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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
    Posts
    2,310

    Default Adding acid to balance mead

    Do any of you serious mead makers add acid to similar levels as found in wine? I just started a 40gal batch of mead and brought the acid to 8.5g/L and pH to 3.4 which is similar to both white and red wines. Since honey has very little titratable acid I thought I would add to the levels mentioned with tartaric. There is a balancing act where the right amout of alcohol, acid and tannin are pleasing to the taste but mead is a different animal from wine and I am not certain if the acid will impart a sour taste to the mead and if it does if that can be balance with some oak tannin.
    I guess I am trying to make a mead taste a little more like a wine (more complex).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,046

    Default

    Hoo, forty gallons, way to go! I briefly did adjust TA in musts, but now I only add it later if the mead needs it for flavor. The dynamics of mead are different, as you say, and I figured why have the acidity in at the getgo and risk pH as a factor in poor yeast performance. But overall I think it's a minor concern compared to the flavor and mouthfeel impact. Most recipes call for some sort of acid addition to firm up the mead a bit, and tannins and acids certainly help people who enjoy wine begin to explore mead with some common ground.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
    Posts
    2,310

    Default

    Ben,

    I did adjust the pH to 3.4 with potassium carbonate because the 8.5g/L acid put the pH just below 3.0 which as you indicated could harm the yeast. Do you think the acid levels that I have borrowed from grape wine production will throw the flavor of mead off?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,046

    Default

    Hard to tell from my armchair! It depends on a lot of things: your taste preference, the finished sweetness/dryness of the mead, other flavor, body and mouthfeel contributors. The flavor probably won't be "off" in the sense of not enjoyable, just different. One idea if you might make large batches in subsequent years: take that large 40-gallon must and split it up into 5-gallon or 10-gallon samples. Adjust the TA in one a little bit, another all the way. One don't touch at all as a control. Try different yeast strains with the same must to really get a feel for what they contribute. Tannin one, don't another. You get the picture. Take good notes .
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
    Posts
    2,310

    Default

    Ben,

    I have always wanted to do just as you described. I am a scientist by day and love to approach variables scientifically but just as with the bee yard I am always up against the clock and usually compromise in favor of the other project that is calling my name. I hope I can have more time someday to tinker more methodically.

    Thanks for the input.

    Chris

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Nevada County, CA
    Posts
    1,083

    Default

    I haven't made mead for years, but I always used tannic acid as part of the original recipe. In addition I aged it for a year in oak kegs and aged it another three or four before using it to let it get rid of the "tanney" taste. It never did come out tasting like wine, just tasted like mellow, mellow mead with a kick like watered down white lightning.
    doug

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Nevada County, CA
    Posts
    1,083

    Default

    I haven't made mead for years, but I always used tannic acid as part of the original recipe. In addition I aged it for a year in oak kegs and aged it another three or four in glass before using it to let it get rid of the "tanney" taste. It never did come out tasting like wine, just tasted like mellow, mellow mead with a kick like watered down white lightning.
    doug

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