View Full Version : What am I tasting for?

06-09-2004, 11:18 AM
I have 3 gallons of odd tasting mead, but I don't know if I overoxidized it or foreign bacteria made contact with the must. I also realize I may be suffering from newbie impatience. :) These batches are about 2 months old.

The problem is, because I have no experience, I can't tell by the taste what is wrong with them.

Can anyone describe what all 3 of these scenarios taste like? So that I have some kind of guide to go by. I do realize, however, that a taste is a hard thing to describe.

06-09-2004, 01:46 PM
Bacteria will produce either a vinegary, acidic, or even putrid/rotting taste. Oxidation classically is described as tasting sherry like. I strongly believe however, that what you are tasting is what is often described as the "Honey gasoline" taste that is very common for such a young mead. If you could describe what you're tasting and maybe give me an idea of the recipe you used i might be able to tell more. 2 months in my opinion is but an infant of a mead....wait 6-10 months, taste it again and see what you think.

06-09-2004, 02:13 PM
Yeah that sounds about right. It does taste a bit like gasoline.

I made 1 gallon of cyser with 3 lbs clover honey, apple juice, and a champagn yeast (18% tolerance) called Premier Cuvee. This one hasn't changed in the 2 months since I started it.

The other two are only a month old or so. I'm just getting paranoid because I tasted them, fully knowing they wouldn't be done, and realized they tasted the same as my first one, though not as strong. With all the things that could go wrong, I was a little worried.

06-09-2004, 05:26 PM
Just a suggestion if you would like mead you don't have to wait months for.....
Use less honey with your apple juice. 2 lbs per gallon should be more than enough, especially since you are using sweet apple juice instead of water. Your alcohol content is very high. I make mine with 2 lbs per gallon and have used Champayne yeast also to get a 12% ABV or thereabouts. I stabilize and add a can of Apple juice concenstrate to sweeten and its drinkable when it clears and most delightful in another month or 2. Something about pushing the high alcohol limit creates that gasoline or listerine taste many describe.
Best of Luck, Joe

06-10-2004, 10:10 AM
Thanks Joe. How to get fast results was going to be my next question. So when people boast about how they can make mead that is drinkable in a month they are just using less honey and a more alcohol tolerant strain of yeast? Interesting...

06-10-2004, 06:47 PM
Well i do recomend a 12% yeast and a sweet finish.
but if you want dry then 2 pounds per gallon and champagne yest should have much less of the gasoline effect. Personally i prefer 2.5 pounds per gallon and k1-v1116 for a sweet finish and little to know gasahol.

06-11-2004, 10:50 AM
Oh ok. I guess you are fond of that yeast arn't you? ;D

So K-1116 won't as much have the gasoline effect? What is a typical, simple recipe you use with it and how long does it take?

06-14-2004, 11:54 PM
Typical recipe for me

2 pounds honey (blackberry, clover, or Orange blossom)
.5 pound Buckweat honey
Fruit (juice) and/or water to a gallon

multiply above by gallon batch size desired

Add fruit pulp in ingredient bag if applicable
k1-v1116 yeast

Bucket primary for two weeks. then transfer to an airlocked carboy when kraussen falls.

So far i have yet to make the same batch twice... with the exception of 3 batches of cyser that have been essentially the same... no water in the cyser. I did use ec-1118 on first cyser, was to dry. also experimented with d-47 in the first few batches. Nothing wrong with either yeast, but they are different.

D-47 is a little more tempramental and needs a bit more coddling... make a starter, add about 1/8 the recomended fermax to the above recipe.

EC-1118 easilly runs out 20%+ ABV and will more frequently yield 20% gasahol :-) Good yeast for doing a dry changagne though, and bottle carbonation... but i like no sediment in my bottles and riddling sounds like a royal pain in the but. YMMV I also like a sweet finish. Sweet Ec-1118 will be 20+% ABV ... and you might still get bottle bombs. Feeding Ec-1118 to go to 22% or so where it is relatively safe to bottle means more gasahol effect and more aging. I may try in a future batch, i have enough carboys and varieties bottled. to let one age for 18 months or so before bottling.

Might also try one of those 25% ABV turbo yeasts just for the heck of it... 50 proof mead... I wonder... Maybe next years Grapefruit batch, possibly the maple batch... hmmmm

06-14-2004, 11:57 PM
oh how long does it take... only mead i drink in less that 6 months now is the cyser posted in the new bee first recipe thread.

hmmm I better get married soon, the way i'm going I'll be over my legal limit to brew if i expand at this rate next year. :o 8) ;D

Was doing ok, but the 55 gallon barrel of cyser this fall is going to put me over 80 gallons for the year.

3 gallons of cyser
6.5 gallons chocholate (still in Bulk)
4 gallons orange (1/4 left in bottles)
6 gallons sack blueberry-cyser (1/2 left in bottles)
3 gallons blueberry (1/3 left in bottles)
3 gallons of peach (my only poor result.. 95% left in bottles)
22 gallons total
2004 - All in bulk
6 gallons Mapple
5 Gallons Grapefruit
6 Gallons Cyser
3 gallons Straight mead (OB w/ buckwheat)
4.5 gallons Blackberry with strawberry, rasberry and Blueberry
29.5 YTD

------------ Planned
6 Gallons Blueberry
3 gallons Blackberry
55 Gallon Barrel of cyser
64 gallons planned

ummm dang 93.5 gallons this year <looks nervously over Shoulder for the ATF> hmm with the un bottled chocolate... that will be 100 gallons in Bulk storage. Do I need a 12 step program for meadmaking?

any Single white meadmakerettes (with excess capacity) out there need a place to stay next year :-*

<looks in mirror and says... when hobby becomes obsession>

If i bottle the Chocalate... i can still squeeze in 3 gallons of pumpkin pie mead, and 3 gallons of chrismass methglin to have next year... hmmm

< starts loading the sanitization tub with bottles>

06-15-2004, 05:03 PM
55 gallon barrel?! You must be the mad scientist of meadmaking! Do you do anything else but start new batches? ;D

Very interesting to hear about your experiences though.

06-15-2004, 05:15 PM
Viking, I'd really like to try a mead from a mad scientist. Interested in some feedback? It sounds like even if you have parties every night you must not have enough friends to help you drink all that!

06-16-2004, 09:12 AM
I cannot take the credit for the 55 gallon barrel idea. I held a local mead tasting event here in nashville tn. We had 4 mead makers and 2 spouses. Each brought 4-6 meads. Best one there was a cyser that was made in a used barrel from the Jack Daniels Distillery. The guy had been making mead for 20 years or so.

My personal Opinion was... Entirely fit for Retail distribution. Anyway, hope to make a batch in parralell with him this fall. get a firm grasp on process and other particulars... and see if the numbers work out for this type of buisness effort on a larger scale. Certainly have plenty of barrels available just down the road.

Slowly trying to line up the hoops so that i can jump through them quickly, hopefully soon.

06-16-2004, 09:18 AM
Trying my meads are a little more difficult. It is a fellony for me to ship out of or into TN. I am considering driving to Chicago, and taking a train to Boulder for the mead fest in Nov. If i work things out, I'll bring some mead with me for a few friends I hope to meet there.

The mad scientist was never more in evidence than when i used apple juice with sorbat.... and naturally had a stuck cyser that refused to restart. Grab 3 gallons of rapidly fermenting almost finished Blueberry .... <small explosion> ... blueberry-cyser was born. (the explosion was blueberry particles that plugged airlock and built up back pressure)