How long does mead keep for?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

dtow2

Active Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Messages
42
Reaction score
4
Location
Windber
A friend gave me a bunch of bottles that haven't been used since 1998. Most were empty but some had beer, wine, and mead in it. All homebrewed. The beer and wine were no good, but I'm not sure if the mead is any good since I never drank any before. The dates are from 1998 and they are called maple mead. They look nice and clear.
How do you know for sure if it's any good and what signs do you see,smell, and taste if it's bad.
Thanks in advance!
Dave
 

delvorak

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2012
Messages
57
Reaction score
7
Location
Columbus
I think it depends on if the seal is still good. I've heard of meads that were all good after 10 years.. So if the seal on the is good, odds are the mead is good.
 

Beer_me_plz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
Messages
164
Reaction score
16
Location
Shreveport
Do you know how it was kept? Was it exposed to light? Were the bottles upright or on their side? Hot or cold? If it was in a hot garage or attic it's probably no good. Also, if he did a good job keeping o2 exposure low during the making it will make a difference as well. also like the other poster said a good seal makes a huge difference.

I know mead ages well but I'm not sure for how long. Just curious what kind of wine was it? If it was red wine that went south it's probably not a good sign.
 

Draugr

Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
Do you know anything about what's in it?
It may sound like a silly question, but the name "Maple mead" makes me wonder. I have seen stuff labelled as mead that was made from nothing more than maple syrup.
If that is the case, I have no answer for you, as I know very little about maple syrup.

If on the other hand it is proper mead, made from honey and somehow flavoured with maple, there should be no problems. Unless human error is involved.
As a general rule, mead does not have a "best before" date. Technically, mead has a near unlimited shelf life. So much so in fact, that the largest commercial producer of mead in Denmark, clearly states that their products (which has no preservatives or additives) will never spoil. And that says a lot in a country with perhaps the strictest food safety laws in the world.

A general rule of thumb for storage, is to keep it sealed and protected from sunlight.
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
12,172
Reaction score
660
Location
Living free in the 603
As long as they were stored at least semi-properly, the 'mead' should be fine. It really depends on how good a job HE did with making them.

I have a batch of maple mead/wine in process now (started early December 2011). I used grade b syrup (100% no other sugars in it), water, yeast and nutrients. Every time I vent the keg its resting in, it smells divine. I plan on bottling it up after I've moved (in <2 months). It's only 14%, which is why it will be ready fairly soon (might be already but I won't bottle for a while).
 

roadymi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
807
Reaction score
33
Location
Middle of the Mitten
How do you know for sure if it's any good and what signs do you see,smell, and taste if it's bad.
Thanks in advance!
Dave
If it doesn't smell offensive it will be fine to taste, if it tastes ok, it will be fine to drink. If it has survived 14 years of uhknown storage conditions, it should be fantastic.
 

amandabab

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
244
Location
spokane
If it doesn't smell offensive it will be fine to taste, if it tastes ok, it will be fine to drink. If it has survived 14 years of uhknown storage conditions, it should be fantastic.
I wish I had 14 year old mead.
Mine never seems to get past 4 :(
 

Tantalus

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Messages
113
Reaction score
6
Location
Alexandria
I've seen threads about 21 year meads before. Honey is one of the few foods that doesn't spoil, and the high ABV of most meads should discourage bacteria or other infections. Give it a shot, if it tastes bad you can always dump it.
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
12,172
Reaction score
660
Location
Living free in the 603
I wish I had 14 year old mead.
Mine never seems to get past 4 :(
I'm actually planning to squirrel away several bottles from what I made in 2010 to see how they are as the years go by. I'm thinking it will be a good idea to reserve several bottles of each batch made so that I can see how they change over time. I'm planning to use 375ml bottles for this, but might also set aside some 750ml bottles, just in case. ;) :tank:

I have a 21% mead that will be 18-24 months before it goes to bottles (from when it was started). It might need even more time after that for aging. I'm also planning a 25% mead that I'll make once I've moved. Wonder how long that will take before it becomes truly great. :D
 

abarnett

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2011
Messages
155
Reaction score
4
Location
Jenkintown
I made a mead in 1998 when I graduated from college. I still have a couple bottles of it, and I drink one every few years. Stuff was harsh and nasty the first year or two, but now it's really good. Very much like a white wine, obviously with some honey flavor to it.

As others have said: if it was made and stored well, it should be good.
 
OP
D

dtow2

Active Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Messages
42
Reaction score
4
Location
Windber
I'll get some pics up tomorrow. When I pour it in a glass it kind of has a musky smell to it. I'll have to try some more so I can give you all an accurate description of what it taste like.
 
