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Stasis
06-30-2015, 06:20 PM
I have recently shared my prickly pear mead at a bbq and most people loved it but those who took more wine realized that with this wine they quickly felt buzzed. I have done a quick google search and stumbled upon this piece:
"Pressing and juicing will yield most of the juice, flavor and natural sugar. Additional flavor and sugar are locked in the remaining fruit pulp..."
(taken from http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/advbasic.asp)

Problem is I can't seem to find just how much sugar could be expected to be locked inside the pulp. So I created this mead and threw in the pulp (no water, just juice and pulp all the way), took a juice sample and calculated how much honey would be needed to take this to around 12% alc. I assume my mead went above 12% but I can't estimate how much..
Anybody know how much sugar someone could expect to be locked inside the pulp (percentage wise)? Maybe cider/cyser makers have experience with this? As it is I will aim for 8-10% alcohol next time and the yeast will hopefully get to the locked sugars and raise the alcohol content a bit, but any input would be appreciated.

Chevette Girl
07-03-2015, 12:42 AM
If you still have some of this left, you can try a spirit indication test to see what the actual alcohol level is...

take a sample of known volume, check SG, boil away the alcohol and replace it back up to original volume with liquid of known SG (water, 1.000) and check SG again, the difference between the two can be used to calculate the percentage of ethanol that evaporated during the boiling.

mannye
07-03-2015, 01:21 AM
That's how you do that! I had forgotten! thanks!

Stasis
07-06-2015, 03:35 AM
Thanks CG!
Seems I need a more accurate hydrometer for a spirit indication test, although buying one could be useful to get a more accurate reading of any finished mead FG. I've been looking online and these seem to be called precision finished/finishing hydrometers and have readings from just 0.980 to 1.020. I assume you also have to be very careful with temperature when taking these readings. I'll see if I can find a hydrometer that doesn't triple in cost because of shipping. If I end up testing this mead I'll update this thread (if I remember).
Thanks again!

Stasis
07-13-2015, 12:49 PM
Just did the spirit indication test on a sample. The alcohol content turned out to be around 14%. Despite buying a precision hydrometer and being extremely careful in taking the most precise measurements, I'd still have to give that value +-0.5% alcohol since this test is so damn delicate. For example, a reading of 1.007 rather than 1.006 would result in a 1% alcohol difference. This means I have to take reading at least down to 0.0005 since an initial reading and final reading off by 0.0005 each would create this 1% difference. I am confident I created quite the precise test though, something which is impossible with a normal hydrometer.

TLDR - My test revealed up to 2% alcohol content difference from what I initially planned. Now that I go over my notes I might have actually aimed for a bit less than 12% alcohol. I will be extra careful during my next batch to confirm this ~2% alc difference between Sugar in juice vs Sugar in Pulp
On a side note, I wonder if some trace fusels which are undetectable by taste and smell could result in people getting a buzz quicker from this batch. This would hopefully mean this problem will fade a bit as the mead ages

Kansas Mead
07-14-2015, 11:46 AM
I know White Labs has kits in which you can sent a sample of mead and find out what is in it.

Chevette Girl
07-14-2015, 08:05 PM
I know my error is probably +/-1% at a minimum, I don't use a fine-scale hydrometer and I assume that if both readings are at room temperature it's good enough for the level of precision I'm looking for. I figure the biggest error in my procedure is the volume measurement because I'm using a Sharpie mark on my hydrometer test tube rather than a pipette, syringe or proper graduated cylinder. And temperature CAN affect the volume of your sample, so that's an additional source of error. But it's still going to get you closer than a guess. I just always find it interesting when we forget to account for the alcohol in our sample when we're trying to see how much sugar has been converted, I think our alcohol calculations based on SG are high-balling it because the ethanol drops the SG further than just the sugar removal does, IE you can still have sugar left at 1.000 or under (or else you couldn't end up with meads at .990 like I have had).

Stasis
07-15-2015, 10:11 PM
In fact I only hazarded to say my reading was +/-0.5% because of the precision scale hydrometer and the extreme care I took in measuring just about everything.
I bought the precision scale hydrometer because I needed onother hydrometer anyway since the hydrometer I own measures in Babo KMW. The hydrometer doesn't even go below 1.000 (marked as 0 on my hydrometer) so I can't measure very dry FG of any mead.
I was aware of what you're saying, but now that I think of it, it's very interesting that an 8% mead at 1.000 has less sugar in it than a 16% mead at 1.000. I wonder if both these meads would be equally dry tasting.

Stasis
10-12-2015, 07:06 AM
Summer is over and I made another prickly pear melomel batch. This time I took a reading of the juice and it was estimated that this would yield around 4.5% abv. After fermenting the must with pulp, and before adding any honey I did a spirit indication test. The alcohol level was around 6.5% abv, which supports my previous findings. I was now able to calculate fairly accurately the final abv of this mead.
This means creating a prickly pear 'cider' of low abv would be better if I only used the juice (which I did) pre-ferment since it contains less sugars. The downside would be that it also contains less flavor, but I guess it will be fairly easy drinking
Something to keep in mind when doing high fruit content melomels