View Full Version : adding honey during primary?

06-26-2013, 05:44 PM
Could someone please explain adding honey during primary fermentation. I'm very new to mead making and this sounds interesting! What's the purpose? What does it change about the finished product?

06-26-2013, 06:00 PM
In my rather limited understanding: Sometimes when you want a high ABV mead you need a high starting S.G. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_gravity) (simply put: Specific Gravity = the quantity of sugar dissolved in your must). Too high an SG will shock the yeast and the fermentation will be unhealthy or won't even kick off. To counter that you start at a lower SG and build the sugar content up as the yeast eats trough it.
Eg: I want a starting S.G. (or Original Gravity) of 1.200. Yeast won't like that so I start at 1.100, wait till the S.G. drops to 1.050, add honey to 1.100, wait till it drops to 1.050 again and add honey again to 1.100. So the yeast will have eaten trough .200 "gravity points*" of sugar when it ferments dry at 1.000

You measure S.G. with a magical wand called a hydrometer. REALLY useful to track your mead


*probably not the right term, but it works for me ;)

06-26-2013, 06:16 PM
So a higher ABV yeast should be used?

06-26-2013, 10:03 PM
This is called Step Feeding and as saur0n says it is typically done to get a high ABV mead without problems starting fermentation due to an overly high starting specific gravity; and yes, if this is your goal, you would also need a yeast with a high ABV tolerance.


06-27-2013, 07:25 AM
I've done step feeding for my Blood Orange mead. And I didn't so much care too much about a high ABV, but I wanted it at a specific final gravity for sweetness. So, I would let the mead ferment away, until it hit a certain point, then brought it back up to the gravity that I wanted it at, and continued to do so, until the gravity stopped dropping.

This way I didn't have to worry about back sweetening and having it done, before bulk aging. I have no idea what the ABV of it is, but when I'm happy with it I will probably do a spirit indication test just to see where it did end up.

06-27-2013, 02:30 PM
Thanks folks! i love this forum! ask a question and get straight answers!
I like the idea of not having to back sweeten...I'm not really a dry kind of guy...though i do appreciate a higher ABV!!!

I'm gonna have to give this a whirl

Yo momma
06-29-2013, 11:43 AM
Look up Fatblokes Dwajniak, or my Banana Dwajniak for info on Stepfeeding. It is a technique that the Polish started and it results in High Abv and High gravity meads. Nedds to age a little longer due to the stepfeeding and the high abv.