Metheglin or poison

For those making mead and related drinks
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bryanferry
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Metheglin or poison

Post by bryanferry » Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:31 am

Last year I attempted to make a batch of metheglin (with cinnamon and oranges). The ferment went well and transferred to a demi john. Racked later to another demi john and left well alone for a year.

Opened it at the weekend to put into litre bottles and in tasting it I may have spent/wasted a year making what can only be described as poison... :oops: There were no signs of infection and is clear with a yellow haze. Might have to track down some proper stuff for a comparison.

I'll take some along to my local brewers meeting and see what a group of professional drinkers make of it. Really not sure where I went wrong but i'll order some more mead yeast and start again. Hopefully to a better result.
Grainfather conical Green hop ale
Corny Keg 1 - Silver
Corny Keg 2 - Purple Ginger beer
Corny Keg 3 - Copper Belgian blonde
Demi Johns Mead, cherry wine, poisonous red wine

Planning: - Selling up spare equipment, better brewing area, St Austell big smoke, Mistletoe mafia clone

Robwalkeragain
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Re: Metheglin or poison

Post by Robwalkeragain » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:08 am

Is it dry? Dry can can be terrible, much nicer back sweetened with honey.

bryanferry
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Re: Metheglin or poison

Post by bryanferry » Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:21 pm

Cheers for that. I hadnt thought about back sweetening it. I'll try some decanting to see if its salvageable. I'll remember to use some fermentation stopper next time around before it gets too astringent.
Grainfather conical Green hop ale
Corny Keg 1 - Silver
Corny Keg 2 - Purple Ginger beer
Corny Keg 3 - Copper Belgian blonde
Demi Johns Mead, cherry wine, poisonous red wine

Planning: - Selling up spare equipment, better brewing area, St Austell big smoke, Mistletoe mafia clone

Carnot
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Re: Metheglin or poison

Post by Carnot » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:55 am

What honey did you use?

Chestnut honey can be pretty awful with off tastes. Most of my mead comes out on the dry side, but still very palatable. Newcomers to mead expect it to be sweet, but the yeast will ferment to about 16% alcohol so to achieve a sweet mead you really have to load up the sugar content of the must. An OG of something like 1150. Mine ferment down to about 0.996.

There are many views on back-sweetening. Some say back-sweeten with sweet mead and others says it can be done by adding honey/ sugar. If you go the later route you will have to kill off any yeast cells to prevent fermentation.

My mead comes out really clear. I wonder if the haze is the problem. So far I have not had to use flocculants- just time. One year is not much time for mead.

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Laripu
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Re: Metheglin or poison

Post by Laripu » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:08 am

I almost always make dry meads. I like the taste, they're not astringent. Normally somewhere in the 8 to 11% range.

I siphon off the yeast into another glass FV every 3 months over the course of the year.

Here's a guess: did you leave it on the same yeast for a year? The yeast can eventually die and go through autolysis, meaning the yeast cell's lysosomes (aka "suicide sacs") break open and the enzymes are released causing the yeast to digest itself. Also known as autophagy: the yeast eats itself.

Well, that can, um, taste bad. I can't know, but I wonder whether that's what happened.

I make mead with various kinds of honey: Québec buckwheat honey, Florida orange blossom honey (and other Florida honey like gallberry) , generic grocery store honey (for ginger metheglin and pineapple melomel). Never had any off tastes.
Secondary: Khamsa, ancient ale. Barley malt, wheat malt, kamut, dates, and honey. 1.066, 27 BU
About to be bottled: Kvass, unhopped bread-based near-beer with German rye bread. ~2% abv
Bulk aging: tart cherry melomel, ~11% abv
Drinking:
1. "Old 11-ish", ginger braggot. ~11% abv
2. "Wee Drappie", dark ale, 4.7% abv, 28 BU
3. "X", Canadian style blond ale, 6% abv, 25 BU

TheSumOfAllBeers
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Re: Metheglin or poison

Post by TheSumOfAllBeers » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:48 am

If you wish to back sweeten, cant you introduce some maltodextrin? You could buy some powder, or steep some cara pilsner / dextrin malt

Is this a trick that mead makers favour?

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Laripu
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Re: Metheglin or poison

Post by Laripu » Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:22 pm

TheSumOfAllBeers wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:48 am
If you wish to back sweeten, cant you introduce some maltodextrin? You could buy some powder, or steep some cara pilsner / dextrin malt

Is this a trick that mead makers favour?
I can't answer for other mead makers, but I do use carapils or 10L crystal malt to add some residual sweetness to ginger metheglin.

Another good trick is very small quantities of pure stevia. Like 2 or 3 grams in a 23L batch.
Secondary: Khamsa, ancient ale. Barley malt, wheat malt, kamut, dates, and honey. 1.066, 27 BU
About to be bottled: Kvass, unhopped bread-based near-beer with German rye bread. ~2% abv
Bulk aging: tart cherry melomel, ~11% abv
Drinking:
1. "Old 11-ish", ginger braggot. ~11% abv
2. "Wee Drappie", dark ale, 4.7% abv, 28 BU
3. "X", Canadian style blond ale, 6% abv, 25 BU

oldbloke
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Re: Metheglin or poison

Post by oldbloke » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:58 pm

For sweetening I now always use lactose. It can go in at the start as it's not fermentable, and has none of the off tastes other artificial sweeteners have

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Laripu
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Re: Metheglin or poison

Post by Laripu » Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:38 am

oldbloke wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:58 pm
For sweetening I now always use lactose. It can go in at the start as it's not fermentable, and has none of the off tastes other artificial sweeteners have
True, lactose is harmless. I've used a pound in a 23 litre batch of stout, and couldn't really detect it. How much do you need to use and how much does it sweeten?

To sweeten with pure stevia, for a 23 litre batch, I'd use at most 3 grams. Since stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar, that's the equivalent of 900 grams of table sugar.

From what I've read (and is it true?) lactose is one fifth the sweetness of table sugar, so for 3 grams of stevia = 900 grams of sugar, you would need 4500 grams of lactose.

Even if that estimate is off by a whopping 25%, that would still be over 3 kg of lactose, in a 23 L batch of beer.

Is any of that correct in your experience, or have I made a huge mistake somewhere?

As to stevia, it's a natural sweetener extracted from a plant (typically in China :shock:), but it does have a certain bitterness to some people. My wife, in particular, doesn't like it much. I can't really taste anything off. I think it's a bit like cilantro: some people (not me or my wife) say cilantro tastes like soap. I think there must be a genetic disposition for one or the other.
Secondary: Khamsa, ancient ale. Barley malt, wheat malt, kamut, dates, and honey. 1.066, 27 BU
About to be bottled: Kvass, unhopped bread-based near-beer with German rye bread. ~2% abv
Bulk aging: tart cherry melomel, ~11% abv
Drinking:
1. "Old 11-ish", ginger braggot. ~11% abv
2. "Wee Drappie", dark ale, 4.7% abv, 28 BU
3. "X", Canadian style blond ale, 6% abv, 25 BU

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