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Lucas Aubergine

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Ok so im fairly new to mead making and i honestly dont have the best set up or the most money. But what i do have is enough for what i personally wanna do.

Now my issue is that im working on my first big batch of mead, a cinnamon apple mead that im hoping will be drinkable this christmas. But when my father tried a little bit tonight upon my request so i could see how the flavors where coming along he stated that it was tart, not very sweet at all, and had no cinnamon flavor. Here's my recipe that i used, it was made by me so i doubt its actually the right way to make such a mead but i like experimentation.

Time started: Sept 28th 2018 at 5:41pm
Water Used: 4 Gallons Approximately
Honey Used: 5lb (Probably need to back sweeten since it was a low amount given the fact that im making 5 Gallons of mead)
Yeast: (Cant remember the name/type but i bought it from my local homebrew and hydroponics store. Its supposed to give around 15%-16% if i remember correctly)
Cinnamon Sticks: 7 Originally (Now 11 after adding 4 more tonight due to lack of flavor)
Whole Cloves: 4 Originally (Now 9 after adding 5 more tonight)

Once Fermentation stopped or slowed to a point where bubbles stopped appearing in the airlock i added 10 SweeTango apples sliced into eighths and that was if memory serves about 3-4 weeks before Halloween. They're all still in there and i have yet to rack my 5 gallons, im planning on doing it soon though but after tonights feedback i didnt want to keep going without help on brewing anymore. It isnt really that much money but i do have a good bit wrapped up in this and i dont want it to go to waste so hopefully you all can help.

Thank you for reading and i hope i can get some good advice from the more professional brewers. P.S. Im not old enough to drink and i personally dont like the idea of drinking which is why i have my father sample it, i just like making things and find this to be a fun hobby.
 

piojo

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I suggest you add more sugars right away, even before you make the other decisions. This will probably restart fermentation, which will make more CO₂ which will give protection during the subsequent steps.

Also, remove the apples if you can. The safe bet is to not leave fruit in mead for more than a week or two, but of course there are exceptions. When you remove an apple, taste it. If the apple taste is gone, it will confirm that adding apple slices is a valid way to get apple essence into the drink. If it tastes foul, take them out after a week next time.

You have too little honey (depending on taste) and much too little apple. Your ten apples are equivalent to how much juice? Two cups? Two cups of apple juice in 5 gallons of drink would contribute little taste. This amount of sugars will probably ferment to 5% (same strength as most beer), which may be what you want, but the apple essence needs to be way stronger (and sweeter). Even pure apple cider will tend to lose apple flavor/aroma when fermented dry. If it's available, I would buy several cans of frozen apple concentrate (not containing preservatives like benzoate or potassium sorbate). Instead of adding more honey, add 4-10 of these cans (very rough estimate). Let them warm up to room temperature first, though. Get your dad to help you taste. If the taste is right at some point, you can call it done. If the taste goes from being "not enough apple" to "to sweet", keep adding the cans, then let it ferment. Taste it every two days, and put it in the fridge when the sweetness is right. Do not let it ferment dry. You can also stop the fermentation by bottling it and heating the bottles to 60-65°C (look up "Pasteurization Units" for more info), or by racking until clear and adding Potassium Sorbate and Potassium Metabisulfite.

The other option is to add apple juice concentrate and/or honey until it is so sweet that the yeast will stop fermenting on their own. That option would require (rough estimate) at least 3 kg honey per gallon, or other equivalent sugars. But with your yeast, that will end up being an extremely strong drink! It's also a risky option, because your yeast have been idle too long, and may not be strong enough to finish the fermentation (especially at such a high ABV). And if you don't like the idea of drinking, don't make a 16% ABV drink, because it will get people drunk fast.
 
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Lucas Aubergine

Lucas Aubergine

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I suggest you add more sugars right away, even before you make the other decisions. This will probably restart fermentation, which will make more CO₂ which will give protection during the subsequent steps.

Also, remove the apples if you can. The safe bet is to not leave fruit in mead for more than a week or two, but of course there are exceptions. When you remove an apple, taste it. If the apple taste is gone, it will confirm that adding apple slices is a valid way to get apple essence into the drink. If it tastes foul, take them out after a week next time.

