View Full Version : Can this mead be salvaged?

06-27-2011, 01:23 PM
I'm afraid I am having some trouble with my raspberry JAO as seen here.


Basically, it's way too sweet. 1.046 last I checked. I didn't have a hydrometer when I started this one. My more traditional JAO is about as sweet as well, but the spices mask it and allow it to remain a good drink. This one, though, has no such masking. Is there anything I can do to save this? I would hate to have to dump it.

Medsen Fey
06-27-2011, 01:54 PM
There are a couple of things you can try.

1) Make a batch of dry raspberry (or traditional) mead with similar ABV and blend it. 1 gallon of bone dry mead would probably bring it down to much better level.

2) Try acclimating and pitching a good restart yeast - EC-1118, or Uvferm 43 and seeing if you can get it drop further. Your ABV should allow that.

3) Add more raspberry. The increase in acidity and tannins will help balance the sugar. I'd guesstimate it would probably take another 6-10 pounds of raspberry.

Chevette Girl
06-27-2011, 02:09 PM
Good luck with it... although even if it won't take, I bet it'd be AWESOME over ice cream... :) or fortify it with something strong and have raspberry liqueur... but don't dump it!!

06-27-2011, 03:31 PM
Great ideas, thanks! I really like the idea of making some bone dry raspberry mead and blending them. I don't have enough headspace to add a gallon, but I might fortify some of it and bottle to make raspberry liqueur, clear up room for the dry mead.

If I fortify a gallon, will there be a need to sorbate/sulfite it?

06-27-2011, 03:41 PM
Most likely not, if the yeast already hit their max and you add even more alcohol, then they won't be waking up

06-27-2011, 04:11 PM
Interesting you should mention that, I forgot about this, but after sitting still for weeks, I looked in on it last night and saw a little renewed fermentation. A good amount of bubbles rising from the bentonite lees. It's a pitiful fermentation, though, and I don't expect it to make a big difference.

I found a nearby supplier of 190 proof everclear. Apparently good for making liqueurs? I imagine I will have to experiment to find a good ABV, it seems they range anywhere from 16% to 40%+.

06-27-2011, 06:38 PM
That may be degassing, but after looking at your recipe, the yeast should also keep going. But if you push the ABV of the liquer over 18% you would surely be good to go without any worries.

06-27-2011, 07:34 PM
I don't see how it could suddenly start degassing like this now. It wasn't producing any bubbles for weeks, then it just started up. Very interesting.

Edit: I just took another look at it, it has clouded up significantly since last night, whereas it used to be clear as a bell.

06-27-2011, 08:19 PM
Sounds like it may turn out then, with no need to fortif. Has the gravity reading changed at all?

Chevette Girl
06-27-2011, 08:28 PM
My one and only well and truly stuck wine (1.060 from 1.085) bubbled from the bottom for years, it could be very very slow fermentation... if the SG is changing over the span of a month, you might be able to perk it up again but if you really want to try to get more production, you could try making an acclimated starter with fresh bread yeast so it doesn't go too dry, the absolute worst that happens is you wasted a teaspoon of yeast and have to wait for it to settle out (won't take long if it's not active at all)...

If you make a dry raspberry mel and blend, you will want to stabilize in case the yeast you used for the dry batch still has some steam left. If you add spirits, you probably won't need to as the yeasties are already at their limit, or they would have eaten more!

And I did a pair of show meads in an experiment last year or so, they were continuing to produce CO2 even though they'd dropped clear and been racked off the lees, and the SG was still dropping (slowly) last time I checked.

06-28-2011, 12:42 AM
That's a good idea. I will acclimate some yeast to this mead and see how much further I can go! ...I still might make some raspberry liqueur, though, I just like the sound of that.

Chevette Girl
06-29-2011, 12:09 AM
That's a good idea. I will acclimate some yeast to this mead and see how much further I can go! ...I still might make some raspberry liqueur, though, I just like the sound of that.

I cheated and made raspberry liqueur with fresh raspberries, vodka and sugar... :) you know, I really oughtta get some vanilla ice cream, time to strain the berries out, wouldn't wanna waste them! ;D

06-29-2011, 12:50 AM
Your raspberries still look alright? When I pulled mine out of this one, their appearance and consistency was similar to vomit... Not something I would ever want to eat!

I added a packet of acclimated bread yeast to this mead earlier. It still seemed to be active just before adding to the carboy, but I haven't really noticed any change in the mead yet. Still, that was just several hours ago... I will wait a while longer and see if anything happens.

Chevette Girl
06-29-2011, 11:34 AM
Seems there's a big difference between the condition of fermented fruit and fruit that's been pickled :) Usually what turns me off about the taste of fermented fruit is the lack of sugar, but I added sugar to the berries and vodka (might've been honey, can't remember if it was the blackberries or the raspberries, one got honey, one got sugar).

