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Thread: Cyser taste question

  1. Default Cyser taste question

    Hi all! So I have a fun little problem that I have been scratching my head on for the last week. I posted a similar thread on Reddit's r/mead, but it didn't get many answers so hopefully yall can help me clear a few things up.

    So first off I made an amazing (to me) cyser about a year ago. I just finished another 2 cysers last week and the taste is quite poor. Now onto the details!

    Awesome Cyser:
    4 gallons of apple juice from whole foods (no preservatives, no other nasties to hurt my yeasty beasties, just pure apple juice)
    9 chopped fuji apples (also from whole foods so no wax or other junk on em)
    1/2 gallon of honey
    1 packet Montrachet yeast

    I warmed up the honey but didn't boil it. Then I tossed everything in a fermentation bucket. I split the nutrient additions into 3rds. First third was added when I put everything in. 2nd third was added 2 days later and I degassed it. Last third was added 2 days after that (day 4) and I degassed again. I also degassed on day 6 then left it alone for another three weeks. During degassing I also made sure to splash a lot and try to get some oxygen dissolved into it. Overall total time was 4 weeks. No temp control, just in my basement so around 65 to 70 F or so.

    1 gallon apple juice
    1/4 gallon of honey
    9 chopped fuji apples

    So I racked everything over to glass and added in the above ingredients. I did my best to prevent any oxidation and left this for about 2 or 3 months.

    Potassium Sorbate
    Potassium Metabisulfite
    Pectic Enzyme

    So I started by racking over everything and adding Potassium Sorbate, Potassium Metabisulfite, and Pectic Enzyme (I now know that this should be added in primary so oops). I then waited two weeks, racked again and added bentonite. Then I waited another 2 weeks and racked again. A couple months later I bottled and enjoyed. By far the best mead I have ever made.

    Something strange mead:
    5 gallons of Apple Juice
    3/4 gallons of honey
    9 chopped fuji apples
    1 packet Montrachet yeast

    Tossed everything in a bucket, same as before. Did nutrient additions every 2 days and degassing. Only difference here is the extra honey and extra gallon of apple juice. After the first month I racked and started secondary.
    OG was around 1.135 or so.

    Basically just racked it, I didn't add anything here except for 3 sticks of cinnamon.

    Pectic Enzyme (I now know this should be done in primary, woops)
    Potassium Sorbate
    Potassium Metabisulfite

    So for fining I followed about the same pattern. Rack then add Pectic Enzyme, Sorbate, Metabisulfite, and wait 2 weeks. Rack again, add bentonite, wait 2 weeks. Rack and add sparkalloid, wait 2 weeks. Rack again, wait a few months, then bottle.
    FG was 1.030 or so.

    Now onto the problem. So my cyser this time doesn't taste like anything. No apple taste, no cinnamon taste, nothing. The closest I can describe is like a bone dry wine. Basically like water, alcohol, and something slightly sour/bitter mixed in. I didn't detect any sort of weird smells like an infection or vinegar or anything. Just a lack of flavor.

    What I think I did wrong:
    I think adding all the ingredients into primary instead of having some juice and honey in secondary basically had the yeast eat all the tasty sugars leaving no flavor behind. I'm kind of confused that my FG was 1.030 but it tasted bone dry, however.
    Additionally I think my doubled up use of fining agents might have stripped out a bunch of flavor as well. I'm still pretty new to fining agents but the idea is that bentonite precipitates out all the negatively charged things and sparkalloid grabs all the positively charged things. I'm wondering if this effectively precipitated out my flavor?

    So if anyone could comment/confirm/deny or anything on my suspicions in the What I did wrong area, or on my overall process, I would really appreciate it!

    Thanks yall,
    A newbee

  2. #2


    What was the Fg of the first batch you made. If 1.030 tastes dry I wonder how high an Fg the first batch had for it to taste good.
    What honey varietals did you use? A lot of the supermarket honey you buy has just about no honey flavor whatsoever. There's a reasonable possibility that supermarket honey isn't even honey despite what the label says...

    How old is the cyser now? It seems it's a couple of months old from what you said. Could be a long dumb phase but I don't think it's likely.
    1.135 is too high an Sg for yeast to handle properly. Also, you might get away with using much less nutrients when using chopped apples and apple juice but with such a high Sg you probably needed some. What were the temps for your second batch? High temps would explain why it tastes bland, dry and alcoholic.

    You should be able to make a good cyser without adding any ingredients in secondary. It won't taste the same as when you added in primary but it should still be able to come out good if you do everything right. Personally I prefer to go the primary route (except herbssometimes), others prefer to place more ingredients in secondary
    Last edited by Stasis; 02-09-2018 at 07:08 PM.
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  3. Default

    Hello Stasis,
    Thanks for getting back to me.

    Unfortunately I do not have OG or FG on the first cyser as I didn't have my refractometer at that point. However what I can say is that in both batches I used 5 gallons of the same apple juice from Whole Foods and 3/4 gallons of honey.

    As for the honey I am using wildflower honey I bought from a local farmer. Basically had the bee parts strained out and he put it in 1 gallon jugs for me. He is a local bee keeper so I know this isn't some honey flavored syrup at least :P Plus it crystallizes when sitting around for awhile so that lends credibility to it being legit.

    Overall this new Cyser is around 7 months from pitching the yeast until now. The breakdown is as follows. Primary 1 month-ish, Secondary 2-3 months, Bulk Aging 3-4ish months. Previous batches usually taste good around this mark. This one is the first that doesn't so I'm really scratching my head.

    I didn't think of the high gravity as the problem, but now that you said it, it would make sense.

    Temps for the 2nd batch were same as the first. 65-70 F. I brew it in my basement where I don't get crazy temp fluctuations. Honestly it is probably closer to the 65 point than the 70, but I pitched all of this in the summer so who knows.

    What about the fining agents, think they might have stripped the flavor? I mean I know they take some, but it shouldn't have taken it all right?

  4. #4


    It's possible to make high gravity cysers but it would be best if your Sg was lower and you added the rest of the sugars as the yeast chomped through some of it.
    Even if you used the same varietal from the same place, if you bough them at different times there might be differences in taste. An autumn wildflower would be honey made from flowers which are different than Spring wildflower. Even spring wildflowers could change from one year to the next since sometimes the landscape or surrounding farmers plant/blossom differently. It's also possible to get consistent wildflower, so who knows.
    It's hard to say why they taste different without knowing for sure how they differ.
    I'm not an expert on fining agents as I never used them. If you're aging your stuff 4 months you might want to skip the fining agents. I have found that many of my meads actually clear very well on their own given time. Maybe use just one of those fining agents
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  5. Default

    That makes sense. I think I will try eliminating the fining agents and just letting it clear naturally from now on. After you mentioned the high original gravity, I think I will try just adding more honey later in the process and having a more legit secondary instead of tossing everything all at once into primary. I'm wondering if the yeast had some stress with all that sugar.

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