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Old 06-02-2010, 04:33 PM   #1
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Default What will higher temps do to my mead?

So when I moved into my current apartment the temp in my closet was staying right around 70. Since spring moved in I've been struggling to keep it at 75 and lately it has been more like 78-80. I know that the yeast I'm using are rated up to 85 so they are bubbling away just fine. My question is how will the higher temps effect the aging of the mead I already have bottled? THe ones I have in secondary are clearifying just fine and so far taste normal, but I guess I'm just worrying a little. I've read a lot not to age at higher temps and have not heard exactly what will happen. (I have a freind that has had his age at around 75 and they turned out great). Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.



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Old 06-02-2010, 06:57 PM   #2
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Aging traditional meads in the upper 70s doesn't seem to be much of a problem, at least in the relatively short term. Most of my stuff is stored at 75F, and at a couple of years, seems to be okay. I suspect that for long aging (decades) proper temperature control is probably important to keep browning and oxidation at bay. Melomels with fruit don't do as well in many cases, and I've had several develop signs of oxidation. I've taken to using higher doses of sulfite to try and prevent this, but the jury is still out on it.

Fermenting at higher temps in an entirely different matter. The temperature tolerance of yeast listed on the package is their survival range, but it does not mean the results of the fermentation across that range of temperature will be equal. In most traditional meads, the results will be better tasting and drinkable sooner if you keep the yeast at the lower end of that range.

In high temperature settings, most yeast will produce increased amounts of fusel alcohols creating unpleasant aromas and the "hot" burning character of paint thinner that will take ages to mellow (if they ever do - I've been waiting 3 years for some). They will produce aromas of sulfur, and/or strong phenolic odors that smell like Band-Aids, medicinal odors, or burnt plastic. There are very few yeast that can produce a decent result at 80F. The only ones I would recommend (based on limited study) are K1V and D21. There may be others that will be okay, but I haven't seen them yet. Some yeast are particularly bad in high temps - Montrachet for example.

So while your yeast are bubbling along without problem, there's a good chance at that temp that they are making paint thinner that you will either toss or have to age for 2+ years.

There are a lot of ways to keep the temp down - a spare fridge, a swamp cooler using evaporative cooling, sitting in a water bath, etc. If you aren't using K1V or D21, you need to think about managing this. Even if you are using those yeast, plan on waiting a full year before the Band-Aid smell clears.



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Old 06-02-2010, 08:46 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info... so If I have cleanly bottled the mead, corked and waxed it, and am storing on its side then it should be "OK" in the bottle. Otherwise, it appears as if I have been lucky so far. I smelled/tasted all the batches and have not notice a sulfur odor/ band-aid smell although they definately have the fusel alcohol character (some more then others). I guess I'll be in for some aging on my current batches then.

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Old 06-02-2010, 11:28 PM   #4
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Strangely enough, the Band-Aid odor seems to become most apparent at about 6 months in my high temp batches. Whatever compounds are responsible must develop over time. With the "good yeast" it fades out in another 3-6 months. With the other strains? Well, I'm still waiting....

Some of this is undoubtedly related to the honey that is used, and there may be some that give better results than the Orange Blossom and Tropical Wildflower that most of my high temp work has been done with.

If you have any high temperature fermentations that have turned out well (within a year or two), I'd love to have the recipe details, with specifics on the honey and yeast. That will grow the database of options for future generations of poor souls relegated to warm weather brewing.

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Old 06-03-2010, 04:28 PM   #5
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I will keep up on what works well. I got lucky last night and the wife let me move the mead to the dining room (avg temp of 70) after she found out that warm weather brewing could prolong the aging by 6-12 months... lol. So, I don't know how accurate my finding may be. The high temps were never constant, it was in the high 70's during the day and in the low 70's during the night so?

As far as honey and yeast goes I usually use Lavin EC-1118 and 71B-1122, and Red Star conte de blanc and pastuer champaign. The honey that I use as a staple is wildflower honey form the west slope of Colorado. I also used desert honey from Arizona for the bochet going now. I let everyone know how it turns out. It is still fermenting so maybe I got lucky now that the temps are down.



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