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Thread: Table Mead?

  1. #1
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    Aug 2010
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    Default Table Mead?

    Hey all. Thought I'd go ahead and post/ask this, since I didn't find anything using the search tool about this, so let me know what you think!

    My friend and I have been at a loss for what to do with some of the leftovers of racking ever since we started, aside from compost, bread making, culture starting, and just tossing (who knew yeast could be so useful ). The solution has become our version of table wine.

    Basically, every now and again, we throw in either some fresh honey and water, or some of the lees/liquid left after racking. So far, this has produced some rocket fuel (the first table mead, which got split up into smaller batches with different spices, one being a hopped mead), but recently, we added the some leftovers from the Berry Apocalypse batch that is going. The resident culture tends to be K1V-1116 in the table mead, and I'm fairly confident of it plus the high alcohol content keeping most things at bay.

    That said, when do you think I should rack this away from the fruity dregs of the most recent batch? Also, has anyone tried doing this? It started as a step-feeding experiment, and has evolved into this. Any problems you can foresee other than oxidation or contamination issues?

    Personally, it's a nice way to always have some mead for topping off or experimenting with different spice additions. It's worked so far.
    Find what you like, and hone it to perfection.

    And don't serve dodgy mead!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Ottawa, ON
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    Default

    I thought about doing something like that once upon a time but gave up on it as I wasn't able to wrap my head around the logistics... never enough carboys
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  3. #3
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    Default

    There is a danger inherent in this approach. Given that the yeast from your earlier batches will have been stressed from the fermentation process (and yeast exposed to an environment of 12-16% abv are far more stressed than those used in beer fermentation, where the average abv tends to be more in the 4-7% range), there is a possibility they will mutate into strains that don't perform the same as you'd expect - possibly throwing lots of fusels or harsh phenolics, or worse, in your subsequent batches.

    However, if you are aware of the potential for mutant yeast disasters (sounds like a cheesy SyFy made for TV movie, eh?), and are willing to experiment anyway, then who am I to advise against it?

    But all that said, I'd also recommend that you not let the mead sit on the remnants of old pre-fermented fruit very long (week or so, max), or you'll likely end up with lots of herbaceous and/or vegetal sulphur compounds in the result - and nobody likes a mead that smells like rotting cabbage - at least nobody that I know, anyway.
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Great advice, Wayne. I planned to rack off sooner than later, and now I have a reason to.

    As to making mutant cultures, that actually is one idea we had when starting. But you make a good point about this not being an ideal way to do that. Subsequent attempts to modify a commercial strain have been more controlled. We just sorta keep thus stuff going for the pure intent of having rocket fuel that facilitates good alcohol extraction of whatever spice/herb we want to test before using in 5 gal batches.
    Find what you like, and hone it to perfection.

    And don't serve dodgy mead!

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