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Bains999
12-03-2016, 10:32 AM
I need some advice on yeast versus sweetness.

My experience is limited but I have researched and read a variety of materials. At this point I am definitely confused…

I am planning a mead with an OG of 1.12. I want the finished product to be slightly sweet.

If I use Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast the literature says it is good to about 14% ABV and then attenuation will have the yeast die out. The remaining must will then be slightly sweet.

If I use Lalvin EC-1118 yeast the literature says it is good to about 18% before attenuation. The result would be a mead that is essentially fairly dry which is not what I want.

My supplier says to use the EC-1118, let it ferment and then back sweeten it. From what I read there is always the possibility of restarting the fermentation and adding additional honey may affect the underlying flavor profile.


So, I am looking for advice on selecting the yeast that I know will attenuate prior to full fermentation or have full fermentation and back sweeten.

Maylar
12-03-2016, 11:55 AM
It's your choice really. If you ferment dry with EC-1118 you would normally stabilize the mead with potassium sorbate to prevent renewed fermentation before sweetening. People do this all the time. And you're right that adding unfermented honey for sweetener is a different taste than residual partly fermented honey.

The published alcohol limits of yeast are just guidelines. It's possible for 71B in a well managed ferment to exceed 14% and leave the mead dry. But from where you are I think I'd go that route.

Good luck with your mead.

caduseus
12-03-2016, 11:58 AM
I need some advice on yeast versus sweetness.

My experience is limited but I have researched and read a variety of materials. At this point I am definitely confused…

I am planning a mead with an OG of 1.12. I want the finished product to be slightly sweet.

If I use Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast the literature says it is good to about 14% ABV and then attenuation will have the yeast die out. The remaining must will then be slightly sweet.

If I use Lalvin EC-1118 yeast the literature says it is good to about 18% before attenuation. The result would be a mead that is essentially fairly dry which is not what I want.

My supplier says to use the EC-1118, let it ferment and then back sweeten it. From what I read there is always the possibility of restarting the fermentation and adding additional honey may affect the underlying flavor profile.


So, I am looking for advice on selecting the yeast that I know will attenuate prior to full fermentation or have full fermentation and back sweeten.

1)how much ABV do you want? Unless you want more than 18% ABV or your must will be in room >75F, I would not recommend 1118 or 1116 as they blow off a lot of flavors due to vigorous fermentation. Keep in mind the higher the ABV the more it needs to age-generally speaking.
2) how sweet do you actually want? What residual sweetness as far as SG do you want?
3) Have you ever done a Joes Ancient Orange Mead? It is better for beginners.

Maylar
12-03-2016, 12:03 PM
1)how much ABV do you want? Unless you want more than 18% ABV or your must will be in room >75F, I would not recommend 1118 or 1116 as they blow off a lot of flavors due to vigorous fermentation. Keep in mind the higher the ABV the more it needs to age-generally speaking.
2) how sweet do you actually want? What residual sweetness as far as SG do you want?
3) Have you ever done a Joes Ancient Orange Mead? It is better for beginners.

From his numbers, it looks like he expects 14% with about 1.013 left over.

Bains999
12-03-2016, 01:33 PM
Let me thank caduseus and Maylar for their thoughtful and prompt replies.

This reminds me of when I started making beer decades ago – lots of trial and experimentation until I got the ‘feel’ of a recipe, grains, hops and adjuncts to get the expected results. My wine making is essentially cookie cutter approach using kits with little opportunity for experimentation so that does not add to my knowledge.

Mead seems to be an opportunity for more experimentation but of course I am trying to avoid mistakes.

I am unconcerned about ABV and instead more focused on a pleasant beverage. That said the question of how sweet versus SG is a fog in my mind. I want it to be mildly sweet but I have no notion of weather a 1.013 leftover will present that flavor profile.

