1

I never aged mead before, I usually just let them finish the fermentation, back-sweet with honey, bottle and drink in a few days/weeks.

I make my mead in glass bottles of 750ml, 1L and 1.5L (I don't have a big carboy, they are very expensive here). I have a 1.5 L that I wish to age for a year to test. My question are:

  1. Is 1 year aging a good starting point?
  2. Should I rack it before aging? If yes, how many times?
  3. Should I rack it after aging?
  4. Should I back-sweet it before or after aging?
  5. In case of back-sweeting, should I pasteurize the mead or add any chemicals to kill the yeast? Which?
  6. I live in a subtropical climate place, with temperatures ranging from -5°C(23°F) to 35°C(95°F), will it be possible to age in ambient temperature or should I leave it in my refrigerator?
5

1: I year is good. 5 years can often be better!

2: Yes, rack before ageing/conditioning. Once is enough, just to take the young mead off the precipitated yeast.

3: No

4: Neither is possibly better. But you are the brewer and can adjust as you prefer.

5 No. Pasteurising is probably a bad move. Adding chemicals can be done - but why? Mead is usually sufficiently alcoholic to be stable. Better to use a yeast that has the desired degree of attenuation with an initial surplus of honey. One can use a non fermentable sweetener (lactose, stevia) but that would not be a very authentic mead.

6.Good question.... The usual answer is to leave in a cool dark place like a cellar. But a shaded place that has least temperature variation and does not freeze will do. A refrigerator can be used but it is not optimal. I have conditioned beer in a fridge for 18 months just to see what happened. The result was possibly slightly worse than conditioning at room temperature

Answer to comment below: There is no particular need to use one type of yeast. Some are happy with what they have and others are forever looking for the perfect yeast. Different yeasts ferment to different levels of alcohol. Attenuation is a measure the yeast ability to convert sugar to alcohol. Or perhaps the level of alcohol a yeast will stop fermenting at. Low Attenuation = lower levels of alcohol in final brew. High attenuation yeast = higher final level of alcohol. But choosing the yeast and adding an excess of honey for that level of attenuation one can vary the level of alcohol and level of sweetness in the final product. A dry mead is produced where there is just enough honey sugar to ferment to the level the yeast stops at. A sweet mead is made by adding more honey than the yeast can deal with. So some residual sweetness is left when the yeast has reached its preferred attenuation level. In this case it seems you need a lower attenuating yeast than the one you currently use. Alternatively you can use a non fermenting sweetener (like stevia) but some consider that cheating... Back sweetening is not bad it is just difficult to manage for anything other than immediate consumption in a "live" brew. If the mead yeast is still active then adding honey will cause it to ferment further. You could pasteurise the mead or add preservatives or growth inhibitors (like Ksorbate) but that would be a personal choice. I would prefer to arrive at the preferred sweetness by a more "organic" method such as choice of yeast. YMMV

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks for the reply. Why is back-sweeting is bad? My mead is usually too dry after fermentation if I go for 10% ABV, or too strong if I add a lot honey (tends to go above 14% ABV). Also, what is attenuation? – f.rodrigues Feb 14 '17 at 14:59
  • @f.rodrigues attenuation is how much of your sugars will be turned into alcohol by your yeast. This, and alcohol tolerance of yeast gives final sugar and alcohol content for given amount of sugar (honey) in your mead. Final result is about the same if you "backsweet". Only it probably will take much longer to reach it. This makes exploding bottles a real issue. – Mołot Feb 16 '17 at 10:26
  • Oh I got it. I'm currently using bread yeast, I read it would turn out cloudy and with some off flavors but it didn't happen, everyone likes the mead i'm currently making, the only problem is that it's really hard to get it out of the fermentation with the desired Alchohol Level AND sweetness. I'll try to find a Low Attenuation yeast, any suggestion? – f.rodrigues Feb 17 '17 at 19:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.