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Wynx
02-04-2017, 11:41 PM
So I have a 5 gallon batch of raspberry mead going. You may or may not have seen me frantically asking questions about every little thing on another post on this forums. Anyway that seems well and I have relaxed myself to not over worry.

Tonight I wanted to start another, a 1 gallon batch. I need more things growing in my booze garden.
I followed a recipe as such:

1 gallon water.
3 lbs honey.
yeas energizer.
yalvin 71b.

I warmed up the honey and mixed it with the water. Poured it into the plastic primary.
Added the yeast energizer. As I was hydrating the yeast I checked the OG and it read .80
Everything I read said it should be higher, at least 1.000.

I went ahead and just kept adding honey until it read 1.0 and that was at abour 4lbs of honey, maybe a little more.

My question is: since no recipe I can find ever even considers using more than 3lb honey for a 1 gallon batch, have I done something wrong?
Thanks!

caduseus
02-05-2017, 01:46 AM
Tonight I wanted to start another, a 1 gallon batch. I need more things growing in my booze garden.
I followed a recipe as such:

1 gallon water.
3 lbs honey.
yeas energizer.
yalvin 71b.

I warmed up the honey and mixed it with the water. Poured it into the plastic primary.
Added the yeast energizer. As I was hydrating the yeast I checked the OG and it read .80
Everything I read said it should be higher, at least 1.000.

I went ahead and just kept adding honey until it read 1.0 and that was at abour 4lbs of honey, maybe a little more.

My question is: since no recipe I can find ever even considers using more than 3lb honey for a 1 gallon batch, have I done something wrong?
Thanks!

To answer your question yes. It sounds like the honey was not fully dissolved and was settled. I fill my sink with hot water and place the honey jars in there so they are warmed up but not allowing the aromas to escape. Here is a rough guide for mead with no other fermentable sugars: 1 pound of honey will raise hydrometer reading .035 points above 1.0. So 1 pound= 1.036, 2 pounds= 1.072, 3 pounds= 1.108, 4 pounds= 1.140. And for the record I believe the cut off for when this yeast can no longer tolerate too much sugar is about 1.150. So if you put 5 pounds in that yeast strain will not ferment.

Here are some pointers:
1) it is not possible to have a 0.80 reading. Since even 100% alcohol wont dip below that. I think you meant 1.08 and 1.1 instead of .08 and 1.0. The readings you post as is dont make sense
2) By old recommended standards based on fruit/grape winemaking you are supposed to add nutrients at pitch but not so with mead-making. Yo are supposed to hold off for 24 hours and do staggered nutrient addition
3) Use Fermaid-O or Fermaid-K over DAP, yeast nutrient, or yeast energizer
4) Learn how to use a hydrometer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty7PAJaBsts)
5) Watch 9 week Meadology series. Many of your questions/concerns can be addressed by watching this series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oODPBYXqfjk&t=1s.
6) Did you use Hydrate your yeast this time? DId you use Go-Ferm?

Crispy
02-06-2017, 12:32 AM
My first post on this forum.
Welcome everyone.

@Wynx
I love high gravity meads and this is what I make all the time (last two years that is).
I never start below SG 1.150 and all my meads tend to start between 1.160 - 1.180. Few times I even started above 1.200.
If you use strong yeast EC-1118 for example and you make a strong starter and good nutrients regimen, your mead will ferment fine and finish about 1.025 - 1.040.

From simple ratio of water to honey you used, roughly 2:1 I would imagine your must should be at SG ~ 1.160 - 1.190

caduseus
02-06-2017, 12:40 AM
My first post on this forum.
Welcome everyone.

@Wynx
I love high gravity meads and this is what I make all the time (last two years that is).
I never start below SG 1.150 and all my meads tend to start between 1.160 - 1.180. Few times I even started above 1.200.
If you use strong yeast EC-1118 for example and you make a strong starter and good nutrients regimen, your mead will ferment fine and finish about 1.025 - 1.040.

From simple ratio of water to honey you used, roughly 2:1 I would imagine your must should be at SG ~ 1.160 - 1.190

EC-1118 can tolerate those high SG but 71B cannot tolerate the numbers you mention. Most yeast for that matter cannot tolerate above 1.150.