You have too little honey (depending on taste) and much too little apple. Your ten apples are equivalent to how much juice? Two cups? Two cups of apple juice in 5 gallons of drink would contribute little taste. This amount of sugars will probably ferment to 5% (same strength as most beer), which may be what you want, but the apple essence needs to be way stronger (and sweeter). Even pure apple cider will tend to lose apple flavor/aroma when fermented dry. If it's available, I would buy several cans of frozen apple concentrate (not containing preservatives like benzoate or potassium sorbate). Instead of adding more honey, add 4-10 of these cans (very rough estimate). Let them warm up to room temperature first, though. Get your dad to help you taste. If the taste is right at some point, you can call it done. If the taste goes from being "not enough apple" to "to sweet", keep adding the cans, then let it ferment. Taste it every two days, and put it in the fridge when the sweetness is right. Do not let it ferment dry. You can also stop the fermentation by bottling it and heating the bottles to 60-65°C (look up "Pasteurization Units" for more info), or by racking until clear and adding Potassium Sorbate and Potassium Metabisulfite.

The other option is to add apple juice concentrate and/or honey until it is so sweet that the yeast will stop fermenting on their own. That option would require (rough estimate) at least 3 kg honey per gallon, or other equivalent sugars. But with your yeast, that will end up being an extremely strong drink! It's also a risky option, because your yeast have been idle too long, and may not be strong enough to finish the fermentation (especially at such a high ABV). And if you don't like the idea of drinking, don't make a 16% ABV drink, because it will get people drunk fast.
Thanks for the info and i'll be sure to try what you've told me. Getting the apples out will be a tad hard since i only had enough money to buy one 5 gallon carboy and my four other 1 gallon carboys are all full save for 1. I'll have to figure out a way to empty it first but i think i should be able to. As for the yeast well after adding the apples in it seemed like fermentation started back up again though only for a short time so i think it should still be good. Lastly i just dont like alcohol personally (Havent really tried it to be honest, maybe some small amounts that never really stood out. Honestly just waiting till im old enough to drink before i try any). As long as the person drinking my mead isnt going to hurt themselves or others then having it be that strong isnt bad in my eyes. Oh and i have Yeast Nutrients, the stuff that stops fermentation, the clay stuff that clarifies the mead, and some apple flavoring i got from my homebrew store which states 4tsps is enought for 5 gallons of beer but wine is more to taste. Dont know if that helps or not.
 

piojo

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Emptying it to remove the fruit may be counterproductive. You want to do it in a way that doesn't really shake it up (don't introduce oxygen). But metabisulfite (which you have) can absorb oxygen, but it's too advanced for me so I can't advise you on timing or dosages. But it can protect your fruit.

The apple flavoring will help a lot, and may solve your problem if you also backsweeten. So you have options. The first choice is whether to sweeten it, flavor it, and call it done, or to also add more sugars and let it ferment longer. Your dad should help you decide as he tastes while you add your additions, and you can decide whether it's finished.
 
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Lucas Aubergine

Lucas Aubergine

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Emptying it to remove the fruit may be counterproductive. You want to do it in a way that doesn't really shake it up (don't introduce oxygen). But metabisulfite (which you have) can absorb oxygen, but it's too advanced for me so I can't advise you on timing or dosages. But it can protect your fruit.

The apple flavoring will help a lot, and may solve your problem if you also backsweeten. So you have options. The first choice is whether to sweeten it, flavor it, and call it done, or to also add more sugars and let it ferment longer. Your dad should help you decide as he tastes while you add your additions, and you can decide whether it's finished.
OK thanks, guess my best bet is to use some tongs and fish each piece out one by one till its emptied. Getting the cinnamon sticks and cloves out however is gonna be impossible unless i rack it. So tomorrow after college i may just do that, flavor it, and then try to siphon a gallon off into one of my only empty carboys after clarifying the whole 5 gallons. Then possibly purchase more bottles and begin a very slow and methodical process of bottling.
 

piojo

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Sounds like a plan! Feel free to wait another day or two (at least until daytime in North America) for a second opinion, though.

Getting the cinnamon sticks and cloves out however is gonna be impossible unless i rack it.
You can leave the spices unless it gets too spicy.
 
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Lucas Aubergine

Lucas Aubergine

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Sounds like a plan! Feel free to wait another day or two (at least until daytime in North America) for a second opinion, though.


You can leave the spices unless it gets too spicy.
Well i got almost all the apples out, probably like 3-4 slices left that i couldnt get out with tongs so hopefully they dont pose any issues till im able to get them out. Added about 5 cap fulls of the apple flavoring and now i just gotta wait till my dad returns to sample it. If its good i'll let it set till christmas and then if it isnt clarified i'll do it myself and hopefully have some nice cinnamon apple mead to give out as gifts.
 
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