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wowbagger
03-21-2012, 07:18 AM
I've got some Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast, which this site notes has a tolerance of 18% (though other sites say 15-16%) and so has been making my meads drier than I like.

As an experiment, I was thinking of making a gallon of must with, say, 5 pounds of honey so that there's really no possibility the yeast will get through ALL the honey. If I'm left with sickley-sweet, overly boozy (or both) mead I figured I can always dillute it down with water.

The only result that would be really discouraging is if nothing happened at all. With a honey/water ratio approaching 1:1, could that be an issue?

mmclean
03-21-2012, 07:37 AM
High gravity must can be a bit tricky. You would want to do a search through the forum for information on that. Many different ways of going about it.

It would be easier to ferment dry and backsweeten or find a new yeast with a lower tolerance. A mead in the 14-16% ABV range seems to be a very good product.

TAKeyser
03-21-2012, 08:49 AM
Yeast tolerances can be difficult and a properly fed must can easily exceed the normal limits. It is nice to know that you can expect a 135 point drop with your Red Star yeast but I have managed a 146 point drop with the same strain. Knowing the limits will give you a starting point on choosing which yeast to use though.

Chevette Girl
03-21-2012, 09:52 AM
What I've found is that the higher your OG (past about 1.125), the less likely your yeast is to perform up to its full potential, it's a hard start and doesn't lead to healthy, robust yeast development... and you'd probably want to dilute something like that with one of your drier meads or else it might start fermenting again when you dilute it with water, since it seems like you don't stabilize.

If you really want to have a mead that finishes strong but sweet, without stabilizing, why don't you try step-feeding? Start out at a sensible OG and then every time it drops below your lower sweetness limit (say 1.010), boost the OG back up to the higher sweetness limit (say 1.030), that way wherever it stops on its own is in a range you're happy with.

akueck
03-21-2012, 12:14 PM
All good info so far. To me the best way to get yourself a mead with consistent alcohol content is to mix up your must so that it will be your desired abv when fully fermented. So you might be starting around 1.090-1.110, give or take. Then if you want residual sugar, you can stabilize the mead and add more honey. At those OGs, your fermentation should have no special hurdles and you know it won't go skyrocketing off on you.