View Full Version : how much is too much?

12-22-2010, 01:32 AM
Hello. I am new to gotmead, and I am new to meadmaking as well. I have made a few batches of wine before though so I am familiar with the processes. I am about to make my first batch of mead and my question is this: How much honey is too much honey? I know that it is up to personal tastes but i was hoping to get a little guidance. I have 2 gallons(24lb) of local honey and i was planning on using all of it in a 6 gallon batch. would thls be over kill. I like sweet wine, but not 'take a sip and vomit' sweet. to give an idea of how sweet i would like it i will say that i like Drambuie (honey/spice scotch) and that sweet jewish wine they sell at safeway and walmart (manschewitz?-i think) thanks in advance for the input, i will appreciate the advice.

12-22-2010, 01:59 AM
Me being new also, having come from the beer side of brewing. I have found the Mead Calculator (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=745&Itemid=16) very helpful in determining the potential alcohol.

12-22-2010, 02:12 AM
Usually you'll see mead in the range of 2.5-3.5 lbs of honey per gallon of must. Notable exceptions include the Polish-style meads, but I would not recommend starting there.

Joe's Ancient Orange & Spice Mead is usually sweet and a very stable beginner's recipe. You'll find the recipe and about a thousand comments on it both here on the forum and on the main site.

Welcome to GotMead!!

12-22-2010, 03:13 AM
I second that, try making a JAO.
For educational purposes, measure your OG and FG so you'll have an idea about future batches.

If you want to try something else, use the ABV calculator in conjunction with your yeast's ABV tolerance, adn make sure it ferments out dry. Then back sweeten.
I've just made a batch of sweet mead, and bleurgh! It's too sweet for me, I messed up (although my wife loves it) and there's nothing I can do to reduce this sweetness now.
But you can always add honey afterward to make it sweeter.

12-22-2010, 05:28 AM
Hello hiram_abiff,

Welcome to GotMead?

First I'd recommend reading the newbee guide, them take a look through the brewlogs to get an idea of what others a doing, after that use the search tool to look up more information on what interest you.

There's a wealth of information right here for you to research. Jump in and have fun.

There's even more in the Patron Only area!

12-22-2010, 10:29 AM
Akueck has "hit the nail on the head". 2 and 1/2 to 3 and 1/2 lb per gallon are good guide numbers, but I'd also add that it's probably better to go for the lower end initially and then check the mix with a hydrometer. Over at WaH (http://www.winesathome.co.uk/forum/index.php), they recommend sticking to a lower gravity to start with, usually about the 1.080 range, because they (well Bob who runs the site) likes to recommend a method where you will have a success on the first attempt as it almost guarantee's that you'll get bitten by the bug.

Hence if you started a batch at 1.080 and fermented it dry (taking 1.000 as dry) then an 80 drop would give you just under 11% ABV, but most of the recommended wine yeasts would easily ferment down to 0.990 so that would be a 90 drop and just under 12.5% ABV.

Me ? I like to recommend/suggest somewhere in the region of 1.100, which taking the 1.000 as dry still give you about 13.5% ABV but is a low enough gravity to be able to manage easily on your first attempt.

Of course, it's fair to point out, that using gravity (or brix) measurements is to allow for consistency. Because if I make a gallon of JAO, it's usually a little less sweet as I automatically take "gallon" to mean an imperial gallon or 4.55 litres, whereas you'd probably take it to mean US gallon or 3.78 litres - which would give you a slightly higher honey to water ratio, and logically a little more residual (unfermented) sugar.

If you went for a traditional mead and fermented it dry, it can then be back sweetened later to bring it up to the desired level of sweetness that you're looking for. Me ? I like my meads sweet, to between 1.010 and 1.020 - whereas the commercially made meads I've tasted here are all "dessert wine" sweet at about 1.035 to 1.040 - they're far too sweet for my taste.

If you go for JAO, you will end up with a sweet mead, which probably will be fine as the acid from the orange often reduces the apparent or perceived sweetness - and sticking to the recipe and method "religiously" will almost guarantee you a good first attempt. Don't be put off by comments about orange pith and possible bitterness - I suspect that is part of the design, the acid and bitterness helping to reduce sweetness.

It's your choice of how you'd like to begin.. Good luck with your early efforts and of course, welcome to Gotmead.



12-22-2010, 11:45 AM
I'm new to meadmaking as well, but since I don't see it explicitly stated here: do NOT put all 24lbs in the must.

Assuming you mean to make a full 6 gals of must (and not that you have a 6gal carboy which can only fit 5gals of must), then you still are adding 4lbs of honey per gallon (1/2lb above Akueck's recommendation).

Now all this is stated in the other comments, but the REASON you don't want that much honey is that the yeast is gonna have trouble getting started in such a high specific gravity or may not start at all. The OG of 24lbs of honey in 6gals of must is 1.144*, and this is really high (1.150 being a good cut off for where the yeast probably won't be able to do anything at all [got that tip from Akueck ;)]). You're gonna have a hard time keeping your yeast going in 1.144SG and a hard time keeping them going.

If you're looking for a sweeter wine, go with Akueck and Fatbloke's suggestion of 3.5lbs per gallon of must, and stick with a lower ABV yeast**.


* http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=745&Itemid=16

** http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=625&Itemid=42

PS what's the formatting for adding hyperlinks?

12-23-2010, 01:20 AM
Thank you all for your input. Now i have an idea where to get started, and if i get stuck, plenty of places to look. The recipe i chose to start with is mikes hard chai mead, which i found in a google search. the recipe calls for 2lb per gallon, so i was trying to tweak it to make a sweeter mead. the reason i was going to throw in 24lb was for ease of measurement. good to know that this is bad environment for yeast, probably too sweet as well. i multipied tea and spices by 7 instead of 6 since i was adding more honey. not sure if my reasoning is accurate. I still have to get every thing together, and now i need to figure out how to measure off pound increments of honey without a scale. again, thank you all for your input and guidance.

12-23-2010, 02:26 AM
I still have to get every thing together, and now i need to figure out how to measure off pound increments of honey without a scale.

1lb = 1.333cups
1cup = 0.75lbs


12-23-2010, 04:57 AM
It is best to measure your honey by using gravity (or brix), as sugar content of honey is not consistant.