View Full Version : When and how to add hibiscus

Ron Peterson Jr.
11-02-2015, 02:08 PM
Hello everyone,
As cliche as it sounds, this is my first batch of mead. I've done extract brewing, but ran into 24lbs of wild forest honey... decided some clone of Viking Blod was appropriate!

So anyway, 6 gallon recipe
19 lbs of honey
boiled about 3 lbs of it in 2.5 gallons water with some hops for about an hour, then cooled.
added the rest of the honey and water to 6 gal.
pitched 2 packs of proofed K1v-1116
SG was about 1.190 (or something terrifically high like that)
2 hours later, active bubbling
regular degassing with some kind of wine whip - that was a learning experience.
5 nutrient packs, 1 every other day

I'm about 10 days in primary and halfway through the fermenting. tastes great so far! Though I see back sweetening in my future.

Here's the question: I have 7 oz of dried hibiscus flowers that I have no idea how, how much or when to add. I'm thinking to stuff it into my hop bag and boil it quickly in just enough water to cover, cool, then toss the works in the secondary fermentation carboy to top it off.... then taste it regularly (every few days?). Or should i start the hibiscus bag in the primary ferment and transfer it with the mead... keep the bag in primary till it's hibiscus-y enough?

Thanks in advance and sorry if I've left any pertinent information out.

11-02-2015, 07:09 PM

That's a pretty high SG. I'm surprised it even got off. Did you use go-ferm ? keep us informed. It will be interesting to see if the yeast can cross the finish line

You could do it two way, maybe more. One would allow the most control-ability. Seep it in hot water like a tea. The add it once it is cool to your taste preferences. The other would be to just add it directly add it to the fermentation vessel and check it every once in a while. I'm not sure how potent it is. I have some on board for latter this winter. I don't really like the Vicking Blood. I think it's too strong on the Hibiscus. To each his own :)

Ron Peterson Jr.
11-03-2015, 12:38 PM
Yeah, looking back now, it was pretty high... It's my first batch so i didn't really know what to expect. I'm not sure what nutrients i added as Northwestern Brewers gave me an envelope of 5 packs of powder some large grain some small - don't think i saved the empty packs :-(
It's bubbling like crazy still - probably once every second or two. It "seems" to be stuck around 1.050-ish. It's been around there for about 3 or four days.
Not too worried yet as there are millions of tiny bubbles still floating up. It's getting quite dry though.

If the yeast poops out do I just pitch more of the same? (1116)
Still not sure about the when part of adding the hibiscus. Should I wait till secondary or start steeping and tasting it now?

11-03-2015, 02:45 PM
You will want to wait until the mead is old enough to get an idea of what it will taste like later. Maybe 6-8 months. I'm not surprised that your stuck at 1050. It is far from dry,,, dry is 1000. You will need to look up LLamande's web site on how to resart a stuck fermentation. And yes you should do that. The bubble are CO2 off gassing

11-03-2015, 03:14 PM
I don't know if the fermentation is stuck or if you have just found the alcohol tolerance of your yeast.
The ABV is around 17.5% by your SG readings and that should be around the max for KV1116.

11-03-2015, 04:01 PM
Hi Ron Peterson Jr, and welcome.
The problem will be if the yeast has reached its tolerance for alcohol then adding more yeast will simply kill that yeast - in this case the yeast you now add won't have the ability to slowly die of alcohol poisoning - it will be like it swallowed cyanide and drops dead immediately... Are there viable yeasts that can deal with being asked to start their work in a cauldron filled with 17.5% alcohol.. I don't know. BUT... Are you sure that your starting gravity reading was accurate. If your total honey was 19 lbs and your total volume is 6 gallons then we are talking about 3.16 lbs of honey per gallon and 3.16 lbs of honey in 1 gallon is not going to have a greater density than 1.126 and the potential ABV of any wine or mead that has 1.126 as the starting gravity is about 16.5% which is just this side of doable given your yeast... but that means that there is no residual sugar left in the mead for any further fermentation and so obviously no need for you to add any other yeast.. BUT that also suggests that the gravity today should be close to 1.000 and not 1.050 so either your hydrometer is weird or your measurements are off or there is something else going on... OR I am so wrong headed about this that it ain't funny!

Ron Peterson Jr.
11-03-2015, 04:56 PM
now that I think about it, my OG readings for the last extract brew have been off from the datasheet... I attributed it to user error, but now I'm thinking that something is effed up with my hydro. I think I'm going to have to borrow one and take some measurements.... GAH!
or test it in distilled...

11-03-2015, 06:22 PM
If you are dead in the water from alcohol levels you could separate the batch into 2 different containers. Water it down some and the use the "restuck protocol" on the manufacturers site to bring them down so it isn't cloingly sweet