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Mead gone bad?

Hello all,

I have a mead bottled about 3 years ago that I just remembered about. Looking atthe batch was a sweet mead around 21% ABV. The corks were soaked in metabisulfite solution , corked, and the top of the bottle dipped in wax. Looking at the bottle now, the cork has blackened a little despite the mead being clear with some fine yeast residue in the bottle. Without opening one of these up, is it possible the mead is tainted because of mold? I would think the abv would keep funky stuff in check but maybe I have a bunch of garbage at this point. I am usually pretty great about my sanitation but not sure about with the metabisulfite.

How did you get a 21% sweet mead?
You are going to have to open one up.

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Got 21% with an expensive amount of honey, some yeast nutrient and energizer, little warmer fermentation that took about 2 months in the primary. There is still a bunch of sugar but I pushed the yeast to its absolute maximum. I can’t find my notes and it might actually be a little less. I do know it is basically distillable.

It’s probably fine.
But be careful opening the bottle…unless you are positive that the fermentation actually was terminated by the high alcohol content, the cork could blow,
When I’ve made stronger meads, I always transferred them to a secondary vessel after a month or two and left them in secondary for almost a full year (and there was certainly still some residual fermentation happening while in the secondary). I wanted to be sure ALL fermentation was finished prior to bottling, not only for saftey reasons, but also to avoid carbonation (I hate fizzy mead!!) The results though were most definitely worth the wait, and the mead turned out beautifully semi-dry but with excellent honey “character”. After five years in bottle, it was phenomenal.

I opened one up a little bit ago. Fermentation was definitely done, no pressure no fizzy. Im not sure if it’s bad or if I just don’t like mead that much. Haven’t had a commercial variety to compare to so I don’t know if mine is different or if that’s just mead.

Since you added so much honey to the mead and a super high alcohol tolerance yeast ( like Red Star) in an effort to get super high alcohol your mead probably is a little too sweet tasting, more of a desert mead than a dry mead… Next time go with a little less honey for a potential ABV of about 18% (assuming you want rocket fuel mead). That way the yeast will survive to convert all of the sugars for a drier taste but still have a high ABV.

I’ve made high alcohol mead (18%) but dilute it to about 12% when serving it to friends.

I’ve done quite a few other meads as well varying from super dry to super sweet. I also found my recipe from 10 relocations ago. For some reason I thought 21 but it ended up at 16%. I was waaaay off. In all cases though I’m still not sure I was impressed. The only one I somewhat enjoyed way the high alcohol sweet mead and that was when it was young. As it aged I became less thrilled with it. I know it’s sealed well as I put wax on the bottles so oxidation isnt really a concern

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