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View Full Version : Help in making a sweeter mead



MasaoL
06-01-2013, 02:52 AM
My previous meads used pomegranate blueberry juices to add a fruit flavor. The first one was great. I had some help making it and i barely got to keep any for myself the second was not so great. I did it by myself and since my friend moved away I didn't have access to better equipment so i did it ad-hoc from mason jars. Learned my lesson there and figured out a few of my mistakes from reading around this forum and the main site.

From what could be considered drinkable from the last batch my friends said it was not sweet enough so, I figure why not go for as much sugar as i can and make a 5 gallon batch from 10# of honey and then using water and sugar at a 1:1 ratio by volume (simple syrup) till it makes up the rest of the 5 gallons. And i plan to use the Lalvin d-47 yeast which should leave tons of sugars for sweetness if im using the calculator correctly. I do plan to add something to it maybe ginger and citrus.

If my math is right I'm looking at about 16# sugar which I sadly do have just laying about. My questions are these. Is that over kill by way of sweet? Is making mead pretty much from honey and syrup going to be a complete disaster? Has anyone actually used simple syrup to make mead?

fatbloke
06-01-2013, 04:34 AM
My previous meads used pomegranate blueberry juices to add a fruit flavor. The first one was great. I had some help making it and i barely got to keep any for myself the second was not so great. I did it by myself and since my friend moved away I didn't have access to better equipment so i did it ad-hoc from mason jars. Learned my lesson there and figured out a few of my mistakes from reading around this forum and the main site.

From what could be considered drinkable from the last batch my friends said it was not sweet enough so, I figure why not go for as much sugar as i can and make a 5 gallon batch from 10# of honey and then using water and sugar at a 1:1 ratio by volume (simple syrup) till it makes up the rest of the 5 gallons. And i plan to use the Lalvin d-47 yeast which should leave tons of sugars for sweetness if im using the calculator correctly. I do plan to add something to it maybe ginger and citrus.

If my math is right I'm looking at about 16# sugar which I sadly do have just laying about. My questions are these. Is that over kill by way of sweet? Is making mead pretty much from honey and syrup going to be a complete disaster? Has anyone actually used simple syrup to make mead?
Because meads are honey, water, yeast, nutrients and possibly other flavouring ingredients.

You've obviously missed the object of the exercise if you think it's a case of just using as much sugars as possible.......

Making the mead is pretty straight forward, as to how sweet it is ? well that's equally within your control.

D47 is a good yeast but it does carry a caveat, that it's known to produce plenty of fusels if you ferment it at over 70F/21C, so it depends where you are, what the likely temps of the ferment will be, etc etc as to whether it's the right yeast.

Plus if you're aiming at "quick", then forget it. There are a few recipes as well as methods and ingredients that will help you make something drinkable "quicker" but even that is unlikely to be considered as quick by most.

A better yeast for a traditional, would be K1-V1116, as it's got a nice, wide temperature tolerance, it will ferment to a high level of alcohol if needed and ages brilliantly.

I'd suggest you consider making something with "normal" parameters. Say, using 3 to 3.5lb of honey in the gallon, so 15 to 17.5lb if you're going for a 5 gallon batch. Choose a honey that you enjoy the taste of, raw if you can get it. Mix that to the desired target volume.

Ferment it in a bucket initially. Read the NewBee guide (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14), so you have a grasp of basic fermentation with staggered nutrition, ferment it dry. Then stabilise it and back sweeten it.

If you do that, you should end up with a mead that is as sweet as you want it to be.

If you use beer making methods, where you'd try to have all the fermentable sugars in the batch up front, plus some so that there's residual sugars left for sweetening, you're asking for problems. People crunch the number for batches like that, then have incredibly high starting gravity, then are amazed when they have problems often citing the "I don't know what I did wrong" excuse.

They did "stupidity" IMO.

If you want a sack mead i.e. high alcohol and sweet, you can easily start a batch with a more modest SG, but then step feed it with honey. As long as there's enough nutrition available for the yeast, then it will just munch through the sugars until it poops out, somewhere around it's published tolerance. If you know where/when it's likely to stop or know that it has stopped it's easy to add further honey for sweetness where the batch won't start to referment as the yeast can't make any more alcohol.

See what I mean ? A number of possible methods to attain the type of batch you want to make.

If you wanted to use fruits, etc, then remember that fruit fermented in primary will not have the same taste as the fruit did when it first went in. If you wanted that character, you'd be better placed putting the fruit into secondary to flavour the batch.

Your second batch that you say wasn't as good as the first, well you may just have to age it. A lot of young meads taste hideous, but give them a minimum of 6 months aging and you'd see the change. That might be enough, but it may need longer, considerably longer i.e. a number of years.

Good luck with your efforts.......

And of course, welcome to the forums. There's a sh1tload of good ideas, advice and suggestions hereabouts, and plenty of knowledge and expertise (not me, I'm just a long term mead maker who's made most of the usually encountered mistakes).........

Chevette Girl
06-02-2013, 06:43 PM
I think most of us who have been doing this for a while have made all the mistakes, it's how we learn :)

I'm with Fatbloke, there are far better ways to make a mead sweet than to front-load the heck out of it. Not only is making a 10% batch and then backsweetening it easier on the yeast than a 15% batch hoping for residual sugar, but it's significantly less expensive.

Furthermore, most of us don't bother adding sugar to a mead, we use honey instead. Sugar contributes only alcohol or sweetness, not flavour.

THawk
06-03-2013, 04:46 AM
I think most of us who have been doing this for a while have made all the mistakes, it's how we learn :)


And because honey's not exactly the cheapest thing in the world, it pays to learn from your mistakes!!

Chevette Girl
06-03-2013, 07:07 AM
And because honey's not exactly the cheapest thing in the world, it pays to learn from your mistakes!!

Even better though to learn from others' mistakes! ;D That's why we're all here on this forum!

smertz001
06-03-2013, 07:58 AM
A smart person learns from their mistakes. A wise person learns from other people's mistakes. (=