View Full Version : Big project big dreams...

05-07-2014, 06:18 PM
Hello all.
I'm from Portugal and was you may think we don't have the culture of producing mead (Hidromel ou 'vinho de mel' in Portuguese xD).
I will start by saying that I liked your forum and you seem very nice to reply to. As you can see my English isn't so good as I wish it was.:cool:
So to the point,
I want to do a project of a mead type drink with infusion herbs flavour. I'm a biotechnologist so I think I can handle it :confused5:
So far I bought/have:

Honey (10kg)
Tap Water (w/ Clorin)
Homemade UV filter
350L fermentor
Steramine (150 tblts)
Homemade air-lock
Brown Sugar(lots)
Densimeter (from Ukraine/can read anything that it says)

So the objective is to produce a very dry drink with at least 10% alcohol that contains flavours of honey, eucaliptus, mint and others...(not revealed >:D)
I just want to use the honey to partially flavour the drink...not to get it extra sweet. (big no)
I want to be producing one batch for week and a half...
What do you think?
For now I will do some experiments...to try recipes that you may suggest (I would be very thankfulll) In small recipients.
Thank you all,
André (my real name btw)

05-07-2014, 08:32 PM
Use all honey if you want it will give a more pronounced honey flavour. Once the sugar in the honey ferments to a gravity of 1.000 or less, it is not sweet anymore that is a common mistake that people make when making mead is thinking because they are using honey it will be sweet. It's as sweet as you make it either by feeding honey to the must until the yeast stalls from alcohol toxicity or in your case start out with a known amount of fermentables to end up at at 10% ABV and then stabilize and backsweeten to taste.

05-07-2014, 08:47 PM
I just read that using caramelized honey it won't be used as C source and would only give flavour to the drink. So that way I could use the sugar for fermenting and honey to the flavour. But still...the objective is to produced a dry drink so I really don't want to backsweet.

05-07-2014, 10:51 PM
I just read that using caramelized honey it won't be used as C source and would only give flavour to the drink. So that way I could use the sugar for fermenting and honey to the flavour. But still...the objective is to produced a dry drink so I really don't want to backsweet.

Be prepared to backsweeten anyway. I too prefer dry wine. But in a mead, I prefer a bit more taste than 'dry' provides.

As far as caramelizing honey, SOME of the sugars (in my limited experience) are converted into things that the yeast cannot turn into alcohol, but not ALL. This type of mead is called a 'bochet', by the way. Saving some of the caramelized honey for backsweetening is a good idea, but why use sugar for alcohol production? Use honey! A mead, by definition, is an alcoholic beverage in which >50% of the fermentable sugars come from honey. Is it 'bad' to use sugar to ferment and honey to add flavor? Probably not (I have never done it, so I don't know). But it is no longer mead, that's all.

I would not recommend trying to make a bochet for one of your first meads. Start off with easy, 'standard' meads, build on your successes. And you WILL succeed.

As far as what you need, make sure you have nutrient and energizer to feed the yeast. Honey has sugar for them, but not much else that they need. Just about any wine yeast will give you at least 12% alcohol. You want to be above 10% in order to keep spoilage organisms from ruining your creation.

You can 'create' your recipe to give you 10%+ and add more honey is you wish after stabilizing. Very dry mead takes a long time to be enjoyable. I would recommend something with a little more alcohol (11-12%) and an open mind about the possibility of backsweetening. If you DO make it very dry and like it, you are finished. If you find that you do not like it, simply stabilize it and add a little more honey.

Fatbloke has a very nice method for determining how much honey to add. He puts some in a glass, adds honey a little bit at a time, tasting it after each addition. Once he attains the level of sweetness he likes, he checks the specific gravity with a hydrometer and adds honey to the 'master batch' until the specific gravity matches the 'sample'. WHY is this such a great method? Because he gets to drink the experiment! ;)

Be well,

05-08-2014, 11:29 AM
Thank you for your reply Joe,
So, first the reason I want to use more sugar is to reduce the producing cost. Where 1kg of Honey costs arround 5€ (a little bit less maybe) while 1 Kg of sugar costs 0.70€.
Then, ok maybe I'm a little be close to idea of backsweet;
If I try it, should I use the honey only in the end with the infusion (to backsweet) or maybe in the medium? And should I try produce a 14% drink and then add the pasteurilized to dilute?
Yes I think i would like that experiment but I cannot have many assays or it gets messy....xD

05-08-2014, 11:22 PM

I understand your concern about the cost of honey, but realistically, we are talking about 5€ for each 4 liters of 10% ABV mead.

You can ferment a solution of sucrose and water and flavor it with honey after. But will it be mead? No. Will it 'suck'? Probably not. But it will not give you the 'true' taste of a mead. Does grape wine taste like fresh grapes?

Perhaps if you use 50% honey and 50% cane sugar (remember that honey has only about 80% of the 'sugar value' of sugar) you could retain the 'mead character'. I don't know. I have never done what you are proposing.

On the subject of 10% or 14% alcohol content, I would try to make a recipe to give you between 11 and 12% if fermented dry. If you achieve 14%, chances are very good that it will have to age for longer. Backsweetening can help, but it still may take more time.

