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Old 03-03-2011, 09:48 PM   #1
YoungBerry
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Default Sweet vinegar?

I started off a three gallon batch of mead (my first) last week. It took about 30 hours to start to show activity (I honestly think the yeast I was using, expired so I got it for free, was dead. A known risk, but it was only a month expired), and it was foaming just fine after it finally got started. But today I noticed that it had a very acid smell to it. I tasted it and it has a very sharp, but sweet, flavor.

Have I been left with three gallons of a very sweet, tasty vinegar?

Awesome if I have, I actually like the taste (though I think it needs a little aging to mellow), but I'm kind of disappointed that it turned out like this. On the other hand, salad dressing for everyone for Christmas!

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Old 03-03-2011, 10:46 PM   #2
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You are smelling the carbonic acid (CO2).
Vinegar tastes like it smells and you wouldn't like it much.

This sounds like a normal, young mead full of CO2.

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Old 03-03-2011, 10:49 PM   #3
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1 week old mead is no reflection on how it will be once finished.

What was the OG?
What honey did you use?
What yeast did you use?
What's the SG?
Did you give it any nutrients, or aerate it?

Mead typically takes months from start until it's ready, or close to ready, for drinking. Higher ABV meads can take a year, or longer, before it's actually good.

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Old 03-03-2011, 11:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
1 week old mead is no reflection on how it will be once finished.

What was the OG?
What honey did you use?
What yeast did you use?
What's the SG?
Did you give it any nutrients, or aerate it?

Mead typically takes months from start until it's ready, or close to ready, for drinking. Higher ABV meads can take a year, or longer, before it's actually good.
I have no clue about the OG, I don't own a sacchrometer/hydrometer (I'm actually reading a lot in a book my grandfather left me when he died, so some of the lingo has changed it seems), so I have no measurements. I just know that it smells very acid, but it tasted sharp but okay (no keeling over dead, at least, and definitely no mold). And just a White Labs sweet mead yeast, nothing fancy (I really didn't want to finish the mead dry). I added about two teaspoons of baker's yeast as well.

I gave it some yeast nutrient and energizer (just standard stuff, about a tablespoon in total of each with no plans for more), and a small jar of rhubarb juice (from my cousin's garden, I had no clue what to do with it, so I just poured it in as well for kicks). It's just regular clover honey (very delicious, I've been using the leftover on biscuits), and I have been aerating it at least three times a day. The airlock is bubbling away happily still (about one bubble a minute, at least), so it's active.

But I'm just a little worried. Vinegar never killed anyone (at least one crazy Caesar drank it with pearls dissolved in it, so...), but I'm a little sad that I might have failed.
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Old 03-03-2011, 11:39 PM   #5
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Without an OG or any other real info, it's virtually impossible to say how it will end up.

I would recommend reading up on actual CURRENT methods of making mead before starting another batch. Got mead's web site is full of great info, and the forums have extremely helpful people on them. I would ask them before starting another batch, once you know what you want to put into it.

I would also say go out and get a hydrometer at the very least. Otherwise, you don't know what your OG is, and won't know when you've hit a FG. Without that, you could bottle and have bottle bombs from all of it.

You added bakers yeast into the must?? Probably not a very good idea... Unless you had boiled it so that it was dead, as nutrient...

I was going to say it's really difficult to mess something up, but...

Best you can do, now, is let it ride in bulk for many months, racking off of the lees when they build up, and see how it is in 6-12 months... Before you start anther batch, get more info on better methods. I hate seeing good honey get abused.

I would also suggest using Lalvin Labs yeast for mead... I've used EC-1118, D47, and recently 71B-1122 with really solid results. Plus, you can get good info on them, such as temperatures to ferment with and what they'll give you in the end result. Fermentation temperature IS important for mead, just as it is for beer.

