View Full Version : Multi-fruit meolmel is too tart

11-10-2007, 07:38 PM
I have a mixed fruit melomel that started 8/15/07, then racked to secondary 9/30/07 and added frozen mixed fruit (9lbs of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries), and today racked off the fruit.
It's very tart with raspberry dominating. I did add some more honey to try and sweeten it, but can I do anything else to counteract the mouth-puckering tartness?
It is still very young, do you guys think it will round out with age?

11-10-2007, 08:03 PM
I'd need to know the original recipe before I could really make a call like that, but some aging is almost never the wrong answer in cases like this. It's still an awfully young mead.

11-10-2007, 09:10 PM
Do you have any way of measuring pH?

11-10-2007, 09:30 PM
The original recipe was:
15 lbs orange blossom honey, 1 tbsp light DME, some Femnaid K (5tsp), 2 packs Red Star Montrachet (8/15/07)

Then on 9/30/07 I racked onto 9lb of Trader Joes' fancy frozen fruit blend (which is therefore about 3 lbs rasbperries, 3 lbs blueberries, and 3 lbs blackberries).

Today I racked off the fruit and added about 4lbs orange blossom honey.

I do have some lab friends who could surely help me measure the pH. Should I just wait a while?

If the pH is too low (what's too low?), should I add calcium carbonate (and how much?).

As you can see, I'm still new to this!!

11-11-2007, 12:09 AM
Starting and current specific gravity would be nice to know in this case, but it sounds like you just need some time here. For information on pH levels and testing the best advice I can give is to use the search tool to find your answers. I haven't dealt much with pH as yet.

You've definitely found the right site to do your research though.

12-28-2007, 08:44 PM
I didn't notice in your post, but this looks like a 5 gallon recipe judging from the honey.

There seems to be several things you may wish to consider before making adjustments. If you want to keep the mead as natural as possible, you might want to balance acidity with honey rather than adding chemicals to balance taste. If you intend to age it a good while, a lower pH is beneficial against bacterial infections. A low pH also makes SO2 additions a bit more effective at the same dosages. "Usually" adding highly acidic fruits to a must brings the pH down.

The simplest thing to do is to add just enough honey to bring the acidity to an acceptable level and then wait a bit. After a bit of aging taste again and if needed add a bit more honey. With time, a bit of the perceived acidity will diminish and the honey will become more apparent.

Low pH, I would consider anything under 3 to be low, means you will notice the acidity on your tongue more since the must's ability to buffer it is low. Increasing the ability to buffer, raising pH, will mean you notice less acidity on your tongue. Changing the pH with buffering compounds means less perceptable acidity.

I guess what I mean with the above crap, I would add honey to balance rather than mess with buffering. My personal preference for these types of berry meads is a slightly tart finish anyway. Raspberry should be a bit tart to me to give the impression of the true fruit character. Making it sweet enough to mask the acidity would diminish the true character of the fruit and make it seem more artificial I guess.

Just the last two cents I have... I'm sure someone will be able to add more helpful info than me on this subject.

12-28-2007, 10:35 PM
I had a mixed berry cyser that was pretty tart at first. A few months of aging and it disappeared faster than you could believe when I took it to a family get together over Christmas.

Time (and maybe a bit more honey) should be all you need to make this a good mead. IMHO...

Of course a bit more blackberry or blueberry could also take out some of the tart raspberry overtones too. ;)

Medsen Fey
12-29-2007, 04:14 PM
Hello Vahan,

It has been a while since you posted on this issue, so I don't know what you finally determined with this batch. One possibility for a fruit mead that is too tart is to consider a malolactic fermentation. I have never done one, and I am clueless about how to conduct it, but if you do a forum search, I know that Oskaar has posted some threads that address malolactic fermentations.

Blending a mead that is too acidic with one that lacks acid may be yet another possibility.

Please fill us in on what you have decided with your batch. I have a mixed berry melomel going now that may wind up with the same issue, and I'm interested to know how yours has progressed.

Happy New Year,

12-29-2007, 05:50 PM
Thanks for all of the advice!

Just to review my 5 gallon recipe (basically inspired by "Mambo in you mouth")

15 lbs orange blossom honey
1 tablespoon light DME
5 teaspoons Fermaid K
Honey was heat pasturized at 160F for about 10 min, cooled, and combined with water to about 5 gallons
aerated well
Added 2 packs (10 grams) Red Start Montrachet yeast rehydrated according to package instructions

Racked to secondary with 9lbs of Trader Joes Frozen fancy fruit blend (contains about equal amounts blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)

This was where I tasted it and it was horribly tart. What I did was to add about 3 lbs of honey to a tertiary and racked off the fruit.

Now since I added the extra honey, I had a bit more mead than 5 gallons, so I put the rest in a growler with airlock (this mead did NOT have the extra honey added).

12/25/07 I tasted both meads (the one in the 5 gallon carboy with the extra honey) AND the mead in the growler without the extra honey.
BOTH tasted quite good! The one in the 5 gallon carboy was a little sweet (which is fine by me).

The mead in the growler which tasted horribly tart on 11/10/07 now tastes very nice! Not too tart, not too sweet.

I guess the moral of the story is that I probably should have been more patient!

My finished product will probably be a bit sweeter that what Mr. Ken Schramm intended in his book, and may lack some of the complexity from the fruit since the honey may be too prominent.

I was concerned b/c my first attempt at mead was Papazian's Barkshack Ginger mead which I used only his recommended 7lb honey and I also added frozen raspberries. I did not backsweeten and the mead was just too dry and tart (frozen rasbperries don't help).

Happy New Year!

12-30-2007, 04:57 AM
You could always send your overly tart mead to me and some of the other sour beer/mead fans at got mead. Just goes to show you one mans trash is another mans treausure. The silver lining is you may have modified this one and produced a original Vahn.

12-30-2007, 08:35 AM
Yup, everybody is different. Most of my friends and family say that my batch of Papazian's Raspberry Barshack Gingermead was their favorite. I barely got a taste before it was all gone and now they are begging me to make more! It was definitely dry and a bit on the tart side from the raspberries, but I thought it was pretty good carbonated.

I tried a version of this recipe too with a lot more fruit, its in the Brewlogs under "Very Berry Mel". It fermented totally dry and tart too so I backsweetened it (maybe too much) and now I'm wondering if maybe I should have let it age and maybe come around on its own. Its still sitting on some oak while I scratch my head over it. :icon_scratch:

12-30-2007, 09:43 AM
Yeah, you know after posting my response last night, I tasted a bottle of the aged dry raspberry Barkshack Mead (aged 2 years) and it was pretty good! Dry, but good (I had carbonated it) I think it would have been better with a little oak...
I tend to prefer sweeter meads, but I'll have to try the "Very Berry Mel"


02-10-2008, 10:05 PM
Just as an update, I just sampled the "mambo in your mouth" variation described below, and it is getting even better. It reminds me of sangria, you can really taste and appreciate the fruit.
I think I'll add some oak at some point.