View Full Version : making the best of a bad batch?

05-04-2010, 12:39 AM
lets say you aren't happy with a certain batch, or don't want to wait for a mead to age longer than 60 days. toss it? no way! it's not toss-able, just not 'that' wonderful! what i would appreciate would be suggestions of what to blend with the mead to make it more enjoyable!

i am going to try a mead spritzer (lot's of ginger!) for one thing.
i like strawberry and blueberries.
any suggestions on this subject?

many thanks!

05-04-2010, 01:27 AM
Why the 60 day limit? Trust me, the flavor after 60 days is nothing like what it will be after 6 months, which is often nothing like it will be after a year. If you do blend it with other things, be sure to keep at least one bottle around for 6 months or longer to see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised.

05-04-2010, 02:43 AM
thanks for the reply and yes... i understand that, but sometimes you just want to have a drink without going to the store! i do one gallon batches because i experiment alot. i ALWAYS put away 3 out of the 5 bottles i usually get. but with the 2 fresh bottles, i want to blend...and make more palatable for early consumption.

Medsen Fey
05-04-2010, 10:52 AM
If you give us the details of the recipe, perhaps you'll get some better suggestions.

And yes, hardly anything I've ever made was even remotely close to drinkable at 60 days.

05-04-2010, 11:25 AM
I find if it's clear after 60 days (which it seldom is), drinking it right then and there is a good idea. So it might get better, who cares! Its' good now too!

But ... if you are questioning if it's good enough to drink, then aging might really be the best choice.

You asked what to do anyhow so you could enjoy it sooner ... as said above, the kind of mead it is now makes a difference! What are it's characteristics? Sweet, Dry, Hydromel, Sack? Melomel, Methagrin? All of this matters!

If it's a traditional mead with just honey and had good body, but lacks "pizazz", fruit is my first choice. Actually, juice, not whole fruit if you are doing some blending. Blend in the glass even. If it lacks body, and is dry, I will add some fresh honey to the glass to sweeten and give body.

Another good idea is spices. They can be added and left in the bottom of the glass if you like. Mint leaves are an interesting flavor I enjoy, but my wife hates. This is a good time to do some flavors you never would with a whole batch if you just do it glass at a time!

Fresh ginger is strong, and not very mellow. It might need a few weeks to get it to mellow a little. Fruit is better right away than it is a year from now.

05-05-2010, 12:12 AM
it's a simple honey mead, about 2.5 lbs clover. it went completely dry in about 3 weeks but is now about 50 days old in secondary. like i said, i want to blend two bottles now, put the other three away for aging. very alcohol-hot at this point. 14.5 abv. i thought perhaps adding honey or juice would smooth it out a bit.

Medsen Fey
05-05-2010, 09:24 AM
If you add honey or juice, it is likely the yeast will ferment that sugar as well.

Can you please give us the type of yeast used, the starting gravity, and the final gravity? Any other info such as nutrients used, pH, and so forth may also be helpful.

05-05-2010, 10:51 AM
What he said ... if it's that dry that fast, the yeast is likely ready for round 2! You might end up with bottle bombs if you add juice or honey. You can add both at drinking time too. Keep that in mind. It will be more harsh on the stuff you age, but might be safer.

Look up stabilizing and back sweetning to find out how to keep the yeast from taking off again.

Angelic Alchemist
05-05-2010, 01:11 PM
If the hot taste never resolves, you can always use it in marinades and sauces. As mentioned before, age can fix many flaws. And, as mentioned before, details like yeast type, OG/FG and fermentation temp will help troubleshoot your mead.

05-06-2010, 01:51 AM
og: 1.113
fg: 1.002
nutrients: one teaspoon generic nutrient.
ferm temps: 66-68 deg.
lalvin ec-1118 yeast.
ph: unknown.

it was so dry after 3 weeks and still fermenting that i chemically stopped the fermentation. (k-meta / k-sorbate)

not worried about bottle bombs as it will be consumed very soon at a party. as i said, 2 bottles i'd like to blend to make more palatable/less hot tasting. the remainder of the mead will be left alone to age. weekend party is near.

05-06-2010, 02:00 AM
And yes, hardly anything I've ever made was even remotely close to drinkable at 60 days.

even joe's pyment? mine finished fermenting at only 7 days and ended up 15%. at 30 days i tried a 22 oz. bottle, nice but a bit hot. added a little grape juice to each glass, some club soda to a feww as well...did the trick, killed the hotness. that's not bad for 30 days. of course i realize that the grapes do help smooths things sooner!

Medsen Fey
05-06-2010, 09:21 AM
even joe's pyment? mine finished fermenting at only 7 days and ended up 15%. at 30 days i tried a 22 oz. bottle, nice but a bit hot. added a little grape juice to each glass, some club soda to a few as well...did the trick, killed the hotness. that's not bad for 30 days.

To me, even Joe's pyment and JAO aren't great at 60 days. I don't want to sound like a mead/wine snob, and I don't think that I am, but when I drink something I just want it to taste good. I don't want to have to drown it with club soda and grape juice to cover the alcohol.

With time, that "bit hot" you mention will go away as the alcohol integrates and the mead becomes smooth. New meads almost always have yeast flavors and bitterness that come from the yeast - they may be pithy as well. These flavors fade over time, and as they do, the underlying sweetness of the meads becomes more noticeable. The aromas also tend to dramatically improve.

In 6 months or 1 year (more likely) this batch may not need the grape juice and club soda and will likely taste like a good mead. If you want to drink it sooner, sweetening may help cover some of that harshness of youth, but even then with time, the added sugars integrate into the flavor making it better. There is simply no substitute for aging time if you want you meads to taste really good.

With the batch you describe, if you've treated with sorbate and sulfite, you should be able to add more sugar without restarting the fermentation, but you should keep it under airlock for a few weeks just to make certain that it stays quite.

Angelic Alchemist
05-06-2010, 11:31 AM
If you like capsicumels, I noticed that the burn of the chilis masks the burn of hot/young meads.

05-06-2010, 03:03 PM
So this is a 1 gallon batch!? Hence the "5 bottles". Since you like ginger and strawberries, make a couple of each. I would make a small tea of like 1/2 cup water and ... about 1" of ginger root shredded very fine. Bring to boiling and let it cool while it steeps. Strain and add the liquid to a couple bottles worth of the mead. That might be a bit strong for just 2 bottles. Never made that small of an amount. Not sure how the ginger tea will scale!

Take about 1/4 cup or so of strawberry juice to another two bottles. Strain it some how, maybe a cheese cloth?

The problem will be settling with these. There will be a lot of sediment that will make it through the straining. It wold be best to let it sit fora few weeks to let the pieces fall out.

Blueberries have a nice flavor. I prefer to add them close to drinking time also. This is because I find the flavor just doesn't stick around very long. I have even been known to add blueberry syrup a couple weeks before kegging and serving the whole thing at once. Took first place at our beer clubs brewer of the year contest last fall doing that! Most who entered said I cheated since it was a beer contest, and they didn't think a mead should have been allowed to win. We were doing BJCP styles, so it was fair.

05-12-2010, 11:34 PM
thanks for the tips everyone. as i said, three bottles are going to be aged as is. two bottles HAVE been consumed! for one i added more honey but not enough to make it too sweet! i also added some clove. for 2nd bottle i added some black cherry juice. both came out fine. was like drinking a port wine which i'm well used to.