View Full Version : Why is corn sugar required in some meads?

07-17-2008, 01:31 AM
Good evening!

I just bottled my Ancient Orange mead tonight (it turned out great!) & am looking for another recipe to make. I have come accross several recipes that require corn sugar at bottling. Why is this & what can be used to substitute? Any response would be helpful.

Bright Blessings,


07-17-2008, 02:17 AM
Corn sugar is for priming in order to make your mead sparkling. You may do the same by using honey, although you'll need to use more honey as corn sugar is higher in sugar content. Use about 20 to 25 percent more honey than sugar.

Hope that helps,


07-17-2008, 09:32 PM
I'm going to point out that Oskaar's instructions are by weight, not volume. Also, check out the recipes here, since many of the recipes elsewhere are based on outdated meadmaking techniques.

07-17-2008, 10:35 PM
Thank you both!! I will keep that in mind when looking for a new recipe to try.


07-18-2008, 04:38 PM
I've seen 3/4 cup listed for a 5 gallon batch.

If someone was going to sparkle a JAO before bottling in 750ml wine bottles, how much would I need to deposit in each bottle?

07-18-2008, 06:45 PM
5 gallons is approximately 19 liters. So there are about 25 750ml bottles of mead in a full 5 gallon carboy. That means 3/4 of a cup, divided by 25, or about 0.030 cups of sugar into each bottle. While I know it is difficult to measure 30 thousandths of a cup (it's actually just a little under 1.5 teaspoons since there are 48 tsp in a one cup volume - not as bad as it first seems!), I like to show how the number is arrived at.

Hint: It is far easier to pre-dissolve that 3/4 cup of sugar in a little of the mead, and then add it in bulk back to the carboy and stir in slowly, before you rack into bottles. You'll get far more consistent sugar dosing that way. BTW - another hint - there is about the same amount of fermentable sugar in 1 level cup of honey as there is in 3/4 cup of granulated sugar. So, it is easy to remember that one 5 gallon carboy should get about 1 cup of honey as the primer for bottle carbonation!

Medsen Fey
07-18-2008, 07:10 PM
I've never tried to make a sparkling JAO, but since it is a sweet mead, it already has plenty of sugar, but the yeast have passed their alcohol tolerance. I'm thinking that priming with corn sugar won't make it sparkle in that case - but if someone has done this successfully, please chime in.

07-18-2008, 07:31 PM
all these replies and no one cautions about exploding bottles. wile adding sugar to make it sparkling be careful not to over do it because u can get exploding bottles if u add to much.

07-19-2008, 12:11 AM
Yup - I missed the reference to JAO. It is difficult to bottle condition (sparkle) a sweet mead, because the amount of carbonation and the residual sweetness (if any) can't be predicted reliably when you start with a sweet still mead. It is better to ferment to dryness, then add the carbonation sugar charge and if necessary, add a yeast strain that has a higher ethanol tolerance than the one used to ferment the still mead. Then, once the mead has been carbonated, if you're really ambitious you can try the "Methode Champenoise" to remove yeast lees and add an additional backsweetening charge of honey or sugar. Adding a little sulfite and sorbate at that time is also a good idea to ensure stability. BTW - Methode Champenoise is not for beginners - it involves allowing the lees to settle in the necks of the bottles, then selective chilling of the necks to partially freeze the lees. Then the bottles are opened, the frozen yeast plug is removed, and the additional charge of wine and/or sweetener is added quickly, and the bottle resealed, before all the carbonated liquid percolates out. Not a technique for the faint of heart; bottle bombs are a distinct possibility if you are not extremely careful! :bom: