View Full Version : Iron/blood taste in cherry mead - can I fix this?

05-14-2009, 12:14 PM
Two years ago I put up a cherry mead. When I bottled, some went into swing tops and some into corked and waxed wine bottles. (There was only a gallon of it) When I opened the bottles this week they all had the same iron/blood aroma and finish (so I think it's the must and not a bottling error). Can I change or fix this? Never experienced iron in the flavor before - ick.

Original recipe:
3 lbs orange blossom honey
1 qt organic dark cherry juice
Lalvin K1-V1116 yeast
1/2 tsp yeast energizer
small palmful raisins added on day 2

Heated honey and water to 145 degrees F for 22 mins, added cherry juice to must and allowed to cool before pitching.
SG 1.000 but I don't believe that reading - four months later gravity was 1.030.
Bottled after four months - that's when I took the second gravity reading.

I use an enamel pot, and probably a wood handled plastic spatula - only other pot option was a Revere ware soup pot. I've used both for mead many times and never had this particular taste experience before.

A month after brew date I added another pound of honey and racked to secondary.

Does anyone have any ideas about where the flavor came from, and what I can do to compensate?

Thanks all,

05-14-2009, 08:56 PM
I've never noticed this before so I can only pass along the following :

Check water for metallic ions. Reduce water salts. Check equipment condition for rust. Make sure stainless steel equipment is properly passivated. Fully rinse sanitizer. Try using RO water and add salts as needed.

Medsen Fey
05-15-2009, 12:00 PM
Elspeth, I don't recall ever smelling any wine/mead that had an odor like blood. I'm not quite sure what to make of that. Cherries, especially the sweet (dark) ones can cause some "cough syrup" aroma/flavor, but I don't know about blood? Is there any other way you would describe the smell?

Oxidation can increase metallic flavors along with the distinct "nutty" oxidized aromas it creates. Does your mead smell like sherry at all?

If there is iron in excess you can remove iron immediately by adding a pinch of Citric acid to a bottle. You might try that with the next one you open to see if it makes any difference.

If you aren't using spring water, that may be something to consider for future batches.


Medsen Fey
05-15-2009, 01:38 PM
Was the cherry juice canned?

05-27-2009, 04:26 PM
Hm, the off-flavor tastes like iron. I notice it's a regular category in the Mazer Cup judging sheets, but it gives you a check box for what's wrong, not what causes it (not that I entered this in Mazer, I was just interested to notice that.) I am and always have used springwater, since I left the high country of Colorado almost a decade ago. I'll try just a pinch of citric acid and see if it works. Thanks for the suggestion!

05-27-2009, 04:26 PM
Bottled, in glass - organic cherry juice, unsweetened if I recall correctly.

05-27-2009, 06:33 PM
Was the cherry juice reconstituted? Even if it was "all organic," it could still have been concentrated for storage, and then reconstituted with local water from wherever, back to its original strength for sale.

05-27-2009, 07:20 PM
The one thing that stands out for me in the recipe is the raisins. That's where my suspicion might lie.

I really don't know how to get something once it's in there (that isn't what you wanted to hear, but it's honest, at least). You can covers some flaws with sweetness, not that it's the most puritanical approach. Dose up a glass and see if it does it any favors. Another approach might be chocolate, if the cherry character is still basically intact. Or both. Chocolate extract might be the easiest way to go.

05-27-2009, 07:55 PM
I have never had any metalic flavors in a mead before, I have tasted them in beer before though, due to water. The only thing I see in you recipe that could cause that would be the 1/2 tsp of yeast energizer, that seems like a lot in a 1 gallon batch. Too much yeast nutrient can cause harsh, salty, mineral, and metalic like flavors in a mead. Thats my guess, I could be wrong.


09-26-2009, 12:46 PM
I have the same thing going on. But I used about 3lbs fresh black cherries (pitted and cut in half) and I used Monadnock spring water which is local to me and bottled. It is quite noticeable. So it must just be a flavor of cherries...or something we are doing in our process. Do cherries need to be handled differently than other fruits? Mine was put into the primary and pulled out at the first racking.

09-26-2009, 06:58 PM
Black sweet cherries often leave an off flavor that lots of people describe as "medicinal;" it tastes a little like cherry cough syrup. But "metallic" isn't something that I've experienced with cherries before. Primary or secondary shouldn't matter.

Angelic Alchemist
09-28-2009, 06:19 PM
Take it to the next Star Trek convention and say it's Klingon Blood Wine.

09-29-2009, 07:50 PM
That was good. I got a chuckle out of that.;D

11-01-2009, 01:39 PM
The BJCP off-flavor guidelines for mead state that Metallic flavors can be prevented:

"Check water for metallic ions. Reduce water salts. Reduce nutrient additions. Check equipment condition for rust. Make sure stainless steel equipment is properly passivated. Fully rinse sanitizer. Try using reverse osmosis water and add salts as needed."


11-07-2009, 12:52 PM
It is something to do with the cherries though. As I already noted I have the same issue with mine. It has mellowed a bit. It is on the first sip where it really slaps you in the teeth. Then the metallic flavor seems to subside....

11-07-2009, 01:47 PM
After giving this more thought, I think this may be a variant of a somewhat common occurrence; there is a peculiar off-note that occurs in many melomels made with black sweet cherries. Some folks taste it as a somewhat medicinal flavor (think of cherry cough syrup) and in your case you may be perceiving it as slightly metallic. If this is the "sweet cherry syndrome" it should age out with time. But it may take a relatively long time.

Cherry melomels made with tart, baking cherries do not seem to suffer from this problem.