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  1. #1

    Default 11 years and two bad batches of Mead

    Here's my story on two bad batches of Mead I made over 11 years ago that I have given up on. If you have any suggestions or comments please offer you opinion. I am making better Mead today, but still have a lot to learn. I Started making mead in 2004 and just joined GotMead a few days ago. I am a bee keeper so all my honey is from local Missouri wild flowers, never heated and never filtered.

    Over the years and countless meads, I have only lost two batches. It sounds horrible to loose a batch, but I really didn't know what I was doing. During this same time I created some darn good ones too! Both bad batches were using fresh fruit and after aging in bottles for 11 years I am about to pitch them. The first was a fresh peach melomel I made in 2005. Essentially I used 12#'s raw honey, 4 gallons of spring water Red Star Champagne yeast. The FG was 1.010 give or take. That's it, in those days I was not aware of nutrients and all the technology available today. During the same time period I made several sweet or Polish type mead with basically honey, water and yeast. I always aerated with a drill and mixing rod, but at that time never used additional additives or nutrients. My cleanliness is impeccable and when in doubt I have discarded hoses, tubes and buckets for the fear of an infection, so I don't believe I have ever had an infection of sorts. The Peaches I used were picked fresh, peeled and frozen, thawed and added to secondary. I left the Mead in primary for 30+ days without thinking twice. I then added the peaches and transferred the mead and left this concoction for another 30+ days. That's it, during the same time period I made the exact same mead without fruit and today it's one of my better meads. The fresh peach Melomel was a disaster and after 11 years it has not lost the heavy medicine taste and smell. I am not sure if anyone can offer advice, but time has not cured the medicine flavor. What I am really looking for is any correlation between aging with the fruit, or where does the medicine flavor come from?

    The second bad mead was using fresh never frozen Blue Berries. I basically followed the same 12#'s honey, water and Red Star Champagne Yeast. My FG was around 1.010 or so. The Blue Berry looked great! Nice and clean, slight blue color tones, but tasted like grass. I made another Blueberry with a Blueberry extract I found at Fruitfast in Michigan it turned out great with no grassy flavor.

    So I have two meads over 11 years in bottles and one taste like a medicine bottle and the other is grassy? I would sure like to know what causes these off flavors. There's been much written about aging and how giving the mead a few years to settle down, which i 100% agree with, but if 11 years isn't enough what is? Thanks for reading my ramble!

  2. #2


    The medicine taste: could be a lot. Do you remember the exact recipe and process, when you added what, the temperatures, gravity, and so on.

    The grassy taste: the blue berries were not ripe enough. They were full of linoleic acid and the enzymes in the honey split the compound into hexenal aldehydes. The taste will remain indefinitely.
    Sec.: Nefu 1/1 Meth. (2016)

  3. Default

    At this point of time in my odyssey I believe that the medicinal taste that can show up is related to pH and Titrateable acid. It seems that often we aren't balancing sweetness with acidity.

  4. #4


    I've been fortunate to not had to deal with that but from what I have read (and I read tons) I would suspect temps would be the first thing to look at.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Miami Beach, FL


    Before you pitch them, Give a thought to distilling them. That's some mighty tasty shine comes out of honey wine. Like Squatchy says, temperature control is THE most important factor in producing good mead.

  6. #6


    Thanks for the wonderful insight! I suspected my ferment temperature was the issue, but swardnut's info on the blueberries was quite interesting. Is that a rule of thumb to have your fruit very ripe if it's fresh? I have 12 gallons fermenting in a Blickmann fermenter now and my temp is hovering around 70 F. I've made a ton of beer in the conical, but this a first for Mead.

  7. #7


    It's hit or miss with fruit since you obviously can't inspect each and every berry. Especially since inspecting comes down to tasting it. If you eat them all you know whether or not they were ripe. With the emphasis on 'were'. So there's always a risk some unripe go in there. But the concentrations required to get a grassy taste in your mead would mean the entire batch would have been relatively unripe.
    Sec.: Nefu 1/1 Meth. (2016)

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