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Old 05-03-2013, 12:08 PM   #1
Gunny2105
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Default Watery Finish - No body to my Mead

Hi all, I'm a beginner mead maker but an experienced beer maker. I just started my second mead batch ever (1gal modified JOAM) but I've got some questions on my first batch.

I made it about 4 years ago, basic recipe with champagne yeast and campden tablets for finishing. It tasted terrible when I bottled it and it tastes a slightly different terrible now. From my logbook I see that I calculated 16% alcohol content and at bottling it tasted like turpentine. From what I know now, I believe I had a few things wrong (leaving it sit on the lees too long in the secondary, lack of nutrients/energizer, etc.). But what gets me is how watery it is. Tasting terrible aside, the turpentine taste is gone (aging I assume), and it does smell terrific... But there's no body to it. After a sip, swallow, it doesn't have the "feel" of wine. More like a bad tasting, weak, vitamin water.

Is there a way to overcome this? I know looking back on something like this without a proper recipe has all sorts of flaws, but is there a common solution for adding body to mead? Raisins/Tannins/Acid? What gives it "legs" in a glass?

I've got more raw honey than I thought imaginable in the last few years, and I'm looking to make more mead. Of course, not one that tastes like a rotten weak vitamin water that smells like honey.

Cheers

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Old 05-03-2013, 01:14 PM   #2
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Glycerine but don't over do it. It does have an inherent sweetness but to much can give a metallic tang to the flavour.

Or you just back sweeten it with honey. Which would mean that the batch would need stabilising first....

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Old 05-03-2013, 01:29 PM   #3
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Body is a lot harder to achieve in mead than beer, because a finished mead is usually much closer to 1.000 gravity than a finished beer. Tannins, Oak, and residual sugar seem to be some of the keys with body in mead.

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Old 05-03-2013, 02:13 PM   #4
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I always throw some strong black tea(tannins) and raisins in to my traditionals. They are very young right now, but have great flavor and body and show a ton of promise. All three of them are dry to almost dry(1.005 - 0.998). I think having a honey with a defined flavor helps also, a very subtle honey can leave a mead tasting flat.

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Old 05-06-2013, 07:28 PM   #5
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Thanks gang, this is good news. Not only because I can fix my problem with relative ease, but that I wasn't far off with limited knowledge. I'll give it yet another go tonight!

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Old 05-07-2013, 02:48 AM   #6
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I'm really glad you posted this, I almost started a thread on it the other day. I have been trying to formulate meads in the 12% range an have found them to be lacking body. My previous meads never went less than 15% and had plenty of body. Can the tannins be added after ferment or do they really need to be done during fermentation? I have one that has been Oaked on meadium toast French oak and the nice mild bacon smoke character is quite pleasant with the very prevalent honey aromas and flavors but its just a tad watery and does not have that mouthfeel of tannins that pull your mouth in just a tad.

To summarize my post,
1. What amount of tannin powder per se would be recommended on a mead with no other natural source of tannin?
2. In regards to glycerin is there a recommended amount there as well?

Thanks!

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Old 05-07-2013, 03:07 AM   #7
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As I already pointed out, glycerine, but equally you can back sweeten with honey or even grape concentrate, both of which can help with body.

Tannins, acid, oak, etc can all contribute to mouth feel.

Pyments and cysers often have less of a problem with this as the fruit elements help too......

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Old 05-07-2013, 05:43 PM   #8
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My apologies, that's not quite what I was asking. I was asking for general guidelines as to the amounts to add per gallon of glycerin and tannins and also if tannins added after fermentation has completed is recommended or not. I'll do some more research and see what I can find out.

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Old 05-07-2013, 06:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atek View Post
My apologies, that's not quite what I was asking. I was asking for general guidelines as to the amounts to add per gallon of glycerin and tannins and also if tannins added after fermentation has completed is recommended or not. I'll do some more research and see what I can find out.
Well if I decide that a batch needs a bit of body I just measure it (the glycerine) in either 1/8th or 1/4 teaspoon increments (I take a small amount of must say 100mls or so and mix the glycerine into that thoroughly then add that back and just stir it in gently before tasting - the most I've added was 3/4 of a teaspoon).

Tannins ? I usually add after ferment as I prefer to see how its going with the base ingredients first. There is liquid tannin available but I just use the powdered grape tannin from the local HBS. I used to just mix up whatever the pack said, then added that but I've had it drop out as a very fluffy sediment that needed me to cold crash the batch to clear and compact so I didn't lose too much at racking. Now I add it in the same amounts as the glycerine too.

You can spend endless amounts of time meddling with a batch trying to tweak it. I just make, rack, back sweeten to about 1.010 then clear it and put it away for at least 12 months. Modifying it gets 2 attempts at improving, or 1 just chuck a half ounce of heavy toast french oak chips (like saw dust really) in, then put it away for another 6 months before tasting and deciding whether to bottle or blend then bottle.....
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