View Full Version : port style melomel w/ high finish gravity? ok?

08-31-2011, 01:29 PM
ok the recipe log to start =)


7lbs local honey
2lbs carrot blossom honey
2lbs multi berry honey
1/3 cup buckwheat honey
1/2 cup hungarian oak chips
20lbs sweet black cherries pitted finish weight in a vinyl bag
7 campden tablets
1 1/4 tsp fermaid k
1 1/8 tsp dap
I added some pectic enzyme but it looks like i forgot to write it down

stirred in 2 pks vintner's harvest SN9
punched down the cap twice daily

sg 1.0
pulled the fruit squeezing the bag
then from there on I added honey about a pound every other day or so
stirring it in well.. so the yeast would eat it to 1.0 and I'd add more...
approx 12-13 additional lbs

the problem is I think I fed too much the last feeding?
we appear to be done
final gravity sg 1.04
I've never made something like this before... will this be to sweet?
like sickly sweet? or cloyingly sweet I think they call it?
my wife and I enjoy a range of ports and madera's but I can't seem to find much info on there final gravity readings?

I just don't have the experience with this?
I was going to let it finish about 1.01 and then back sweeten later to taste but here we are?

so if it is too sweet, my thoughts on a remedy are...
blend in some everclear and or brandy.. my thinking is to raise the harshness
level to kinda balance the sweet?
in secondary age it on some oak chips, maybe hungarian?
make another mead that's 20% or soo but dry as a bone and blend it out?

your thoughts?
I just don't know how sweet 1.04 actually is? and idf there's something I should be doing prior to racking i don't want to miss it?
stirring doesn't seem to be bringing them back to life.. and i know I've gone beyond what they say the yeast will do
ok ok long winded I know.......
thanks in advance for any help

Medsen Fey
08-31-2011, 01:57 PM
1.040 is not outrageous for a Port or Madeira-style mead. You can check your ABV using a refractometer and hydrometer together, or by doing a spirit indication test (but it helps to have a narrow range hydrometer) so you can see if you need more alcohol. Adding acids also tends to help balance the sweetness if the fruit hasn't provided enough. These types of beverages are expected to be sweet.

08-31-2011, 01:59 PM
1.04 is pretty sweet.
I am not familiar with that yeast. How much alcohol can it tolerate? What is the current ABV? You could go with a more alcohol tolerant yeast to unstick the fermentation process, thereby both reducing the sweetness and raising the alcohol level.

08-31-2011, 02:38 PM
Thank you both for your replies!
medson, I don't have a refractometer , I've never heard of a spirit indication test? (google doesn't help on that one) t should be 20percent + or so

djslort they say sn9 ferment up to 20% acl. it's not really stuck, there's not really a yeast beyond 20% alc. it's more that I fed it more honey at the last feading then intended...

I did just take a taste (duh!, why I hadn't already i don't know) and it wasn't overly sweet to my taste, atleast at this point.. it seems the sweet is balancing out the acl. content.. time will tell I guess.. I was afraid it would be like drinking candy or something.. but right now it tastes of honey, cherries, and alcohol (it's a little burn on the way down) I think at this point I might of been over reacting!
I'll take any and all advise, please and thanks! but upon tasting it seems a little oak might be in it's future, to add a little tannin bite..
time will tell

08-31-2011, 03:00 PM
What's your volume on this batch?

08-31-2011, 03:32 PM
oops I forgot to list that..
I started with 4 gallons of water
whatever liquid is left from the honey
and whatever juice was extracted from the cherries
it's in a 12 gallon fermenter that doesn't show volume
it looks like about 5.5-5.75 gallons or so. i was shooting to be able to fil a 5 gallon carboy 5.3 gallons or so, and the to have enough for a 1.5 liter bottle or so, for topping after racking..
I won't know finished volume for certain until I rack

08-31-2011, 04:07 PM
Ok, and so you're looking at a total of around 23 lbs of honey added?

Medsen Fey
08-31-2011, 04:29 PM
If you do a search on this site for "spirit indication" you'll find a few threads that discuss the procedure and see how it is used.

This thread (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17312) has some explanation.

If you used 23 pounds of honey in 5.5 gallons that would produce an effective starting gravity close to 1.150. That means you ABV is probably around 15%.

08-31-2011, 04:56 PM
Could be a little higher, factoring in the cherry juice... that much fruit, not heavily pressed, maybe 1 gallon of juice or less? Assuming 1.040 roughly juice gravity, dillution takes that down to 1.010 or lower as far as it's contribution goes.

