View Full Version : Add Honey by Volume, or to Specific Gravity??

Allen Brown
02-07-2011, 10:22 AM
Most recipes I've read, call for between 2-1/2 & 3-1/2# per gallon, with the majority of them at 3 to 3-1/2#. SOME of them will list the starting SG, and ending SG. I make a lot more wine than mead, and I am really a 'follow the numbers' kind of guy, and I want to know exactly where things are starting, so I know where they're going.

So, my question is, what is YOUR preference on OG & final ABV for either an off dry mead or a sweet mead? Is there a chart somewhere that translates pounds of honey to finished volume of must to Specific Gravity?

Is a mead better at 10%, or 15%? Does the difference change the flavor? Does it change the aging requirements?


Medsen Fey
02-07-2011, 10:49 AM
There are great meads at just about every ABV level. Some are great at 18%, and on the other hand, you can make some that are like Ice-Wine with 9-10%. It just depends on what you like. For myself, if it is dry (or semi-dry) I don't like the ABV above around 12.5% as the alcohol starts to become too noticeable for me, but that's just my palate. YMMV.

High ABV meads do generally take longer to mature.

I strongly suggest using the gravity to guide your honey additions. Each honey can vary so adding 3 pounds of one variety may give quite a different starting gravity than 3 pounds of another type. To have consistency, you need to measure the gravity.

James P's Mead calculator (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=745&Itemid=16) can help you plan a recipe.
For any specific honey you have, if you take 1 ounce (weight) and dissolve it water to 1 cup, then measure the gravity, you'll then know what adding 1 pound in a gallon of must will give you which will refine your estimates.

Chevette Girl
02-07-2011, 11:43 PM
Do you do a lot of fruit wines, grape wines or kit wines?

I also do a lot more wine (mostly fruit wines) than mead and have determined that most of what I have liked has been the higher-alcohol stuff that has stopped on the sweet side, but I determined that by making a lot of things according to the recipe's suggestions (generally by weight but occasionally by volume) at least the first time I made them, so I've done things in a fairly wide range ABV's.

It's really up to you where you want to be on the scale of experimentation versus total control when it comes to your starting gravity. I started out with a lot of experimentation to figure out what worked for me, now I'm starting to be more controlling when I know what I want out of a given batch.

02-08-2011, 01:00 AM
I use the volume/weight addition as a guide, but always (if it's possible) measure and adjust the SG.
At the very least, always LOG your SG and OG, so that this can form a reference for you.
I create a traditional mead in primary then rack onto fuit in secondary. So I know how much oomph my yeast has left in it when it starts on the fruit. When adding fuit, the fibre content is so high that measuring your SG is impossible. But measuring the honey must before fruit addition gives you an idea.