I pressed my cherry mead back in July, and looked in on it Saturday (8/25/07). I wanted to see if it had fermented out and if it was in danger of spoiling. To do that, I measured the specific gravity and the pH. An SG of 0.995 indicated that, yes, it was done fermenting. The pH was 3.56 which, along with sulfite additions, will protect it from spoilage organisms.
Tasting is important too (hey, somebody’s gotta do it!). It was clear with a light red color, had a subdued aroma, and a mild pleasant taste with a hint of cherries. This was different, and much better, than last year’s cherry mead. That one had a medicinal taste to it. I used the pomace from cherry wine to make the cherry mead both times, but this year I made sure to get the cherry wine off the skins after three days. Last year I left the cherry wine on the skins for over two weeks, so there were fewer “goodies” left in the cherries for the mead. I also made this year’s cherry mead to a lower alcohol level. I haven’t added any acid to this year’s mead, but tasting it makes me think it could use some.
I wrote about acidity in mead a little while ago, and it’s been at the back of my mind ever since. I’m starting to think that an acid titration might be useful in mead making after all. Such a test overstates the acidity because it includes the amount of gluconolactone along with the amount of acid in it’s result. But putting an upper limit on the acidity is better than nothing, so in the interest of gathering as much information as possible, I titrated the cherry mead. I got a value of 6 g/L.
What can I do with that number? One idea is to try and make it in the style of a dry white wine, which would mean a titratable acidity (TA) of 5 – 7.5 g/L, and aim for the high end of the range. I think that’s what I’ll do, knowing that it won’t be too much, and tasting it in six months or so to see if it needs more. Since I measured the TA as 6 g/L and I’m aiming for 7.5 g/L, I need to add about 5.7 grams of acid (I’ll use tartaric) to each gallon. That’s about a teaspoon, and I’ve sort of trial and erred my way to adding 1 teaspoon/gallon to flabby tasting meads anyway. Maybe “adjusting the acid to taste” is working better than I thought.
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