Author Topic: Kegged Hydromel Tips to Improve  (Read 126 times)

Offline NadoBrew

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Kegged Hydromel Tips to Improve
« on: September 16, 2020, 11:30:31 PM »
I just tapped a hydromel I made back in May; my first attempt at mead. I had it fermenting in a corny keg for three months (I thought it was under pressure, but I realized that my spending valve didn't seem to work during the ferment) and put the corny in the fridge a couple weeks ago under pressure at 10 PSI.

I used this honey https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01CI3TDFO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1, two packets of D-47, a few dried apricots, and maybe beer yeast nutrient.

This was an attempted pressure ferment via a home-made spending valve. IIRC, the batch was 3 gallons and I mixed the ingredients by rolling the keg on the ground.

I am drinking out of the same keg I fermented in.

While the mead is cloudy, that is not an issue for me. What is the issue is that the resulting beverage is very slightly yet still noticeably sour, slightly stale, and overall bland. It reminds me of my first kit beers from Mr. Beer years ago, which rank as my worst batches of home-brew.

I have been looking up at the BJCP tasting notes for mead and I believe that there could be an oxigination issue.

Any tips on how I can improve my hydromel game would be greatly appreciated. I didn't give up when I made crud beer in the beginning and I won't give up on mead now.

Offline joe_meadmaker

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Re: Kegged Hydromel Tips to Improve
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2020, 01:54:11 AM »
My first guess is it just needs some more time.  The flavors in mead can take a while before they start coming around.  The first mead I ever made was tasted when it was around 6 - 7 months old.  I was quite disappointed because it wasn't very good.  Not exactly like what you're describing, but close.  After another 3 months or so the flavors started to come out and it ended up being really good.  All the mead I make now I don't even think about actually drinking until it's at least 8 - 10 months old.  Most I let go for a 1 - 1.5 years (or more) before tapping/bottling.  It all depends on how it's tasting.

There could be an oxidation problem, but in my experience oxygen doesn't affect mead as undesirably as beer.  Not meaning that you don't want to avoid it as much as possible.

If the decision was mine, I'd pull it out of the fridge and let it warm back up to a room or cellar temperature.  That will allow it it to mature more quickly.  Then try it again in a few months.

There are a number of other mead makers here on the forum that might have some other thoughts.  I hope that mead comes around for you.  Cheers!

Online pete b

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Re: Kegged Hydromel Tips to Improve
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2020, 11:55:16 AM »
Joe meadmaker is right, the mead is way too young. You say that you don’t mind that it’s cloudy, but you do: it’s cloudy because it’s not done.
Am I understanding that you have not racked after fermentation? If that’s the case I would rack into a carboy and let sit at room temperature for a couple months. Ideally you would then rack into a new carboy and store cold for some more months but assuming that you are using hydromel in the sense of a low gravity mead you could call it done after a couple more months, cold crash, and package.
Also, it seems like you are trying to apply low oxygen techniques to mead making. Again, Joe is right, this is unnecessary and maybe harmful if it means you are not degassing during fermentation.
The good news is there is a chance this will taste good with time but I would definitely rack off the original fermentation sediment.
FWIW I have not been happy with my limited attempts to serve mead on tap and prefer wine bottles and corks. And a reasonable amount of oxidation is a feature, not a bug, of mead.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Kegged Hydromel Tips to Improve
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2020, 08:43:47 PM »
I differ in my opinion on mead necessarily requiring a lot of time. It wouldn't surprise me if the crud in suspension is leading to your lackluster flavor. If it were me, I'd cold crash, fine with gelatin or KC, then rack to a new serving keg. You can do what months of aging will do in a matter of a few days.

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Offline NadoBrew

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Re: Kegged Hydromel Tips to Improve
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2020, 10:21:07 PM »
Thanks for the feedback. I am going to just drink through this one as I need the keg back and don't have a small carboy for a batch this size, but maybe I will save off a gallon using a 1-gallon jug and drink it in December.

So I had some more of the mead last night and noticed it was clearer and tasted better, but I also got too tipsy to be a good judge of the mead by that point. I overshot my desired ABV by a couple percentage points due to having to change the recipe to fit the keg (the desired fermentor was leaking) and was still treating it as a low ABV hydromel.

I just took a small glass of the mead (learned my lesson on giving myself nice-sized pours) and the drink is crystal clear (there are still a couple specs when I look closely). The taste is also much cleaner, but it lacks what I would describe as brightness. The brightness is how I would describe an expensive bottle of Bordeaux chardonnay vs Californian chardonnay. What is the best way in the future to get that warmth of flavor? Is the lack of complexity due to it not aging as well or because I used a cheaper version of honey and not a varietal like say orange blossom? I assumed because I was making a lower ABV mead, I could afford to use cheaper honey and not notice any issues with the final product.

I had cold crashed it for 2 weeks, but must have pulled from the trub in my first pour. Such a rookie mistake.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2020, 10:29:56 PM by NadoBrew »

Offline erockrph

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Re: Kegged Hydromel Tips to Improve
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2020, 10:42:28 PM »
Some meads need some acidity to give some brightness. Try dosing a little acid blend or citric acid in a glass and see if that brightens things up.

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