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Thread: Question on ageing first batch of mead

  1. Default Question on ageing first batch of mead

    Hello everyone, if anyone remembers, I recently posted a question about the fruit in my blueberry mead which I made using the following recipe:

    12# local wildflower honey
    3# organic frozen blueberries
    and Ec-1118 yeast in 4 gallons of water.

    Well, after two weeks my fermentation completely stopped and I racked the mead into secondary, removing most of the fruit in the process. A small amount of fruit is still in the fermenter, but I at this time I am not too worried about it. After racking, the first thing I noticed was that my mead has a beautiful pale red color. While in the fermenter the mead was a dark purple, but in the racking rube and my sampling glass is thinned out into a pale red, just north of pink. I hit the target color I wanted, but when I tasted the mead, I realized that it had little if no flavor at all. A small bit of blueberry was still hanging around, but there was no honey or other flavor, but it did have a noticeable amount of alcohol in it. Some small flavors came through which I assume came from the yeast.

    I thought about all this and decided that I needed to bring more flavor to the party. I purchased 48oz. of honey, 32 oz. of an organic preservative free blueberry-pomegranate juice, and 1 gallon preservative free apple cider. This was all mixed together, cooled to around room temperature, and added to the fermenter. It took several days, but fermentation has restarted, albeit at a very slow pace. Then again, I am not in a hurry, I just want good booze.

    My questions are as follows:

    1. Did I do the right thing by adding more fermentables?
    2. Does freshly fermented mead usually have a lot or a little bit of flavor, and does such flavor improve during ageing?

    Thanks in advance for any help

  2. #2

    Default Re: Question on ageing first batch of mead

    Quote Originally Posted by NateDawg
    Hello everyone, if anyone remembers, I recently posted a question about the fruit in my blueberry mead which I made using the following recipe:

    12# local wildflower honey
    3# organic frozen blueberries
    and Ec-1118 yeast in 4 gallons of water.

    My questions are as follows:

    1. Did I do the right thing by adding more fermentables?
    2. Does freshly fermented mead usually have a lot or a little bit of flavor, and does such flavor improve during ageing?

    Thanks in advance for any help
    1. Yes, adding fermentables is exactly what you needed to do.

    2. Depends on the recipe, yours was very light on honey and fruit so it's no surprise you had little or no flavor initially.

    Chances are you'll still end up with a dry mead using EC-1118, but it should be much better in a few months.

    Wrathwilde

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Question on ageing first batch of mead

    Nate,

    How about some gravity readings please. That will give us an idea of where you are.

    Also, how about an idea of what you want out of this batch? Sweet, semi-sweet, dry, with hints of blueberries, a lot of blueberry flavor, etc.? We're kind of trying to hit a moving target here, and while adding more fermentables to give you more flavor is a move in the right direction, you'll need to be aware that if you're at the low end of the EC-1118 alcohol power curve (alcohol tolerance) adding fermentables will pretty much amount to step feeding and will crank up the alcohol level pretty high. Also let us know how you have been dealing with nutrient. EC is a very nutrient intensive yeast and if not provided with the correct nutrients, will produce off flavors.

    Let us know,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Question on ageing first batch of mead

    I remembered his original post saying he was looking for a dry sparkling mead, it's here...

    http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?opt...27081#msg27081

    Just for future reference... its best to keep all your questions for the batch on the same initial thread. This makes it easier for us to help you since we can see all the previous discussion for the batch.

    Wrathwilde

  5. Default Re: Question on ageing first batch of mead

    Oskaar and WW, once again thank you for your comments. They really do help. To get you some of the information you asked for:

    1. Because I am an idiot I keep on forgetting to buy a hydrometer, so I really dont know exactly what my starting gravity was. However, the GotMead gravity calculator showed my original gravity as 1.09. I promise to buy a hydrometer on my next run to the LHBS, probably next weekend.

    2. I used some yeast nutrient when I first started this batch around a month ago. At that time I added 5 teaspoons of a product my LHBS sold me which was labeled as simply "Yeast Energizer", as the directions with this product said to add 1 teaspoon per gallon of must. I have not added any kind of energizer since then.

    3. Finally, my original goal was a semi-sweet sparkling mead with a hint of blueberry.

    I grabbed a sample from my fermenter this afternoon, and while I still have a slow steady fermentation going right now, the mead is noticably sweeter and has much more flavor. I think I am going to patiently let this batch run its course and see what flavor I have when the fermentation is finished. At that point I will either drop some campden tablets to kill the yeasts and backsweeten as needed or just saw what nature does when allowed to run its own course. I guess part of the joy of this hobby for a newless clueby like me is to experiment and see what happens. My friends all think I have gone crazy with my newest hobby, but I will show them, yes, I will show them. (If you could see me right now I am cackling evily as I hunch over my keyboard).

