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  1. #1

    Post Dry mead has very little flavor

    Hi,

    I have made a traditional mead using honey from a local beekeeper and I used the Yeast CY17. Which I have fermented to a specific gravity of 1.000 then cold crashed it racked it off the lees then used bentonite to further clear the mead.

    After this, I have noticed the mead has little to no flavor. I suspect it has to do with the mead being fermented dry but I thought it would still have more flavor. I am trying to understand the possible ways I could have lost so much flavor and is the only way I can regain some of the flavors back by back-sweetening the mead with more honey?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Saratoga Springs , NY
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    Hi Corasian - and welcome.
    Dry mead can taste very thin in flavor if the floral source is sorta kind bland and the flavor was all about sweetness. It can also taste thin if the amount of honey you used /gallon was low (and so a low ABV) and often wine and mead does need some back sweetening to bring forward any flavors. The other thing is that too high an alcohol level (and this is ironic perhaps because all the flavor in a traditional wine comes from the honey and the more honey you use /gallon, the more alcoholic is the mead) can mask the flavors because of the heat the alcohol creates in your mouth. One other source of a problem of thin flavor can be your choice of yeast. Yeast is often selected to enhance or mask possible flavors but some yeast I think of as sledge hammers - they neither mask nor enhance anything. They simply blow off all flavors (Champagne yeasts , in my opinion, get the gold star for their sledge-hammer quality but for some reason I cannot grasp novice wine makers seem to pick such yeasts: they are not used to make champagne, they are used when bottling the champagne to give the wine its effervescence so they are used to ferment a drop of added fermentable sugar long after the wine has been made... but hey! to each their own.. )

  3. #3

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    Hello and welcome to the community

    What Bernard said is true. We could help you some if you give us an idea of what you're starting gravity was that way we know what your ABV is. There are a few adjuncts that I typically add along with my yeast and my nutrients when I make traditionals. They're designed to increase Aroma. To give you a rounder and fuller mouthful. And to round off some of those sharp edges of certain types of fermentation.

    With the only starting out it's hard to say how much understanding you have of the entire process. Yeast are like very young children or babies we have to do a few certain things for them to keep them happy. And if they're happy they will make nice Mead. If we neglect some of their requirements then they're not so happy and they will make some off flavors. Some of which you might be dealing with in your flavor profile at this point. So, if you told us your process we could also include some better information to try to help you
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  4. #4

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    I wish I recorded all the details down I didn't think to do it this time and my scale isn't the best as it is only precise to the gram.

    I used about:
    Ingredients
    • 1.4 Kg of honey
    • total volume was 4.5 Liters
    • 5g of Mangrove Jacks CY17 (I think it also goes by the name Vintners Harvest CY17)
    • 6 grams of go-ferm on hydration
    • 1 gram of Fermaid-A at 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours then at the 1/3rd sugar break (Can't remember when this was)

    Procedure
    Rehydrated the yeast by adding it to 100ml warm water.
    then adding the Go-ferm.
    than adding about 100mL must to the solution every 15 minutes till the solution was about 400mL.

    Put the mead into primary fermentation on the 27 April 2019.
    When lees started settling I shook the carboy to get them off the bottom of the carboy every day or two.
    Then took it off the lees 7th June left it for 2 weeks.
    before I finally decided to put in bentonite.
    then shook it twice a day for a week (The turbidity disappeared in about 2 or 3 days).

    I know all this information is kind of vague but I am doing this from memory. I already have a notebook to make notes for future ferments and going to get a more precise scale. Hopefully some of this information may be useful.

    Thank you for your help.

  5. #5

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    as with all things mead, an answer might be "wait a few months": 1.000 won't feel totally dry after a while, and flavours tend to come back with a vengeance, too, even if it tasted like dry white wine in the beginning.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    as with all things mead, an answer might be "wait for a few months": 1.000 won't feel totally dry after a while, and flavors tend to come back with a vengeance, too, even if it tasted like dry white wine in the beginning.
    My experience is that it takes around a years time for bone dry meads to age enough that the honey steps up some. And at bone dry, it's very little. Just a few points will make a difference and it will still taste dry. Especially if you add oak to it. The tannins will make it present dryer than it measures
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  7. #7

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    I wish I remembered to record the details of this mead but it slipped my mind at this point in time but I do already have a notebook for future ferments.

