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beeropolis
06-01-2009, 01:17 PM
So I made my first batch of mead the other day from a slightly modified recipe I got from the HomeBrewTalk boards. It's gonna be a strawberry melomel when all is said and done but I'm a little worried as to how sweet it's going to be.

I'm not very knowledged in meads but the SWMBO and I discovered a meadery near us and we absolutely love it. My question however, is that I'm not sure how much honey I should use per 5 gallon batch. The SWMBO hates dry champagne-like drinks but she also doesn't want something that's too sweet causing one to only be able to imbibe in a glass or less.

If I'm looking to make a 5 gallon batch of a traditional mead that I guess is semi-sweet (is that what I want?) would I use 15 lbs? 12lbs? of honey when using say Lalvin 1118 yeast? and what about Redstar Champagne yeast?

Thanks

wayneb
06-01-2009, 03:27 PM
Hi, beeropolis! Welcome to "GotMead?"!!

Rather than trying to aim for a particular sweetness, I'd recommend mixing up your recipe for a particular target alcohol concentration, then choosing a yeast strain that will take the fermentation completely dry, and after some aging and a racking or two, stabilize your mead (using sulfites and potassium sorbate) and backsweeten it with a honey-water mixture. You'll have far more control over the finished mead's sweetness level doing it that way. Trying to hit a particular level of sweetness during the fermentation is always a difficult process, and yeast tend to often do more or less in the way of fermentation than you'd like.

Keep in mind that unlike in beer brewing, fully 100% of the sugars in honey are fermentable, so the only thing limiting the amount of sugar that can ferment in your must is the ethanol tolerance of your yeast, and your ability to manage the fermentation with proper doses of oxygen and nutrients at the right times. If you're curious about this and would like to learn more, then I'd recommend reading the Newbee's Guide (on the main Gotmead site, off of the forum), followed by most of the recent postings here in the NewBee section of the forum. That should give you enough information to get going! ;D