    My final question, and then I will shut up, is what kind of flavor changes can I expect as this mead ages? Right now the only word I could use to describe this mead is harsh and yeasty with a nice level of sweetness. I know that is far from a scientific or objective description, but a general rundown of what will happen in the aging process will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for the help.

  6. Default Re: Question on ageing first batch of mead

    How are you planning on carbonating?

  7. Default Re: Question on ageing first batch of mead

    I was thinking about carbonating half of the batch and leaving the other half still. However, I am really afraid of bottle bombs and not sure what to do to prime the bottles, but I think I will cross that bridge when I get there. I realize that campden tablets will remove the ability to make the mead sparking, so I probably should not use them if I want a sparkling mead.

  8. Default Re: Question on ageing first batch of mead

    I've also heard that priming anything other than dry meads can be a problem, but hopefully you will recieve suggestions from someone with some experience on the subject.

    I'm going to get Cooper's Carbonation Drops to prime each bottle individually. (Thanks again Homebrew!)

  9. #9

    Default Re: Question on ageing first batch of mead

    Nate,

    Blueberry is actually one of those fruits that can be hard to capture without careful planning. If it's a fresh blueberry flavor you're after, then you may be disappointed, I'm sorry to say. If it's a subtle, complex (for the discerning palate) fermented fruit flavor you're after, then you may well be on your way. Then again, the addition of the blueberry/pom juice has changed things completely, so what you'll end up with is really a mystery. Sorry, no real help here, just idle chatter!

    Please keep us updated!

    -David

  10. Default Re: Question on ageing first batch of mead

    Quote Originally Posted by lostnbronx
    Nate,

    Blueberry is actually one of those fruits that can be hard to capture without careful planning. If it's a fresh blueberry flavor you're after, then you may be disappointed, I'm sorry to say.
    That's what has happened to my lemon tea mel. I don't know if it is the lemons or one of the ingredients in the herbal tea, but it is drastically different than what I started out with. It is starting to clear (I was surprised, this is really quick. I can see my hand through all parts of the jug.) so I'm going to throw in a sliced lemon and hope to get some integration between the fermented flavor and the fresh flavor.

  11. Default Re: Question on ageing first batch of mead

    Oskaar:

    In your earlier post you stressed the importance of sufficient nutrients during fermentation to prevent the yeast from producing off flavors. I have to date used the recommended amount of nutrients according to the package of yeast nutrient my LHBS sold me.

    My question this time around is whether I should add some raisins during this secondary fermentation to add extra nutrients and tannins? I have read some posts on here about adding raisins in the primary, but could not find anything about adding raisins in secondary. Any advise or comments would be appreciated.

    Nate

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Question on ageing first batch of mead

    I'd stay away from the raisins. You'll take the mead in another direction again and you're already all over the map with blueberries, pomegranates and apples. Raisins add more of a vinous flavor, which is great in some recipes but not so great in others. I don't see that it will help in this recipe.

    I'd stick with nutrient (Fermaid K) at a rate of 1 gram per gallon. Watch the gravity and when it gets to about 1.020 - 1.025 you can start thinking about separating the batch and starting your carbonation efforts. Personally I'd wait until it's about 1.020 and go from there.

    Hope that helps,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  13. Default Re: Question on ageing first batch of mead

    Oskaar:

    Thanks man, you are the best. Plan on buying a wine thief and a hydrometer this weekend (I will be in heaven if I can find one of those combo wine thief/hydrometer at my LHBS) and I will post my numbers just as soon as I can.

    Thanks for all the help.

    Nate

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Question on ageing first batch of mead

    There have been some comments on the plastic wine thief that doubles as a cylinder for your hydrometer. The hydrometer tends to stick to the side in some cases. I use a large plastic cylinder for my narrow band finishing hydrometer, and a larger glass 150 ml glass graduated cylinder for my general brix and specific gravity hydrometers. I like glass the best.

    Another thought. If you're near a Smart and Final store you might consider getting one of their 3lb bags of frozen blueberries. Thaw them out and mash them up good. Feed them into your secondary vessel with a sanitized funnel, and then rack the mead that you will not be priming on top of them. Give them a couple few weeks and rack off them to another vessel. That will give you some extra blueberry flavor, and any excess campden go to maintaining color stabilization, preventing oxidation and ensuring that no infections arise from the newly introduced blueberries.

    Just a thought.

    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  15. Default Re: Question on ageing first batch of mead

    A note on pomegranate mead: it is delicious. My friend made a 2 1 gallon batches of cyser and backsweetened with blueberry juice in one and pomegranate juice in the other. Both were great, both are gone.

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