View Full Version : Not what I was expecting!

David Baldwin
09-23-2004, 10:07 AM
I sampled some of my first batch. OK I know it's still green, but it is dropping clear and I just had to try...

It is not at all like I was expecting it to be. I'm not exactly a stanger to mead, but this is very different than I had hoped for.

The flavor is pleasant, however there is very little honey character to it. The mead is sweet - as I expected, and the alcohol content is about 14%.

What I found odd is that the mead has a very surprising apple and pear character to it. It should age out nicely, but it is definately NOT what I was after.

I believe part of the problem lies in the honey I used. It was not raw honey. I'll use raw honey in my next batch. I also suspect that the honey was from various local orchards where you will find apples and pears grown.

In a nutshell, here's what I made:

3 gallon batch.
12 pounds of honey
1 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of molassis
Lalvin K1-V1116

Any suggestions?

09-23-2004, 10:37 AM
Hey David,

Just a couple of quick questions. Did you use tap water or spring water, and how much (2 gal to bring the vol up to three?)?

How long did it sit on top of the yeast in primary?

I've found that when I go past 10 weeks in primary I get some characteristics that I would call apple. Predominantly in the nose and aroma of the mead, but generally not in the flavor as much.

I'm surprised there is any apple flavor in it, but I think your observations about the hive proximity to an apple orchard could be a viable explanation. From my very limited experience with molasses I would have expected more of a vanilla and lightly toasty flavor, along with the vinous flavor from the grapes.

Weird man, very weird. Just out of curiosity, what's the gravity and acids stats?


David Baldwin
09-23-2004, 11:09 AM

It spent one week in the primary before I racked it into the carboy.
Fermentation was very vigorous, but there wasn't much foam, so I put it into the carboy right away.

Yes, I used approximately 2 gallons of water, and later another .5 gallon to top off the carboy.

I'll get back to you this evening on my SG stats. I've kept extensive notes. I haven't kept track of the pH.

Yes, the apple character really surprised me. It's as if I intended to make a cyser. ...which of course I did not...yet anyway...


09-23-2004, 11:16 AM
I very much doubt that you got apple character because of the honey being from an apple orchard. Apples don't have much nectar, and they bloom so early in the season that it is difficult to get any harvestable honey.


Acetaldehyde is a common byproduct of fermentation that smells/tastes like green apple. It should break down with time. You probably just need to let it age.

How old is the mead, and what temp did you ferment at?

David Baldwin
09-23-2004, 12:02 PM

Thanks for the link. That was very helpful

Yes the mead is young - VERY young. It's been about 10 weeks since I pitched the yeast.

I tracked my fermentation temps from 74-80 degrees.

I wouldn't describe the flavor as "green" apple, but I see how that could fit. I may be very surprised a year from now with the changes.


I realized that I forgot to mention the water as you asked.
I used Grand Rapids city tap water - filtered through a 1 micron activated charcoal filter - then boiled to make sure I got all the chlorine out.

09-23-2004, 12:08 PM
Having tasted it at 10 weeks old, you'll be very surprised at the changes as it ages. :)

I don't know what the consensus is, but I think 74-80 degrees is too warm for fermentation too. I shoot for 68-72. The warmer you get, the more nasty fermentation byproducts you get. One of which is acetaldehyde.

BARF - GR city water? I used to think it was good, then I moved to the country and got a well. Come on out, I'll load you up with all the good tasting water you can carry for free. ;D But then, I might be just a little bit biased. ;)

09-23-2004, 01:46 PM
Good information and good link Scott.

I generally agree with the temperature range, but here in So Cal where I live I haven't had a problem with off flavors or by products and I just keep the temperature below 78 degrees F and keep my corney kegs or carboys covered with old towels.

During the summer it's especially hard when the temperatures are high, so I bring my babies inside and bring the A/C down to 75 degrees F.

Works for me.



David Baldwin
09-24-2004, 06:53 AM
I wouldn't have used GR city water without filtering it first - ick

There are wells around here that are MUCH worse than our city water though. Lots of nasties from local farming practices. :(

I now have myself set up to do all my mead in our basement where temps will be much better moderated. I also have humidity control down there.

Thanks for the input. I'll let you know how it ages out.

09-24-2004, 10:49 AM
Just got back from a week vacation and I see you have gotten to the core of the problem. With your 14% alcohol and no aging it sounds normal to me. When the edge comes off the alcohol more of the honey character will come through. I sample many of mine at numerous points and find the change dramatic, mostly for the good. Only the quick meads or melomels with lower alcohol content seem to be really great without aging. The mollasis needs to mellow out a bit also.

09-28-2004, 04:35 PM
In a nutshell, here's what I made:

3 gallon batch.
12 pounds of honey
1 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of molassis
Lalvin K1-V1116

Any suggestions?

Interesting ... molasses is such a strong taste... I'd expect it to dominate the honey ... thought i have no experience with it to know that this is the case post fermentation.

I too keep my fermentation temperatures in the 65-70 range as a matter of personal prefrence... Basement is very good for that. Didn't know green apples was the taste of a fermentation byproduct at higher temperaturs... thanks for the info and link Scott