Medsen Fey
08-31-2011, 04:58 PM
Good point! So the ABV may be closer to 16%.

09-01-2011, 10:59 AM
I guess I'm a bit thrown off? when I go to the calculator and put it 23 lbs of honey with a 5.5 target volume it comes to 18.91 alc.. then there's the lbs of cherries and I left out that I added 5 bananas sees like the alc. content has to be 20% atleast,,, not that that's all I'm after or anything,, I just want a tasty port style drink

09-01-2011, 02:20 PM
I guess I'm a bit thrown off? when I go to the calculator and put it 23 lbs of honey with a 5.5 target volume it comes to 18.91 alc.. then there's the lbs of cherries and I left out that I added 5 bananas sees like the alc. content has to be 20% atleast,,, not that that's all I'm after or anything,, I just want a tasty port style drink

Well, assuming you got all the juice out of the cherries the calc gives me an estimate of 1.175 (the bannanas probably didn't add much, I checked with the calc, seems like we can ignore them safely), which is potentially almost 22% ABV.

What the calc was saying for you is if it had gone dry.

So the calc below the main calc says 1.175 start and finish of 1.040 means a finished ABV of 17.25% - and that's assuming we got all the juice out of the cherries, I think adding a little for the bananas and subtracting some for the cherries lost juices we can pretty safely assume your ABV is now around 16% or 16.5%

SN9 according to google has a rated ABV tolerance of 18%, and you say you heard 20%, so this one could potentially keep going, or it might be semi-permanently stalled. At the very least I'd recommend stabilizing this (or fortifying up to a level that will kill the yeast for sure) before bottling.

09-05-2011, 03:58 PM
thanks for your replies and advice! it appears were still fermenting, albiet very slowly.. I'm thinking I'll rack it at 1.02.. I was thinking about adding some brandy and everclear any advise on amounts etc..? I don't want to blow the sweet away.. i'm trying for a nice post like beverage

Medsen Fey
09-05-2011, 04:21 PM
If you can get 16-17% ABV through fermentation, you may just want to leave it at that. I find when I fortify meads up to 19-20%, it takes forever for the alcohol to integrate properly.

09-07-2011, 01:10 AM
ok so I'll admit to being a BONE-HEAD!!!
I know how to read a hydrometer, but I read mine wrong :(
It's now at 1.001 so ...now the question becomes what should I do next?
should I add more honey in primary and stir it in slow? if so how much would you suggest? should I rack and backsweeten?
sorry to be such a looser and make such a newb mistake :eek:
Using whatever method, where should the final gravity end up based on wht I've done so far what should a guy do to end up kind balanced , not gasoline but not like something you'd pour over icecream either?
something that would make a nice after dinner port...
as always thanks for all the help and guidance ! this community kicks ARS!!

09-07-2011, 03:53 PM
So what does the current SG of 1.001 get you, ABV-wise, from your original SG? Port is fortified wine--are you planning on fortifying, or just hoping for a high natural ABV?

Chevette Girl
09-08-2011, 12:43 AM
I wanted a high ABV and some sweetness so I step-fed my port-like wine, every time it'd drop down below 1.005 I'd boost it back up to 1.010.

09-08-2011, 08:45 AM
CG, how does that work, though? If the yeast poops out at, say, 20% ABV, and you just keep adding sugars, is that going to enable you to end up with an ABV higher than 20%?

Chevette Girl
09-08-2011, 09:58 AM
The process is called step-feeding (if you do a search you should find plenty of info), and yes, sometimes with a well-managed (or lucky ;D) fermentation you can push past a yeast's usual tolerance. I don't know if my port has exceeded 20%, I need to do a spirit indication test to know for sure as I don't have exact enough volume measurements to work out the true alcohol content with math.

09-08-2011, 10:59 AM
my measurements weren't exact, but darned close (when I'm reading the thing right that is!)
I should be atleast 18+ percent, it's hard telling how much sugar came out of the cherries.. at this point it seems I'm just trying to figure were I let the gravity finish?
CG did you like how your's turned out at 1.010? was it balanced for your taste?

Chevette Girl
09-08-2011, 09:16 PM
I haven't tasted it in a while, found it with a dry airlock last month but it still smelled OK, haven't gotten far enough into the cupboard for a taste yet. Soon. Honest.