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View Full Version : Gravity - How low is too low?



Gelthoth
06-19-2006, 12:30 AM
Hello all,

My first batch is still fermenting away, and I even sampled it for the first time today. It was particularly (To my uneducated tastes) quite hot and there wasn't a lot of honey flavor to it. I took my hydrometer and measured it and found that the current gravity is 1.002. I know that's a "dry" mead, but I wonder how far should I let it go? The original gravity was 1.094 and that was just eight days ago.

-Gelthoth

lostnbronx
06-19-2006, 12:59 AM
Gelthoth,

Can you post up your exact recipe and procedure?

If it's still fermenting, I'd let it go until it's done. You can always backsweeten to get it to a flavor level you like. Hotness is a common condition in young meads, which fades with time, and dry meads will typically seem to lose their scent and some flavor until they are aged. Sweetening them can often bring those things back sooner, but it really depends on your recipe.

-David

jaysbrew
06-19-2006, 07:10 AM
Gelthoth,

With your starting gravity, you are likely to go as low as .995 or so. That would be the level to expect for complete dryness.


Cheers,
Jay

Gelthoth
06-19-2006, 08:51 AM
Thanks for the responses.

So is a drop of around .1 a common fermentation? The book that I'm reading (The Compleat Meadmaker) listed it as an expectation, as well as a chart for types of mead with .990 being the end of the dry scale. However, I haven't found anything in the book to say how far it can go. Can a mead go lower than .990?

I was just wondering how far to expect it to go, and wonder if the hydrometer slipped beneathe the surface is it not going to be drinkable. Granted, I understand that I have about six months to go prior to it being barely aged enough to drink; but having the gravity drop .092 in eight days startled me.

-Gelthoth

Pewter_of_Deodar
06-19-2006, 11:05 AM
Gelthoth,

It sounds like you had a VERY active fermentation but I think those sort of numbers are achievable. I've had one batch go to .992 or .994 before (grape wine).

Oskaar,
What kind of gravity drops do you see with the micro-oxygenation and nutrients?

Thanks,
Pewter

Oskaar
06-19-2006, 12:12 PM
Hey Gelroth,

Lostnbronx asked below for your exact recipe which is contains information that will help us give you an idea of what gave you such a quick fermentation.

Please post up your recipe and all the gory detail and we can be of more help.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Gelthoth
06-19-2006, 09:01 PM
15 lbs. of a local honey
4 gallons of purified water
Two foil packs of Lalvin 71B-1122
2 teaspoons of nutrient
1 teaspoon of energizer

Pretty straight forward recipe. I didn't boil the must. Pitching temp was about 80 degrees and has been over the course of the fermentation. The fermentation has taken place in a closet away from all light (Except when I've checked the hydrometer a few times)

-Gelthoth

Keln
06-20-2006, 09:07 AM
I bottled a Chardonnay several weeks ago that was 0.995 about. From my understanding, the SG really just indicates sugar content (as far as we're concerned), so if you don't have more sugar than the yeast can process before dying from alcohol content, then your SG will be pretty darn low since the sugar content will be, well, pretty darn low making it lighter in comparison to water than before. If you consider mead is a mixture of honey, which is denser than water, water, and eventually aclohol...and that the majority of what is dense in the honey sinks to the bottom, and the sugar which is converted to alcohol and CO2. And that alcohol is much "lighter" than water (SG of about 0.790), then an alcoholic beverage which is clear and high in alcohol content can definatly become less dense than straight water. In fact, the water itself in your mead is what keeps the SG closer to 1.000 than it might otherwise be if it was only a mixture of alcohol and flavours. It seems to me that an SG of higher than 1.000 on your beverage is mainly due to sugar and what ever other "impurities" which impart the desireable flavour to it.

I think it also depends alot on the yeast and how aggressive it is after the sugars. The yeast I used for that super dry chardonnay was very very agressive and was practically frothing in the first few days of fermentation.

Perhaps you could consider that the lower the SG, the "purer" it is..but then at the risk of losing flavour I suppose. At any rate, I am no expert and these are only my thoughts on it. I can really just say "yes" I have had a low SG on a wine. :D

Sander
06-20-2006, 09:26 AM
The final gravity of a mead depends on a lot of factors...
A pure alcohol/water mixture of 12% ABV has a SG of about .980 (More alcohol will give a lower SG). Since there's more in a mead than just water and alcohol the SG will be higher. My dry meads usually end around .995. I usually get a .1 drop in 6-8 days. Don't worry you'll be fine. What kind of mead are you after: do you want it dry? Otherwise you should add more honey...

Keln
06-20-2006, 05:12 PM
What's a good thumbrule for ensuring a dry mead? honey per gallon I mean. 3lbs?

WRATHWILDE
06-20-2006, 07:27 PM
It really depends on your yeast, usually anything less than 12 pounds in 5 gallons will go dry with a wine yeast, but the less honey you use the thinner your mead.

Wrathwilde

Gelthoth
06-20-2006, 07:52 PM
Don't worry you'll be fine. What kind of mead are you after: do you want it dry? Otherwise you should add more honey...


Well, I wasn't after a specific style, to be honest. This is my first batch and according to the recipe it was suppose to be a "Medium mead". With what the hydrometer says and its taste, I'll probably add honey once all the yeast is gone to sweeten it to taste. I think for my next batch I'll go with Joe's Ancient Orange (Although most of my friends tell me I should make beer since it will be drinkable faster. ;D ).

-Gelthoth

WRATHWILDE
06-20-2006, 09:50 PM
my friends tell me I should make beer since it will be drinkable faster. ;D ).


I beg to differ, I haven't found a drinkable beer yet.

Wrathwilde

Keln
06-21-2006, 08:11 AM
I beg to differ, I haven't found a drinkable beer yet.

Wrathwilde


You haven't had a real beer then.