View Full Version : Raspberry mead tastes sour

09-01-2012, 12:58 AM
On Friday the 24th I made the following recipe:

12 lbs Wildflower Honey
6 lbs Raspberry Puree
8 C Orange Juice
2 Tbs Black Tea
2 Packets Lalvin 71B

Spring Water to fill to 4.4 Gallons

It was split between two 3 Gallon Better Bottles.

Followed the Staggered Nutrient Guidelines

I fermented in a minifridge. Within 24 hours the temperature was running 12 to 14 degrees above the temperature of the fridge. I kept the fermentation temperature between 66f and 68f the whole time. Throughout the week as fermentation slowed I had to keep turning the temperature of the fridge up a bit to keep it in range.

The adjusted gravity reading on the 24th was 1.110. Today it was .996. If I calculate correctly this is about 15%abv.

I put the samples in the fridge and tasted them a bit later. Right out of the fridge they are so sour as to be almost undrinkable. After warming a bit the sour mellows a lot but there is still a very dry bite to this. I mixed a small amount of honey in the sample and it seemed to help.

If I wanted to make this sweeter what would the best way to go about it? How do I estimate how much honey I would need to bring this up to a semisweet level? Any other advice?

Thank you very much.

09-01-2012, 03:34 AM
It could be that you just need to wait a few weeks and taste again.

09-01-2012, 07:45 AM
New mead tends to taste a bit off, and almost never tastes like what it will eventually become. Before you dump a bunch of sugar in there to combat the sourness, let it age. A lot of sweet, floral, fruity flavors that are absent now will return in time. Obviously the sugar level won't magically go up, but the apparent sweetness often will change.

Give it at least 6 months, since you've got a pretty dry mead, and then decide how much sweeter you want it to be.

09-01-2012, 08:25 AM
There is a very high level of acidity and tannin in that recipe for the amount of honey you used. Once the sugar is removed, eight cups of OJ and the raspberry puree will leave a lot of acid around, and with the finishing gravity you mentioned, there is virtually no sugar left to provide any balance. Two tablespoons of black tea in not an inconsequential amount, either.

I have made dry raspberry meads like this, but they have taken up to 10 years to reach a place where they are as good as I had hoped they would be. It sounds like you may want to consider backsweetening. In a 4.4 gallon batch, each pound of honey that you add will raise the gravity about .009 gravity points. If you want something drinkable in a few months, you should find that 2-3 lbs is what you need to bring back the fruitiness, and balance out all that acidity and tannin. If you are confident that the fermentation s no longer progressing, add the potassium sorbate a day before any honey addition, to insure that your fermentation will not resume.

In the future you may want to leave the acidity and tannin additions until after your fermentation has ended. That will give you a higher degree of control.


09-01-2012, 10:27 AM
Thank you for all the replies.

I was following a recipe that was given to me that I don't have a way of contacting. The sample I had of the recipe was much sweeter. Last night I also apparently confused the abbreviation for Tablespoon and Teaspoon. It was 2 teaspoons of black tea. 10 years is a bit too long for the time frame I would like.

I will wait a week and test it out. I will probably end up back sweetening the mead a little bit. I was hoping to have this ready by May based on what the person had told me but theirs came out much sweeter.

And lesson learned about adding acid/tannin before the fermentation.

Medsen Fey
09-01-2012, 10:31 AM
My approach to backsweetening is to take about 1/2 cup of mead and to add honey to it a little at a time, tasting in between, until it tastes best. Then I take a gravity reading and that gives me a target to aim for when sweetening the batch. I recommend going below that target as you can always add a bit more honey, but if you overshoot, you can't take it back out. Also, the perceived sweetness of a new mead tends to increase a little as it clears and ages.

For stabilizing, you generally need a combination of potassium metabisulfite and potassium sorbate to prevent the yeast from restarting. Your mead should be very close to the ABV tolerance of 71B and might not restart, but I never trust yeast to behave.:)

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

09-01-2012, 02:43 PM
The raspberry melomel I started about 4 months ago is now was starting to taste rather nice when I tasted it a few weeks ago - then I racked and topped up with a honey syrup. Now the honey flavours are there in spite of the acid of the raspberries and it's showing real promise. I plan to leave it for about another year before drinking it - patience!

09-02-2012, 04:33 AM
Raspberries can indeed, be a bit of a bugger.

We've all probably tasted the fruit, and noticed that there's different levels of sweetness and tartness/acidity from fruit to fruit.

It's that very reason, that raspberry flavour, once it's had all the sugars fermented out of it, can be a very weird, dominant flavour.

I find it always needs back sweetening to my taste, and yes I do try to be careful/slow when completing that stage, as it's easy to over do it with honey, so you don't just get a sweet raspberry taste, you end up with a more distinct, raspberry with honey poured over them, type of taste......

Aras Taurė
09-03-2012, 09:29 PM
I've never done this, but I've often thought about making up a less "aggressive" batch of the same mead and blending it in to achieve the level I was looking for in all of the ingredients. But then i would just wait and make something else and time would take care of it.

I've even had traditional mead seem surprisingly tart out of the primary without any fruit or acid addition. Definitely let it bulk age before you adjust anything. The tartness will mellow. Then when you back sweeten you will be closer to what it will taste like as a final product.

09-15-2012, 12:54 AM
Well I transferred it today to get it off the fruit and the lees. It filled a 4 1 gallon containers with minimal head space. At the suggestion of the people on this board I am going to leave it for a while. Maybe sample it again in October to see how much backsweetening is needed. It would be nice to be able to have it at least bottled by the new year but if not I will wait to make sure it is the best it can be.