View Full Version : Dry and bland after 2 1/2 months ... can it be improved?

12-26-2005, 11:50 PM
I have a 6-gallon batch of simple mead that I started about 2 1/2 months ago. It was made with only honey, water, and yeast. I used about 15 lbs of honey, and a champagne yeast. After about 8 weeks of bubbling (in a plastic bucket with a water-filled airlock) it had slowed to less than one blip in 30 seconds. I then racked to a 6-gal carboy over 1/2 gallon of apple flavored vodka. I also wanted to stop the fermentation as I didn't want the alchohol content to get too high so I added 3tsp of potassium sorbate (recommended by a local wine shop). This seems to have stopped the fermentation.

The mead is clearing pretty well, as I can read a piece of paper thru the liquid. However, I tasted the mead and I don't really like what I've done. The alcohol level seems ok (I really wouldn't want it stronger), but it has almost no flavor. There is a *VERY* slight honey and apple taste, but that's it. It doesn't taste bad ... just extremely bland and not very sweet.

Is there something I can do to add more flavor? If I add more honey or fruit, would that start the fermentation again? And if so, will that increase the alcohol content? That's something I'd like to avoid if possible.

I'm sorry I don't have more details on the exact amount of honey I used, nor do I know exactly what yeast it was. I'll certainly pay more attention to those details from now on. I also don't know what the s.g. was at the start (having only recently learned that it's important), but I now have a hydrometer and I'm getting a reading of 1.011.

Thank you in advance for any suggestions on how to improve this batch, if it's even possible.


12-26-2005, 11:52 PM
What about some spices? Vanilla beans?

12-27-2005, 01:37 AM
Well the good news is that you added enought K-sorbate to keep the fermentation from restarting when you backsweeten it. You may consider adding spices as Abejita mentioned below, or you might get some medium toast plus French oak cubes and put 3 oz into the next vessel you'll use when you rack. Check every week after about two weeks to see where the Oak flavor is. When it tastes like it might be too much oak is a good time to rack (generally about 8 - 10 weeks) at that point you can rack onto some spices or whatever else you like. I like adding one component at a time so I can bring it to the level I like and then move forward with bulk aging or other adjustments to the batch as I see fit.

Hope that helps,


12-27-2005, 02:49 AM

As Oskaar suggested, backsweeten by picking a nice honey that you like, and add it until it reaches the right sweetness and honey flavor. Suggestions on this board say to take a measured sample of the Mead, say a cup, then add honey a little bit at a time to that until you reach what you want. You can then multiply the amount of honey you used in the sample to match your batch size. Be careful when adding the honey as you do not want to get oxygen into the Mead. It might help to gently heat the honey to help it mix in better.

I wil lbe doing the same thing to a Ponche Mead I have aging. Way too dry, and little honey flavor.


12-27-2005, 03:17 PM
Thank you for your suggestions.

I like Oskaar's suggestion of using oak cubes first. Once the oak flavor is where I like it, I'll then rack over some spices to give it more flavor.

As for sweetening with more honey, is there any harm in adjusting the sweetness now, and then racking over the oak cubes? Or should I sweeten after the oak flavor is where I want it? And thank you for the tip about adjusting a small amount and then multiplying the amount from there. That seems like a very good approach.

I'll let you know how it progresses.


12-27-2005, 03:32 PM
Dry meads tend to be overpowered by oak faster than sweet meads. So, if you are going to backsweeten, I suggest you do so first. Then lay on the oak.

David Baldwin
12-27-2005, 04:00 PM

At 2 1/2 monts old, your mead has hardly had a chance to come into its own. My very first batch was a real disappointment early on, yet I set it aside - sampled way too often, and finally about 18 months later it is just now becomming what I was hoping for.

You can backsweeten, oak etc to your hearts content, but the real magic will come with time. If you have the space, equipment and patience to bulk age your mead you will find it surprisingly different a year from now than it is today.

Good luck, and keep us posted.


12-27-2005, 07:14 PM
Hey David, that's a good point.

I'd still recommend he backsweeten at this point based on his observations and the amount of honey he used initially in a six gallon batch. Just seems a bit thin for me.



12-28-2005, 11:08 AM
Backsweeten first. Go easy on the honey - the first time I did this, I added way too much honey. I've come to the conclusion that in 5 gallons a cup of honey is about 1% residual sugar, so I think of wines I like then undershoot a bit. If you overshoot, oak will still help, but balancing the acid higher should really improve things - although it will significantly change the character of the final product.

12-28-2005, 01:22 PM
Hey CY,

I'd say to backsweeten and rack onto some oak in the same step. Then you can move forward with the spicing. If you need to add acid, do that just before you bottle. As mentioned above it will definately change the character of your batch and can really alter your efforts with the oak, spice and backsweetening.



David Baldwin
01-24-2006, 05:31 PM
Last night I played with a batch of pyment that is dry and over-oaked.

I decanted a bit into a glass to see how it was progressing, and after almost a year it is still a bit disappointing.

So, I took a fork and twirled it in a jar of honey and then stirred that into my glass of pyment. Wow what a difference! That hit it right on the button.

I'll lightly back-sweeten the rest and leave it to bulk age again to make sure fermentation doesn't kick up again.


01-24-2006, 08:55 PM
Adding the honey was the easy part. Figuring out how many forks your batch is to a cup, that's challenging. ;D

David Baldwin
02-01-2006, 06:39 PM
OK, so it wasn't exactly super scientific... ;D

I did it again but added 2.5 ml of honey per 185 ml bottle. I was very happy with the end result.