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Re: [new_distillers] Really Bad Mead

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  • fatbloke@gmx.com
    Depends what the unpleasantness is........ Alcohol hot/almost medicinal ?.something like that ? Cos that d be fusels. Couldn t say what else might be wrong
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 6, 2014
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      Depends what the unpleasantness is........

      Alcohol hot/almost medicinal ?.something like that ?

      Cos that'd be fusels.

      Couldn't say what else might be wrong with much more info.....

      Oh, while I remember, did you leave the batch on the lees very long after primary ferment ? Because 71B is known for autolysis off flavours if left on the sediment too long.......

      ----- Reply message -----
      From: "jkmccull@... [new_distillers]" <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
      To: <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: [new_distillers] Really Bad Mead
      Date: Sun, Jul 6, 2014 14:15

       

               In July 2012 I made mead using the following recipe:

      • 15 lbs of Honey (5 qts) (all natural)

      • 4 gallons of water

      • 5 teaspoons of yeast nutrient

      • 5 teaspoons of yeast energizer

      • 2 packets of Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast

        After it fermented out, I transferred the wine to a 5 gallon glass carboy and added some white oak strips.  Alcohol content was about 10%. At that time the taste was weak and unpleasant. I let it age in the carboy until July 2013 and I bottled the mead. The taste at that time was much stronger and unpleasant. I read that mead may take quite a few years to age.

        Now after two years of aging the mead still tastes unpleasant. I am considering distilling the mead to see what I get and starting a new batch but I am afraid of getting the same results.  

        Should I wait another year to see if the taste improves? OR

        Would any of the more experienced wine makers know what I did wrong and what I can do to fix the bad taste problem?

      Jerry

    • RLB
      I have never attempted to make mead, but my concern is with your use: * 5 teaspoons of yeast nutrient * 5 teaspoons of yeast energizer * 2 packets of Lalvin
      Message 2 of 10 , Jul 6, 2014
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        I have never attempted to make mead, but my concern is with your use:

        • 5 teaspoons of yeast nutrient
        • 5 teaspoons of yeast energizer
        • 2 packets of Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast


        10% can attract a bacteria infection that can do a number on its taste.  That is a lot of yeast, and dead yeast can have a very unpleasant taste.  When I was making wine, I ran my wine through a filter to remove most of the solids like yeast.  Some of my wine would turn to vinegar, and the rest came out at 19% abv. 

        Robert



        From: "'fatbloke@...' fatbloke@... [new_distillers]" <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
        To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sunday, July 6, 2014 10:01 AM
        Subject: Re: [new_distillers] Really Bad Mead

         
        Depends what the unpleasantness is........

        Alcohol hot/almost medicinal ?.something like that ?

        Cos that'd be fusels.

        Couldn't say what else might be wrong with much more info.....

        Oh, while I remember, did you leave the batch on the lees very long after primary ferment ? Because 71B is known for autolysis off flavours if left on the sediment too long.......

        ----- Reply message -----
        From: "jkmccull@... [new_distillers]" <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
        To: <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
        Subject: [new_distillers] Really Bad Mead
        Date: Sun, Jul 6, 2014 14:15

         
                 In July 2012 I made mead using the following recipe:
        • 15 lbs of Honey (5 qts) (all natural)
        • 4 gallons of water
        • 5 teaspoons of yeast nutrient
        • 5 teaspoons of yeast energizer
        • 2 packets of Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast
          After it fermented out, I transferred the wine to a 5 gallon glass carboy and added some white oak strips.  Alcohol content was about 10%. At that time the taste was weak and unpleasant. I let it age in the carboy until July 2013 and I bottled the mead. The taste at that time was much stronger and unpleasant. I read that mead may take quite a few years to age.
          Now after two years of aging the mead still tastes unpleasant. I am considering distilling the mead to see what I get and starting a new batch but I am afraid of getting the same results.  
          Should I wait another year to see if the taste improves? OR
          Would any of the more experienced wine makers know what I did wrong and what I can do to fix the bad taste problem?
        Jerry


      • Alex Netherton
        I also am concerned about yeast nutrient, yeast energizer, and well bred yeast to make an old traditional drink like Mead. I read an article on Metheglin
        Message 3 of 10 , Jul 6, 2014
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          I also am concerned about yeast nutrient, yeast energizer, and "well bred" yeast to make an old traditional drink like Mead. I read an article on Metheglin made here in the Southern Appalachians. It used only honey, water, some secret spices, and wild yeast was allowed to colonize - 100 years ago people did not have "tame" yeast, or at least in the wilds of Southern Appalachia it was hard to come by.

