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Thread: Forgotton mead

  1. Default Forgotton mead

    Hello all,

    About 8/9 months ago I decided to make some mead from our honey.

    I found a simple recipe telling me to use the ratio of 3.5 pounds of honey to 1 gallon of water, added some white wine yeast and let it go to work. The lock started bubbling with in a few hours and all seemed good.

    About 6 weeks after the the initial mix it seemed to either be taking a very long time to bubble or have stopped. There was between 1/2 inch and 2/3 inch sediment at the bottom of the jar. I siphoned it off into a new clean jar.

    Then my wife got pregnant and I forgot it for the next 7 1/2 months.

    Here is a picture ( http://tinypic.com/r/29ykrvn/5 ) and I measured the specific gravity today. 0.998
    There was another 1/2 inch of sediment. Have siphoned it off again in another clean jar and left it with a air lock on just in case.

    It tastes quite dry, my wife think it smells like dry sherry. It wasn't unpleasant to drink but didn't make me think of the little mead I have tried, nothing sweet about it.

    So what do you think? Fail? More work to go? Or as expected for the above process?

    Advice welcome and hoped for.

  2. #2
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    Well first of all, are congratulations in order?

    Second, one of the primary rules of mead making is "Never throw a mead away".

    Third, you have a couple of choices:

    1. Let it age as-is.
    2. Stabilize it and then let it age as-is.
    3. Stabilize it and backsweeten it 'till you're happy with the taste.


    With option 1, you do run a slight risk of renewed fermentation.

    With option 2, you can let it age without having to worry about fermentation re-starting, and as it matures you will probably end up with a very enjoyable dry mead.

    With option 3, you won't have to worry about fermentation re-starting, and you can sweeten it to taste, and it may well be more enjoyable to drink faster.


    Joe
    Intelligence Is Knowing That A Tomato Is A Fruit
    Wisdom Is Knowing Not To Put It In A Fruit Salad

  3. #3
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    Agreed, dry meads taste weird when you're not used to them, most commercial meads are sweet or off-sweet. Put some in a glass and add drips of honey, tasting in between. That'll tell you if backsweetening it is going to help! And if you have a hydrometer, you can use your sample to figure out how much honey to add to the whole batch.
    "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
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  4. Default

    Thanks for feed back

    Can you estimate the abv from the SG?

    If i go for let it age as is can I let it age in a jar with a lock or should I bottle it?

  5. #5
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    3.5 lb honey in a gallon should give you an initial SG around 1.125, you can check the Mead Calculator to figure out the alcohol content if you assume it went completely dry just leave the default final gravity.

    Unfortunately we can't tell for sure if it IS completely dry without a hydrometer reading so this is just an estimation.

    I'd just airlock and let it bulk age, if you bottle it without stabilizing it, it could concievably not be finished and start up again in the bottles.
    "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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    San Diego, CA
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    I see you posted this thread twice in different forums. My comments below were posted in the other version of this thread. Your question may already be better addressed below from other more knowledgable mead makers. Looking at your photo, I do expect that the sherry flavor is due to the large headspace. I would suggest that you get this into smaller containers to minimize additional oxidation - unless that is a flavor you are going for.
    _________________________________________________

    It sounds like you did everything right. It is impossible to give specific input without your exact recipe, but your mead fermented dry since the yeast that you used was able to convert all of the fermentable sugars in your honey to alcohol. Since you want something with more sweetness, the best thing for you to do would be to stabilize your mead with potassium sulfite and potassium sorbate and then add some more honey to taste. This is called "backsweetening." The sulfite and sorbate will keep your fermentation from restarting and will allow you to retain the added sweetness in your mead.

    If you add more honey without stabilizing your mead, your fermentation will restart if you still have viable yeast. This is called step feeding.

    Searches on this site for stabilizing and backsweetening, as well as the NewBee Guide linked on the sidebar menu, will provide you with additional guidance.

    Dan

    [edit] By the way, if you have a sherry flavor, this may be due to oxidation caused by too much headspace (too much oxygen in your jar). You typically want to minimize the amount of contact between your mead and oxygen.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LostandFlustered View Post
    Can you estimate the abv from the SG?
    Using CG's estimate of a starting gravity of 1.125 and you current gravity of 0.998, your approximate ABV is 16.67%.

    Dan

  8. Default

    Lots of cool feedback from other folks. Again thanks.

    Any tips of clarifying? Do I even need to clarify? Should glory in my rustic cloudy mead? Or is it scruffy?

  9. #9
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    You might want to clear with Super Kleer KC Finings or another fining agent before you bottle. You can search the term "fining agents." Backsweetening will add a protein haze, so if you think you may backsweeten, or if you are not ready to bottle, I would just wait. Given enough time, your mead should clear on its own.

    Of course, I have a very stubborn mead that used White Labs sweet mead yeast which does not seem to want to clear at all . . .

    Dan

  10. #10

    Default

    The sherry part has not been answered yet, what color is it now, did it turn darker? Usually a sherry taste in a mead that has not been planned on indicates it oxidized. Did your airlock ever go dry? You should be more careful in the future, you cant be haphazard and let anything interfere with your meadmaking, use protection man, meads should only ever be forgotten in the bottle WVMJ

  11. Default

    I did let it go dry in the last few weeks only. My wife swears we had vodka in the lock for the rest of the time. But Danr also pointed out I had a lot headspace in the Demijohn.

    The cool has staye light yellow, like the color of straw. But got clearer to the point where is it still misty but I can see through the demijohn.

    Several people have said if I leave it, it will continue to clear more. Will this be by more sediment dropping? I only have a little more than half a demijohn and each time I siphon I loose more. So if it is by more sediment dropping I guess Bentonite or similar?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by LostandFlustered View Post
    Lots of cool feedback from other folks. Again thanks.

    Any tips of clarifying? Do I even need to clarify? Should glory in my rustic cloudy mead? Or is it scruffy?
    From my experience mead tends to equate to sweet/dessert drink for most people. Dry mead can be a nice beverage to drink with dinner (where sweet meads wouldn't work). I made a semi-dry for that exact reason a year or two back.

    As to whether you want to clarify; that's a personal choice in my opinion. It sounds like you've racked it off plenty to avoid any off-flavors. Each time you rack off of sediment, you lose mead. When it's just a matter of clarity, I favor drinking it, not throwing it away.
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