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Dr. Scott
10-25-2009, 12:57 PM
OK, so I am a decently experienced home brewer tacking my first batch of mead. Well, melomel as I added raspberries. But anywho.

Things seem to be going well. After three weeks everything looks clean and my first SG is at 1.000 from an OG of 1.086 or so. I started with 12# in 5 gal and used champaign yeast. Clearly I am heading for something very, very dry.

My question is this - Is it possible to add in honey now to both boost my ABV and try to get something semi-dry? If so, how much?

Second question - will it be possible to get this stuff to sparkle and still be semi-dry? My concern is that the champ yeast will chew up any fermentables it can until it hits it's alcohol tolerance, at which point it will be maxed out and any fermentables I add at bottling for priming purposes will just sit there? (I hope you all can understand what I'm getting at . . . )

capoeirista13
10-25-2009, 02:38 PM
Hey there, since it seems I'm the first one to see your question I'll just fill you in. The usual routine is to give your recipe and process so that people can properly address your questions.

But anyway, assuming you haven't sulfited/sorbated and the yeast hasn't sat too long adding honey now should still be fine. But without knowing which yeast you used there's no way to know how much honey you need to add now.

As for the second question, I've wondered this myself. The answer I recieved was that adding enough honey to both up carbonate and sweeten is possible but it could also result in bottle-bombs, so it isn't recommended.

Medsen Fey
10-25-2009, 05:27 PM
Welcome to GotMead Dr. Scott!

As mentioned, if you provide the recipe details, you may get better answers. Generally If you add more honey, the Champagne yeast will continue to chew it up until you reach a level of alcohol that exceeds the yeast's tolerance (usually around 18% ABV). That will leave a very "hot" mead that will take a long time to become drinkable,

It is very difficult to predict exactly when a yeast will reach its limit, and trying to make a sweet sparkling wine is a good way to create bottle bombs with flying glass shards. It is safer to use a keg and force carbonate, or do like Champagne makers and sweeten after disgorging.

Dr. Scott
10-25-2009, 05:37 PM
Welcome to GotMead Dr. Scott!

As mentioned, if you provide the recipe details, you may get better answers. Generally If you add more honey, the Champagne yeast will continue to chew it up until you reach a level of alcohol that exceeds the yeast's tolerance (usually around 18% ABV). That will leave a very "hot" mead that will take a long time to become drinkable,

It is very difficult to predict exactly when a yeast will reach its limit, and trying to make a sweet sparkling wine is a good way to create bottle bombs with flying glass shards. It is safer to use a keg and force carbonate, or do like Champagne makers and sweeten after disgorging.

I'm beginning to understand that my lack of wine knowledge is the root of the problem. To whit - "sweet" and "sparkling" are fairly exclusive. Sweet happens when the yeast meets its EtOH tolerance before all the fermentables are gone, meaning they're out of the picture and bottle conditioning is not gonna happen. In other words, I'm shooting for something that can't really be done. Adding more honey in at this point will increase the ABV, but it's already essentially 11%. I think it's time to move to the secondary, maybe over a few more raspberries, and let it age for a while.

akueck
10-25-2009, 06:31 PM
To whit - "sweet" and "sparkling" are fairly exclusive. Sweet happens when the yeast meets its EtOH tolerance before all the fermentables are gone, meaning they're out of the picture and bottle conditioning is not gonna happen. In other words, I'm shooting for something that can't really be done.

It can be done, but it is not the standard "add sugar then bottle" procedure. Without force carbonating, you need to have a way to get the yeast out of a carbonated liquid and then add sugar, giving you a sweet sparkler. There are lots of ways to do this, though most are not practical on a small scale. The one that perhaps is would be Methode Champenoise, and you can read up on how that works in many places (including here if you want to search for it).

And I'll add what I always like to say--you can add sugar when you pour it into a glass. Some diluted honey or flavored simple syrup is easy to make and that can be added to a dry sparkling mead to give you a sweet sparkler (and you can even change the color of it if you want!) at the time of consumption. You could also blend it in the glass with a sweet mead (or dessert wine).