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Garwulf
08-16-2009, 06:44 PM
Hi all,

I'm a new meadmaker, and I just checked one of my test batches. The recipe I used was this one (from what I can tell, a variant on Joe's Ancient Orange): http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/fast-cheap-mead-making.htm

Actual amounts were:

1.5 kg Manuka honey
approx. 2-2.25 L spring water
1. red fleshed orange
1 packet of raisins
1 packet of Fleischmann's Traditional Active dry yeast

I didn't have what I needed to do any measurements at the beginning, but the mead log reads:

July 20, 2009: Mead aerated, primary fermentation begun

July 24, 2009: Mead checked, specific gravity 1.062 (estimate approx. 5% alcohol by volume, quite possibly more)

Aug. 16, 2009: Mead racked, specific gravity 1.0, 0% potential a.b.v., primary fermentation completed

So, here's the puzzler - test batch number two (same recipe, but with Acacia honey), which I did have the equipment to measure at the beginning, had a starting gravity of 1.120 (16% potential alcohol). Now, about 150g was lost to honey sticking on the inside of containers for the first batch that wasn't for the second. Still, though, the yeast, which supposedly has an alcohol tolerance of 12%, ate 15% or more's worth...

Anybody know how this is possible? Is this still a medium mead, or is this going to be a dry mead?

(For the record, the mead does not taste terribly dry at this point, and the flavors are mellowing nicely. Fermentation conditions were under a sink with a temperature fluctuating between 19-24 C due to lack of air conditioning, and due to a pouring taking place due to a lack of a wine thief, some oxygen was added on the 24th.)

Best to all,

Robert Marks

Medsen Fey
08-17-2009, 11:00 AM
Welcome to GotMead Garwulf!

The Fleishmann's yeast in JAO will routinely go to 13-14% ABV. How did you calculated 15%?

In general, yeast like other living things is highly variable and different circumstances get you different results. We commonly see yeast shoot past their supposed alcohol tolerance when fermenting apple juice in recipes (figs too as well as other fruit). Temperature, aeration and nutrients can all play a role, so If you did get a batch that went to 15% I certainly wouldn't be shocked - I'd just say you might need to age it a bit longer.

Garwulf
08-17-2009, 11:10 AM
Welcome to GotMead Garwulf!

The Fleishmann's yeast in JAO will routinely go to 13-14% ABV. How did you calculated 15%?

That was an assumption based on the similarity between the two batches. There was a small difference in the amount of honey used, but otherwise all conditions were the same.

This assumption has just been verified, though. I checked the Acacia batch with my hydrometer early this morning before hitting the sack. The results from the log are:

July 24, 2009: Mead aerated, specific gravity 1.120, alcohol potential 16%, primary fermentation begun

Aug. 16, 2009: Mead checked, specific gravity 1.002-1.004 (correction for temperature)

That gives me an estimated a.b.v. of approx. 15%

Best regards,

Robert Marks

Medsen Fey
08-17-2009, 12:02 PM
Well you can certainly have the yeast go that far at times. My Fleischmann's usually die off at a little shy of 14%. At the final gravity level you are getting I would expect it to taste somewhat dry.

jwebb1
08-30-2014, 07:55 PM
Well you can certainly have the yeast go that far at times. My Fleischmann's usually die off at a little shy of 14%. At the final gravity level you are getting I would expect it to taste somewhat dry.

I have the same mead I am making except the Walmart brand honey. And the Balloon went down after 11 days I switch to a glass carboy and it looks like it has stopped fermenting. Also it tastes pretty sour almost rotten but I thought it might be because it was it was still young.

Chevette Girl
08-31-2014, 01:18 PM
Welcome, Garwulf! (hey, we're practically neighbours!)

I usually get 10-12% out of my fleishchmann's yeast in a true JAO or variant if I use 3.5 lb honey. There are a lot of factors that can affect how much alcohol a yeast will tolerate, I suspect the big one in this case would be that a JAO followed to the recipe usually starts around 1.125 (for me anyway) and the higher the starting gravity is, the harder it is on the yeast. I find I use a bit more than 1.5 kg when I'm measuring out the honey, but I admit, I cheated and got my apiary to weigh 3.5 lb out into their 2 kg jars for me and I just marked the spot on the jars and I use the marked jars for measuring when I get bulk honey...

Where did you get your Acacia and Manuka honeys? My apiary only carries buckwheat, white (clover) and golden (goldenrod), and I can get some really good wildflower honeys from local beekeepers...