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MeadKitty
08-09-2012, 12:42 PM
OK, I've read lots of suggestions (some were shot down by the old-timers). Since this is my first batch (brew?), I want to do the best. So, what if I buy commercial mead to use a topper? Or, is vodka best? Or plain water? Or honey/water mixture? Any/all of the above? I'm really confused.

Penguinetti
08-09-2012, 01:36 PM
OK, I've read lots of suggestions (some were shot down by the old-timers). Since this is my first batch (brew?), I want to do the best. So, what if I buy commercial mead to use a topper? Or, is vodka best? Or plain water? Or honey/water mixture? Any/all of the above? I'm really confused.

With my first batch of JAOM, I mixed a honey/water mixture that had the same OG as the must, and mixed that in.

The second batch of JAOMv with Strawberry/Vanilla, I just added water.

I've also been told to sanitize a batch of marbles, and add those into the mix.

Chevette Girl
08-09-2012, 01:45 PM
Doing your fermentation in a bucket so you have a little extra must by the time you're doing your first racking is also a valid method and the one I generally use.

If I've screwed up my estimation on how much juice my fruit will release when I'm making a mel, typically I'll use honey and water in a ratio to give me the same SG as the initial batch if it's a significant amount that I need to top up, otherwise if it's say a cup for a gallon, I'll just use water, but too much and it can water down your alcohol content and your flavour. I've also used juice or cider. Vodka might be a little harsh.

I don't bother topping up my JAO's most of the time, and even after racking, haven't had a single one ever oxidize on me.

fatbloke
08-09-2012, 02:36 PM
OK, I've read lots of suggestions (some were shot down by the old-timers). Since this is my first batch (brew?), I want to do the best. So, what if I buy commercial mead to use a topper? Or, is vodka best? Or plain water? Or honey/water mixture? Any/all of the above? I'm really confused.
Commercial mead ? Yes that'd work, though it's better if you can get one with at least some of the properties of what's been made or one that you already like (all the commercial ones I've seen here are very i.e. dessert sweet).

Vodka ? Yes that'd also work, but it would slightly reduce the viscosity of what you've made, also it will dry the batch out a bit (both of which can be corrected). It will also mellow with age if it did give you a bit of an "alcohol hot" taste.

Honey/water syrup ? Yes, that also works, but is usually known as a back sweetening mix. You'd have to stabilise with sulphite and sorbate first, because if there's any ability left in the remaining yeast cells (and yes, even if you've got it racked clear, there will be some), then it can start to referment.

The glass marbles trick works, but if you're using a glass fermenter, you have to be vvv careful not to smash the bottom out of it. Plus you'd be surprised how many you may need.

CG's comment about starting a batch in a bucket is valid as it means you can make a batch slightly larger, then once it's dropped a sediment, you can siphon off into a glass carboy/demi-john, and any left over can be run into a plastic pop/soda bottle and put in the fridge, and saved for later for topping up.

Chevette Girl
08-09-2012, 03:59 PM
Honey/water syrup ? Yes, that also works, but is usually known as a back sweetening mix. You'd have to stabilise with sulphite and sorbate first, because if there's any ability left in the remaining yeast cells (and yes, even if you've got it racked clear, there will be some), then it can start to referment.

Actually, I don't do this to backsweeten, if the yeast are still active and the honey water you add matches the original SG, then when the yeast ferment it out dry (which they should if your batch is only just being racked the first time), you can just use the SG reading as it is to determine alcohol content, no dithering around with volumes or concentration.