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Questions about the taste of young mead and off flavors

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Roland

NewBee
Registered Member
May 17, 2018
18
0
0
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Hello!

Unlike my last post in regards to my last batch, this question isn't asked out of fear for my batch, but from a place of trying to learn what a young traditional mead might taste like. Some background, and the recipe:
Yeast: Lalvin D-47
Honey: Wildflower approximately 26lbs. for a 7gallon batch
OG: Was between 1.130 and 1.134 (I ended up realizing my hydrometer was off, and replaced it later in the process)
I maintained the temperature between 59F and 62.5, however on at least two occasions the ice ran out and it jumped to 68 and 70 respectively. This was caught within 6 hours each time, though I am sure not without consequences.
I followed the TOSNA 2.0 protocol.
Desired FG: 1.025

Pitched on May 25th and rehydrated with Goferm.

Degassed and aerated the first four days of fermentation, adding roughly 9grams of Fermaid O at the 24, 48, and 72 hour mark.

June 1st SG was 1.086, added final addition of fermaid O.

June 8th SG was down to 1.044. Decided to taste it at this very early stage, got nice burnt honey flavors, and a slight appleyness.

June 17th SG was 1.015. I realized at this point that the yeast decided it did wouldn't tap out just yet. Tasted again, it was drier, notes of apple and citrus, and a bitterness to it that left me scratching my head a bit.

I am not too terribly concerned, as I plan on bulk aging this batch for 6months to maybe a year and a half depending on how it progresses. But given my limited experience with brewing, I know that bitterness con often be due to the presence of fusels when fermenting too hot, so I am not counting out the two spikes in temperature as the culprit. But it's dawned on me that I am not too sure what a young mead, or one close to the end of fermentation should taste like. I realize too that this bitterness might not be there at all when I check it again in a week or so post fermentation but I figured this to be a decent enough reason to pick some brains on what a young mead tastes like. I know harsh is often the descriptor, and I wasn't sure if this depended on the yeast being used (D47 in this case) but if anyone has any thoughts, I definitely appreciate the insights.

TLDR: Is bitterness a flavor associated with young/fermenting meads

Thanks!
Roland
 

Squatchy

Lifetime GotMead Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Nov 3, 2014
5,171
19
38
Denver
You're pretty close to done. Or maybe you already are. I wouldn't worry much yet. Young mead can taste like a hundred different things. Each yeast adds its own footprint as does the honey as well. Then the same mead at one temp will taste different than the same at a different temp. That strain is a cry baby as soon as you go outside of its comfort zone, which you have done. But normally fusels are not bitter but rather hot and medicinal. Your apple and citrusy is what the yeast would provide. Often times people have a hard time knowing what a certain honey will taste like once the sugar is gone. You'll get better at that too over time. Typically a bone dry mead might taste like that and just a few points of honey will make it come around nicely. I would just keep it locked up good away from excessive O2 for a while and report back in a few months.
 

Vance G

NewBee
Registered Member
Aug 30, 2011
564
3
0
Great Falls Montana
Call me crazy but you make me think of someone. But he is probably much too busy to be on a forum this time of year. That bitterness, depending on how pronounced it is will mellow out over time. My best mead to date at 18 months I wanted to tip over the floor drain. Keep dark and keep the air lock full of water or vodka.
 

Roland

NewBee
Registered Member
May 17, 2018
18
0
0
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Happy December!

So I followed the aforementioned advice and tried it again a few months later. Once in October, and again recently. So the mead has cleared beautifully, I'll be racking it once more to get it off a much finer layer of lees and allow to age for another several months. But the recent taste was far less bitter, and the harshness had also dissipated quite a lot, leaving just about no fusel tastes. Given it's 16-17% ABV, I'll consider myself fortunate. There's still quite a bit of yeastyness from the lees in the secondary but not at all unpleasant. I'd say it tastes very much like a dry white wine or hard cider. No honey notes are coming through from what I can tell, but I understand that too should come around with more bulk aging. FG is 1.006.
 

Squatchy

Lifetime GotMead Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Nov 3, 2014
5,171
19
38
Denver
So with an ABV that high in this being a traditional it's really going to never be able to come balanced in the best possible way. That final gravity is actually quite low for a EBV of that hi level. I think you could afford to back sweeten up quite a bit and it would only work towards making a better balance even if there is no fusiles left anymore. That's still going to be pretty hot and would take a long time to get better. And then it would still taste hot. I think you could certainly do better by adding some more sweetness level to it
 
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