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Johanneskai
07-23-2009, 12:28 AM
Is it really necessary to know the OG of any mead that you are making?
I am not concerned with the amount of alcohol I am producing, just that I am producing a very good tasty mead.

Sasper
07-23-2009, 01:10 AM
It's not necessary to take gravity readings. But I'm definitely an advocate of doing it. Because with a hydrometer you can tell if a mead is truly finished or not. When you get a stuck fermentation you'll wish you had one. If you aren't concerned with alcohol content just don't take a starting gravity (even though its a lot of fun to know.) I still recommend taking a reading just to be certain your fermentations have finished completely.

akueck
07-23-2009, 01:13 AM
Necessary? Well, I guess not really. But it is very very very helpful for the following reasons:
1) Reproducibility. If you want to duplicate a recipe, the best way is to mix the new must to the same OG as the last one. Pounds of honey is not a good measure as the water content will vary.
2) Nutrition. Generally we recommend a staggered nutrient addition schedule. This means you add nutrients at various stages, some of which are determined by the % of sugars that have been fermented. You need to know the OG to know where you are in the fermentation.
3) Is it done? Yeast are funny critters. Even with a FG that seems ok and stable, they might decide to get up and work out again. If you know your OG as well as the current SG, you can know where the yeast are in relation to their alcohol tolerance. This helps you determine (to a degree) if they are likely to wake up again or not.
4) Tasting. It's fun to drink the hydrometer sample. Ok this one is kind of silly, but still true!

wildaho
07-23-2009, 01:36 AM
Necessary? Well, I guess not really. But it is very very very helpful for the following reasons:
1) Reproducibility. If you want to duplicate a recipe, the best way is to mix the new must to the same OG as the last one. Pounds of honey is not a good measure as the water content will vary.
2) Nutrition. Generally we recommend a staggered nutrient addition schedule. This means you add nutrients at various stages, some of which are determined by the % of sugars that have been fermented. You need to know the OG to know where you are in the fermentation.
3) Is it done? Yeast are funny critters. Even with a FG that seems ok and stable, they might decide to get up and work out again. If you know your OG as well as the current SG, you can know where the yeast are in relation to their alcohol tolerance. This helps you determine (to a degree) if they are likely to wake up again or not.
4) Tasting. It's fun to drink the hydrometer sample. Ok this one is kind of silly, but still true!

What Aaron said!

The hydrometer is the fermenter's best friend, for all the reasons listed above and maybe a few more. If I had only one tool to use during ANY type of fermentation, a hydrometer would be it: above and beyond a thermometer (you can "feel" an ambient temp) or a pH meter (or strips or whatever). A specific gravity reading can tell you when to break out the other tools like nothing else can.

:cheers:
Wade

Medsen Fey
07-24-2009, 11:15 PM
You can certainly make good mead without a hydrometer - JAO being a fine example. However, not every fermentation goes smoothly. If a fermentation is going to stick, it usually shows a slow-down in the rate of fermentation that you can see with the hydrometer.

It is much easier to take action to prevent a stuck fermentation than it is to restart it once it sticks. Just another reason to use one.

Medsen