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View Full Version : Very new and not sure if things are going right



pearlheartgtr
03-29-2006, 02:53 AM
Hey all!

I've been reading the forums for a couple of weeks now and picked up alot of info but I still have my own questions.

I bought 3 1 gallon starter kits from The Home Brew Store http://www.thehomebrewstore.com/store.htm.

Please get through my lack of record keeping and general knowledge on this. I just wanted to try something interesting and fun. I belong to a small medieval group in NY and thought it would be nice to have some mead to contribute to our events. Also, I had only had mead once and I'm not a wine drinker so I don't know exactly what I am going for taste wise.

I started with a metheglin mead back in January. After a couple of weeks, I siphoned the mead off the sediment (as per the directions). I took a whiff of it and it presented me with a miriad of scents and none of which were pleasant. Alcohol, skunk... The taste wasn't any better. I made my mom take a sip and was almost asked to leave the house permantly. It scared me (not the lack of residence but the turn of the mead). I did some searching on the web and found that the metheglin tends to be a bit raunchy at first and to let it run its course. I topped it off with honey and water and set it back in the cabinet, sending it into a second fermentation. I also gave it a splash of vanilla extract. Lo and behold, I checked it a couple weeks later and it smelled better and the spice's aroma started to show. I check on it every couple of weeks and it seems to be getting better and better though I haven't bottled it yet.

I went on and ordered 2 more 1 gallon kits. A cyser and pyment. They have been running now for about 3 weeks. Last week I siphoned them and added honey and water. The cysner doesn't have much of an apple smell but a slight sour scent(as of a few days ago). And the pyment smells and tastes like a light champagne version of Merlot (I opened up a bottle of Merlot to get a general idea). The pyment had overflowed a bit after I made it.

Am I on the right track here or should I dump it and try again?

kace069
03-29-2006, 03:34 AM
Well i have never made a cyser or pyment. But from your description of the cyser it sounds like it tastes like a young hard cider. i am not much of a wine person so if your pyment smells like a merlot i think you are on the right track.
BTW what sort of methgelin did you make?
My expereince with hard cider is that when you add sugar to it, it will scrub out some of the apple flavor and aroma/

pearlheartgtr
03-29-2006, 03:47 AM
I couldn't tell you what kind of metheglin I'm making since the kit came with a little baggie of spices. Don't know what they are, but I can surely smell them now! I don't care what spices they are as long as it doesn't smell the way it did before at this point. LOL.

The cyser and the pyment came with 2 cans of concentrate juice each and a couple of lbs of clover honey.

Since you say that adding the honey will take away from the cyser apple taste, maybe the next time I siphon I should add apple juice or concentrate or an extract if I come across it. Would that be a good way to go?

Funny thing is that when I added the honey to the metheglin, it went into another fermentation. The other two just took it and sat quietly and are still sitting peacefully.

I'm going on about 2 months now with the metheglin. SHould I bottle it soon? Or should I have bottled it already?

Sorry for the questions. You're really hitting the basic level with me.

Thanks!

Oskaar
03-29-2006, 04:13 AM
You can add some apple juice to your secondary if you want to bring back some of the apple character. Just be aware that if you have an aggressive yeast ala K1, or a Champagne yeast like EC-1118 or Pasteur Premier Cuvee that have high ABV tolerances you'll most likely end up step feeding the yeast into a high alcohol rocket fuel flavored drink. Since T.V. is back on the board I'll refer to his suggestion of finding a can of Apple Juice Concentrate with Sorbate already in it and adding enough of that to your secondary to bring back the apple character you want. The sorbate in the AJC should be sufficient to keep fermentation from recurring in the mead.

I personally have not been able to find AJC with sorbate in it so in the case where I need to add in some more apple flavor, I would just rack to a third vessel and let it go for a while watching the gravity. When I'm ready to make an adjustment I pop the vessel in the refridge for a couple of weeks and rack to another vessel with some sorbate in it, along with the AJC to my personal taste. Sulfite is optional but recommended when using sorbate.

You can do a search on sulfites and sorbates for recent discussions on dosages and usage directions.

The pyment sounds about right given it's a kit. Again, I don't know what your recipe was, but based on what you're saying it sounds like a "pyment-lite" kind of recipe so I'd let it age for a while and come back to it in a couple of months to see if the balance and flavor have matured. I'm pretty sure they will.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

pearlheartgtr
03-29-2006, 04:42 AM
Refridgerating it would pose a bit of a problem since my fridge simply doesn't have the space.

OK. after looking at the provided recipe, I was provided with "premier cuvee' yeast" And rocket fuel is a good term to describe it at about now. I'm not opposed to a strong drink, I just want to keep the shot glasses out of it. ;D

The meads settled down nicely when I siphoned them off. The metheglin had close to 3/4 inch the first time but the others were probably at about 1/4 (if that). And all are very clear.

I'll do some searching on the sulfites and sorbates and see what I find.

Thank you!

kace069
03-29-2006, 05:29 AM
Well can't offer much more advice the master oskaar has responded and I would advise you to listen to his advice. I have only made ciders with and with out added sugar. Although I see a cyser in my future. Evereything sounds like it is going ok for you to me.

webmaster
03-29-2006, 09:17 AM
And don't let the initial flavors scare you. Premier Cuvee often leaves a new mead a bit nasty. But, if you let it age, it often becomes Nectar of the Gods. My first mead years ago, a spice mead (lets start with a complicated one!) had something like 12 spices in it. For over a year it was *nasty*. I kept going to dump it out, but could never bring myself to dump my first try. One day, I tasted it, and it was *fantastic*. To date, that is *still* the best spice mead I've ever made.

Cysers often go too dry, and taste like a dry cider. Like Oskaar says, you can let it ferment out, then add some apple juice to sweeten to taste.

Some meads need to age. Don't worry. Relax, sit back and let nature do its work.

Vicky - who *really* needs to bottle some of the 60 gallons or so of stuff sitting around the kitchen.....

pearlheartgtr
04-03-2006, 11:40 PM
Thanks guys!

My fears are settling down to minor concerns, lol. I took a whiff of the Metheglin and it is smelling a lot better than the last (a week or so ago). The taste has a bit of a kick to it, oh well it will settle out. I had mom smell it (when I come into the living room with a glass with a spattering of liquid on the bottom-- she is ready to bolt at this point) she noticed a major difference in it. I decided to bottle it yesterday and hide it away for a while.

Now that I have an empty carboy, I'm going to give a try at the Ancient Orange. I'm excited and looking forward to it on Wednesday.

Many thanks again!

webmaster
04-04-2006, 09:33 AM
No worries! Sounds like its heading for success! A suggestion, for when you get more gear....I've discovered that mead ages quicker in bulk. So, if you have a spare carboy, let it age altogether. This is also good to ensure that its done fermenting before bottling. I started doing this after I bottled a raspberry mead, and 8 or 9 bottles went *blooey* all over the basement, blowing corks everywhere. Now I age in bulk, and make *sure* its done, LOL. That's how I discovered that aging seems to go faster in bulk....

pearlheartgtr
04-05-2006, 04:11 PM
;D Believe me, I'm already scoping out unused space in my house and basement to fit a few 5 gallon or ten gallon buckets. The new shed out back is looking pretty good too. I also spied a wall in our old kitchen where I can make a wall mount for aging bottles or just using the old cabinets... As it is I have commandeered a cabinet in the island of the new kitchen for my 3 one gallon jugs in process (I just set up a batch of Ancient Orange). Now if I can only get the other juice and water bottles out of there, I can get 3 more in. This is quickly becoming an addiction.