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Old 12-13-2012, 12:33 AM   #1
PurserveranceBrewing
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Default Mediciny mead

Ive been brewing prickly pear mead for a few years now and it's hit and miss to whether the flavor is acceptable. Some come out sour most come out with a foul medicine taste. I just brewed the Obama beer with honey in it and I can taste it subtly in the background. What am I doing wrong with honey in general terms?



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Old 12-13-2012, 03:34 AM   #2
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Medicinal type phenols can come from contaminants, or sometimes from water problems (chlorine)...since this is occuring in both beer and mead, it likely isn't related to any specific technique like mashing, sparging, etc. that would be only affecting beer. I don't think it has anything to do with honey in particular...if it's something in common between the beer and mead, I'd bet it's either the water or something microbiologic...



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Old 12-13-2012, 03:43 AM   #3
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Try using the same recipe in a small batch with bottled water, or buy some water additives and try them in small batches. The additives may be a longer process but in the long run you'll be able to make better booze no matter what the water in you area tastes like.

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Old 12-14-2012, 12:08 AM   #4
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Thanks. I was going to break up my pear harvest this year, I'll try bottled water vs tap. I've also waited longer. Processed my pears in August and froze them to brew during the cold winter months. Is there a favorable temp range for mead? I've got a homemade cellar at 58 right now, and a laundry at 63, and warmer house temps...

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Old 12-14-2012, 07:32 PM   #5
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Low to mid 60's is good; be aware that the actual fermentation temperature can be several degrees warmer than ambient during active primary, so you could probably get it started in the laundry, then move it to the cellar once it's rocking...

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Old 12-14-2012, 07:41 PM   #6
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The "medicinal" flavour could be many things. "Alcohol hot" mellows. Fusels "can" mellow but that can take a very long time if ever.

Some fruit are known to produce medicinal taste, cherry being a good example. If its made with a fair amount of fruit which is entirely or mostly fermented then once made is back sweetened it can taste like cough medicine. It seems that you have to get a fair amount of fruit into secondary so you get more of a fresh fruit sort of taste into it....

So it may be that you just need to use different yeast or more fruit in secondary or something like that.....

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Old 12-15-2012, 01:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PurserveranceBrewing
Thanks. I was going to break up my pear harvest this year, I'll try bottled water vs tap. I've also waited longer. Processed my pears in August and froze them to brew during the cold winter months. Is there a favorable temp range for mead? I've got a homemade cellar at 58 right now, and a laundry at 63, and warmer house temps...
I heard that bottled spring water is best, that's what I used, and my wolf moon has turned out real nice... I couldn't possibly imagine using the top water here in Vegas, it's gross enough by itself!
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Old 12-15-2012, 07:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dendion View Post
I heard that bottled spring water is best, that's what I used, and my wolf moon has turned out real nice... I couldn't possibly imagine using the top water here in Vegas, it's gross enough by itself!
The "tap Vs spring" arguement is also a lot of bollocks.

Tap/Utility water will prove cleaner than any spring/natural/ground water pretty much all the time.

The argument about "nutrients" in water doesn't really hold up either. There is such a low level in "drinkable" waters, as to have limited effect - apart from when you're thinking of "show" meads (because you don't add anything for nutrient values so even the tiniest amount might help).

For a water to be of use (consider, say 1 gallon of distilled or reverse osmosis water, with the normal amount of nutrients i.e. FermaidK, Fermax or similar mixed in....you certainly wouldn't drink it would you), the water would have to have the nutrient value of raw sewage. Which you wouldn't drink.... or the example I've quoted in parenthesis.....

So you would probably be better placed, and presume that all the nutrients should be added via the usual methods i.e. nutrient/energiser/whatever you want to call it/boiled bread yeast/yeast hulls etc etc.

Oh and I've heard that the water in the Vegas area, is some of the hardest (high calcium and other dissolved salts) in the US. Which might explain why I've also read that most people have filters/softening/some type of treatment in their homes for the utility water, in the Vegas area - dunno if I've read correctly though......
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:06 PM   #9
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FB, it's true that most tap water is fine for brewing, especially mead, where you're not needing to worry about mash pH or perception of hop bitterness, etc. However, if the municipal water does have chlorine or chloramines in it, it could cause the off flavor the OP is working on. Trying a batch with an alternative water supply might just supply the answer...if it's still present, they need to look towards other processes, but if it works, they might want to invest in a carbon block filter, etc.

Also, it might be worth the OP calling their water supplier and just asking for a water report...

And yes, you still need to add nutrients in the usual fashion regardless of the water source...

EDIT: it also just occured to me that some honey can have a phenolic taste (I've heard eucalyptus is a particularly strong example). PurserveranceBrewing, have you ever just tried tasting the honey by itself, maybe even diluted out in some water to see if you can get any hints of the flavor you're experiencing? This might be the only reason I can think of where the honey itself could be the source...

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Old 12-15-2012, 05:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbloke
The "tap Vs spring" arguement is also a lot of bollocks.

Tap/Utility water will prove cleaner than any spring/natural/ground water pretty much all the time.

The argument about "nutrients" in water doesn't really hold up either. There is such a low level in "drinkable" waters, as to have limited effect - apart from when you're thinking of "show" meads (because you don't add anything for nutrient values so even the tiniest amount might help).

For a water to be of use (consider, say 1 gallon of distilled or reverse osmosis water, with the normal amount of nutrients i.e. FermaidK, Fermax or similar mixed in....you certainly wouldn't drink it would you), the water would have to have the nutrient value of raw sewage. Which you wouldn't drink.... or the example I've quoted in parenthesis.....

So you would probably be better placed, and presume that all the nutrients should be added via the usual methods i.e. nutrient/energiser/whatever you want to call it/boiled bread yeast/yeast hulls etc etc.

Oh and I've heard that the water in the Vegas area, is some of the hardest (high calcium and other dissolved salts) in the US. Which might explain why I've also read that most people have filters/softening/some type of treatment in their homes for the utility water, in the Vegas area - dunno if I've read correctly though......
I don't have any "filters", but have had filtered tap before.... Still tastes nasty... I'm sure in other areas the tap water is good...


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