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Old 11-20-2013, 03:45 AM   #1
tacks
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Default My first mead done the right way

I made my second batch of mead on Sunday and wanted to get a little feedback since beer is my primary brewing experience. My first batch of mead took about 4 months to brew and has been in bottles for probably another 3. It is hot, abrasive, and the lemon flavor I hoped for was pretty awful. First story: my first mead was 5 gal, had 12 lbs honey and 5 cans of lemonade concentrate and fermented with red star premiere cuvee. It ended around 13% and turned out awful because I didn't do my homework and I had never made mead, I didn't know about degassing, nutrient, etc. This time I put 17# honey and a half pound of corn sugar, and it ended up being 5.5 gal. I degassed tonight and I don't understand how everyone else leaves so little headspace. I didn't want to hijack SebastianS thread about headspace, but when I degassed today (i probably have twice his headspace), I lost one or two cups of mead and I was careful when degassing to go slow. I'm probably going to introduce fruit to half of it in a few months, but want to make sure I do things the right way until I do. Is there anything I can do other than age to improve my first batch? Suggestions on what I can do to make sure batch #2 turns out good?

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Old 11-20-2013, 05:47 AM   #2
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Does lemonade concentrate even have real lemon in it? One thing that comes to mind is adding lemon zest to secondary or even adding some lemon itself. I guess the big thing to keep in mind is that sometimes taste can change drastically after something ferments.

How do you lose a cup of mead from degassing? Are you fermenting in a carboy? Best option for primary is in a food grade bucket. Then age in carboy. What i generally do is make an extra gallon initially, so when I lose volume from racking I can top off using same stuff.

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Old 11-20-2013, 11:35 AM   #3
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I am fermenting in a carboy since all my other fermenters are full. I think there was real lemon in the concentrate, I was following the outline of a recipe I found in the recipe forum, I just didn't check the label and there were sorbates so I had to keep repitching until fermentation was complete. I have more mead from this batch sitting in growers since there wasn't enough room in the carboy, and I can top off with that after racking.

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Old 11-20-2013, 07:54 PM   #4
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3 months aging you say? Well that is definitely not enough. I would recomend tasting it after 9 months. And then a year. Many beer makers think that Mead doesn't need to age that much. Flatly not true. My first mead was just a strait honey mead with alfalfa honey. When I first tasted it as I bottled it, I was scared I did something wrong. It tasted so astringent and strongly of alcohol, what is known as tasting "hot". But after about 8 months of aging in the bottle, it sweetened back up and tasted oh so good. After a year it was heaven. And at the 4 year mark it was liquid silk.

Aging Matters. By the sounds of it from your story, you are still brewing it so no real aging has happend. Degasing and stiring it is still the normal process. Head space, I wouldn't worry so much about personally. Not much oxydation happens with mead. Basically, where I count the aging process to begin is when it's ready to bottle. It is clear enough to read newsprint through (at least for most batches) and not foggy. I also see no apreciatable sediment after a month from a fresh racking. That is when it's ready to bottle or as some do, bulk age. At that time, you are still 6 months to a year from when your mead is ready to drink.

The only thing that I can think of to make it better other than time at this point is to oak it. Use 1 oz of lightly toasted oak in a hops bag for easy removal. Leave it in for about 3 weeks (for chips, for oak cubes I would go a full month). Also, oaking does tend to make mead drinkable earlier.

Hope it turns out well.

Matrix

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Old 11-21-2013, 02:17 AM   #5
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Thanks, the first batch I will just sit on for another few months then, but my batch that I started just a few days ago is progressing well and has been getting degassed properly. I am pretty well versed on beer brewing but mead is still pretty new to me so it's great I have so many open resources and people to reach out to on these forums.

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