View Full Version : Need some advice on my first batch

01-30-2016, 07:02 PM
Hello everyone!

So one week ago today I stated my first foray into brewing..... And I decided to go with mead (since I'm not a wine fan, and there's hundreds and hundreds of beers available in my area... But few meads, and even fewer of the meads without fruit that I'm fond of)

Anyway, I near-boiled, then cooled to about 100F, a little less than two gallons water, then added five pounds raw honey. I proofed the yeast in lukewarm water with some cane sugar like I would have with bread (EC1118 by the way) and then mixed it all together in two one gallon carbs. Now, for the past week, the airlock hasn't been terribly active...maybe one bubble every five seconds or so.... in both carbs.. So I figured I'd do a hydrometer test (no visible krausen either as far as I could tell)
Anyway the hydrometer sank right in. My OG was at about 1.09, and it had dropped in the past week all the way to 1, just about on the dot. So it's already at ....what... about 12%abv? And this was the case for both carbs.

Anyway... I figured what the heck why waste the test liquid and my buddy and I drank them.... they tasted like very dry white wine, almost no hint of honey at all ? And a slight, almost alkali note. It was actually kinda good, but not quite what I was hoping for

So what's going on here? Is this good? Bad? What should be my next step?

(Ps the carbs have been kept relatively dark at about 71 degrees.... I'm in southern California, there's only so cold we can get)

01-30-2016, 07:49 PM
You need to tell us more. What do you want to do? What do you want out of it? What did you expect?

02-01-2016, 10:37 AM
First comment - you don't need to discard your hydrometer test sample. You can put it back in your fermenter. This makes a huge difference with small batches. The oxidation risk for mead is a lot lower than with beer.

You've made yourself a dry mead. When they're young, they often taste like white wine. The honey character will come back with age. If you want it to be sweet, you have two routes you can take.

One is backsweetening; you arrest any possible fermentation with potassium metabisulphite and potassium sorbate, then add more honey to reach the sweetness you want.

The other is step-feeding; you add more honey when your mead goes dry, and wait to see how much the yeast eats. Keep doing that until the yeast gives up and it's as sweet as you like it. This will tend to give you a higher ABV - with EC-1118 you can expect a well-fed mead being step-fed to go to 18% or higher.

You can certainly just bottle what you have once you get a couple stable hydrometer readings (you say it's right at 1.000 - mead can sometimes drop to as far as 0.990 when the yeast are feeling feisty), and in a year or so, enjoy your dry mead, which should taste more like honey then than it does now. Or you can sweeten it up with some combination of step-feeding and back-sweetening.

Nothing has gone wrong at this stage. You just need to decide what you want to do with it. Enjoy!