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  1. Default Impact of aging... what can I expect?

    I just racked my first mead to an aging carbuoy. And am wondering what to expect from aging before bottling.

    Recipe to date:
    6 gallons fermentation volume
    8 cups northern spy juice
    4 cups pear juice (variety unknown)
    Sufficient honey to yield 15% alc
    Yeast nutrient
    Malic acid to decrease ph from 3.8 to 3.4. I didnít measure TA.
    Fermented with ec1118.

    Primary allowed to approach completion.
    2lbs of blueberries added in fermentation bag for 4 days.
    Blueberries removed.
    3 lbs black currants added in bag for 10 days.
    Currants removed.
    Fruits were punched down daily. Fermentation during presence of fruit was sloooowww.
    Racked for aging.

    Finis (for now)

    Fermentation has reduced to a crawl. Iíll let it peter out completely and will add sulfite and then wait. Itís dawning on me that I should have taken a gravity reading. Unfortunately, I fell back on my cider experience and instinctively thought it was where it should be. Iím guessing maybe 1 gravity point remains, at best.

    ...I had a few cups remaining after racking. Tasted straight up, it was pleasant. No discernible sweetness remaining. Gorgeous color and a nose with really nice potential. Quite tart, but not offputting. The astringency was solid, bot not overwhelming. The essence of honey was weak, at best. Definitely out of balance as it came out of the fermenter. A pinch of sugar in an ounce or so of the drink brought it together pretty well and allowed the honey to express itself. I have high hopes.

    Iím wondering what to expect as this sits for awhile, prior to bottling. What happens to the relative expressions of acid, tannin, fruit, and honey flavors as a mead matures?

    My plan now is to let this age and clarify for a few months in my basement at ~60 degrees, then reassess, backsweeten, and bottle.

    Thanks!

  2. Default

    Iíll run the risk of making a faux pas on my first post in the forum... giving my post a bump with a self-reply.

    Iíd love to get some information about what happens to mead as it ages. Even just links would be great. Technical/dull-detail-specific info is fine.

    Thanks!

  3. #3

    Default

    Heh, looks like people are on vacation; from my own experience, with time any fruit, honey and spice aromas tend to become more noticeable, and alcohol hotness goes down; you can expect it to smell and feel sweeter, and the fruit tends to taste a bit oxidised.

    I've only ever made traditionals and cysers, all dry / semi-dry, and none survived more than a year (due to excessive tasting): with traditionals, spice / oak / etc. become more noticeable (even the gunpowder tea I use to add tannin tends to show up), and they tend to feel sweeter than they are due to the smell; with cysers, the apple aroma becomes a bit oxidised (similar to the type of French ciders you buy for a lot of money in champagne-style bottles, but without the terrible taste) and the honey smell makes it feel sweeter and slightly caramelised.

  4. Default

    This makes me think that sweetening will be unnecessary before bottling. That’d be great from my perspective.

    If I bottle with residual sugar and a live ferment still inching along, what are folks’ opinions on having light carbonation in a mead? As tasted at racking, I suspect the balance would improve with a little bite from CO2.

    I tasted a bit today as well (and took a gravity reading... 1.008 ). It definitely tastes sweeter, much sweeter. I’m guessing that this is because the cup I set aside in the fridge/tasted dropped clear. The carbuoy has a long way to go to get there, and is still showing VERY SLOW fermentation.

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