View Full Version : Gravity reading off the charts...

Hillside Heathen
01-04-2016, 03:04 PM
I couldn't get a first reading because my hydrometer was floating so high that the water level didn't even touch the gauge lol. I took the reading before adding my yeast so it wasn't topped off yet but I don't think it would have been enough water anyway...
What will become of this mead? I'm going to let it ferment. I wanted to make a high alc. sweet mead...Too much honey?
I'm also an amateur if you haven't guessed.
Lets see:

1 Gal batch

-6.5 lb raw unprocessed unheated pure buckwheat honey
-However much water it took to fill the rest.
-Lalvin EC-1118 full 5oz packet
-2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient (some generic brand).

Thats all I put in it. I was still pretty warm to the touch once the airlock was placed and the carboy was at its final resting place.

Anyway, whats your opinion?
Thanks, take care

01-04-2016, 04:39 PM
You just started a Dwójniak.

01-04-2016, 05:48 PM
While it's every mazer's dream at some point to push the alcohol as high as possible, doing so without a solid grasp of the basics is not likely to end well. Making a high-alcohol, sweet mead takes a lot more than just throwing the ingredients into a jug and hoping for the best. At that gravity (6.5 lb per gallon = ~1.233!?), you'd be lucky to even have it start, let alone finish. Most likely, the extraordinarily high sugar content killed off most of the yeast, and any yeast that managed to survive won't get very far. Even if it fermented all the way to EC-1118's tolerance of 18%, you'd still be sitting in the 1.090's, which is where a lot of meads start. It would be far to sweet to even sip.

Of course, that doesn't mean that it can't be salvaged.

Given that you already have one gallon made, I would suggest you split it in half and top off each with water to make two 1-gallon batches with an OG of ~1.117 (MUCH more manageable). From there, I would suggest step-feeding more honey as the gravity drops.

There are plenty of topics that cover step-feeding fermentables, but the basic premise is this: As the gravity drops close to 1.000 (several recipes I've seen do it in the 1.000 - 1.020 range) gradually add more honey to until you reach your desired gravity. Then let it continue to ferment until it reaches whatever your previously established breaking was. Repeat this until the fermentation halts altogether.

Along with a good SNA regimen (staggered nutrient additions), step-feeding can push the upper limits of a yeast's tolerance.