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stromam
10-19-2009, 03:56 PM
Alright, well in my last post I was having trouble getting my yeast to start fermentation. That problem seems to be solved, but now that I look back at the type of yeast and the amount of honey I added, I fear I may have made a mistake, but hopefully it can still be corrected.

I used about 16.5 lbs of honey in my 5 gallon batch, and I was hoping for a sweet mead (FG of 1.015-1.020), which I think leaves me aiming for about 17% ABV. I used the WYeast sweet mead 4184, which has an alcohol tolerance of 11%.

What can I do? I have read that nitrogen can be used to build up alcohol tolerance... is this true and could i get it way up to 15-17%? If not, could I add another yeast later on down the line (or now) to get to that point? Thanks for the help guys.

Adam <-----real newbee here

Medsen Fey
10-19-2009, 04:16 PM
The simplest solution would be to add some more water to your must if you have room in your fermenter. About 1/2 gallon should do it, but I would add it slowly over a period of hours to minimize the osmotic impact on the yeast, though that might well be unnecessary.

stromam
10-19-2009, 04:33 PM
That would be the simple solution, but I'm not a fan of simple... also I would like to have the higher alcohol content. Thanks.

afdoty
10-19-2009, 04:51 PM
That would be the simple solution, but I'm not a fan of simple... also I would like to have the higher alcohol content. Thanks.

There's only a couple things you can do....Lower the SG, repitch the yeast with something a bit more aggressive or do nothing and see what happens....IMHO

Sometimes simple is the best.

Medsen Fey
10-19-2009, 05:14 PM
but I'm not a fan of simple... also I would like to have the higher alcohol content.

Okay, but don't blame me when you end up with a high octane batch of rocket fuel that will take a couple of years before anyone else will want to drink it. Higher alcohol content often masks aroma and flavor compounds.

Take a liter of your must out and and pasteurize it on the stove or in the microwave by getting the temp up to about 160-170. Then let it cool down (use an ice bath if you like). Take some yeast good for a restart such as EC-1118, DV-10, or perhaps K1V, and take 10 grams or 15 grams and rehydrate preferably with GoFerm. Then add some of the cooled pasteurized must to the rehydrated yeast in stages - first, 1/4 cup, then when you see action, 1/2 cup and when you see action, double the volume again until you have it built up into a full starter with yeast that are acclimated to the must and will be able to compete with the active yeast that are in their now. Then pour it in and aerate it well.

This should allow the new yeast to take a firm hold in the must and then push past the sweet mead yeast.

Don't say I didn't warn you though.

Medsen

Angelic Alchemist
10-19-2009, 05:22 PM
Don't say I didn't warn you though.

Medsen

It's true. I've had batches ferment to dryness from high OGs (twice) and the stuff tastes like battery acid. I've bottled those batches and put them in a corner where I don't look often, so maybe they'll become drinkable by 2012? They'll be my apocalypse melomels.

stromam
10-19-2009, 06:23 PM
Medsen, once again you are the king. That description was exactly what I was looking for. I will probably try to do a combination (dilution and second type of yeast). I'm thinking I may try to hit 15% with FG between 1.015-1.020. I think I can do this in 5 gallons. From your experience, is 15% too high to be enjoyable, or should i go even lower? I think based on my calculations I can get about 13% if I bring it up to 5.5 gallons. If i bring it up to 6 gallons I would get 12%, but would 1/2 gallon head space be enough?

meadmonkey
10-19-2009, 07:50 PM
I have hit 14%-18% and still produced delightful meads, higher ABV is ok if you maintain a balanced ferment. In fact my 18% peach mead is a family favorite, and wow is it hard to type when fool of it. Happy meading to you...... Burp........;D