I need advice, please

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HStrick

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I'm an old woman but new to mead making. I made two batches last year. The first batch, a show mead, tastes sour.
The second batch I tried to make a maple mead. I used a quart of honey, a quart of maple syrup, a handful of black walnuts, a dozen raisins, an orange, and a half packet of wine yeast.
I was hoping for a sweet mead but my mead doesn't taste right. The flavor has three stages
1st note is very bland and watery. 2nd note is pure alcohol. 3rd note has just a faint hint of sweetness.
I'm thinking I may have let it ferment too long? What say you masters?
 

madscientist451

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Welcome to HBT!
My mead was greatly improved when I started using staggered nutrient additions, rehydrating the dried yeast using Go-Ferm and degassing the mead a few times a day during fermentation.
You'll need a small scale that weighs in fractions of a gram, Go-Ferm and Fermaid-O yeast nutrient, available at on line home retailers such as MoreBeer.
Raisins are not a substitution for yeast nutrient.

The Mead made right website has a calculator to help figure how much Go-Ferm and Fermaid-O to use.

If you really want to geek out on mead, The Mead House podcast is a weekly discussion of all kinds of mead topics:
 
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Ty520

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Can you share more info about your process?

In addition to what mad scientist said, my first concern would be how big are your batches? And how long did you age them?

Sounds like it went completely dry for your show mead, and the other could be too young
 
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HStrick

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Thanks for the replies! Mad Scientist, I did use a nutrient that came with my kit. It was a dry powder so maybe I should have e hydrated it first. I will consider your suggestions for the go ferm products. Degassing is stirring with a long stick isn't it? I did not do that.

Ty520Both batches were 1 gallon. Both have aged for a year. Could I be using too much yeast? Could I back sweeten to make them palatable?
 

Ty520

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Too much yeast wouldn't be an issue - it will give up once it reaches its alcohol tolerance, regardless.

For the first batch, im guessing it was not enough sugar to have any residual sweetness. But for the second batch, probably too much sugar - too much sugar can actually inhibit the yeast.

You can back sweeten now, but if you don't stabilize, it could start fermenting again if the yeast hasn't reached it's alcohol tolerance.
 

bernardsmith

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Hi HStrick and welcome. I wonder if the real problem is how dry you have fermented your mead AND how sweet you prefer your wines. Unless you used so much honey (or maple syrup) that the amount of alcohol the yeast could make by fermenting those sugars exceeded the yeast's tolerance for alcohol then the yeast will ferment every last molecule of sugar leaving you with a brut dry wine (or mead). Do you have an hydrometer? Do you know what the specific graity (density) of the wine is today? If it is 1.000 or lower then it is bone dry.
Bone dry drinks are fine if that is what you like but often with honey and country wines (wines made from fruit other than wine grapes) the wine needs to be sweetened to help bring forward the flavors that the alcohol dominates.
Read up about stabilizing your mead if you do not know how that is done. You stabilize a mead (or wine) to prevent any residual yeast treating any sugars you add as theirs to ferment.
With mead I would want to sweeten with honey (or maple syrup if that was a key flavor). You can experiment by bench testing and adding known but different quantities of sugars to known but identical volumes of mead. When you find the "sweet spot" you divide the total volume of your mead by the sample size and multiply the volume (or weight) of the sugars you added to that sample that hit the sweet spot and that tells you hoe much honey or maple syrup or whatever sugar you chose to add to the total volume. Mix gently and enjoy.
 
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HStrick

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Hello, BernardSmith. You're right about my preferring a very sweet mead. I am a Southern lady after all.
OK. So I just opened a bottle I made in August 2019 that I said was sour. Specific Gravity is 1.3 - 1.4. It tastes better than it did last year. It's actually palatable now.
Can't test the 2nd one just now.
 

bernardsmith

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Certainly wines go through all kinds of chemical transformations as they age but a gravity of 1.3- 1.4 is way , way beyond sweet. You likely start with a gravity of about 1.100 (or about 13-14% ABV (could be 1.090 - around 12%) so to finish at 1.3 (1.300 would be how SG is conventionally written) the mead would have enough honey in it to allow you to stick a spoon in and it would remain standing upright. Did you perhaps mean 1.030 or 1.003?
 

Ty520

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Certainly wines go through all kinds of chemical transformations as they age but a gravity of 1.3- 1.4 is way , way beyond sweet. You likely start with a gravity of about 1.100 (or about 13-14% ABV (could be 1.090 - around 12%) so to finish at 1.3 (1.300 would be how SG is conventionally written) the mead would have enough honey in it to allow you to stick a spoon in and it would remain standing upright. Did you perhaps mean 1.030 or 1.003?
looking back at her numbers for the acerglyn, it may actually be possible that it stalled out - 1 quart honey, 1 quart syrup - that would have put her at bout 1.222 OG so something probably went sideways, regardless
 
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marc1

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Hello, BernardSmith. You're right about my preferring a very sweet mead. I am a Southern lady after all.
OK. So I just opened a bottle I made in August 2019 that I said was sour. Specific Gravity is 1.3 - 1.4. It tastes better than it did last year. It's actually palatable now.
Can't test the 2nd one just now.
Are you sure the scale is Specific Gravity and not Brix or Plato? This sounds like a units issue.
 
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HStrick

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I went back and studied my hydrometer a little better. It was 1.030. My bad.
That was for the show mead Ty520. Not the acerglyn. I had to order a vial since I bottled it in flip top bottles instead of wine bottles. My hydrometer doesn't fit down the neck.
 
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HStrick

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Are you sure the scale is Specific Gravity and not Brix or Plato? This sounds like a units issue.
I read the scale wrong. It is Specific Gravity I was looking at but the scale starts with 1.00 then goes in 10 degree increments. I didn't notice the offset. Like I said, I'm old. 😆
 
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