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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > bitter mead fix
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Old 11-19-2011, 05:00 PM   #1
Sif
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Default bitter mead fix

Good morning!

I am on my first batch of mead. I used wildflower honey 3# honey/1 gallon water and one packets of champagne yeast. I started on 17 September 2011 in a Northern Brewer food grade bucket. Part way through, it stalled so I added another pound of honey and another packet of yeast. It was pretty good, but had a slightly bitter hoppy flavour that confuses me. I have aerated it twice by shifting it from one bucket to another. I am using an airlock filled with vodka. For nearly two days now I have not heard the gurgle of living things. All tools and buckets have been cleaned and sterilsed using the soloution from Norther Brewer for this purpose. I also scrubbed the daylights out of the tools and buckets before use.

My problem: it's not bad, it's just a bit bitter and I was hoping for something sweeter, more honey-like.
1. How do I fix it?
2. And what is the sludge in the bottom? Is that the must I hear of? I thought that was on the top?
3. Can I leave it in the bucket and pull off what I need when I need it?

Thank you for your time.
Peace
Sif

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Old 11-19-2011, 05:48 PM   #2
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Welcome!

Firstly, its only just finished fermenting (or may even still be going very slowely), its no where near ready for drinking yet. the best way to "fix" it is to leave it a lone for at least another 4 months or so.

I'm guessing it's not cleared yet, and the stuff at the bottom is your yeast, it is known as lees at this point. If you have a carboy you want to"rack" (siphon all the liquid above the lees) into the carboy and top up with water to the narrow part.
Then you just want to leave it alone untill it has cleared and rack it again. Once you can read through the carboy and no new lees has formed after a month or so you can bottle it. Then once it has reached about 6 months old you can open up a bottle and see how it tastes, it should have got back much of its flavour by then but will continue to improve for years.

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Old 11-19-2011, 10:29 PM   #3
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i would go get a hydrometer and use that to see what stage its got to. that should tell you if its finished or has stopped for some other reason. especially as you have not mentioned anything about what nutrient you have added.

what yeast did you use? (ie actual brand and name not just "champagne yeast")

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Old 11-20-2011, 03:54 PM   #4
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Did you let it go dry?

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Old 11-20-2011, 08:18 PM   #5
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it was two different brands of yeast: Red Star and the stuff in a gray package.

I pulled some off last night and put it in a clear bottle and I can read through it.

The nutrient I added was honey.

No further bubbling of gas lock

Hydrometer sinks all the way down, no tube shows at all. When I started it was about 1/4 of the glass tube above the mix. I forget the reading.

It is a bit dry.

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Old 11-21-2011, 12:49 AM   #6
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If your hydrometer is sinking entirely there isn't any sugar left in the wine. Thus why it isn't sweet at all.

Honey isn't a nutrient. It only provides sugar for yeast, not any of the other things that are traditionally used as yeast nutrient.

The sludge at the bottom is your lees. It's dead yeast and such. "Must" is the solution that you had when you combined the water and the honey before you put the yeast into it.

Insomniac has most of the rest of the information you'd need to know. You want to minimize air exposure, which is why people bottle instead of just pulling it out of a container.

Another thing to note is that although it'll gain back flavor in 6 months it isn't going to taste sweet, there isn't any sugar in the solution you have to make it sweet. If that was your goal you'll need to research stabilizing.

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Old 11-21-2011, 06:01 AM   #7
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sounds like your have a beer hydrometer.

if its fermented to dry, which i think you would be doing extremely well for it to do so, then the alcohol amount should be around 18% (according to the calcs) which is about the max for a lot of champagne yeasts.

i would be surprised if it didn't taste very hot/fusel. you will need to let it age for a year for it to mellow.

to sweeten you need to rack off as much yeast as possible, sulpite and sorbate to stop the yeast from multiplying. then you can add honey to taste. let it age and clear up. rack and bottle.

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Old 11-21-2011, 02:47 PM   #8
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Actually, the mead calculator says 3lb/gal should go dry at only about 14%.

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Old 11-22-2011, 05:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huesmann View Post
Actually, the mead calculator says 3lb/gal should go dry at only about 14%.
but he added another lb of honey, so its 4lb/gal.
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