Based on this short thread I called my supplier today and ordered the 71B-1122.

bernardsmith
12-03-2016, 08:05 PM
So you are aiming for a sweet mead with an ABV of about 14%. Thirteen points of gravity in terms of sweetness suggests about 5 oz of residual sugar in every gallon. Obviously (or not) the sweetness will be in the context of both the amount of alcohol and the level of acidity but you could experiment by adding 14 g of sugar to 387.5 cc of water and tasting how sweet that is - Not a perfect model as the alcohol will be zero and the pH will be very much higher... but I think that it will give you some sense of what you are aiming for. You might find that all other things being equal that that amount of sweetness will make your teeth stand on edge.. or not...

heathd666
12-04-2016, 01:39 AM
from the newbee guide to making mead

the commonly accepted final gravities for each level of dry/sweetness are:

Dry: 0.990 – 1.006
Medium: 1.006 – 1.015
Sweet: 1.012 – 1.020
Dessert: 1.020+

source
http://gotmead.com/blog/making-mead/mead-newbee-guide/the-newbee-guide-to-making-mead-chapter-7-planning/

in case you wanted to know what was sweet semi sweet etc :)

Bains999
12-04-2016, 07:14 PM
Well it clear that I am confused.

My intention was to use 15# of honey to make a 5 gallon batch of mead.

Using the graph on page 116 of Steve Piatz’s book MEAD, it says that my 3# per gallon of water should yield an OG of 1.120.

Using the GotMead calculator the OG will be 1.108

Using the SG of honey for 15# and 5 gallons water the OG computes to 1.085.

My initial question assumed the Piatz information and a fairly high OG and mumbled about yeast selection.

Now I am confused as to what value I should assume for the initial must for planning purposes.

Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

caduseus
12-04-2016, 08:25 PM
Well it clear that I am confused.

My intention was to use 15# of honey to make a 5 gallon batch of mead.

Using the graph on page 116 of Steve Piatz’s book MEAD, it says that my 3# per gallon of water should yield an OG of 1.120.

Using the GotMead calculator the OG will be 1.108

Using the SG of honey for 15# and 5 gallons water the OG computes to 1.085.

My initial question assumed the Piatz information and a fairly high OG and mumbled about yeast selection.

Now I am confused as to what value I should assume for the initial must for planning purposes.

Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

it wont be <1.1 with 3 #/gallon

pdh
12-04-2016, 09:43 PM
> Now I am confused as to what value I should assume for the initial must for planning purposes.

The figure I use in my estimates is that one pound of honey in one gallon of must gives you 35 points of gravity. You're talking about 3 pounds per gallon, so that's 3 x 35 = 105 points, or a starting gravity of 1.105.

This is just an estimate of course, but in my experience it's generally close enough.

Bains999
12-05-2016, 02:35 PM
Once again thanks for all the help as I stumbled along.

What I have determined is that Mr. Piatz's book has incorrect information based on at least four sources for OG calculations.

My spreadsheet had a bug and gave incorrect info thus driving me nuts. Thanks to caduseus for pointing me to look at my calculations.

The GotMead calculator is either incorrect or I do not understand how to use it which is probably the case.

heathd666
12-05-2016, 05:08 PM
one thing to keep in mind is that not all honey is the same. 15 lbs of one honey may give you a SG of one thing while a couple years later 15 pounds of honey from the same honey source may be a different SG. i doubt it would be much of a difference but it will be different. at least from my limited experience :)

caduseus
12-05-2016, 05:19 PM
one thing to keep in mind is that not all honey is the same. 15 lbs of one honey may give you a SG of one thing while a couple years later 15 pounds of honey from the same honey source may be a different SG. i doubt it would be much of a difference but it will be different. at least from my limited experience :)

I agree. Not only does each varietal of honey have more/less sugar than others but there can be a difference from year to year.
That said the AVERAGE change in SG per pound of honey is 35 points as previously mentioned.
In my (limited) experience though it is rarely off by more than 2 points per pound. In other words: 35 +/- 2 points per pound of honey for a 1 gallon batch.

Bains999
12-05-2016, 06:48 PM
Thank you. FYI here is some more definitive data from my spreadsheet...

Honey varies in SG based on type and pollen source
Honey Sugar Content SG of Honey SG of 1 gal must with 1 lb honey SG of 1 gal must with 3 lb honey
74% 1.37541 1.033 1.098
79.60% 1.41204 1.035 1.105
82% 1.42138 1.036 1.107

Honey varies in SG based on moisture content. 18% is considered the 'standard'
18% moisture honey: 1.4171 SG
15% moisture honey: 1.4350 SG

Average honey weight per gallon determines volume 11.8058 pounds per gallon

Doing a sensitivity analysis for a 5 gallon batch shows that the difference in SG may be significant relative to OG.

How you determine the actual SG without expensive instruments is a mystery to me.

