View Full Version : Sparkling Mead Question

05-16-2006, 05:16 AM
I made this mead on 02/18/2006:

15 pounds of Clover Honey from Costco
1 Tbs. Gypsum
4 tsp. Acid Blend
1 Tbs. C. L. Carlson Yeast Nutrient
1 Irish Moss Tablet
1 Package Lalvin EC-1118 Champaign Yeast

I followed Papazian's instructions to the 'T' and it came out exactly like the book said it would. I racked it after it was crystal clear and it has been in the secondary for about 5 weeks now. There is ZERO activity through the airlock and there is no sediment that I can detect with the naked eye on the bottom of the carboy, and man is this stuff clear. In other words 'it is done'.

I'm thinking about making a sparkling mead out of this but need some help. Specifically:

1) How much honey do I prime the approx. 4 3/4 gallons with?
2) Do I need to add any additional yeast?
3) If so, what kind? I'm assuming EC-1118?
4) Will Grolsch bottles be strong enough?

As always, your help is greatly appreciated !

05-16-2006, 08:26 AM
I guess it depends on how MUCH carbonation you would like. What I have done in the past for carbonating beer in the bottles is to add 1/4 cup corn sugar along with a 1/4 tsp of dry yeast. This is supposed to get you about 2 to 2.5 volumes of CO2. This is similiar to the carbonation levels of most beer and is what I usually shoot for in a sparkling mead, you certainly can go higher or lower. Since honey is in liquid form you would need to add a little more to get the same carbonation level, I am not sure what that additional amount might be.

As far as how much pressure the bottles can handle, this is a good question. I know mazers that mostly bottle in 12 or 22oz beer bottles, these can certainly hold the pressure stated above. If you are using wine bottles that might be another story. I have not put a sparkling mead in wine bottles, perhaps others on the forum can chime in with their experience.


05-16-2006, 08:42 AM

Grolsch bottles will work fine. As for the yeast issue, from your description it sounds like you have zero yeast, so you will need to add some to achieve some carbonation. Use the same type of yeast unless you are looking to get some other flavor profile in your Mead. As for quantity of priming sugar, check out John Palmer's chart at http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter11-4.html (ftp://http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter11-4.html). If you are going to use honey to prime, you will need to add approximately 15% to 20% extra to account for the water content of the honey.

Good luck.


05-16-2006, 10:23 AM
The link Angus meant is here. (http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter11-4.html). Cool link Angus, Thanks!


05-16-2006, 01:09 PM
Thanks folks .... Some more questions:

1) Should I aerate the mead when I add my honey and yeast?
2) Do I bottle right away after or let it sit for awhile?
3) How long should it take before it is fully carbonated?
4) Honey vs. Priming Sugar - Any advantage of one over the other?
5) Should I use my newly acquired Lees Stirrer to blend it together?

Sorry if the answers should be obvious, but I'm new to this .... I've never even made beer !!!!!

05-16-2006, 02:47 PM
Hey GrantLee,

Before adding honey, sugar or yeast to prime this mead for bottling, you might want to check it with a hydrometer to sure the gravity is at or below 1.000.

I've had Lalvin EC-1118 ferment to 25% abv. Adding additional sugar and/or yeast can be problematic if there is residual sugar in the mead, I know this from having had to uncap/cork and loose 4 cases of mead last year, well not a total lose, drank as much as we could and made vinegar from the rest.

But I got lucky, had I not seen the 3 or 4 bottles that had started to seep and checked it could have been a real problem when they started to break from excess pressure.

A better tool for calculating exactly how much honey/sugar is needed to prime for a givin carbonation level is this one - http://hbd.org/cgi-bin/recipator/recipator/carbonation.html - no guess work or estimation.

Ohh... And Do Not measure you priming medium with a cup or spoon, use a scale. Uncapping/corking bottle's that are hissing is very scary, not nearly as scary as the ones which are not making noise!

1. No, do not aerate.

2. bottle as soon as it mixed.

3. at least a week, 2 or 3 might ne better.

4. Fermentability, about; 55% for Dried Malt Extract, 84% for honey, 95% for corn sugar & 100% for cane sugar.

5. No, do not aerate. Dissolve the priming medium in a quart of warm water, add this to your bottling bucket then rack the mead onto it. As the mead drains into the sugar water it will mix itself.

Learning from my mistakes,


05-16-2006, 06:06 PM
Dmntd - Excellent Link - THANK YOU !

I will verify the SG is 1.000 or lower. I still need to acquire some more Grolsch bottles before I do anything, as I only have enough for 3 gallons.

I think everyone's replies pretty much summed things up for me, but I no doubt will have some more questions when I'm actually ready to bottle.

Thanks to all .... again !

05-16-2006, 06:29 PM
One other thing... With EC-1118, if the abv is below or around 18%, you'll likely not need to add yeast for bottle conditioning.

I bottled a braggot fermented with EC-1118 which finished at 17% abv, it carbonated just fine.

One of the meads I had to uncork last year was fermented with EC-1118. There had been no activity it the airlock for months and it was 25% abv, so I figured it had to be done and bottled without checking the gravity.

A week later and much to my surprise, I here a popping sound and fizzing while watching TV. Walked into the dinning room and see the top of a case of mead is wet, turned it upright opened the box and caught a cork in the face, just missed my eye.


05-17-2006, 08:51 PM
No yeast? What about a 1/4 teaspoon with the honey and water? I obviously want to make sure I get this stuff sparkling !

05-17-2006, 11:08 PM
Whats the A.B.V.?

If it's below 15% you shouldn't need to add yeast having used EC-1118, it will go to 18%.