What to do with failures?

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RedCabbage

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The couple of recent "my mead tastes bad" threads has made me think about what to do with mead projects that end up being disgusting. While this forum is generally postive about the outlook for most batches, there will inevitably be some failures but I figure that tasting revolting shouldn't mean discarding.

Has anyone tried freeze-distilling their mead? If you can reduce your foul concoction to a smaller, fouler, stronger substance you may end up with something of use?

What about fortification with brandy or the aforementioned ice-mead? I suppose this is probably best done before/at the end of primary which is too early to tell whether it's a baddun.
 

Bush_84

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Give to relatives and friends who will drink just about anything and enjoy it. :)
 

KevinM

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How about heating and mulling it with spices? I know that some red wines taste better this way than as a regular wine. Not sure how it will go with mead though.
 
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RedCabbage

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Give to relatives and friends who will drink just about anything and enjoy it. :)
I gave a bottle of my first dreadful effort to a gang of revellers on a mission to get wasted. One of them was kind enough to say it tasted "interesting". By far the best compliment it received.
 

MedsenFey

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It really depends on what's wrong with the mead. If it is too "hot" or too dry or too sweet or too astringent or whatever, you may be able to blend it and get something decent. I often use some heavily over-oaked OB mead that I have for making a mead sangria beverage with lots of fruit and sugar added and everyone loves it.

On the other hand, if you have some spoilage that's created vinegar, or barnyard odor, or it has bad sulfur that can't be cured with copper, you reach a point where it may be best to use it as drain cleaner. I've only had to do that a couple of times (thankfully), but it happens.
 

gratus fermentatio

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+1. If it tastes like wet cardboard, you can't even cook with it, well you can, but it'll impart that nasty taste to the food. If it's just too hot/dry/sweet/etc...
Odds are that time will improve it; you might be surprised at the magic that can happen to mead in a year or two.

I had a 14% ABV cyser that tasted like fuel for a year, then tasted like bitter fuel for another year; after 3 years it was smooth, tasty & had a really nice tang to it from the Macintosh juice. After 4 years it was even better. I have one 12oz sampler left out of a 6 gallon batch. I'll open that in another year or two. Tuck a few bottles away in a cool, dark cupboard & forget about them for a couple years; when you "rediscover" them, open 1 & taste it to see how it's changed. It might just be really great stuff. Regards, GF.
 

fatbloke

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or just get a small table top still for distilling water and put it through that.

Dump the first 25 to 50 mls, then collect a litre.

Put that in a litre spirits bottle with a small pack of heavy toasted oak chips and put it away and forget about it.

2 or 3 years down the line, you'll have some "honey brandy"........ Ideal for fortifying other batches...
 

truckjohn

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It really depends on what's wrong with the mead.
Exactly....

What sort of horrible are you talking about....

99.5% of the trouble is just that it is too young. Nothing but aging will help that.

All the "Solutions" mentioned in the OP are solutions to impatient problems.... or maybe "Mead isn't for you" problems.... The last category left after those are solutions classified under "Throwing good money after bad".....

If you want something that is fast and easy to drink young - Beer and Cider are the solution... If you come up with something truly gross even after long aging - dump it.

Thanks
 
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RedCabbage

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Exactly....

What sort of horrible are you talking about....
I'm not really talking about a specific batch as much as a hypothetical one. I do have a couple of rank bottles but I'm not familiar enough with the different tastes to determine which sort of horrible it is. I suspect it's because I bottled it far too early. There's gunk in the bottom of the bottles.
 

truckjohn

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Hypothetically, it will all be fine if you ignore it for a couple years... or are already drunk when drinking it....

The first obvious cut is Tastes like Rocket Fuel vs Tastes moldy vs tastes like Vinegar.....

Rocket fuel = young. Let it age...
Vinegar is OK too if you want to try out Mead/honey vinegar..... Uncap and pour into a bowl. Cover with cheese cloth and let it sit for several months.....
Moldy/old socks/puke - Pour it out.

Gunk in the bottom of the bottles doesn't necessarily mean anything bad - just let them sit for a while for the lees to compact. Pour carefully when serving to keep the gunk in the bottom of the bottle....

Thanks
 

fatbloke

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I'm not really talking about a specific batch as much as a hypothetical one. I do have a couple of rank bottles but I'm not familiar enough with the different tastes to determine which sort of horrible it is. I suspect it's because I bottled it far too early. There's gunk in the bottom of the bottles.
Well don't bother to go along to middle farm to try their commercial meads, they're all sweet as hell (IRO 1.040 - far too sweet for my taste).

If there's some sediment in the bad 'uns then rack/filter, because if you happened to use a yeast that is prone to autolysis, as it rots down it leaves off tastes. Once you've got it away from all the sediment, then rebottle and seal up and leave for a couple of years.

It's easy to be to impatient and think that "it's" failed, when it hasn't come into it's best yet. "It" just needs leaving longer, invariably......
 
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RedCabbage

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Well don't bother to go along to middle farm to try their commercial meads, they're all sweet as hell (IRO 1.040 - far too sweet for my taste).

If there's some sediment in the bad 'uns then rack/filter, because if you happened to use a yeast that is prone to autolysis, as it rots down it leaves off tastes. Once you've got it away from all the sediment, then rebottle and seal up and leave for a couple of years.

It's easy to be to impatient and think that "it's" failed, when it hasn't come into it's best yet. "It" just needs leaving longer, invariably......
I didn't know Middle Farm did mead. I thought that they were mostly ciders. Now you told me not to get them I might have to ;) (I don't mind sweet too much).

I've been a bit gung-ho with my yeast up to now. I didn't even write down what yeast I was using (I didn't realise that there were different sorts until I joined this board). I'm down to my last couple of bottles of batch 1 and I'm pretty sure that they have improved since I tried them six months ago, but I won't do anything with just six a small quantity now. Might have to have a first try of batch 2 over xmas - it's only four months old but is a quick clearing Ancient-Orange-a-like so might be drinkable already.
 
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