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Thread: How long will it last without chemicals?

  1. Default How long will it last without chemicals?

    Hi all,

    Sorry if this has been covered before.

    I made 5 litres [1 gallon ] of mead a couple of
    months ago using 1000g of honey, a sliced orange,
    some raisens and bread yeast.

    I've racked it a couple of times and had a sneaky
    taste and its really nice. Possibly a bit weak as I
    topped it up to the 5 litres again after racking.

    Anyway, my question is;

    how long will it last without any kind of preserving
    chemicals?
    Also, I'm thinking of saving a bottle for my son, who
    was born around the time I started the mead.
    Is it realistic to think it would be drinkable when he's
    old enough?

    Any input apreciated.

  2. #2

    Default

    The only preserving chemical you should need here is alcohol, and your yeast took care of that. If fermentation went well and your rackings were sanitary the alcohol and any residual honey should keep infections at bay. Did you take any gravity readings?

    I commend you if you can keep a bottle until your son is old enough to enjoy it. I always find a reason to pull out one of my "old" bottles. Others here can attest to the quality older meads. Mine have never lasted beyond three years. The former owner of my LHBS said he had a bottle of his that was 10 YO. He said it was like a brandy. If your son has to wait until he's 18, or 21, it could be an interesting product!

  3. #3

    Default

    It's so hard to say how long something can last. Every batch is a little different. If you are trying to keep long term your biggest worry may be oxidation. How it was stored, racked and bottled will effect the rate that it oxidizes. A dose of Sulfites and Sorbates will help prevent oxidation (as well as fermentation beginning again in the bottle at a later date if any viable yeast and residual sugars are present), but it's a personal preference if one chooses to use them or not.
    " ...no sense hauling empty carboys around when full ones take up just as much space. " -TheFlyingBeer (on HomeBrewTalk)

  4. #4

    Post

    Quote Originally Posted by O'Dubhain82 View Post
    how long will it last without any kind of preserving
    chemicals?
    Also, I'm thinking of saving a bottle for my son, who
    was born around the time I started the mead.
    Is it realistic to think it would be drinkable when he's
    old enough?

    Any input apreciated.
    Your enemies when it comes to keeping bottles of mead for years are oxygen and temperature fluctuations. You will need to be sure and use corks that are rated for as many years as possible and store the bottles someplace with constant cellar-like temp (I think around 50 degrees.)
    All the world's a nail to a child with a hammer.

  5. #5

    Default

    There's also the question of how long will it continue to improve with age. With grape wines, only a handful have the potential to continue to improve with long-term aging. I'm not sure how meads compare in this respect.

  6. #6

    Default

    I'll be honest and say this particular mead, no will not be any good by the time your son is of age to drink it. It's a basic JAO mead recipe which is a decent mead but is not meant for (I'm assuming)16-18 years aging. The meads which age best for that long are high alcohol sweet meads. There is a thread about this that was done a few months ago if you search for 21st mead or something like that you can read the convo.

    Here's a link:

    http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthr...ht=21+birthday
    Last edited by Guinlilly; 04-13-2012 at 07:46 PM. Reason: Added link

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    7,720

    Default

    I think an actual JAO might still be good in twenty years (I'm aiming to try the last bottle of my first JAO batch at age ten and I'm sure I will post my review if I do get to it in 2016) as it's sweet enough that the sugar in the honey will act as a preservative, but this is considerably weaker than that, 1000g = 1 kg = 2.2 lb and 5 litres is more than a gallon.

    I find 1 kg honey in about a gallon gives me a SG of around 1.080, and yours is more dilute than that, I suspect it will finish dry, and will not have a high enough alcohol content (yours will be under 10%) for long-term aging, even with the chemicals I'm not sure it'd be worth keeping that long.

    If you want to make something that will last that long, you'll probably want to plan for it and take a look at what others have done, there are a few good posts about it around here if you can convince the forum search engine to hand them over .

    And welcome to the forum!
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G
    "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

  8. Default

    Thanks for the replies.

    So, what I'm hearing is, drink it within the next
    few...years?....months?

    If it's not going to make it to a milestone birthday
    I'll probably drink it at his 1st birthday [not all of
    it myself though].

    As to my batch being a bit light on honey/alcohol,
    I think your right but it is really nice. Quite a fresh
    kind of wine.
    For my second batch I used 1.5 kg of honey and
    2 satchets of bread yeast. It bubbled more vigourously
    but not for as long. By the 3 week mark it had pretty
    much stopped.
    When I tasted it after racking it did taste fairly boozy.

    Again, thanks for the responses.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    7,720

    Default

    Having recently drank an almost two year-old bottle of ginger hydromel (~5% ABV) that was just fine, it'll probably last a few years. But a decade or two might be pushing it... A lot of the non-stabilized stuff I've made at 10%+ strength seem to be fine at five years, although a few have oxidized through the cork, and I don't know if this is a lack of chemicals thing or a cork quality issue. I use short ones that tend to go in easily so they may not be as tight a fit as I could get with the ones that are more of a pain to get in the bottle, for the batch I plan to try keeping for many years, I'm going to seal the tops of about half the bottles with beeswax after I cork them.

    You could always try keeping them long-term, it would be good information to share with the rest of us! Put a few bottles away and try them at 5 year intervals... if you've made 5 litres, then you should get somewhere around 6 full 750 ml bottles by the time this is done, which leaves you a couple bottles to drink earlier. Or if you bottled in 350 ml bottles you could follow the fibonacci sequence in your drinking schedule (sorry, inner geek showing again )... And surely you're going to try making a few other batches to keep yourself occupied
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G
    "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

  10. Default

    I think I'd be a bit disapointed if it did turn out
    oxidised after waiting for 18 years and from what
    I'm hearing here it most likely would be.

    So, not to worry. It was just a thought. I'll be
    just as happy really drinking it over the next year or so.

    You're right about making more though. I now have
    4 demijohns and 2 are full of delicious mead.

    It's addictive to make and addictive to consume.

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