View Full Version : cutting down rocket fuel / aka high alcohol content

02-18-2008, 09:04 PM
hey all. i've been putting off new batches while i tweak/ age the ones i already have.

one thing i have gotten under my belt is high alcohol content. the majority of the recipes i have made are "good" but drinking them is more like doing shots instead. one 12 oz bottle knocked my neighbor for a loop for hours

[an example: neighbor had a b-day party, i brought over the beersi 've made, and a case of my "first" mead. warned everyone that tried it to hang up thier keys ; one fellow in particular, took a liking to it. i had to flag him as he had to report for duty that night (military) he was still wobbly at 0300 (3:00am) when we drove him in or risk a no show.

i have pondered and gone over my notes, and i believe i know what not to do for the next ones,. the problem now is that no one will drink them cause they don't want to get ripped.

my thought was to split the batches, then make new, unfermented batches and mix them, then age.

any thoughts, advise, suggestions on how to "cut" the strength without sacrificing the taste/flavor?

02-18-2008, 09:45 PM
Some of what I've learned at this most *spectacular* site is the beauty of the biology of yeast. If you know the specs of it (i.e. it's alcohol tolerance), that can help you to plan your recipe. Even with that, I've read that "feeding" your yeast can take it beyond the expected alcohol range.. :drunken_smilie:
As for fixing it, I have an idea or two, but I'd leave it up to those who know what they're doing.

02-18-2008, 10:27 PM
So, it's already bottled? Personally I wouldn't mess with it, but just ration it when drinking. For future batches, just use a different yeast strain and a lower gravity to bring the alcohol content down.

You can also mix it with, say, sparkling water when pouring it into a glass. Cuts down the ABV and adds bubbles!

02-18-2008, 10:44 PM

Hey there! Lyn says Hi!

Um, could you post up a recipe of one that has the high ABV and we can rip it apart. . . . in a nice way! :wave:



02-19-2008, 12:24 AM

tell lynn i said hi!

its not one batch or recipe its every batch i've made so far :)

2 versions of my "numitz" spiced mead, 1 earl grey, (meth), several 1 gal experiments of cider, and 2 batches of chocolate mead.

the high content is from a combo of house temp, step feeding, and not reading/updating my notes.

now i just need to tone them down. :)

i switched from a desktop, to a laptop that was supposed to be dedicated for my motorcycle repair and brewing
, seems that hubby did a half /@#$ed job of that so i have to serch for my notes. base recipes i have and will post in a bit

02-19-2008, 02:11 AM
grr! hubby deleted my files from the desktop and didn't check to make sure they were copied to my external!

okay lets see...

"Earl Grey Mead (First) Base recipe for 2 different batches.

Ingredients: 5 gal batch
24 oz pear juice, unstrained 48 oz
lb honey 10 lbs
lb sugar 10 lbs
100 oz water (about) 640 oz - 5 gal
10 bags of Earl Gray Tea 20 bags
1/4 teaspoon of bread yeast 5 grams 1 1/4 teaspoons
1 egg white
Boil honey, water and tea for 1 hour. Near the end add a little cinnamon,
ginger, clove, rosemary and the egg white. Remove from heat and let stand till
warm as removing the scum. Now add the yeast, dissolved in warm water. This brew
can be drank in as little as 48 hours, but will be extremely raw.
After a weeks time, add 1 lb of sugar and let ferment. After about 2 weeks more,
add the rest of the sugar. This will strengthen it and give a better flavor and
keep the mead from "drying out".
For fining the wine, take the shell from an egg that has been dried and powder
it with a pinch of salt. Take this and add it to the white of one egg and some
wine from your vat and gently stir all back into the brew. Let set for about 2
to 4 days and then filter and bottle the wine. This is a nice natural way with
out the use of chemicals. "

my notes (what i can remember) everything cleaned, sanitized.