What volume did your starter end up being? When I go to restart my stalled jalapeno wine I think I'll hydrate the yeast in the bottom of a fermenter and just add must to, doubling the volume it till it's all in... maybe I should go do that today instead of playing computer games :P

06-29-2011, 12:48 PM
I ended up with 12 ounces. 4 ounces of plain water to rehydrate, 15 minutes later, 4 ounces of mead added to that. 15 minutes later, another 4 ounces. Then 15 minted later it went into the carboy. It wouldn't surprise me if I did it wrong.

06-29-2011, 12:58 PM
Your additions were good, but you rushed the process a bit. When you make a starter for the purpose of trying to re-start a stuck fermentation, you should give the yeast plenty of time to acclimate to each mead addition before adding the next bit. Typically for the first couple of additions I'll wait until I see signs of yeast activity before adding the next dose of stuck mead. That can take anywhere from 30 minutes or so at first, to several hours for the final addition prior to pitching. You want to give those yeasties plenty of time to get comfortable with that alcoholic environment before "throwing them into the deep end." ;)

06-29-2011, 02:00 PM
Oh. Oops... Well, either way, I dunno if it's from adding more yeast or not but the amount of bubbing in the must is increasing. I'm gonna take an SG reading this weekend and see if it's moved at all.

07-04-2011, 03:13 AM
The SG remains unchanged. I went ahead and got the stuff to make this recipe again at 1 gallon. Starting SG is 1.088. Should ferment to dryness if nothing goes wrong.

07-05-2011, 10:20 AM
Seems I'm chiming in a bit late here, but might this be a pH issue? The recipe for 3 gallons has:
3 lemons
3lbs raspberries

Which seems like it could be pretty low pH. In this case I would recommend testing with pH strips or a meter, and adding potassium bicarbonate if the pH is prohibitively low (like at or below 3). Maybe someone with more experience with using raspberries and lemons can offer advice, though, I may be off base.

07-05-2011, 03:23 PM
I'm pretty sure I just added too much honey. The batch of "regular" JAO I made at the same time as this turned out to be about as sweet, and the first batch of "regular" JAO I made finished even sweeterat 1.050. I'm pretty sure I just had a starting gravity that was just way too high.

08-08-2011, 02:39 AM
Well, my 3 gallon batch has unexpectedly fermented dry, and my 1 gallon batch expectedly fermented dry. Both are clearing, though the 1 gallon batch is completely clouded again after racking (I managed to keep almost all the sediment out this time!) and blending with Everclear. As it stands, it should be about 25% ABV. I don't know how long I should wait on it, but I figure I will backsweeten and see if it tastes okay by the end of the year. If not, I'll just wait longer. Same goes for the 3 gallon batch. I tasted both (the 1 gallon before adding Everclear) and though they were not good, the older one wasn't as bad as the younger one. It is my hope that they will age into something drinkable sooner or later.

09-06-2011, 05:11 PM
I had a 3gal batch of mead that I had forgotten about (sitting out of site and out of mind) in the primary that I took a notice of recently. It had a FG of 0.090 and was obviously very dry. I wasn't crazy about the taste, yeasty/estery, likely from sitting on the lees for about 1 year. So I couldn't see to throwing it out, or bottling as is and risk a long bottle ageing. So I did a few things to save the batch:

1) Used some bentonite to clarify and see if it would settle any off flavors out with it... it does seem to have helped some (note for future).
2) I bottled half of it with some honey to make a sparkling mead, may add some sweetness and bubbles may improve mouth feel... we'll see, I bottled today in Grolsch bottles.
3) For the other half, I added apx 5lbs of chokecherries that were left over from a chokecherry fruit wine I have on right now. I also added water and another 1.5lbs of sugar to bring SG up to 1.20 and to 3 gal mark. I then added new yeast (I'm too impatient to see if it would restart on its own) I'm excited to see how this turns out... could be a bust, but you never know. I'm a big fan of Chokecherry wine having made it in the past, but this is my first chokecherry melomel and only my second mead.

I'll try to remember to post results.

09-06-2011, 11:27 PM
I figure it's always worth experimenting. I'm still leaving mine alone, I figure a few more months will do it good.

09-08-2011, 08:41 AM
It had a FG of 0.090 and was obviously very dry.
That sounds like "bones bleached in the sun" dry to me!

05-19-2012, 02:36 AM
Reckon I will add a happy ending to this thread even though I updated the main one. I left it at its gravity of 1.003 and just bottled it recently. It's darned good. It's amazing what some aging can do. Still working on a name, but I may call it "The Raspberry Miracle."