Yule and Mead Fail

*sigh* Sometimes you an do everything right and still have something turn out like crap.

So everyone was of course really excited about the mead bottling. We really busted out butts on this so we did it right off the bat once everyone had arrived. We had a whole assembly line of sanitizing, pumping, corking and labeling going and then we got to sample each batch.

Have you ever drunk a mouthfull of vinegar before?

Now all hope may not yet be lost to us. We did take our sample from the last inch of the bottle so it may just be super yeasty and sour. But on the whole there is a lot of worry floating around as to if all our time and money was wasted. Now of course when it comes to something like this I try not to think of it as a waste but rather as a learning experience, which this one was. But when you have 8 people who dropped some serious money into making 6 gallons of mead your thoughts are not on the silver lining.

It’s more that the mead was terribly alcoholic (not a bad thing) and very very SOUR! Despite adding almost 5 extra gallons of honey to the original batch (which tasted AMAZING at the half way point) all our fruit and spices seemed to do was weaken the sweet flavor in favor of a rather unpleasant sour fruit taste.

But not all hope is lost! After rereading all the stuff I used the first time I made mead, I realized 2 very important steps we had failed to go over.
Add Fruit First! When I made my first big batch of mead, I added the fruit to the first fermentation. Apparently, this gives the yeast a more well balanced diet AND allows for the flavors to be more intense and mature even if you filter the fruit/spices out during secondary ferment.

It’s Called Honey Wine for a Reason! It completely skipped my mind that when we bottled our big batch, we sweetened the HELL out of it as we went along. If I had remembered that, we should have added honey to the jugs and shaken them up really well before we bottled which would have gone a long way towards helping the flavor.

So we are going to try and sweeten our bottled med before drinking it and see if that helps at all. On the plus side, I how have 3, 1 gallon carboys, which I can use to further my experimentation. I’m thinking on a recipe with elderberry (a melomel) and something with cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla and anise (a metheglin) I also want to make sure and do another jug of the “Snapdragon” mead (assuming it tastes better all sweetened) for Ren Fair. I promised my friends a taste of it and the only way I will have enough to go around is if I make a gallon or two! I’d also like to fiddle around with citrus flavors. I can do 2 gallons at a shot, 3 if I don’t mind buying another carboy (which I don’t). Also I found a really great local supplier with people who are more than happy to provide advise alongside supplies.

Also, for reference, we got about 4, 750 ml bottles out of every carboy, this with leaving an 1-1 1/2 inches of the dregs (yeast and fruit) at the bottom.

Other than that, Yule went down rather well. We kept things fairly informal and did six rounds of toasting and drinking while the food passed around. As always I leave my couch and floor open to anyone who feels too tipsy to drive home. We did a gift exchange and tarot readings and just generally had a really nice night!

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