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Bottling first mead

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phil74501

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I have a basic mead that has been sitting for just over a year. The gravity has been holding steady at .993 since last April. It does have a bit of an alcohol burn to it, but a great honey aftertaste. I don't think the burn is going to go away...after aging for a year it's still there. Is there anything I can do to mask the alcohol burn? If not I'm just going to bottle it as is. Do I need to do anything more than sanitize and bottle? I do have some finings I'm going to put in just for the heck of it.
 

FrodeM

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See section 6.3 in this if you want to get an overview of what you can do to balance it: http://www.bjcp.org/mead/Mead_Study.pdf

I'd recomend that you do small experiments with different taste-components and then scale it up to the full size when you have decided what works best.

Sanitize and bottle is the way to go yeah! From what I read, corks are recomended over beer-bottles with caps.
 

CKuhns

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The burn will likely go away given enough time. Rule of thumb to age is as long as 1 month per percent ABV produced. (But could be longer.) You can follow the guide by the BJCP article as Frode suggests. Or you could make it into a Melomel. Fruit in my experience does smooth it out a bit.
 

jc5066

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My JAOM took about 2 years before it was really good. At a year is was drinkable but still had that alcohol burn.
 
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phil74501

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ABV is about 9.5% I started it in November of 2014. The last time I tasted it was in April of 2015. It does seem to taste better and have less burn.
 

FrodeM

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Out of curiosity, what yeast did you use and at what temperature did you ferment this at?
 
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phil74501

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Red Star champagne yeast at about 70 to 72 degrees.
 

DungMonster

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Bottle or not bottle is purely up to you and a preference of choice. I bulk age mine until bottling, when my current bottles are empty, and dont concern about age after that. I am an old coot and never really got that burn from whiskey like alot do so even 'hot' mead doesn't have a burn to me. In any instance it is all up to you on when to bottle and like others have said if it burns let it ride. It can age out in bottles also but I personally choose to bulk age as to keep flavors more consistent. Most taste and flavor are again personal preference so again these choices are totally up to you and your taste buds.
 

CKuhns

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Red Star champagne yeast at about 70 to 72 degrees.
Red Star champagne yeast has a pretty high alcohol tolerance 15% or so and a fermentation range of 60 to 80 degrees. Fusels are much less likely with fermentation temps nearer 65 or so and Staggered Nutrient addition. (Still will be produced but less prevalent.)

What was the Original Gravity?

Quick and dirty calculation for alcohol OG - 0.993 FG * 131 = ABV

I personally do not care for the "burn" at all. I usually bottle in beer bottles after 6 months or so of bulk age. Then in bottle for as long as it takes checking one each month or so after my rule of thumb age mentioned earlier.

As DM suggests it is totally up to you to bottle or not. But my experience is it will likely age out. Just might take more time.
 
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phil74501

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Red Star champagne yeast has a pretty high alcohol tolerance 15% or so and a fermentation range of 60 to 80 degrees. Fusels are much less likely with fermentation temps nearer 65 or so and Staggered Nutrient addition. (Still will be produced but less prevalent.)

What was the Original Gravity?

Quick and dirty calculation for alcohol OG - 0.993 FG * 131 = ABV

I personally do not care for the "burn" at all. I usually bottle in beer bottles after 6 months or so of bulk age. Then in bottle for as long as it takes checking one each month or so after my rule of thumb age mentioned earlier.

As DM suggests it is totally up to you to bottle or not. But my experience is it will likely age out. Just might take more time.
OG was 1.065. I didn't stagger the nutrients. I know now that was a mistake. It was my first batch so I'm lucky it's drinkable at all.
 

CKuhns

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For a first batch not a bad job at all if "drinkable" in just over a year. Will likely be very good in another 6 - 9 months.

SNA is just another way to help keep the yeast happy and get to something drinkable a bit sooner. In my opinion is a practice that is good to learn and perfect but certainly not required.
 
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phil74501

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Ok. I'll wait until this summer and give it another taste. Should I try to rack it again? I've already racked it three times.
 

CKuhns

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I tend to only rack if > 1/4 to 1/2" lee's or unless i just can't stand it anymore and have to play with it. :p You could clarify and rack but not needed if clear and not dropping any more lee's. Not sure if the Mead does OK on the Red Star Champaigne Lee's or if it imparts some off flavors. I tend not to leave it on the Lee's.

Perhaps others may have experience leaving it on the Lee's and can help with suggestions.
 

Frognostic

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I'm still pretty new to mead-making so my experience is limited.

I tasted my first meads last year (excluding trying the yeasty dregs after racking meads) around the Summertime, having started them in February of the year before that.

I think that they would still benefit from some ageing so I'm not in a hurry to crack them all open.

The ones I did drink, however, I would say were not too harsh.

If I had a complaint I'd say they were a bit thin or flat and that the buckwheat honey one is probably an acquired taste due to the pungent aroma of that particular honey variety.

In February they will be 2 years old.
 
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