Squatchy
12-05-2016, 08:56 PM
Thank you. FYI here is some more definitive data from my spreadsheet...

Honey varies in SG based on type and pollen source
Honey Sugar Content SG of Honey SG of 1 gal must with 1 lb honey SG of 1 gal must with 3 lb honey
74% 1.37541 1.033 1.098
79.60% 1.41204 1.035 1.105
82% 1.42138 1.036 1.107

Honey varies in SG based on moisture content. 18% is considered the 'standard'
18% moisture honey: 1.4171 SG
15% moisture honey: 1.4350 SG

Average honey weight per gallon determines volume 11.8058 pounds per gallon

Doing a sensitivity analysis for a 5 gallon batch shows that the difference in SG may be significant relative to OG.

How you determine the actual SG without expensive instruments is a mystery to me.

It's called a hydrometer.

Bains999
12-06-2016, 12:04 AM
Without being snarky, the question still stands. How do you determine the SG of a given honey. A hydrometer will not work.

darigoni
12-06-2016, 09:00 AM
I wonder if this answer your question: http://www.brew-dudes.com/specific-gravity-of-honey-water-solution/546

pdh
12-06-2016, 10:10 AM
> I wonder if this answer your question: http://www.brew-dudes.com/specific-gravity-of-honey-water-solution/546

Note that it requires a hydrometer :-) That page describes how to make a tiny test batch with the same gravity as your planned must, then you measure the gravity of the test batch -- with a hydrometer.

Which is probably the best you can do, given the variations in honey. But honestly, if using the "35 points per pound per gallon" rule gets you to within a few points of the actual gravity, is that not close enough? I mean, will it really ruin your results if you estimate a starting gravity of say 1.105 but it really turns out to be 1.109?

Bains999
12-06-2016, 01:24 PM
Thanks for the referenced to the article.

In my prior post I noted that honey has different specific gravity values based on honey type and/or moisture content.

The range of values is 1.37541 to 1.4350. These data came from the National Honey Board research and some other papers. For a 5 gallon batch using 18 pounds of honey the difference in OG is between 1.1041 and 1.1206 -- a fairly significant difference in my view.

The proposal for determining SG based on a small sample is valid but in my view very susceptible to human error and ageing eyes. With my equipment and capability I could not hope for a SG with a 5 decimal point accuracy.

My initial lament was focused on some type of labeling by the honey provider relating to moisture content. Being realistic I know that is not going to happen.

bernardsmith
12-06-2016, 04:07 PM
Never tried this and the sugar content may be too high - so you may need to dilute a known volume of honey with a known volume of distilled water - but wouldn't a basic sugar refractometer not provide you with the brix of honey? There is a simple conversion from brix to specific gravity and if you have , for example, diluted the honey 1: 4 with water then you multiply the results by 4 to get the actual brix (or gravity) . I am not a beekeeper but I thought that typically all honey was for all practical purposes 18% water. Presumably you are not working at molecular or cellular levels, so all readings from all instruments that you and I will have access to are nowhere near as accurate as readings suggested by the three or even two decimal places we use. The instruments are for home use - not for biological labs. A gravity of 1.090 might be 1.08 or 1.10 because the temperature you are taking the reading at is approximate as is your ability to read where the miniscus meets the glass and how close to eye-level are you taking the reading, not to speak about the surface tension of the liquid you are measuring or the flatness and and angularity of the surface on which the test cylinder sits. So... for home wine making and brewing one lb of honey (how accurate was the scale? - and was every last drop of the honey transferred from its pot to the fermenting vessel? ) dissolved in water to make 1 US gallon of liquid (how accurate was the volume? At what temperature were those measures scribed? How accurate was the scribing tool? ) will raise the gravity by 35 points (or ... a potential ABV of about 4.5% (or 4% or 5%)

Maylar
12-06-2016, 04:47 PM
The proposal for determining SG based on a small sample is valid but in my view very susceptible to human error and ageing eyes. With my equipment and capability I could not hope for a SG with a 5 decimal point accuracy.


5 decimal places isn't needed. For the purpose of making mead, it's very simple: Estimate the required amount of honey, mix it up and take a measurement. If you need more, add more. A few points one way or the other doesn't mean squat in the end result. Your yeast will have more variability than the SG. Really, it's not rocket science.