How to tell if my mead is safe to drink?

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How to tell if my mead is safe to drink?

Postby cascade » Tue May 17, 2005 10:02 am

Hello all,

I made mead, probably 2 years ago by now. Just plain old honey, no fancy recipe. I had some problems with stopped fermentation, and ended up with a low alcohol content (barely 9% if I remember correctly) from what I measured way back. I racked it once, and it has been in a carbouy for more than a year. At one point my air lock had gone dry around the time I moved, and I don't know for how long, but I do keep it maintenanced now.

A couple of weekends ago I had some friends over, drinking beer and having a good time, and someone suggested we taste the mead. Since I figured the batch a loss with all the problems, I said what the heck. So I sanitized a piece of tubing (new, unused fuel line for my nitro RC car), and syphoned out a small glass. Suprisingly, it tasted good. Rather week, but definatly drinkable.

I ended up drinking most of the sample myself - probably out 3 or 4 ounces. Now someone told me that home brews can turn into bad alcohol, and you will get a headache. After drinking the sample, I may have gotten a headache. I'm not sure, but I might have. Or maybe it was ll my imagination since I already have this bad alcohol/headache thing swimming around in my head anyway, or maybe it was because I had already drank a good portion of beer that night, and I'm not a big drinker to begin with.

But to get on with this post, how do I tell if my mead is drinkable or not? Like I said, it tasted fine - actually rather good, but I don't want to bottle stuff up that will make people sick, or give them raging headaches because their drinking home brewed racing fuel. Several friends are quite excited for me to bottle this up and drink it.

Also, if I determine it is good to drink, what size bottles should I bottle in? for me, the fewer the bottles the better, but I want to bottle it so it lasts (if it is good to begin with).


Thanks for any replies!
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Postby cascade » Tue May 17, 2005 9:29 pm

I suppose the best way to answer the questions of whether my mead is good to drink or not, is to drink it.

I racked to the pot that was used to boil the original water honey mix, or however I did it - probably a gallon and a half at a time. I added wine conditioner (liquid invert suger, and potassium sorbate) at the minimum recommened dose (2oz per gallon), and bottled from there.

All the through the bottling process, I've been "testing" my mead, and after drinking about 8 ounces, I have a fat buzz. The mead came out super clear, with a nice honey color; No burn when you drink it, but a palletable flavor, although a little bland. I couldn't drink alot of this at one sitting, but you really don't need to, since one glass tore me up.

Thinking back to the brewing process, I believe I racked twice after the original fermentation, and let it set almost a year. There was a wee bit of sediment in the carboy, but I don't believe that had any adverse affect on the outcome.

If anyone that helped me out with questions on the is board back in fall '03 happen upon this thread, I want to thank you for the help with all my questions. Even with a few problems, my mead turned out better than expected for a first time brewing experience, and I probably woudn't have done as well without the knowledge gained from my posts.

If anyone falls upon this post that is thinking of trying a batch of mead, look back to my previous posts from '03. Many questions where answered by the folks from this board. You'll probably find alot of what you need there.

Two questions I do have, is when bottling, I have a varied amount of space left in the bottles between the end of the liquid and the top of the bottle. Is this going to cause a problem? The varience id probably between 3/4 of an inch to an inch and 1/2.

The second question concernes the intermediate racking. I racked 3 times to my pot before bottling, and I was wondering if the flavor will be different between each rack due to settling or anything like that. I tried to notice a difference in flavor, but I have to much if a buzz to tell.


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If it tastes good, drink it

Postby richanne » Thu May 19, 2005 4:36 pm

Sounds like your mead is just fine. It would be better to age it in the bottles than in a fermenter, but if it tastes good, it probably is good. Of course, although many meads get better with age, there is a limit after which they will turn without preservatives. As for mead headaches, many people report getting them after drinking several glasses, although the mead may be perfectly good mead. It's just not a beverage that is good enjoyed in excess.
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