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Rakka
09-16-2008, 02:50 AM
So, I finally racked my rowan mead to secondary. It went to 1.015 before the fermentation was pretty much stopped, so I put it in the fridge for a week before racking. As I let it sit for a day in the counter before racking it appeared to have built a little pressure, so apparently the yeast was not all dead. (Had to switch for a regular cap to get the carboy fit it in the fridge.) The mead is very acidic and a little hot, but not altogether a lost case. Anyway, since the batch is only some 3.9 liters, backsweetening to 1.022 or so won't take very much honey, mead calculator gives 115 grams... I think it would be better to go a little over that, in case the fermentation wasn't totally done yet. Correct?

And then the real question... how much does the type of honey I use for backsweetening affect the final taste? Is it stronger than the honey used for the primary fermentation? I have the possibility to get mixed and clover honey from the store, but I also have some special stuff from couple of outdoor markets. If the honey does affect the flavour in any remarkable way then I'm wondering if I should use either the raspberry (v. sweet and light, vanilla and almondy taste) or rowan (strong, full, complex and just delicious) or possibly buckwheat, which I imagine would soften the acidity and give the taste more body. I'm sort of itching to try the rowan honey somewhere, but I only have a 250g jar of it and it's pretty damn rare to get... wouldn't want to waste it if it won't have an impact on the taste.

Medsen Fey
09-16-2008, 09:20 AM
I think it would be better to go a little over that, in case the fermentation wasn't totally done yet. Correct?


You can always add more, but you can't take it out. If you over-sweeten you are stuck with it unless you blend it with something else, so I aim for less than I think I need and gradually add more. Also , I would not sweeten to a gravity number, but instead sweeten to taste. With a very tart mead, the balance may come at a higher level than what you would otherwise expect because the perception of sweetness also depends on alcohol content, acidity, and other flavor elements. Just trust your taste buds.



And then the real question... how much does the type of honey I use for backsweetening affect the final taste? Is it stronger than the honey used for the primary fermentation?

A lot. I usually use the same honey for backsweetening so that I get the honey flavor I was planning on in the mix, but you can certainly use different honeys. When I have used different honey, the latter additions have (I think) had a stronger impact on aroma and flavor. Perhaps this is because the aromatic elements haven't been scrubbed out by CO2 with fermentation. In any case, what I would suggest is take 2 or 3 small samples of mead and try sweetening each with a different honey. See what you think.

Good luck!
Medsen