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Old 03-04-2011, 12:01 AM   #6
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I didn't really see a single bit of difference between the Got Mead? site and my grandfather's book, outside of a lingo change. There's a little difference (the book told me to get a sacchometer too, but at the time I was kind of out of it, so I have to go back to get a secondary anyway), but it's basically all the same. Nutrients and energizers (with notes from grandfather about different fruits and whatnot), teas and acids, ph measurements (grandma was a chemist, so some of her notes are amazingly funny), and how to measure when is a proper time to rack and when to bottle.

Mead making, believe it or not, has been around long enough that forty years really isn't long enough to change anything but a few words.

And the mead is pretty much stuck fermenting at room temp (though it is running itself warm). So next time, before you decide to call someone's attempt at anything a waste of good honey, please at least try to be polite. I mean, seriously? A waste of honey? At the very least I'm going to get some good vinegar out of it, and I do go through vinegar on a regular basis (god I love a good salad, not to mention tempura dipping sauce), so it's not all bad. Just... a lot.

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Old 03-04-2011, 12:21 AM   #7
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First off, I didn't call your batch a waste of honey... I said "I hate seeing good honey get abused." Big enough difference there if you care to think about it.

I do know that making mead has been around for thousands of years. BUT, at least knowing some information really does help when you're ASKING FOR HELP... Not having an OG, or what the SG is, or how much of this or that you added because your flying loose is a bit silly.

Personally I wouldn't put BAKERS yeast in any of my brews, as something that is alive. IF it's been killed, and was added as a nutrient, that's great. Plenty of people do it.

There is enough of a shift from 40 years ago to today in parts of the process. Such as NOT heating the honey at all. Plenty of people are making beyond great mead without applying a single BTU of heat to their honey. Thinking you need to, is an outdated method. Do you think they did that 1000 years ago?

As with most fermenting process, how people do them does change over time. While we probably won't see a radical shift in our lifetime, there can be significant changes during that span. To not even look at such information, or how people are doing things now compared with 40+ years ago is close-minded. More than just terminology changes.

These days, people rely less on time periods (days, hours, etc.) for when to move mead, beer, or other fermentings (on the home level)... Without being able to take a reading of what's going on, who knows where it actually is within the process...

Personally, I'll continue to take periodic readings on my mead batches, tasting from time to time (over the months) and make decisions based on that, plus conventional methods. If you want to follow the 40+ year old book, go right ahead. Chances are, you'll get the info you already have, which is pretty sparse, in response.

I was trying to be helpful. But without at least some info, it's more than a bit difficult. Coming off all on the offensive, is rather offensive to me... SO let your batch ride for several more months, and then decide what to do with it. Thinking that something will be even close to anything good after about a week, isn't all that bright, when it comes to mead... Hell, even beer won't be ready in that short a time frame. Again, on the home brewing level, without ultra tight temperature controls and such. Since you're letting it sit at room temp, and have no idea what the must is fermenting at (for a temp) you could end up with almost anything. Could be great, could be not even close. Could take a few years before it's drinkable, could take just a few months, could take longer than we're alive...

RDWHAHB

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Old 03-04-2011, 04:02 PM   #8
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Wow, at least I know to ignore your advice from now on. I'd rather take the knowledge from a book, that's actually produced some amazing mead in the past, than from the internet that's produced nothing but some YouTube videos and some badly scripted web sites.

You honestly think that mead making has been revolutionized in the past forty years? Everything you just argued was in the book. Literally. You biatch about the scientific method of observation being new. Wow. Literally, wow.

Mental note: this is not the forum for asking for advice, at all.

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Old 03-04-2011, 04:23 PM   #9
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this is a great forum for asking advice and in my opinion golddiggie was trying hard to be helpful - just because you disagreed with his advice doesn't make it bad advice.

chill and be open to suggestions

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Old 03-04-2011, 05:21 PM   #10
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The acid taste is probably from the rhubarb juice you added, rhubarb is ridiculously acidic.

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