          Often people try too hard using "modern" stuff to "improve" on an ancient tradition.

          And, yes, when you distill it, the nasty will come through. Most flavor compounds have about the same as or lower boiling point as ethanol, making it difficult to get out unless you are very careful and distill it to 180 proof, with almost no flavor.

          Alex Netherton
          http://blueridgediscovery.org
          Amateur Radio call KC4BO (1979)


          On Sun, Jul 6, 2014 at 11:02 AM, RLB last2blast@... [new_distillers] <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
           

          I have never attempted to make mead, but my concern is with your use:

          • 5 teaspoons of yeast nutrient
          • 5 teaspoons of yeast energizer
          • 2 packets of Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast


          10% can attract a bacteria infection that can do a number on its taste.  That is a lot of yeast, and dead yeast can have a very unpleasant taste.  When I was making wine, I ran my wine through a filter to remove most of the solids like yeast.  Some of my wine would turn to vinegar, and the rest came out at 19% abv. 

          Robert



          From: "'fatbloke@...' fatbloke@... [new_distillers]" <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
          To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Sunday, July 6, 2014 10:01 AM
          Subject: Re: [new_distillers] Really Bad Mead

           
          Depends what the unpleasantness is........

          Alcohol hot/almost medicinal ?.something like that ?

          Cos that'd be fusels.

          Couldn't say what else might be wrong with much more info.....

          Oh, while I remember, did you leave the batch on the lees very long after primary ferment ? Because 71B is known for autolysis off flavours if left on the sediment too long.......

          ----- Reply message -----
          From: "jkmccull@... [new_distillers]" <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
          To: <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
          Subject: [new_distillers] Really Bad Mead
          Date: Sun, Jul 6, 2014 14:15

           
                   In July 2012 I made mead using the following recipe:
          • 15 lbs of Honey (5 qts) (all natural)
          • 4 gallons of water
          • 5 teaspoons of yeast nutrient
          • 5 teaspoons of yeast energizer
          • 2 packets of Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast
            After it fermented out, I transferred the wine to a 5 gallon glass carboy and added some white oak strips.  Alcohol content was about 10%. At that time the taste was weak and unpleasant. I let it age in the carboy until July 2013 and I bottled the mead. The taste at that time was much stronger and unpleasant. I read that mead may take quite a few years to age.
            Now after two years of aging the mead still tastes unpleasant. I am considering distilling the mead to see what I get and starting a new batch but I am afraid of getting the same results.  
            Should I wait another year to see if the taste improves? OR
            Would any of the more experienced wine makers know what I did wrong and what I can do to fix the bad taste problem?
          Jerry



        • Jerry McCullough
          Fatblok asked if left the fermentation on the lees to long. I do not recall if I did or did not, but my usual method is to decant from the ferment bucket to
          Message 4 of 10 , Jul 6, 2014
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            Fatblok asked if left the fermentation on the lees to long. I do not recall if I did or did not, but my usual method is to decant from the ferment bucket to the carboy as soon as the primary fermentation is complete. I am guessing I did not. I kept the carboy on an airlock for the whole year. Also in the year the mead was in the carboy, I decanted it twice. I am not sure how to describe the taste of the mead, I guess medicinal might work . What other information can I provide that may help locate the problem?  

            Last2Blast showed concern over the yeast nutrient and energizer. The recipe I used came from "The Home WineMaker" website. It thought it was aproven recipe.
             
            Jerry McCullough


            On Sunday, July 6, 2014 10:02 AM, "RLB last2blast@... [new_distillers]" <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


             
            I have never attempted to make mead, but my concern is with your use:

            • 5 teaspoons of yeast nutrient
            • 5 teaspoons of yeast energizer
            • 2 packets of Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast


            10% can attract a bacteria infection that can do a number on its taste.  That is a lot of yeast, and dead yeast can have a very unpleasant taste.  When I was making wine, I ran my wine through a filter to remove most of the solids like yeast.  Some of my wine would turn to vinegar, and the rest came out at 19% abv. 

            Robert


            From: "'fatbloke@...' fatbloke@... [new_distillers]" <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
            To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Sunday, July 6, 2014 10:01 AM
            Subject: Re: [new_distillers] Really Bad Mead

             
            Depends what the unpleasantness is........

