.

Thanks for all the help that has been pouring in.



01-13-2006, 09:42 PM
I found some posts that may help you

K-Sorbate: http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=1511.0

Stabilizing wine: http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=999.0

Coping a section from a website:

“Potassium sorbate, sold as a chemical or behind a product name such as Sorbistat K, is a commercial wine stabilizer that should be used in conjunction with Campden. In other words, it works better with sulfites present than without, and it works better than sulfites alone. Potassium sorbate disrupts the reproductive cycle of yeast. Yeasts present are unable to reproduce and their population slowly diminishes through attrition.

Potassium sorbate is added in the amount of 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of wine. Sorbic acid results and stabilizes the wine. Usually the crushed Campden and potassium sorbate are dissolved in a cup or two of the wine to be stabilized and stirred thoroughly. Allow the stirred wine to sit a few moments and look for small white lumps of undissolved powder. If present, continue stirring until the wine is clear without any undissolved lumps. This is then added to the larger batch and stirred in well with a sanitized glass rod or wooden dowel.

A few words of caution about potassium sorbate are in order. It does impart a taste to the wine, however slight, and you might want to avoid it if you intend to enter your wine in competition. Also, avoid sorbate if you intend to keep your wines a very long time. The "slight" taste tends to get stronger over time and after several years can be quite disappointing.” Source: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/finishin.asp

Try using the search tool, it’s very helpful.


01-18-2006, 09:05 AM
Hi all,

I stabilised my mead with Potassium metabisulphite and added Potassium sorbate a few days back.
I then backsweetened it with about 300 grams of honey and also poured in a cup of "orange pekoe Darjeeling". I am not sure how much effect the tee will have but it will have some - time will tell.

The taste now is much better and after leaving it in a glass for a few minutes the light sharpness goes away.

So I bottled and corked the batch in standard 0.75 litre wine bottles and used natural corks. Currently I am making the labels which I think I might post in the label-topic later on.

Thanks again for all the help.