No matter what you decide, welcome to the forum and good luck with your project!


05-09-2014, 06:54 AM
Where 1kg of Honey costs arround 5€

In Portugal you will find honey in bulk for 3 to 3.5 euro.

For that you may contac beekeepers associations.

05-22-2014, 01:09 PM
Hello again,
Im here to make an upgrade of my project...I did my first test trial with only 25L and I used 33% and 66% white sugar following the alcotec recipe for the 14%;
It took approximatly 48h to ferment (no more bubles) and I ended up with a batch with a yellowish color, lots of gas and seems to have little etanol. I would like to filtrate this drink to have a better appearance but I'm looking for a rentable way of doing that. What do you think went wrong...
Please have mercy on me it was the first trial.;D

05-22-2014, 02:00 PM
I'm not sure I fully understand your question, you want to filter your beverage and would like a way to rent the equipment? I am not entirely sure if that is possible, it depends on what's available in your location I would assume. I have heard others ( I believe it was mannye) talk about relatively affordable filtration systems that you could purchase.

Do you have any gravity readings?

Is the color that you are talking about a haze, as in the beverage is not clear? Because there are other alternatives to filtering ( cold crashing and/or fining agents)

What do you taste in the mead, just a harsh alcoholic taste? This is still extremely young, and would explain that harsh alcohol flavor and depending on your brewing practices, lots of fusels can develop.

I also notice that your primary fermentable was sugar, with only 1/3rd coming from honey, this would lead me to believe that you would want to use more honey to back sweeten this batch ( after stabilizing) in order to give the wine more honey character.

Chances are this will turn out just fine in time

Sent from The Age of Legends, trapped inside a Stasis Box

05-22-2014, 07:24 PM
That's some very good prices for honey. Here honey costs €6 at a supermarket, and local honey costs from €10-14. I managed to find a beekeeper who sold me honey for €7 and I consider myself lucky. Getting a full fermentation in 48hrs and ending with a 14% alc mead seems rather fast and I wonder what that would mean when it comes to fusels. I think you are thinking way too fast to want to filter it already. There are a couple of things I'd like to point out:
- No more bubbles from an airlock does not mean fermentation is finished. It could mean your fermentation is stuck. Hydrometer readings will indicate whether or not fermentation is finished.
- You didn't mention anything wrong with the appearance. You only said it's yellowish which is a normal color for a mead so I'm guessing that's not the problem, so what is it?
- From my experience, just after fermentation the your stuff will taste fizzy.Your mead can also still be slowly fermenting at this stage.
- You said you wanted this mead for a week and a half. Does that mean you want to drink it a week and a half after you started it? If this is the case the only way you can have anything drinkable is by buying it from a store. The quickest mead I read about is the BOMM and that takes a month. Maybe T'ej can be faster but still...

There are possibly other problems with this recipe. As pointed out already, essentially you are not making a mead. I could point out some potential pitfalls but in the end I would be changing your recipe, which seems you do not wish to do. Experimenting is ok, but if this does not work out I really recommend you take a look at the newbee guide if you haven't already. Then try out a simple mead or bomm or if you are convinced you want to use 66% sugar as your fermentables at least make a test batch of 100% honey mead and compare the flavors. You might end up deciding that the extra money is worth it. I do not have any recipes to suggest because there just are so many :)

05-26-2014, 10:21 AM
I'm not sure I fully understand your question, you want to filter your beverage and would like a way to rent the equipment

a rentable way of doing that

I think it´s a quicker method (and not rentable) you are looking for ?

05-26-2014, 11:07 PM
I'm just confused abaha

Sent from The Age of Legends, trapped inside a Stasis Box

Chevette Girl
05-29-2014, 07:07 PM
Hi André! Welcome to Gotmead.

If your fermentation only just stopped, it's going to be hazy for at least a couple of weeks until all the particulate settles out. Biotechnologist? If you've ever studied water treatment, you'll know that there are a few things you can add that will cause the suspended particles to stick together and settle out faster, but most of us don't bother with that for at least a couple of months. Patience, meads and wines sometimes take so much of it that we should list it in the ingredients :)

You say you have a densimeter (I'm assuming it's what we call a hydrometer), what kind of readings did you get at the beginning and ending? We'd want to see numbers on the scale that has 1.000 if you float it in water, and it probably goes up to something like 1.120 or 1.160 or something along those lines, your 14% was probably somewhere around 1.115 or thereabouts. It's the specific gravity we're interested in, it compares the density of your must against the density of water. Checking the specific gravity will tell you whether it's still fermenting, whether it's done or whether it just stopped in the middle of the fermentation.

06-17-2014, 05:50 PM
Hello all, again.
So I decided to wait some time before I try it again:rolleyes:. Now the beverage is not white anymore, it's more like weak yellow. I think it partially sedimentated because it became more clear.
The drink have a high alcohol content for sure but there's still the awfull flavour of 'yeast' on it. How can I get this flavour off my drink? Please give me ideias...
PS: When I said 'rentable' I mean not expensive, but offcourse that is not a worddddddddd xD