Just for the record: time is your friend

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

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pdhirsch

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Just finished a bottle of 6-year-old basic mead, and it was fantastic. This will be no surprise to the veterans here, but I wanted to post in order to maybe help encourage those who are newer...

The recipe and procedure was simple: 3.75 pounds of grocery-store honey and 1.25 gallons of water; K1V yeast rehydrated as per the package instructions; 3 hits of nutrient at pitching, then 24 hours later, then 24 hours after that. OG was 1.096. FG, 15 days later when I bottled it, was 0.998, so ABV was 13%. I racked it once, after 7 days, from a covered kettle to a carboy and a smaller growler-type jug with fermentation traps.

My notes say it tasted hot and was somewhat harsh 2 months after bottling (in 12-oz returnable beer bottles), but it's gotten much, much better with age. It was good after a year, and it just kept getting better after that. Today it's very smooth, sneaky smooth in fact -- you wouldn't guess that it's 13% alcohol. I wish I had more than just one more unopened bottle left :)

I brew two or three small batches each year, in the winter when my basement temperature is in the mid- to low sixties, and I drink two or three bottles each month -- sometimes from older batches and sometimes newer. It takes a while to build a pipeline, but if you stick with this hobby, the payoff after a few years is amazing.
 

SimPilot

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I'm on 35 batches and none of them last for more than 3 years. Good on you.
 

CKuhns

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"I'm on 35 batches and none of them last for more than 3 years. Good on you."

Thats untortunate.

I have some traditional and spiced higher ABV (14 plus) meads that are approacing 10 years and they continue to get better every year. Note Melomels tend to peak at about 3 years, they dont really get any better nor worse beyond that for some reason. Not sure why but thats been my expierience.

Lower ABV or Sessiion meads (8% or so) tend to be consumed pretty quickly. But again with age (months vs years) do get better.
 

bushpilot

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Just finished a bottle of 6-year-old basic mead, and it was fantastic. This will be no surprise to the veterans here, but I wanted to post in order to maybe help encourage those who are newer...

The recipe and procedure was simple: 3.75 pounds of grocery-store honey and 1.25 gallons of water; K1V yeast rehydrated as per the package instructions; 3 hits of nutrient at pitching, then 24 hours later, then 24 hours after that. OG was 1.096. FG, 15 days later when I bottled it, was 0.998, so ABV was 13%. I racked it once, after 7 days, from a covered kettle to a carboy and a smaller growler-type jug with fermentation traps.

My notes say it tasted hot and was somewhat harsh 2 months after bottling (in 12-oz returnable beer bottles), but it's gotten much, much better with age. It was good after a year, and it just kept getting better after that. Today it's very smooth, sneaky smooth in fact -- you wouldn't guess that it's 13% alcohol. I wish I had more than just one more unopened bottle left :)

I brew two or three small batches each year, in the winter when my basement temperature is in the mid- to low sixties, and I drink two or three bottles each month -- sometimes from older batches and sometimes newer. It takes a while to build a pipeline, but if you stick with this hobby, the payoff after a few years is amazing.
I could have written every word of what you wrote above. Your experiences and mine are uncannily similar.

Gonna start this winter's batches right after Christmas. I have a melomel, a sack mead, and a cyser in the planning stage this year.
 

dwhite60

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I've had a few go five years. It turns into a completely different thing with that much time.

I have a peach melomel that's at six years plus.

I had a Joe's Ancient Orange go a bit over three years. It was like Grand Marnier Orange Brandy when I finished the last one.

Homebrew club I was involved in made a Russian Imperial stout once. I had the last bottle of it at 20 years. It was well past its prime. It was awesome up to about fifteen to sixteen. Think it was ~13% ABV.

With mead and strong dark beers time is certainly your friend.
 

MightyMosin

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The 2nd mead I made was just HOT when it was done fermenting and there wasn't much about it that was good. I really shouldn't have made a 16.8% mead for my 2nd attempt.
I tried it off and on for a while before I put it aside and forgot about it for about 1.5 years. I was recently clearing stuff out and bottling when I ran across it and tasted it. It is so much better. Unfortunately it was a small batch and I only had 1.5 Liters of it... now only 750ml left.

If I can resist the urge to kill it, I will keep it for another year or so. Time certainly made a difference.
 
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