            Alcohol hot/almost medicinal ?.something like that ?

            Cos that'd be fusels.

            Couldn't say what else might be wrong with much more info.....

            Oh, while I remember, did you leave the batch on the lees very long after primary ferment ? Because 71B is known for autolysis off flavours if left on the sediment too long.......

            ----- Reply message -----
            From: "jkmccull@... [new_distillers]" <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
            To: <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
            Subject: [new_distillers] Really Bad Mead
            Date: Sun, Jul 6, 2014 14:15

             
                     In July 2012 I made mead using the following recipe:
            • 15 lbs of Honey (5 qts) (all natural)
            • 4 gallons of water
            • 5 teaspoons of yeast nutrient
            • 5 teaspoons of yeast energizer
            • 2 packets of Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast
              After it fermented out, I transferred the wine to a 5 gallon glass carboy and added some white oak strips.  Alcohol content was about 10%. At that time the taste was weak and unpleasant. I let it age in the carboy until July 2013 and I bottled the mead. The taste at that time was much stronger and unpleasant. I read that mead may take quite a few years to age.
              Now after two years of aging the mead still tastes unpleasant. I am considering distilling the mead to see what I get and starting a new batch but I am afraid of getting the same results.  
              Should I wait another year to see if the taste improves? OR
              Would any of the more experienced wine makers know what I did wrong and what I can do to fix the bad taste problem?
            Jerry




          • RLB
            I am very interested in making my own yeast from scratch.  In my reading, yeast naturally grows on what ever you are using, example: Barley yeast grows on
            Message 5 of 10 , Jul 6, 2014
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              I am very interested in making my own yeast from scratch.  In my reading, yeast naturally grows on what ever you are using, example: Barley yeast grows on barley, corn years grows on corn, and rye yeast grows on rye.  Using that as a bases, this would suggest that honey yeast grows on honey combs.  The trick is raising just the correct natural yeast that you want to use for your mead, beer, wine, or whiskey.  Modern yeast may not be perfect for our needs , but they offer consistency that is demanded by large brewers, wineries, and distillers.

              If I understand the process correctly, I should be able to wash yeast spores off from the grain that I use to make my malts.  By collecting that runoff slurry and reducing the amount of water, I should have a good starter yeast for making mead, beer, wines, or whiskey.  To collect honey yeast, one must assume that you would rinse off honey combs that came out of a hive.  It would be fun to test modern yeast against a natural homemade yeast. 

              Robert


              From: "Alex Netherton anetherton@... [new_distillers]" <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
              To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Sunday, July 6, 2014 2:24 PM
              Subject: Re: [new_distillers] Really Bad Mead

               
              I also am concerned about yeast nutrient, yeast energizer, and "well bred" yeast to make an old traditional drink like Mead. I read an article on Metheglin made here in the Southern Appalachians. It used only honey, water, some secret spices, and wild yeast was allowed to colonize - 100 years ago people did not have "tame" yeast, or at least in the wilds of Southern Appalachia it was hard to come by.

              Often people try too hard using "modern" stuff to "improve" on an ancient tradition.

              And, yes, when you distill it, the nasty will come through. Most flavor compounds have about the same as or lower boiling point as ethanol, making it difficult to get out unless you are very careful and distill it to 180 proof, with almost no flavor.

              Alex Netherton
              http://blueridgediscovery.org
              Amateur Radio call KC4BO (1979)






            • Bill Ackerman
              Fellow Distillers, I am an armature distiller. I have been successful so far using fruit mash but this time using a corn mash for the first time my product
              Message 6 of 10 , Jul 6, 2014
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                Fellow Distillers,

                 

                I am an armature distiller. I have been successful so far using fruit mash but this time using a corn mash for the first time my product turned out cloudy. It taste great with a nice sweet corn flavor but my product is cloudy. I redistilled the cloudy product but the same thing happened.

                 

                I used a corn mash made from corn meal and also added some corn syrup. I used 1118 yeast. I only have a 1 gallon still and I am using a thumper. I have a thermometer on the primary still but do not have one on the thumper. My primary still is running at 196-199 degrees. I am using copper tubing and have never had this problem before. Does anyone know why the product is cloudy? Is it harmful to have cloudy product? Any advice on how to get the product clear?

                 

                Thank you for any assistance.

