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My mead experiment, can it be saved?

Heres the recipe.

Made on 22 July 2012

80 oz Orange blossom honey
2 Packets Lavin D47
2.5 TSP Yeast Nutrient

Mixed with about 2-2.5 Gallons water in the carboy.

Fermented at about low-mid 70s(too high?) It’s been in the same carboy the whole time.

1.093 OG, fermented down to about 1.004 giving it 11.6 ABV.

I’d call it undrinkable at this point. I’ve heard mead takes a while to be ready, or completely ferment out. It has very strong alcohol smells/flavors. Am I just impatient and it will mellow out? Or at this point is it a lost cause. If so are there ways to save it? Fruits/other sugars to backsweeten it?

Have you racked it at anytime during the last year? if not start racking it every 30 days for another 6 months. If it’s to dry for you back sweeten it with sugar or more honey (Or wine conditioning sweetner) with each racking until you enjoy the taste. Kill of the yeast & rack again in another 30 & then bottle - wait another year before drinking.

Or bottle it the way it is now & wait a year.

11.6 ABV is not strong enough that it should have a strong alcohol smell, I suspect something else is going on. What yeast did you use, how much nutrients, and how long did the fermentation take? If the yeast was stressed (or if the temperature was higher than you thought) you may have some higher alcohols present. It’s pretty easy to tell; drink a few glasses and see if you get a massive hangover. If yes, higher alcohols.

If you have not racked it, you may be smelling autolysis of the yeast. I don’t know if there is a cure for that.

A very slow fermentation could have just extended the rough stage of the mead. Hopefully that’s the case, in which case capnkirk’s racking advice could help.

My first mead was JAO made with Fleischmann’s yeast and fermented at room temp. While not that big in ABV, the solventy fusels combined with the orange to make it taste just like how cheap glass cleaner smells. Bottled it and let it sit at ~60F, sampling one or two bottles a year. The 6th anniversary rolled around not too long ago and I chilled one of the few remaining bottles - it’s actually really good now with all the solvent aged out.

80 oz Orange blossom honey
2 Packets Lavin D47
2.5 TSP Yeast Nutrient

Yeast was pitched on the 22nd of July, by the 30th of July it was down to 1.005. Today it’s at 1.004.

Thanks Shade, good to hear some similar experience…kind of along the lines of what I was thinking. Bottle it, free up the better bottle and open the mead in a couple years.

Consider the Staggard Nutrient Additions on Hightest’s site for future meads.

Outside of the yeast being stressed by not having the nutrients they may need, your process looks sound.

Do as you mention, give it some time to age in the bottle.

To add: I accidentally made a +17% mead for a co-worker. He mentioned that he was mixing it with cola. It was heavy on the alcohol and had a lot of residual sugar. FG was 1.030ish. Almost a Brandy. So I mixed some of my 11% mead. Taste really good. Try mixing it with a soft drink.

Thanks for the link. I think I’m going to toss it in a bottle and forget about em.


I bet the mead will taste great, eventually. It just might take 6 or 7 years. I hope you are patient.

I also agree with the above recommendations for letting it age. You will be amazed at how well a mead will mellow with time. I also recommend using staggered nutrient additions and dropping your fermentation tamp. I would never consider letting fermentation temps reach 70F in my meads.

I can wait…I wont dump it. I was thinking Mead=1-2 years…not 6-7. Oh well, I have plenty of wine bottles.

For future reference, D47 is notorious for making a massive amount of fusels when fermented at or above 70 F. If you are stuck with those temperatures, try DV10 or KIV-1116.

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