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Where did the bitterness come from?


Registered Member
Mar 13, 2013
Colorado Springs, CO
This is my 3rd batch of Mead. The previous two turned out fine. This batch I broke into five separate gallons each with a different yeast. The must I started with 4lbs honey and filled with water to one gallon. I did not use straight tap water but filtered it to remove chlorine. I then rehydrated the yeast and added Booster Blanc and Opti White for beginning OG 1.120 for all the batches with the exception of the w10 batch, the honey was darker and maybe thicker not really sure. Because I used so much honey I used 5g of each yeast. Aerating till the first sugar break and feeding at the 24, 48, 36, and 72hr or seventh day according to the TOSNA suggestions. After passing the third sugar break I began to notice an undercurrent of bitterness that is becoming more prominent as fermentation continues. The yeasts I am using are Lalvin Cross Evolution, D254, Lalvin D21, and Lalvin w10. The Cross Evolution went rancid shortly after passing third sugar break. It was so bad I just poured it out. When I say rancid it smelled like the contents of an outhouse. The others others have faired somewhat better they are all beginning to develop an bitter back ground as well as a sourness. D21 is fairing the best. I have used d21in the past and produced excellent well balanced mead. The specific gravities now range from 1.012 to 1.030 depending upon when they were started.

I am meticulous with sanitation and prevention of cross contamination of the separate batches. I just do not understand where the bitterness is coming from?

Any and all responses will be greatly appreciated. thanks in advance.
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Lifetime GotMead Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Mar 4, 2019
I expect a certain degree of bitterness as a young mead moves through the primary... I wouldn't describe it as a bad taste but sort of like under-ripe oranges where the citric acid is out of balance with not enough sugars. There are plenty of organic acids, and alcohols around in a young mead. As the sugar is consumed by fermentation the alcohol and acids become unbalanced and somewhat prominent. Its why dry traditional meads are quite challenging to produce; there's no fruit/spices to hide these components.

The yeasts will spend a few weeks/months cleaning this up for you and quite a bit of that will dissipate. Then what survives the clean up you balance with back-sweetening and acid adjustments to bring out the acidic portion you want to express. Oak can also round out some of the bitterness by providing other flavors.

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