Salvaging sweet meads...

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Oct 3, 2007
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I am currently aging 2 batches of mead...JAOM and a plain, sweet mead. They are both going on 4 months, and in the secondary at this point...and I've taken multiple samples from both along the way. They both have what I can only descibe as a "smokey" flavor to them that I'm not really liking. They were made w/ 2 different kinds of honey and I am a sterilization natzi, so I don't think it was either of those factors. If this is how the sweet meads are supposed to taste, then I'm guessing that I just really don't care for them. I've tried store bought mead before and thought it was pretty tasted totally different to me...dry w/ a lot of clean, honey flavor. Is there anything I can do to salvage either of these? They're only 1 gallon batches so I won't be too upset if I can't. I was thinking about adding some vanilla to the plain mead, and I don't know what to do with the JAOM. Also, Is there any way I can "dry" them up a bit? They're both around 14% ABV w/ an ending gravity of about 1.026. Could I possibly try adding a different yeast at this point? And with adding the vanilla, should I use beans or extract? Anyone...anyone?
Rack it off the lees and pitch some Lalvin EC-1118, energizer, and nutrient in there. That stuff goes up to 18%....

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