OP
D

dtow2

Active Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Messages
42
Reaction score
4
Location
Windber
I know mead ages well but I'm not sure for how long. Just curious what kind of wine was it? If it was red wine that went south it's probably not a good sign.[/QUOTE]

The wine was a red wine and it bled thrue the cork to the outside. He had one of those covers over the cork so you couldn't see it
 

Illuveatar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2012
Messages
123
Reaction score
8
Location
West Side of
I'm also planning a 25% mead that I'll make once I've moved. Wonder how long that will take before it becomes truly great. :D
What yeast goes to 25% ? or is this going to be a fortified mead ?

Sounds like something that you'll have aging for the next decade or so. good luck !:tank:
 

huesmann

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
Messages
757
Reaction score
29
Location
Kensington
I have a 21% mead that will be 18-24 months before it goes to bottles (from when it was started). It might need even more time after that for aging. I'm also planning a 25% mead that I'll make once I've moved. Wonder how long that will take before it becomes truly great. :D
I assume that was Eau de Vie? How high is that supposed to be able to go?
 

DPBISME

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2012
Messages
1,047
Reaction score
87
Location
Raleigh
I have some that is 4-5 and 6 years old....

The only meads I have ever had go "SOUTH" were some Pyments that I proabably did not add enough Honey to....

My true meads seem more stable and less prone to (bad things happening to)

DPB
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
12,172
Reaction score
660
Location
Living free in the 603
What yeast goes to 25% ? or is this going to be a fortified mead ?

Sounds like something that you'll have aging for the next decade or so. good luck !:tank:
Not fortified at all just going to use WLP099 and add honey as it ferments. Probably start it around 15% potential and add as it burns through the sugars.

The 21% batch was with Eau de Vie. Was active for over three months before it finally finished. I plan to start adding the flavoring elements after my coming move. Its going to be at least a few months going through the additions. Its my mocha madness mkII batch.

The 25% is just going to be a traditional cranked to the max.
 

Beer_me_plz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
Messages
164
Reaction score
16
Location
Shreveport
dtow2 said:
I'll get some pics up tomorrow. When I pour it in a glass it kind of has a musky smell to it. I'll have to try some more so I can give you all an accurate description of what it taste like.
Musky doesn't sound good. If it was sealed using real cork it could impart a wet cardboard or musty basement smell. If its oxidized you may pick-up nuts or cooked fruit smells. plus oxidation will change the color. If it wasn't originally dark brown but it is now it's probably past it prime. I know honey basically last forever and it may even be safe for consumption. But expose any fermented beverage to oxygen and temp extremes for 13 yrs and you probably won't like the results.
 

fatbloke

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Messages
2,696
Reaction score
189
Location
UK - South Coast.
Not fortified at all just going to use WLP099 and add honey as it ferments. Probably start it around 15% potential and add as it burns through the sugars.

The 21% batch was with Eau de Vie. Was active for over three months before it finally finished. I plan to start adding the flavoring elements after my coming move. Its going to be at least a few months going through the additions. Its my mocha madness mkII batch.

The 25% is just going to be a traditional cranked to the max.
I've read about other using the WLP099 yeast (you can't get white labs stuff here - only wyeast, in a few places, as far as I know).

Surprised to learn that they list it as an ale yeast! An English one at that!

And yes, I've seen stuff about a few really "mad as a box of frogs" type brews at silly strengths, but I've never tried them. Certainly not one that is 25% ABV!

Is that yeast liquid or dry ? Cos if it's dry, I can ask a friend to send me some, but if it's liquid, I'd guess it'd get screwed in the shipping!
 

J3conn

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2011
Messages
17
Reaction score
0
Location
Norton
It may be the best thing you've ever tasted! I've heard of 25 year old meads found in basements, but no such luck on my part.
 
OP
D

dtow2

Active Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Messages
42
Reaction score
4
Location
Windber
Here is some pics. I would of tried it today but I just put cream of 3 crops with black cherries on tap and man is it good.

I have two boxes of this mead. Anyone close by windber, pa is welcome to try some. May be willing to ship if that's legal for you guys to try.

image-63896649.jpg


image-3138704294.jpg
 
OP
D

dtow2

Active Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Messages
42
Reaction score
4
Location
Windber
I would of tried it today but I just put cream of three crop with black cherries on tap and man was it goooood

If anyone lives near windber, pa they are welcome to try this mead. I have two boxes of this.

image-2021655093.jpg


image-890337415.jpg
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
12,172
Reaction score
660
Location
Living free in the 603
I've read about other using the WLP099 yeast (you can't get white labs stuff here - only wyeast, in a few places, as far as I know).

