View Full Version : Gravity after topping up with water

01-19-2016, 10:05 AM
Firstly, Hi!

Put my first mead brew on last week after following some instructions that came with a Brewing Kit I was given for Christmas.


1.36kg Rowse Pure & Natural Honey
Yeast (Just a generic "Wine Yeast + Nutrient")
1 Large Orange (cut into 8 segments)
Handful of sultanas
Water (total volume of water + other ingredients = 1 gallon)

After mixing the honey, water, orange and sultanas together, giving it a good shake to aerate I took a gravity reading which gave me 1.108

Added the yeast and let it do it's thing... Not much really happened for a couple of days. Had a little bubble in the airlock every now and then.

After 48 hours, I was getting a bit concerned so a removed the airlock, gave the brew a gentle stir, put the airlock back on, and BOOM... BUBBLES!

The instructions stated to leave some head room in the demijohn to allow for some foaming, and to top up later. After 72 hours (24 hours of actual fermentation) there was some foaming, but not a huge amount, so I decided to top up the brew with some water.

Now, I don't know exactly how much water I added, it was only about 2-3 inches in the neck of the demijohn. And now I've realised I didn't take another gravity reading!!

So two questions:

When I do my final gravity reading, is this going to be miles out due to the "top up" water added?

Is there anyway of correcting my final gravity if I can work out how much water I added?

Other question:

Has anyone done a similar recipe?
Will this mead be dry/medium/sweet...?

01-19-2016, 10:27 AM
There's a lot we don't know about this, but maybe you can fill in the gaps.

What size carboy or demijohn did you start with? How full was it to begin with before you topped it off? If you could estimate how much your initial volume was and how much honey you added, that would be a place to start. Then it would really be up to you to estimate how much water you added, and we could probably give you a rough estimate of how your gravity was affected and about what your abv will be.

But I wouldn't get too hung up on it. It sounds like a fun kit to enjoy playing with, and hopefully the final product is enjoyable as well, but moving forward you're probably going to want a little more method in your madness! Lol.

With a starting gravity over 1.100 you're definitely going to need more nutrient though, if you want a final product that will be drinkable without months or years of aging. If you have any Fermaid-O I would recommend you take a look at www.meadmaderight.com and follow the TOSNA protocol. You could also boil some bread yeast in a little water (like 1/4 to 1/2 cup) to kill it, and add that to your mead as an organic nutrient.

As to your last question, my brief search on the Web tells me nothing about this Rowse yeast, so it's hard to know how it will perform and what to expect. However, most wine yeasts will take a gravity of 1.108 (which you brought down a little with your water addition) down to 1.000 or lower, so if I was a betting man, I'd put my money on a dry mead.

01-19-2016, 10:54 AM
Thanks for the reply Mazer.

I'm using a 1 gallon demijohn. When I get home tonight I should be able to work out how much honey + water were mixed up initially, and then hopefully estimate how much water was added as the top up.

Honey wasn't added to the mix, only used water to top it up.

Haha yeah, kind of just jumped straight in with this brew, instructions basically said: mix everything together, leave it for 1-2 months, bottle it, leave it for 6 months, drink it. There was no mention of adding nutrients down the line.

I had a look at the TOSNA protocol, and it talks about adding nutrient at 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours and then at 7 days or 1/3 sugar break (need to look up with this sugar break thing is all about) after pitching - I'm already at 6 days after pitching, and the airlock is still going like a bat out of hell 1-2 bubbles a second I would say.

I've got some Young's Nutrient coming in the post tomorrow I hope, so I could add some of that?

01-19-2016, 11:15 AM
This almost looks like a JAO. Honey, orange, sultanas, generic yeast, and some nutrient for good measure. The JAOM is an interesting, good and easy recipe.
I wouldn't worry too much about gravity. 1.108 would give you a strong enough mead and diluting this would still leave you with a good mead. It would be very hard to calculate the exact gravity 1st of all because you added water, 2nd because the sultanas and orange would also contribute sugars which would be undetectable by the hydrometer.

If you REALLY want to estimate how topping off has affected your gravity you can do this:
1. Estimate how much volume you initially had. If you had a 1 gallon carboy full to the shoulder maybe you had 0.9 gallons?
2. Create a formula in the batch calculator with SG 1.108 in 0.9gal. I did this and I needed 1.23kg of honey. (The amount of honey is different than what you used because different honeys have different sugar content. Also, some honey might have sunk to the bottom and created a false hydrometer reading..) The honey amount here is irrelevant, all we need is something to raise gravity to 1.108 (it could have been sugar)
3. Change the volume variable. You are emulating what happened to your batch so the volume went from ~0.9 gallons to 1 gallon.
4. Check how gravity has changed when changing the volume variable. In my case, gravity went down to 1.097 when I changed 0.9 to 1 gallon because of this water addition.

Since it is estimated your batch should still be well above 12% abv I wouldn't worry. That's the amount I aim for myself. I even do batches as low as 9 or 10% abv

EDIT: Just saw you replied before me. Do not add nutrients to this batch. Let it run its course and see what happens. If it stalls (since it is similar to Jao I don't think it will though) you can either restart it or create another dry batch and blend the 2 together. Adding nutrients now will probably do more harm than good

01-19-2016, 11:33 AM
Woah thanks Stasis!

I'd say your estimates are pretty good. I will have a play with the calculator later though see if I can get a more accurate estimate.

I'll let this batch run it's course and fingers crossed it'll turn out ok :)