                 

                Bill

              • Ric Cunningham
                I see several things troubling with this recipe. The current good mead making practice is to use a step nutrient feeding to not overwhelm the yeast. Happy
                Message 7 of 10 , Jul 8, 2014
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                  I see several things troubling with this recipe. The current good mead making practice is to use a step nutrient feeding to not overwhelm the yeast. Happy yeast happy mead. The nutrient addition should have been more like 1 teaspoon each every 24 -48 hours for the first week with ample oxygenation of the must at the same time. An unhappy yeast population is bound to give lots of, to us a distillers term, Congeners (fusel alcohols, aldehydes and other funky yeast byproducts). Also, leaving a ferment of any kind on a troubled yeast cake for a long duration is also a cause for concern. Yeast autolysis can cause all kinds of unpleasant flavors - rubber, mushrooms among others. Your choice of honey can also bring with it some strange flavors. Store bought honey is generally a blend of many varietals that my or may not make a good mead.
                  As far as using wild yeast I have been very successful at fermentations of Honey and fruit with indigenous yeasts. These tend to take longer but the results can be much better than commercially cultured yeast if you are patient and allow the yeast a chance to do its thing.
                  Very few bacteria stains can live in a 10% abv fermented solution, the pH is too low and the alcohol is too high. For a ferment of this high a potential to turn to vinegar takes early infection or post fermentation dilution.
                  Honey fermentations are less likely to have bacterial contamination from the raw ingredient due to the moisture content being too low. The honey actually kills the bacteria, unless it is a spore type colony (botulism comes to mind). Yeast gets in a hibernation state in honey and will wake up when the hydration is correct for fermentation.
                  Good luck next time. Do a bit of research or bye the Compleat Meadmaker  as a reference.

                  Ric
                  Wilypig Specialty Fermentations


                  On Sun, Jul 6, 2014 at 6:41 PM, RLB last2blast@... [new_distillers] <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                   

                  I am very interested in making my own yeast from scratch.  In my reading, yeast naturally grows on what ever you are using, example: Barley yeast grows on barley, corn years grows on corn, and rye yeast grows on rye.  Using that as a bases, this would suggest that honey yeast grows on honey combs.  The trick is raising just the correct natural yeast that you want to use for your mead, beer, wine, or whiskey.  Modern yeast may not be perfect for our needs , but they offer consistency that is demanded by large brewers, wineries, and distillers.

                  If I understand the process correctly, I should be able to wash yeast spores off from the grain that I use to make my malts.  By collecting that runoff slurry and reducing the amount of water, I should have a good starter yeast for making mead, beer, wines, or whiskey.  To collect honey yeast, one must assume that you would rinse off honey combs that came out of a hive.  It would be fun to test modern yeast against a natural homemade yeast. 

                  Robert


                  From: "Alex Netherton anetherton@... [new_distillers]" <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
                  To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Sunday, July 6, 2014 2:24 PM

                  Subject: Re: [new_distillers] Really Bad Mead

                   
                  I also am concerned about yeast nutrient, yeast energizer, and "well bred" yeast to make an old traditional drink like Mead. I read an article on Metheglin made here in the Southern Appalachians. It used only honey, water, some secret spices, and wild yeast was allowed to colonize - 100 years ago people did not have "tame" yeast, or at least in the wilds of Southern Appalachia it was hard to come by.

                  Often people try too hard using "modern" stuff to "improve" on an ancient tradition.

                  And, yes, when you distill it, the nasty will come through. Most flavor compounds have about the same as or lower boiling point as ethanol, making it difficult to get out unless you are very careful and distill it to 180 proof, with almost no flavor.

                  Alex Netherton
                  http://blueridgediscovery.org
                  Amateur Radio call KC4BO (1979)









                  --
                  US Navy - 100% on watch
                • Jerry McCullough
                  Thanks Ric that was really helpful. Jerry McCullough On Tuesday, July 8, 2014 5:28 AM, Ric Cunningham wilypig@gmail.com [new_distillers]
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jul 9, 2014
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                    Thanks Ric that was really helpful.
                     
