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Thor"s
11-22-2010, 11:21 PM
i am curious as how to achieve the highest alcohol content in a sweet mead. I have never made mead so a good basic recipe would be appreciated.i have looked online and found a few but achieving a specific alcohol content was not mentioned. if your storage temp reaches 90 degrees what does that do to the mead fermenting process.

YogiBearMead726
11-22-2010, 11:35 PM
i am curious as how to achieve the highest alcohol content in a sweet mead. I have never made mead so a good basic recipe would be appreciated.i have looked online and found a few but achieving a specific alcohol content was not mentioned. if your storage temp reaches 90 degrees what does that do to the mead fermenting process.

First off, welcome to GotMead!

As to a basic recipe, I would check out the "NewBee Guide" on the left hand side of the page of links. It has a LOT of really good info to read, and provides you with a basic recipe that will give you good mead relatively quickly (provided you follow the recipe! :p).

Now, as to pushing a mead to the highest possible ABV, try doing a search using the search tool along the top row of links for "BDC DFY", including the quotation marks. This is a method for getting a yeast to go above and beyond it's labeled alcohol tolerance, but as some members of this site point out (Medsen comes to mind), it becomes increasingly difficult to push yeast above the 20% ABV level, even when using high tolerance yeast.

Also, your temperature question. Ideally, you want to be around the 70 degrees Fahrenheit mark, because if it's too high, you stress out the yeast and wind up with a variety of problems. If you can keep the must cooler during fermentation, you'll be less likely to run into issues during the process.

Good luck, and again, welcome to GotMead!

AToE
11-23-2010, 12:01 AM
Past 18% is extremely difficult. Honestly too, unless you don't want to taste your first mead within a year or two of making it, you'd be better off shooting for more around 14% or 15% on the high end. Anything higher than that and you've really just made paint thinner that you can start taste testing in 2012.;)

Golddiggie
11-23-2010, 12:27 AM
Above the already made, great, replies, I would suggest picking up (if you don't already have it) a good brewing book... My first is "the complete joy of homebrewing"... While it mostly covers brewing beers, it does have a section for mead... Actually, it was that section that got me interested in making mead to begin with.

I would also talk with someone from your area that brews (especially mead) and pick their brains... Better to find out where not to go ahead of time than find out when it's too late to do anything about it. I lucked out and the place I'm going for supplies has a person working there (as they should be) that brews both beer and mead. I was able to sample his previous batch of mead (made 15 months ago) and immediately knew that I wanted to make some myself...

I think the hardest part if figuring out what you want for a finish product, and what you need to do to get there. These forums are a really great place to look at what's been done, or people are doing, and gain from their experiences. Another difficult thing, in my eyes, is figuring out what to add for flavors, if anything. Of course, like all brewing, there are steps you'll want to follow, so be sure to keep that in mind. It's not a "set and forget" process.

Personally, with my 'big batch' of mead (5 gallons) I'm also going for max kick, while retaining as much of the honey flavors/characteristics as possible. For the smaller batches (thinking 1 gallon each, two batches), I'm not so much interested in kick, but flavor does play a key element... There are so many variations you can try that I'm not even sure if you could get through even a decent percentage in your lifetime (unless you start really, really young)...

Just my 10 cents worth...

YogiBearMead726
11-23-2010, 12:38 AM
I think the hardest part if figuring out what you want for a finish product, and what you need to do to get there. These forums are a really great place to look at what's been done, or people are doing, and gain from their experiences. Another difficult thing, in my eyes, is figuring out what to add for flavors, if anything. Of course, like all brewing, there are steps you'll want to follow, so be sure to keep that in mind. It's not a "set and forget" process.

If you like it, try it! That's how I stumbled upon using hibiscus in mead. I just love jamaica, and wanted to add some hibiscus to a batch on a whim. It won 3rd place at a competition while only being a few months old. Honestly, if you dream something up, post it up here to get some input, but don't let people inhibit your imagination for flavor profiles. :)

Golddiggie
11-23-2010, 12:42 AM
If you like it, try it! That's how I stumbled upon using hibiscus in mead. I just love jamaica, and wanted to add some hibiscus to a batch on a whim. It won 3rd place at a competition while only being a few months old. Honestly, if you dream something up, post it up here to get some input, but don't let people inhibit your imagination for flavor profiles. :)

That's why I made the thread about giving mead wood... ;)

The place I use for my bbq/grilling wood (up in Maine, where men are men and so are the women :o ) has a 'sampler' pack of all ten of the woods they offer in chip form... I'll talk with my contact there (very nice woman) and make sure that what I'm looking to do will be ok (from a health standpoint)... Then it's just a matter of ordering the chip package and toasting them when it's time... :D

Chevette Girl
11-24-2010, 09:55 PM
If you're shooting for a high-alcohol mead, I'd recommend using some form of fruit in it as those have always seemed to ferment better for me, choosing your must's starting gravity so it should reach around 15%, make a starter and use nutrients and energizer, and then step-feed it, pick a level of sweetness you're happy with and every time the SG dips below that, add honey to bring it back over (I think I used 1.020 in my freezer port?) and keep checking it till it stops fermenting. And don't be surprised if all you can taste for the first year or two is the alcohol, we refer to stuff like this as "rocket fuel" for a reason, but it does eventually mellow out.

And definitely start with the Newbee guide, it's got a lot of good info for getting started.

I'd suggest that while you're making this, try out a JAO batch so you have something to drink while the high-alcohol batch is fermenting and aging :)

wildoates
12-02-2010, 01:16 AM
And what do you consider "high" alcohol? I've had many people assume that mead is like beer ABV-wise, and they are quite surprised that it's 12% or 14% or higher. So if you want a mead that has a higher ABV than most beers, you won't have to do anything special at all to beat beer's ABV. If you want to get above 16 or 18, listen to all the advice above. :)