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Thread: Poisonous Mead (ketonic?)

  1. #1
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    Default Poisonous Mead (ketonic?)

    Firstly, I am new here. I have lurked for several years and have found several great pieces of advice from many different people (Thank You). Most of the time I could figure it out but I have run into a problem that defies me being able to solve it on my own.

    Secondly, I was going to post this in the SCA Interkingdom brewing section, but it doesn't look like it sees much activity. Which is why I ma posting here (Webmaster: If that is inappropriate please feel free to move it).

    Without further ado here is my recipe for a Blackberry Melomel (1 gallon) that I brewed. At that time I wasn't doing gravities.

    4/9/17
    PRIMARY:
    2lbs. Clover honey (From my own hives, no chemicals)
    30 oz. large blackberries (store bought; froze, thawed and mashed up) - i did not sanitize these, which could be part of the problem.
    30 dark raisins.
    0.5 tsp pectic acid.
    Aldi's very active bread yeast
    Water to 1 gallon

    Added 1.5 lbs honey on 5/16/17 (I goofed on this as I was working with Joe's grape pyment and got my honey quantities mixed up).

    1st Rack 6/1/17
    2nd Rack 10/31/17 - I also added a small amount of another raspberry melomel at this time to reduce headspace in the carboy.
    Bottled 1/8/18

    Opened in May& June 2018. The mead had gone absolutely dry and as one friend put it; slightly astringent. The Blackberry flavor was still there though.

    I thought this mead was interesting and decided to enter it into the SCA InterKingdom Brewing Contest at the Pennsic War 47 (2018 ).

    The ladies who were judging it were helpful up until the mead was tasted. After tasting it was deemed to be a Total Failure. They said it had a plastic taste to it. In their words the mead had gone Ketonic (sp?) and should not be served as it was poisonous.

    I have looked on the chart of Mead Faults and didn't find anything that resembled this and Internet searches have yielded nothing of value (other than Ketone diets).

    At this point I am kind of at a loss for what I made, other than poison (which I have also consumed). I am also unsure why the mead totally dried out.

    I appreciate all replies,

    Bryn of Celyddon
    mka Brian Vandersall
    Last edited by Bryn; 09-10-2018 at 01:42 PM. Reason: recipe update

  2. Default

    First off, welcome to GotMead! I don't know what the judges would mean by "ketonic". Acetone is a ketone, so perhaps they were saying they detected a heavy amount of fusels. I suppose that a great enough concentration of fusel alcohols (methanol for instance) would indeed make the mead toxic but I wouldn't expect a non-distilled beverage to contain enough to cause acute damage.

    I found what seems like a handy list of mead faults, published by the BJCP. They classify plastic-like faults as "Phenolic" rather than "Ketonic" and they identify hot solvent faults as "Solvent" but hey.

    In terms of why it might have happened, I can only guess without more info. Yeast strain, temperature management, and proper yeast nutrition all help minimize fusel production. Did you rehydrate the yeast before pitching? Did you add any yeast nutrients during fermentation, or were they trying to survive on the fruit bits alone? Did the fermentation begin quickly, or did it take several days to kick off? What temperature did you ferment at? When you racked it the first time, was fermentation complete, and if so, what was the final gravity of the mead?

    As for some things to consider for the next batch you want to enter for judging: Explore the wide world of wine yeasts. Acquire some GoFerm and some Fermaid O to keep your yeast well fed. If you don't have one, get a cheap hydrometer and start taking gravity readings so you know what's going on with your home brews. Take into consideration the temperatures you ferment at and choose yeast that can tolerate your fermentation conditions to minimize off flavors produced by overly-stressed yeast. Above all, have fun!
    Last edited by The Ghost of Thom Jones; 09-10-2018 at 03:41 PM.
    My complete mead log can be found here.

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    The Ghost of Thom Jones Thank you! Your questions have spurned me to keep better logs and to do more research into temperature and yeast nutrition. I have also started taking gravity readings as well. On aside note I only have one small bottle of the 'Poisonous Blackberry Melomel' and its currently in my mead time capsule. Maybe in 5 years it will be alright. We shall see. Thank you again.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryn View Post
    The Ghost of Thom Jones Thank you! Your questions have spurned me to keep better logs and to do more research into temperature and yeast nutrition. I have also started taking gravity readings as well. On aside note I only have one small bottle of the 'Poisonous Blackberry Melomel' and its currently in my mead time capsule. Maybe in 5 years it will be alright. We shall see. Thank you again.
    Look up the gotmeadlife podcast and start on 9/5/17. You will learn how to make mead there.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  5. #5
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    Plastic flavors often develop in meads fermented at too high a temperature. They may fade with time. However, they are not poisonous, so have no fears. Unless you put something toxic in your mead, it won’t be poisonous. Making good mead does take a bit of learning, and you might want to start with a solid recipe such as Joe’s ancient orange or the BOMM recipe and concentrate on mastering essential techniques.
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

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    Medsen Fey,

    Thank you for the reassuring words. I started making mead with the JAOM's and then started modifying the ingredients a bit. I have also done Joe's Grape Pyment (which came out really nice). I have not tried a BOMM yet, ...someday.

    Regards,

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