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RocketMan
10-08-2011, 08:15 AM
I started this 2 weeks ago. Recipe is

8 pounds of wild flower honey
Water to make 4 gallons
Cote Des Blancs yeast (Started the yeast rehydrating 30 minutes prior to heating the honey and water)

I brought the honey and water to 130 degrees F till the honey was all disolved and held it there an additional 30 minutes. Cooled to 70 degrees F and pitched the yeast. The fermentation went well, after 24 hours it was bubbling away nicely. Yesterday I timed it at about a minute between bubbles and this morning I racked it to a secondary. As I missed taking teh SG when I started I didn't bother taking one today but I did pull a sample to taste. The sample was rather tart and fizzy. The fizziness I wasn't worried about as I have seen this in beers before but I thought that with 8 pounds of honey this would be a sweeter Mead. This brings to mind a couple of question.

1. Is this a typical thing in Mead making ans it will sweeten up as it ages in the secondary?

2. I accidently made a dry Mead? Can I back sweeten it and if so how?

3. Get over it, bulk prime at bottling and have a nice Mead Champagne for Thanksgiving and New Years.

Thanks for assisting a Newb out.

Cheers,
RM

Riverat
10-08-2011, 08:35 AM
Fellow newbee here
1 Yes very typical of a mead being born (just two weeks) and possibly yes but in a year or so, certainly not by New Year
2 Oh yea, bone dry (not a bad thing) check out the mead calculator and yes you could but I would reccomend you read around in the newbee section, give this the time and attention it needs to be a good dry mead as a learnig batch (both process and to see if you like dry) and work up to backsweetining a few batches down the road.
3 If you are an experienced brewer and used to bottle conitioning beer, sure but again I'd not shoot for New Year, patience!

fatbloke
10-08-2011, 09:53 AM
I started this 2 weeks ago. Recipe is

8 pounds of wild flower honey
Water to make 4 gallons
Cote Des Blancs yeast (Started the yeast rehydrating 30 minutes prior to heating the honey and water)

I brought the honey and water to 130 degrees F till the honey was all disolved and held it there an additional 30 minutes. Cooled to 70 degrees F and pitched the yeast. The fermentation went well, after 24 hours it was bubbling away nicely. Yesterday I timed it at about a minute between bubbles and this morning I racked it to a secondary. As I missed taking teh SG when I started I didn't bother taking one today but I did pull a sample to taste. The sample was rather tart and fizzy. The fizziness I wasn't worried about as I have seen this in beers before but I thought that with 8 pounds of honey this would be a sweeter Mead. This brings to mind a couple of question.

1. Is this a typical thing in Mead making ans it will sweeten up as it ages in the secondary?

2. I accidently made a dry Mead? Can I back sweeten it and if so how?

3. Get over it, bulk prime at bottling and have a nice Mead Champagne for Thanksgiving and New Years.

Thanks for assisting a Newb out.

Cheers,
RM
Welcome to the forums......

To address your points as much as I can.....

1. No, well not really. Some meads that are dry, recover some of the honey characteristics, but you will have converted most, if not all, of the sugars into alcohol. There may be some of the characteristics that give you a sensation of sweetness, but sweetness itself is relative. We all have a different view of what is dry, sweet and too sweet. It's why the correct use of a hydrometer is important. It provides so much information before, during and after the fermentation.

2. Yes (and judging by your recipe above, you're gonna end up with another dry mead as well). Back sweetening (as it's known) can be accomplished in a number or ways. Generally, it's suggested that once a fermentation is finished (hydrometer testing of 3 indentical readings across a period of about a week i.e. 2 or 3 days apart), then the product is stabilised (that's having sulphite and sorbate added, the sulphite stuns the yeast and the sorbate stops it reproducing). That basically puts it in a position that it can be sweetened with fermentable sugars of some sort and shouldn't start to re-ferment. Some people like to use or at least try, non-fermentable sugars like lactose or artificial ones like splenda, others will use honey or sugar (honey has the issue that it can cause a haze, which I believe is a protein haze - so I usually add it after stabilising and before clearing the mead - sugar, well you'd normally add that before bottling). Obviously you'll need to read up about this before actually doing it.

3. Sparkling meads ? Well it's either bottle priming and/or "methode champenoise", or force carbonation (which it would seem from reading about the bazaars etc, is often done with stainless kegs etc). Bottle priming ? well you'd often have small amounts of sediment left in the bottle, caused by the slight refermentation of any fermentable sugars added, "methode champenoise" can take a long time if done the traditional way, or whether you've access to the kit required to freeze the neck of the bottle to remove the plug of yeast etc (I've seen the commercial wine makers here adding a tiny amount of yeast/sugar to their bottles to do this but they also have the machinery that inverts the bottles so any sediment collects in the cap, where it's then chilled/frozen and removed before the bottle is then properly corked/wired etc). Lastly, it would seem that it's possibly to force carbonate in Cornelius kegs (a.k.a. corny kegs), and that this might be the only way if you want to carbonate a sweet (possibly medium sweet) mead. The keg is then also used to dispense the mead - which also removes any of the romantic type gestures we often use when opening bottles of sparkling wines/champagnes etc.

Others might have better knowledge, idea's and/or experience in doing this.

As for your recipe above, at 2lb of honey in the gallon, it's likely that it will be very dry. I'd have thought that something in the area of 3 to 3 and 1/2 lb of honey in the gallon is going to give an appropriate level of alcohol for preserving the brew (I believe it's about 12% ABV or more that's recommended), with some scope for back sweetening to your chosen level (I like my meads about 1.010 FG - and yes, despite my comment above about possible honey hazes, I tend to ferment, stabilise, back sweeten with honey, then worry about clearing it).

Dunno if any of that lot is of any help or not

regards

fatbloke

p.s. Oh, and here's a convenient link to the Gotmead Newbee guide (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14). It's worth the effort of reading it through as it's got a lot of info that is pertinent to the new mead maker, and answers a lot of the early questions people have...

triarchy
10-08-2011, 10:11 AM
Welcome to GotMead? Ill throw out another couple of general comments.

1. Its generaly accepted that you dont have to heat your honey/must up. Being lazy, I loved this revelation. I just mix the honey and water at room temp and off I go. Works fine. The reason for not heating the honey is that it might strip off some of the aroma and/or flavor components.

2. Your 4 gallon batch has a starting gravity of about 1.060, which comes out to around 8% ABV. That is a pretty thin mead and it will certainly finish dry. Check out the Mead Calculator, it is found under the "Recipes and Mead Making" link on the left of the main page. You might be able to add more honey to this now, it shold start to ferment again. The end result will be a higher ABV end product but you should also develop more honey character. However, I have never tried this, so maybe somebody more experienced could offer more tips if you were interested in doing this.

3. Get a hydrometer so you can accurately get your must to where you want it and to find out how your fermentation is progressing. Best investment you can make.

4. I started mead making without much patience and I can say from a little experience that those meads suffered because of that. So Ill be a hyprocrite and tell you to have some patience and let your meads age for a year (roughly) before you decide to do anything like backsweeten, bottle, carbonate, etc. This allows the mead to develop its true/final taste and the decisions you make to alter the flavor will be better for it.

Good luck!