                    Jerry McCullough


                    On Tuesday, July 8, 2014 5:28 AM, "Ric Cunningham wilypig@... [new_distillers]" <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


                     
                    I see several things troubling with this recipe. The current good mead making practice is to use a step nutrient feeding to not overwhelm the yeast. Happy yeast happy mead. The nutrient addition should have been more like 1 teaspoon each every 24 -48 hours for the first week with ample oxygenation of the must at the same time. An unhappy yeast population is bound to give lots of, to us a distillers term, Congeners (fusel alcohols, aldehydes and other funky yeast byproducts). Also, leaving a ferment of any kind on a troubled yeast cake for a long duration is also a cause for concern. Yeast autolysis can cause all kinds of unpleasant flavors - rubber, mushrooms among others. Your choice of honey can also bring with it some strange flavors. Store bought honey is generally a blend of many varietals that my or may not make a good mead.
                    As far as using wild yeast I have been very successful at fermentations of Honey and fruit with indigenous yeasts. These tend to take longer but the results can be much better than commercially cultured yeast if you are patient and allow the yeast a chance to do its thing.
                    Very few bacteria stains can live in a 10% abv fermented solution, the pH is too low and the alcohol is too high. For a ferment of this high a potential to turn to vinegar takes early infection or post fermentation dilution.
                    Honey fermentations are less likely to have bacterial contamination from the raw ingredient due to the moisture content being too low. The honey actually kills the bacteria, unless it is a spore type colony (botulism comes to mind). Yeast gets in a hibernation state in honey and will wake up when the hydration is correct for fermentation.
                    Good luck next time. Do a bit of research or bye the Compleat Meadmaker  as a reference.

                    Ric
                    Wilypig Specialty Fermentations


                    On Sun, Jul 6, 2014 at 6:41 PM, RLB last2blast@... [new_distillers] <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                     
                    I am very interested in making my own yeast from scratch.  In my reading, yeast naturally grows on what ever you are using, example: Barley yeast grows on barley, corn years grows on corn, and rye yeast grows on rye.  Using that as a bases, this would suggest that honey yeast grows on honey combs.  The trick is raising just the correct natural yeast that you want to use for your mead, beer, wine, or whiskey.  Modern yeast may not be perfect for our needs , but they offer consistency that is demanded by large brewers, wineries, and distillers.

                    If I understand the process correctly, I should be able to wash yeast spores off from the grain that I use to make my malts.  By collecting that runoff slurry and reducing the amount of water, I should have a good starter yeast for making mead, beer, wines, or whiskey.  To collect honey yeast, one must assume that you would rinse off honey combs that came out of a hive.  It would be fun to test modern yeast against a natural homemade yeast. 

                    Robert

                    From: "Alex Netherton anetherton@... [new_distillers]" <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
                    To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Sunday, July 6, 2014 2:24 PM

                    Subject: Re: [new_distillers] Really Bad Mead

                     
                    I also am concerned about yeast nutrient, yeast energizer, and "well bred" yeast to make an old traditional drink like Mead. I read an article on Metheglin made here in the Southern Appalachians. It used only honey, water, some secret spices, and wild yeast was allowed to colonize - 100 years ago people did not have "tame" yeast, or at least in the wilds of Southern Appalachia it was hard to come by.

                    Often people try too hard using "modern" stuff to "improve" on an ancient tradition.

                    And, yes, when you distill it, the nasty will come through. Most flavor compounds have about the same as or lower boiling point as ethanol, making it difficult to get out unless you are very careful and distill it to 180 proof, with almost no flavor.

                    Alex Netherton
                    http://blueridgediscovery.org/
                    Amateur Radio call KC4BO (1979)









                    --
                    US Navy - 100% on watch


                  • Zapata Vive
                    I will chime in and say I ve read about nasty mead sitting around for a decade or more and becoming delicious. If you can spare the carboy (or these days the
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jul 20, 2014
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                      I will chime in and say I've read about nasty mead sitting around for a decade or more and becoming delicious.  If you can spare the carboy (or these days the often cheaper and more reliably sealed 5 gal stainless corny keg) you might just park it under the house and write it off.  Update us in 2020 ;)
                    • RLB
                      I once read a story about distillers keeping bad whiskey for up to 30 years until it became palatable.  It s plausible that mead could also improve with age.
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jul 20, 2014
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                        I once read a story about distillers keeping bad whiskey for up to 30 years until it became palatable.  It's plausible that mead could also improve with age.

                        Robert


                        From: "Zapata Vive zapatavive@... [new_distillers]" <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
                        To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2014 9:58 PM
                        Subject: Re: [new_distillers] Really Bad Mead

                         
                        I will chime in and say I've read about nasty mead sitting around for a decade or more and becoming delicious.  If you can spare the carboy (or these days the often cheaper and more reliably sealed 5 gal stainless corny keg) you might just park it under the house and write it off.  Update us in 2020 ;)


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