batch 1:
i left out the pear juice, on the first batch i used millers clover honey, and yeah i used the house sugar. this was my first batch after a 7 yr break.
20 bags of earl grey tea, (cause the recipe called for it), boiled the water made a Large pot of tea, added 5 thin cinnimoon sticks (store bought, not fresh), aprox 3 oz fresh ginger peeled and diced, 12 whole cloves broken by hand, five pounds of sugar, and three sprigs of store bought, packaged, rosemary. not the dried chopped stuff, the herbs that come in a plastic container you find in the fruit section.

added the eggwhite (for clarifying?) and watched it turn to super chunky egg drop soup. fished out the egg with a strainer, skimmed the foam off the top for about 30 minutes.

added honey after flame out around 150 degree's. did not use the eggshells, or the bread yeast (at first) i had purchased DYW85 for this. (hydrated in 70 degree wort with go-ferm.

second batch was no pear juice, or egg whites, same amount of clover honey, same amount of sugar, spices were black licorice root, sweet orange peel, and paradise seed. otherwise all else was the same including yeast.

at the 1/4 sugar break added 2.5 lbs of sugar to each batch, at this point fermentaion had slowed to startling my cat every few minutes, hubby panicked and dropped in 1/2 packet of red star bread yeast in each bucket. (when asked about it , he claimed that he got nervous 'cause he moved the buckets out of their hiding spot to use the wall socket behind them) also added recomended amounts of ferm-aid at these time. at half way added last 2.5 lbs of sugar, nutrient.

i do not have sg, og, or fg the files are lost. (either wiped "on accident" or were on the hard drive that went south).

both batches were started in early October 2006 and were drinkable by jan 2007.

02-19-2008, 03:51 AM

The heat and the sugar are killing you. Basically you're appoaching mead making as if you are brewing and while that can work, a different approach will help really ratchet your end product way up. Try a couple of things a bit differently and I'm sure that you can kiss the fusel, rocket fuel and hot alcohol goodbye. In mead making we call the honey, water mixture must rather than wort, and heat is a thing of the past unless you're specifically trying to recreate historic mead recipes that called for heating. Or, if you have a specific recipe that is tried and true that you are making.

For your spice recipe try this:

Not Your Average Blonde So Cal Meth Monster

Basic must (6 Gallon Yield):
18 lbs Mesquite, Sage or Alfalfa honey (a 7:3 mix in favor of the Mesquite to Sage Honey is *very* nice!)
02 12oz Cans frozen cranberry juice concentrate (no sugar added)
Water to six gallons, dissolve honey completely in your mix bucket using a long handled spoon or lees stirrer
Balance your must to a Specific Gravity of 1.130

Additional ingredients:
01 Zest of 1 large Tangelo
01 Zest of 1 Grapefruit or Plumello
03 Ceylon cinnamon quills crushed (I use a mortal and pestle)
05 Cloves crushed
10 Allspice berries crushed
02 gr Grains of Paradise (or more to your taste, you may also use Nasturcium flowers)
06 Cardamon seeds crushed (or more to your taste)
15 Coriander seeds (or more to your taste)
01 Ginger Root segment (about 1 thumb's worth sliced paper thin)
02 tsp Grape Tannin in must

Add the additional ingredients once the basic must has been mixed, measured and brought to the correct starting gravity, in this case 1.130. Stir in all the additional ingredients prior to pitching your yeast inoculum. Let the spices float free in the fermentation bucket throughout the fermentation, you may always add more in the secondary if so desired.

This recipe is designed with R2 in mind. See here (http://www.lallemandwine.us/products/yeast_strains.php#R2) for yeast information, and see here (http://www.lallemandwine.us/products/yeast_chart.php) for the Lallemand yeast reference chart. R2 can be a somewhat fastidious yeast with higher nitrogen needs than other yeasts, so be aware that you may need to dose with Fermaid-K at the 2/3 sugar break.

