Advice on a Bland Melomel

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MikeDHelgen

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Hello!
After 6 months of waiting, I finally sampled some of my blackberry melomel. At first sight I was chuffed. Deep red-purple colour, rounded strong aroma, crystal clear. However, my excitement died down somewhat after tasting it. It wasn't bad - just kinda bland.

Schramm's Complete Meadmaker noted that if you didn't have enough acid, it would be a bit bland. I used wild blackberries, quite tart, and added a lemon, so don't see how lack of acid could be an issue. There were tannins in the black berries too, but maybe should have added more to the batch?

Any ideas, advice? Also is it possible to add acid later on in the process?

Thanks!


Recipe for 2 liters: (I use two liters for experiments, or if not all ingredients are available for a full batch)

600g Honey (Wildflower)
1kg Wild Blackberries
1 Lemon
1/3 pack White Wine Yeast
1/2 tsp yeast nutrient.
 

TandemTails

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What was the FG of the melomel? I've found that back sweetening helps a lot with flavor.

I stabilize with k-meta and k-sorbate and then add enough honey to bring the SG up to the 1.010-1.020 range.
 

bernardsmith

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Hi Mike - what in fact is the pH of the mead? It perhaps should be about 3.5 What is the TA? (titratable acidity) - that should be perhaps between .6 and .7%. You might find that the TA to be lower than .6 in which case it won't taste as tart as you would like it. If it is sweeter than dry then you may in fact need to balance that sweetness with more acidity. That may mean adding more lemon or more tartaric or malic or acid blend.. For the record, I believe that the dominant acid in blackberries is malic (same as apples).

pH is the strength of the acids in the wine or mead. TA is the amount of acids. - You can have a lot of low strength acids and you can have a little of strong acids. You can have a little of low strength acids and a lot of very strong acids so if you are designing your mead you may want to think about those parameters but if you are tasting the wine your taste buds are a good enough instrument to determine whether you need to add more acidity
 

SkeletorMob

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Hi Mike - what in fact is the pH of the mead? It perhaps should be about 3.5 What is the TA? (titratable acidity) - that should be perhaps between .6 and .7%. You might find that the TA to be lower than .6 in which case it won't taste as tart as you would like it. If it is sweeter than dry then you may in fact need to balance that sweetness with more acidity. That may mean adding more lemon or more tartaric or malic or acid blend.. For the record, I believe that the dominant acid in blackberries is malic (same as apples).

pH is the strength of the acids in the wine or mead. TA is the amount of acids. - You can have a lot of low strength acids and you can have a little of strong acids. You can have a little of low strength acids and a lot of very strong acids so if you are designing your mead you may want to think about those parameters but if you are tasting the wine your taste buds are a good enough instrument to determine whether you need to add more acidity
Awesome explanation!! I was having trouble comprehending the difference between ph and ta! 2 different books couldn't explain it as well as that!:mug:
 

ColeVet67

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you might wanna look into oaking.. adds quite a bit of tannins, flavor, and some mouthfeel... thinks small.. (onlt a few ounces.. and just a few short weeks.. then let it age out a lil more..

deff do your research before attempting.
 

bernardsmith

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you might wanna look into oaking.. adds quite a bit of tannins, flavor, and some mouthfeel... thinks small.. (onlt a few ounces.. and just a few short weeks.. then let it age out a lil more..

deff do your research before attempting.
I agree that you need to do research before attempting BUT one way to do the research is to bench test - and that means simply taking samples of known volumes and adding specific and known quantities of say tannins ; of oak; of sugar; of concentrated juice; of acids etc etc and tasting. For some tests you will need to allow the sample to age (adding oak) but for other tests - increasing sweetness you simply add , dissolve and mix and taste.
 
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MikeDHelgen

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Hi Mike - what in fact is the pH of the mead? It perhaps should be about 3.5 What is the TA? (titratable acidity) - that should be perhaps between .6 and .7%. You might find that the TA to be lower than .6 in which case it won't taste as tart as you would like it. If it is sweeter than dry then you may in fact need to balance that sweetness with more acidity. That may mean adding more lemon or more tartaric or malic or acid blend.. For the record, I believe that the dominant acid in blackberries is malic (same as apples).

pH is the strength of the acids in the wine or mead. TA is the amount of acids. - You can have a lot of low strength acids and you can have a little of strong acids. You can have a little of low strength acids and a lot of very strong acids so if you are designing your mead you may want to think about those parameters but if you are tasting the wine your taste buds are a good enough instrument to determine whether you need to add more acidity
Bernardsmith: You sent me down a rabbithole on this one! I've never measured TA and pH when homebrewing. I'll look into this further and get back to you, need to read up thou. Thanks for the tip!
 
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MikeDHelgen

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you might wanna look into oaking.. adds quite a bit of tannins, flavor, and some mouthfeel... thinks small.. (onlt a few ounces.. and just a few short weeks.. then let it age out a lil more..

deff do your research before attempting.
Hey ColeVet67, I've been looking into this more and more as I want to start applying it to my beers too. Unfortunately, I'm in the UK, so staves and cubes are more expensive/sold out.

I might split the batch and experiment a little - that was the reason for making the batch!

Having you ever tried Eising/Icing your mead to concentrate it down further, like an AppleJack?
 
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MikeDHelgen

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What was the FG of the melomel? I've found that back sweetening helps a lot with flavor.

I stabilize with k-meta and k-sorbate and then add enough honey to bring the SG up to the 1.010-1.020 range.
Solid Advice TandemTails, Thanks! :mug: I've read some people have backsweetened to 1.050-1.060, but that seems a little on the sweet side for me.



Thanks for all the advice guys! I've got a little list of things to get busy with over the weekend, it seems.

1. Figure out the acidity/acid quantity and adjust accordingly.
2. Backsweeten a little following stabilization
3. Split batch (depending on available containers) and age one as is and perhaps try oaking the other batch.
I'll put up some photos!
 

Dr_Floyd

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Since it was only mentioned in passing by another comment if like to throw in my limited experience with adding Tannin Powder. I have a Pyment that tasted very thin(almost watery) upon a recent taste test, not at all what I was looking for. With a little Internet research I decided to try adding Tannin Powder and Toasted American Oak Spirals. Immediately after adding the dissolved Tannin Powder and the Oak Spirals my Pyment completely changed. It had a round mouth feel, the flavors popped and it finally felt like I was making the mead I was hoping for. I personally really dislike back-sweetening. To me, even in small amounts, the sweetness is cloying and doesn't match whatever residual sweetness in the mead. Obviously this is simply an opinion but I'd say look in to tannin powder and oak aging to see if it fits your needs. It totally transformed my batch by giving it a roundness and highlighting flavors that were lost in the lack of mouth feel.
 

ColeVet67

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Hey ColeVet67, I've been looking into this more and more as I want to start applying it to my beers too. Unfortunately, I'm in the UK, so staves and cubes are more expensive/sold out.

I might split the batch and experiment a little - that was the reason for making the batch!

Having you ever tried Eising/Icing your mead to concentrate it down further, like an AppleJack?
no i have not.
 
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