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  1. Default Strawberry Mead tastes off...

    Hi guys,

    I brewed a small batch for my first attempt using strawberries. It's been in the 2ndary for quite a while, and I just took a sample, and I'm not happy with it right now. It's quite clear, has a nice slight strawberry aroma, but the flavor is off. I can't even describe it. Maybe medicinal? A bit weak. It doesn't have a strong flavor of any ingredient, the fruit or the honey. Is there a length of time one would recommend conditioning in the secondary for fruit meads? Well, here's the ingredients:

    3 lbs Wildflower Honey
    3 lbs strawberries (frozen, packaged)
    Cote des Blance
    Yeast Nutrient blend

    I did the no-heat method by just adding the honey and water to a 1 gallon fermenter. I fed it with the yeast nutrient a few times during primary fermentation. After two weeks I added the strawberries and split it between two fermenters (due to volume). Nearly two weeks later I racked off the strawberries back into a one-gallon fermenter. It's been in that fermenter for about 3 1/2 months around 62 degrees.

    Is there any saving this mead or explanation of what might have gone wrong?

    Mike

  2. #2

    Default

    Don't give up on it, sometimes it just takes a while for the flavors to come out. Had a Pineapple melomel that I couldn't taste the Pineapple until about 18 months.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    8,385

    Default

    Fermented strawberries don't taste the same as unfermented strawberries, I would almost describe it as phenolic...

    It's definitely a little surprising at the first taste, or at least that's what I found with my batches of strawberry wine AND some commercially made strawberry wine made from straight strawberry juice.

    Is your mead dry or has it still got some sweetness to it? If it's dry maybe backsweetening it a little might make it taste a little better.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  4. Default

    Thanks for your thoughts and advice. What would be your preferred method of backsweetening and amount of that sweetener? Should I just use honey and kill the yeast? Reminder that this is a one gallon batch.

    The mead is pretty dry with little sweetness.

    Do you guys generally prefer the outcome with wine or beer yeasts (or mead yeasts)? I'm wondering if the Cote des Blance was not the best option.

    I also made a cyser that also came out surprisingly dry. I'm thinking of adding a cinnamon stick and some vanilla. I may backsweeten this one too if I am confident in the method.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BostonMike View Post
    Thanks for your thoughts and advice. What would be your preferred method of backsweetening and amount of that sweetener? Should I just use honey and kill the yeast? Reminder that this is a one gallon batch.

    The mead is pretty dry with little sweetness.

    Do you guys generally prefer the outcome with wine or beer yeasts (or mead yeasts)? I'm wondering if the Cote des Blance was not the best option.
    When I backsweeten I'll halt the yeast with Campden tablets and Sorbate per the instructions on the packet. I'll than mix up a little honey and water and add it to my mead a little add a time, gently stir and taste. I'll continue this until i get the sweetness I'm looking for.

    As for the yeast selection, I've had positive results with beer, wine and mead yeast. What I use really depends on what I am making, what ABV I want and if I want the yeast to bring out any aromas that they are known for. For example I just made a Wheat Braggot, and I wanted the Banana esters that some German Wheat yeast strains are known for, I also wanted about 10% ABV so I had to find which yeast would give me the characteristics I wanted to bring out. I know it wasn't the simple cut and dry answer you were looking for.

  6. #6

    Default

    The seeds on the strawberries can give the finished melomel a bit of a tannic punch. If you fermented the whole strawberries, with the seeds, that might account for the off flavor. It's a different taste compared to what you might get from a wine fermented with too many stems and seeds from the grapes.

    --
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    Dan McFeeley

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    (The people's spirit is raised through culture)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Chicago, Land of Corruption
    Posts
    585

    Default

    My last strawberry batch tasted "vitaminy."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Denver Colorado
    Posts
    335

    Default

    simply let it age. Unless it is at least 8 months into aging, I wouldn't really worry about the flavor. It will taste a bit antiseptic as most meads do.

    Matrix

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Matrix4b View Post
    simply let it age. Unless it is at least 8 months into aging, I wouldn't really worry about the flavor. It will taste a bit antiseptic as most meads do.

    Matrix

    Matrix4b is right. You'll need to wait a few more months. I made a strawberry mead too and was disappointed at first and only to find out after 6 months that it turned out well.

    Patience is key.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Quincy Massachusetts
    Posts
    28

    Default

    Really glad to see this thread..... I have 5 gallons of strawberry Pizazz in secondary that I was worried had an off taste as well.... Was concerned that I had messed it up somehow but after reading this it will hopefully be fine....

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