View Full Version : Specific Gravity too High

01-26-2014, 02:30 PM
Hi everyone. I'm very new at mead making. I started my second batch last night and I made a mistake. I saw a simple 1 gallon recipe online made from honey and Ocean Spray cranberry juice. I used grocery store clover honey (probably not the best choice) and cherry juice cocktail instead of cranberry. I added about 2 1/2 lbs of honey, just under 64 oz of the juice, and water the rest of the way to make a gallon. I added a half teaspoon of energizer and a half teaspoon of nutrient with the intention of adding one more half teaspoon of nutrient in a few days. I shook the hell out of it and then added a campden tablet and shook it some more. I let it sit for 24 hours. It also had a very large amount of foam on the top that didn't completely go away even after the 24 hours. Not sure if that means anything. Anyway, I rehydrated my yeast (ec-1118 lalvin) and checked it with a hydrometer before pitching the yeast. It read 1.15 with the temp being about 70 degrees. I have no idea how the gravity got to be so high. I didn't think I added enough honey to get anywhere near that high. It also doesn't seem like the juice would have enough sugar to do that either. Anyway, I probably should have waited but I ended up pitching the yeast anyway. I'm pretty sure this was a bad idea. It did start noticeably fermenting by the next morning. It still has a lot of foam on top and it's bubbling inside very slowly.
So what can I do with this batch? Should I just let it be and see what happens? Should I pour some out and add water to bring down the gravity? If I did do this would I have to add more yeast or would there be enough now for it to continue fermenting? Thanks. -Reese

01-26-2014, 05:51 PM
You could split the batch into 2 batches and add water to SG 1.100 or so.....taste might be thin, but that can be fixed later.

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Chevette Girl
01-26-2014, 07:29 PM
In explanation, yes the juice will have enough sugar to make that big of a difference. Next time check its SG, you'll probably find it's around 1.050. Adding two and a half pounds of honey to a gallon of water should give you something on the order of 1.100, so if you add all that sugar together, 1.150 is pretty much what I'd expect... Next time when using juice, check its SG first (don't forget to correct for temperature if it's been refrigerated) and calculate your honey additions accordingly (or just add honey in small increments and stir each addition well until you get a SG you like, that's what I do cause I'm too lazy to do math).

If you don't have a second carboy you can always remove a cup or two of must and put it in a sanitized container (poastic pop bottle works) in the fridge for backsweetening or topping up after you rack it, then dilute your main batch with water as you suggested (boil and cool the water if you're paranoid, I haven't found it matters).

If it poops out, you might try an acclimated starter rather than just dumping more yeast in, if the conditions are liveable the yeast will breed anyway. It just might take 'em a while in such a high-gravity solution. If it started at all, that's at least a good sign, just make sure your juice doesn't contain potassium sorbate or it won't get very far and you're going to want to make a great big non-acclimated starter when you repitch. (in case it's not in the glossary yet, an acclimated starter is when you start with your rehydrated yeast in its water and add small amounts of must frequently over the span of a day or so to get it used to the high gravity, a non-acclimated starter would not use the must but would use juice or honey water if there's a reason you wouldn't want to use your must)

01-27-2014, 01:34 PM
Ok cool. Thank you very much.

01-29-2014, 07:23 AM
EC-1118 should chew up 18% worth of sugar, which is about 18/135 = 0.133 gravity points.
So your FG will be about 1.017 or medium sweet.
If you treat it well, it may eat more. Treat it poorly, it may poop out at sweet or desert sweet.

Good luck. Tuck the little yeasties in at night and song them a lullaby. Rocking the carboy sometimes helps.