Rehydration of your Active Dry Yeast:
Prepare a solution of 100 ml H20 @110 F + 7.5 g Go-Ferm
Add 6 g of R2 when temperature drops to 104 F and let stand 15 - 30 minutes max
Decant 1/2 gallon must into your fermentation vessel and inoculate with re-hydrated yeast solution, and finish filling to 6 gallons; and aerate well
Cover carboy mouth with sanitized cloth and secure
Watch for foaming which indicates the end of the lag phase

Fermentation Management:
At the end of the lag-phase (when the must develops foam on the surface) aerate well and add a mixture of 4 grams Fermaid-K and 2 grams DAP rehydrated in 50 ml H2O
Aerate twice daily until 33% sugar break, swirl your carboy daily to keep the yeast in suspension
At 33% sugar break add 6 grams Fermaid K rehydrated in 50 ml H2O and aerate well
Airlock and cover to keep from the light
As the fermentation begins to slow make sure to check your SG daily and when it is down to about 1.030, give it a final very slow stir or swirl (you don't want to aerate at this point, just get the yeast into suspension again). Let the carboy stand for 12 hours or so and rack.

Let the mead clear and rack again.

Check your SG every other month and once it has been stable without changes in SG for a year, rack one final time.

Bottle or continue to age in your carboy until you feel it's ready to keg or bottle.

Hope that helps,


I'll leave this recipe in this section for a couple of weeks and then move it into the Patrons Section.

02-19-2008, 06:46 AM
WOW i have a recipe from oskaar!! heh nice name for this recipe. what was your inspiration? (curious)

the recipe i followed (kind of) i had gotten from an SCA site about 8 -10 yrs ago. i think it was listed along with some of Sir Digby's and Master Terrefan's recipes. back when gotmead.com was a babe. and it wasn't untill months after i made the earl grey that i attempted to make my first beer.

i realized with research and this fantastic site that they were not the best way to go.

i only boil water and spices, no heat for the honey, and have/ am working on a beer fridge / conditioning cabinet for those hot So Cal months with no a/c.

i will most definately follow this recipe you posted. now i just need to figure out how to reduce the 17% hooch i have already made!


02-19-2008, 01:43 PM
Most people think my meths are monsterous so Meth Monster is from there, So Cal Blonde color of the mead with honey from So Cal.

Try your hot stuff over some sparkling mineral water.



02-19-2008, 02:20 PM
of course you realize that by posting this recipe, you have opened the topic up for more questions.

such as: 7:3 mix of honeys, by the way it was written the mesquite gets the bigger ratio, but on what scale? ozs, pounds? also the next question would be where does oskaar get mesquite honey?

the link for the site is throwing errors, andd i have honey locator open; millers is not listing it.

also for the ginger, your thumb is bigger than mine! :laughing7:

looking at the recipe, i hope hubby new orders will be for cali otherwise i'll be moving this bad boy cross country in a carboy! new orders in feb 2009. :o

02-19-2008, 03:17 PM
Mesquite Honey: Trader Joe's, Millers, Bennett Honey Farms

Ratio of mesquite: Whatever 70% of 18 lbs works out to. Remember lbs is only for approximation, use your hydrometer for SG accuracy.

Ginger: Try a 3-4 inch segment, that should do.

Which specific link?



02-19-2008, 03:19 PM
He's working in hogsheads, of course! ;D

Sorry, that was a bit flippant! :-[ To be serious for a moment, no matter what units you use, the ratio stays constant as long as you measure both component honeys in exactly the same scale. So for his 18 lb total, that would be about 12.6 lbs of mesquite and 5.4 lbs of sage. In volume, that's a little over a gallon of the mesquite and a little less than a half gallon of sage.

Personally I just wanna see him crush those cinnamon sticks "mortally" with that pestle! :D

02-19-2008, 03:57 PM
Which specific link?



this one: http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_sobi&Itemid=34


02-19-2008, 03:59 PM
apologies, main site page, "find mead and supplies"


no worries