Surprised to learn that they list it as an ale yeast! An English one at that!

And yes, I've seen stuff about a few really "mad as a box of frogs" type brews at silly strengths, but I've never tried them. Certainly not one that is 25% ABV!

Is that yeast liquid or dry ? Cos if it's dry, I can ask a friend to send me some, but if it's liquid, I'd guess it'd get screwed in the shipping!
As far as I know, all White Labs yeasts are liquid. This one comes in their standard tubes, in liquid form.

I'll be starting the batch either in September, or October. So it will have several cool months to ferment in. With any luck, I'll land the job up in Bangor, ME I'm going after. If not, then I'll simply locate a place close to where I'm currently located that will work for me to brew at. I also have a in-person/final interview being lined up for the second half of this week for a more local company.

As for the OP's maple mead/wine... Any idea as to how strong it was made? How about which kind of maple syrup was used? If it was grade B, and made to be ~14%, I expect it will still be tasty. Provided the cap didn't leak that is. I can't seem to trust simple caps for home made mead/wine. To me, it doesn't seem right to not use corks.
 

TheWeeb

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
1,122
Reaction score
135
Location
Denver
I wish I had seen this thread a week ago.... was at an annual gathering for my gal's work. Her boss ("Rick") used to brew with Charlie Papazian in Boulder way back in the early 80's. We got to talking about homebrewing and mead-making, great way to break the ice and get to know the dude who was signing her paychecks. Anyway, Rick brought out from his basement a mead he made in 1987! Yea, 25 years old, a short amber bottle capped with a Diet Pepsi press cap, labeled "wild mead 1987." He said he had only four bottles left, and he opens one every year or so to share.

Sweet geebs, this was a wonderful, floral, semi-sweet nectar that had picked up a slight carbonation over the decades. I described it as a long exhale in a field of clover.... The color was clear straw, just beautiful.

Dang, I should have taken pictures!
 

Illuveatar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2012
Messages
123
Reaction score
8
Location
West Side of
Sounds like a once in a lifetime opportunity. I've got a mead going now that I'd like to keep for a couple decades but I'm afraid I'll get thirsty before then.

Does anyone know about laws regarding the shipping of alcohol across state lines ?
 

DGibb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2011
Messages
327
Reaction score
28
Location
Livonia
Sounds like a once in a lifetime opportunity. I've got a mead going now that I'd like to keep for a couple decades but I'm afraid I'll get thirsty before then.

Does anyone know about laws regarding the shipping of alcohol across state lines ?
"Yeast Samples"
 
OP
D

dtow2

Active Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Messages
42
Reaction score
4
Location
Windber
This was made with the recipe from " the joy of Homebrewing wine book" but he said he used maple sap instead of water that was just boiled to pasteurize it. It has a strong liqueur smell and taste. My wife thinks it tastes like licking a dirty sock or like liking a mushroom.

image-2046664889.jpg


image-834653165.jpg


image-605389229.jpg


image-1421004550.jpg


image-2692756770.jpg
 
OP
D

dtow2

Active Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Messages
42
Reaction score
4
Location
Windber
Maple sap is usually only 2% sugar and the rest water. It takes atleast 40 gals of sap to make 1 gal of syrup. Some boil down 55 gal of sap for 1 gal.

When this mead was make he just got it boiling to kill any bacteria.

My father in law sucked that bottle down in nothing flat. He said it was like a good whiskey.
 

Beer_me_plz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
Messages
164
Reaction score
16
Location
Shreveport
Mushroom and dirty sock? Sounds...interesting. But then again some famous sauvignon blancs have been described as having a "cat piss" aroma. What do you think about the taste?
 
OP
D

dtow2

Active Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Messages
42
Reaction score
4
Location
Windber
What does oxidation do to beer or more specifically what does it taste like. I can taste a off flavor but my father in law loves the flavor. This mead had I think oxygen resistant caps, no corks and was left in the basement standing upright in there boxes.
 

MeadWitch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2010
Messages
312
Reaction score
8
Location
Just South of Weird
I have several bottles of 13 year old mead left from my first ever mead. I opened a bottle several years back and it was like drinking liquid gold. So smooth and very tasty. I'll be saving the rest of them for a very special ocassion. I have several cases of 5 to 7 year olds and 5 gals of mead bulk aging for over 2 years now. I need to get those bottled before I start a new batch from a gallon of South American Honey. It is a wildflower honey.
 
Top