    Ingredents
    • 1.4Kg of Locally Sourced Honey
    • Tap water boiled for 15 minutes
    • 5g Mangrove Jacks CY17
    • 6g of Go-Ferm
    • 4g of Fermaid-A
    • 1/8th a teaspoon of K-meta
    • 1/8th a teaspoon of K-sorbate
    • Bentonite clay (can't remember how much)


    Procedure
    Started on the 27 of April
    1. Boiled Water for 15 minutes then let cool for 15 minutes.
    2. Added 1.4Kg of Honey to Carboy and top up with water to 4.5L.
    3. In a measuring cup added 5g of CY17 Yeast with 6g of Farmaid-A with about 100mL of warm water.
    4. Added 100ml of must to the measuring cup 3 times while trying to maintain the temperature of the solution.
    5. When the solution started foaming I added the contents of the measuring cup to the must.
    6. At 24,48, 72 and the 1/3rd Suger Break(can't remember when this was) added 1g Fermaid-A.
    7. When lees started settling at bottom of the carboy I started shaking the carboy every day or two.
    8. on the 31 May added K-Meta and K-Sorbate
    9. Left in the fridge at 3 deg C for 1 week.
    10. I racked to the secondary.
    11. Left it for 2 weeks then added Bentonite clay.
    12. Shook it twice a day for 1 week (the must seemed to have cleared in 2 or 3 days).
    13. Let it settle for a week then racked it again.


    Sorry, these details are quite vague I am doing this from memory. I hope I have added any useful information.

    Thank you for your help.

  8. #8

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    it might be my hydrometer not being accurate, but what I measure as 1.000 ends up feeling somewhat sweeter after a few months; actual bone dry (0.995 or less) seems to take longer to develop, indeed, I didn't have any survive for more than 6-8 months because I tended to make 5l batches for the first year or so (something something storage space)

  9. #9

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    The fractional difference in sweetness is so slight you can't tell the difference from a 1002 FG and a .998.

    But it does take a bit longer for dry meads to get to that place where the honey steps forward.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  10. #10

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    I tried posting what I did In as much detail as possible but it might have to to do with the formatting but it wouldn't post.
    I added about 1.4kg of locally sourced honey probably wildflower (has a little bit of a smokey smell to it) topped that with water up to 4.5L but also probably added 100mL to 200mL when doing the bentonite addition.
    I rehydrated the 5g of CY17 yeast by adding it to 6g of go-ferm and added 100ml must to it every 15 minutes till it started foaming then added it to the must. then I added 1 g of Fermaid-A every 24 hours for 3 days then at the 1.3rd sugar break but I can't remember what the timing was for that.
    when lees started forming I started shaking it every day or two to try to keep the lees to in suspension.

  11. #11

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    Currently thinking I should try to up the gravity to about 1.010 and see what effect adding some French Oak.

  12. #12

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    So if you add more honey before it's been stabilized it will just for men fit dry again and it will be back to 0 only a higher alcohol level. And eventually at some point. In my opinion around 10% for traditional. The alcohol starts to get overpowering and it makes it difficult to create a nice balance with your honey versus your ABV
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  13. #13

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    So I am getting a hint of an alcohol taste in it and it has quite definately been stabilised and cleared. It is clear with a pale yellow colour at this point.

    What I trying to figure out right now is how far can I go and make it still taste dry but taste better than slightly smokey slightly alcoholic water.

    I should also add this is my 3rd attempted at a mead the first was a sweet that I attempted to stop mid fermentation and the second was a sweet mead that I fermented with EC-1118 then realised that was a mistake then tried to backsweeten. Both didn't end well but I still got a few bottles of both. This attempt is for me is to try to learn how to make a decent dry mead as I feel if I can make a dry mead taste alright then that ability will translate to other kinds of mead.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
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    Those remaining bottles - store them. Leave them in the pantry for a year or three. You'll be surprised to see how well they shine after a year or more.

    You mention just a "hint of alcohol". Taking your 1.4kg honey (which is almost exactly 1 liter) plus 4.5 liters of water, you get a total of 5.5 liter batch, plus 200ml for the bentonite and ~100ml for the yeast, you get a total of 5.8l. Plugging that into the GotMead calculator gives me an orginal gravity of around 1.05, with an ABV at dry fermentation of around 7% ABV. That's not a lot, and I do suspect that's why your mead might have a little light flavour. I prefer mine slightly stronger, around 10% ABV. You then have enough honey added to your must at the start to boost a bit of flavour. But maybe that's just me?

  15. #15

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    I topped it up to 4.5L so it would have been 1L honey with 3.5L of water + 300 mL from other stuff so about 4.8L.
    So it should be about 11.6% ABV.

  16. #16
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    Ah ok. Disregard me then

  17. #17
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    Corasian, The secret to backsweetening is to bench test. That is you take known and fixed sample quantities of the mead and to those samples you add known and fixed amounts of syrup (honey dissolved in water) at a known and fixed concentration of the honey to water ratio. You may need to repeat this experiment several times until you find the best volume of this syrup and you then multiply that volume by the number of samples that make up your total volume and add that volume of sweetener to your batch. The reason why you really need to bench test to determine the best amount of sweetness to add is because that amount will depend on several factors including the acidity of the mead, the ABV, the amount of tannins in the mead and the perceived dryness and viscosity of the mead and of course, your own preferences.

  18. #18

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    I have an entire piece written on how to do bench trials if you look for it in the search
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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