Hard mead tastes like pure alcohol

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Gaiusmaximus

Member
Joined
May 28, 2024
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Location
Israel
I am making a very strong mead, about 18% alcohol. It is about 3~4 months old. And currently I rack it every 1.5 months to clarify it.

It tastes like alcohol and yeast, and it is not pleasant at all. Should it taste different? Should it change with age?

The process was a bit of a mess.

* I started with to little water and gradually added more water after fermentation started.
* I did not add enough nutrients I think.
* After primary I added more honey to backsweeten but it restarted fermentation since I only have potasium metabisulfite so I can't stabilise it

Also I use honey mixed and heated in some water, what are the pros, cons and alternatives for this approach?

Thanks in regards
 
Start a new batch in case this doesn’t work. Follow a proven recipe don’t do all those things you did. Also have you tried mead. Do you like it. It can be an acquired taste and is not for everyone.

IMO meads are hard to make good.
Good luck.
 
Start a new batch in case this doesn’t work. Follow a proven recipe don’t do all those things you did. Also have you tried mead. Do you like it. It can be an acquired taste and is not for everyone.

IMO meads are hard to make good.
Good luck.
Thanks. Can I backsweeten it without using potassium sorbate for stability? I tried mead once and it was much sweeter.
 
Just let it sit in an out of the way, cool, dark spot until 2025. Then taste it and see what you think. Don't attempt to stabilize now, you want the remaining yeast to clean up after a tough fermentation.

Mead takes time to mellow and come into its own. That's the case with a standard 12-13%. 18% is massive. Massive gravity, low nutrition, no wonder it tastes green. Seriously, forget about it until 2025.

Do research, make a new batch of 2.5-3lb/gal according to a solid recipe and process.
 
@DBhomebrew has it correct. If you have already racked it off of the gross lees, just let it be and let the rest naturally drop on out to the bottom.

My second mead was a bold 17% that was horrid to taste. I eventually forgot about it and came back to it about 1.5 years after first fermenting and I was rewarded with a tasty dry mead with a ton of honey profile. This is a reason why I rarely make something smaller than 3 gallons; if I need to wait it out, I want enough to enjoy after that long wait. I made plenty of 1 gallon while learning the how and why.

Time doesn't always make a mead better, but when dealing with a very high ABV like this, you really need to give it some time. This is why I recommend for new mead makers to try and target ~10%; you will have mead to enjoy much sooner and patience is thin in most new mead makers.
 
Just let it sit in an out of the way, cool, dark spot until 2025. Then taste it and see what you think. Don't attempt to stabilize now, you want the remaining yeast to clean up after a tough fermentation.

Mead takes time to mellow and come into its own. That's the case with a standard 12-13%. 18% is massive. Massive gravity, low nutrition, no wonder it tastes green. Seriously, forget about it until 2025.

Do research, make a new batch of 2.5-3lb/gal according to a solid recipe and process.
When should I stabilize and can I do it without potassium sorbate? since it is hard to find here
 
Thanks. Can I backsweeten it without using potassium sorbate for stability? I tried mead once and it was much sweeter.
Yes. You can pasteurize your mead to kill the yeast then backsweeten. There is information on pasteurization processes in the cider forum (see sticky at the top of that forum).
 
Yes. You can pasteurize your mead to kill the yeast then backsweeten. There is information on pasteurization processes in the cider forum (see sticky at the top of that forum).
How much does the pasteurization effect the final taste and product?
 
Yes. You can pasteurize your mead to kill the yeast then backsweeten. There is information on pasteurization processes in the cider forum (see sticky at the top of that forum).
The correct order would be first to backsweaten and then to pasteurize.
 
yeah pasteurize for short period like 15 mins at 170. not hotter and not longer. this should kill your yeast but not effect flavor that much.
 
I can see that if doing sparkling, but does it matter for still?
Yes. You might be introducing new micro organisms to the mead with the sugar source that you're using for back sweetening. You'd want to pasteurize the sugar source as well. Best is all together in the closed bottle.
 
On the other hand the higher the alcohol the longer it'll last. Several years ago I had the last bottle of an 18% batch that was still good at 18 years old.
I'm glad to hear that. I still have a box of maxed out mead that I didn't bother to unpack since I've moved back from Britain over five years ago..... It's more than 30 bottles I guess.
 
I opened a 375ml of a 17.5% mead last night. It was made with Mesquite honey and Pineapple... which is a great combo.

It was very tasty when young. It's about 3 years old now and the pineapple in it is almost gone but the honey aroma is so incredible now.

You never know what aging will do, but these high ABV meands usually benefit from it.
 
I have a few bottles of 18% sweet mead aging. It is about 15 months in the bottle right now, and I resisted opening any so far.

I will certainly open one or more this year, probably in the Fall or Winter. The anticipation is killing me.
 
I just finished off a 3 year old bottle of 16.8% meadowfoam mead, age really make that one very enjoyable. It was delicious, but way too hot when it was young.
 
Back
Top