Crispy
02-06-2017, 12:52 AM
EC-1118 can tolerate those high SG but 71B cannot tolerate the numbers you mention. Most yeast for that matter cannot tolerate above 1.150.

I am not disputing your claim, I am just saying that making mead starting with SG above 1.150 is possible. Maybe even possible with 71B. I think I tried this before but do not have my notes handy to confirm this.
On the other hand - starting with high SG is a good recipe for stuck fermentation.

Wynx
02-06-2017, 03:14 AM
My mead got to fermenting roughly 12 hours after I pitched the yeast so I'm guessing whatever the SG, the 71B is handling it fine. Day one it's bubbling once every 6 seconds.

I did hydrate the yeast this time yes.

And I corrected my original post, adding 1.0 to the numbers I mentioned.

Shelley
02-06-2017, 07:50 AM
Did you add your honey to a full gallon of water, or did you add water to the honey, to a total of one gallon of must?

caduseus
02-06-2017, 09:55 AM
My mead got to fermenting roughly 12 hours after I pitched the yeast so I'm guessing whatever the SG, the 71B is handling it fine. Day one it's bubbling once every 6 seconds.

I did hydrate the yeast this time yes.

And I corrected my original post, adding 1.0 to the numbers I mentioned.
Just because it is fermenting does not =fermenting fine. If it is stressed for the high sugar levels it is more likely to make fusels and off-aromas. These can take up to a year to age out. You could go a month eating exclusively fast-food but what kind of problems will that do to your body? This would be an equivalent.

Also I didn't see anything about SNA.

Here is an alternative:
Only add enough honey to get to 1.1 but later once the SG gets down to 1.01then add to get back to 1.1 and keep doing this until you get to the amount of honey you want to add. This will stress out the yeast less (osmotic prsssure can be a problem for yeast the higher you go above 1.1.

This approach gets you what you want with more work but will stress your yeast out less which equates to less ageing time.
Of course if you don't mind waiting a year to age out the fusels (what I call the "pitch-and-leave" approach") then forget the advice I gave.

Squatchy
02-06-2017, 11:31 AM
I personally make lots of higher ABV meads. I too am an advocate of starting at 1100. 1107 is where osmotic stress begins. There is no benefit from starting a mead at such a higher gravity in my mind. But rather than letting my mead get down to 1010 before adding more sugar. I add it earlier in the process. By the time you get to 1010 you are already seeing a huge population decrease and that is represented if you plot the fermentation on a graph. So rather than ask a better population of yeast when they are fresh to do the work of eating the extra sugar, I add it during the growth phase rather than the stationary phase.

Does it make a difference. I don't know for sure. But I do it this way all the time and haven't stressed them out. I'm guessing that Caduseus wouldn't suggest this to you if it caused his yeast to make fussels. So probably either way is fine.

Wynx
02-06-2017, 11:52 AM
The SG this morning, about 24 hours after first signs of fermentation, my SG reads 1.094.

These honey conversions seemed off or maybe I do realize after shelley's question that I did do a full gallon of water before adding that honey. I somehow lost so much headspace of my first batch o wanted to over compensate.

Im definitely going to try to keep adding honey during the process and keep it at around 1.0 be safe.

caduseus
02-06-2017, 12:04 PM
I personally make lots of higher ABV meads. I too am an advocate of starting at 1100. 1107 is where osmotic stress begins. There is no benefit from starting a mead at such a higher gravity in my mind. But rather than letting my mead get down to 1010 before adding more sugar. I add it earlier in the process. By the time you get to 1010 you are already seeing a huge population decrease and that is represented if you plot the fermentation on a graph. So rather than ask a better population of yeast when they are fresh to do the work of eating the extra sugar, I add it during the growth phase rather than the stationary phase.

Does it make a difference. I don't know for sure. But I do it this way all the time and haven't stressed them out. I'm guessing that Caduseus wouldn't suggest this to you if it caused his yeast to make fussels. So probably either way is fine.

I should clarify. I guess I was not specific enough. I meant to say 1.01 at the LATEST. I did this once this late and did not have any problems with fusels. While adding at SG1.01 is DEFINITELY less stressful than going above 1.100 initially prior to pitch, I appreciate Squatchy's input that adding honey say at 1.050 might possibly be better for the yeast.

Part of the rationale I made earlier is if you want an equivalent of 1.2 SG of honey then adding at 1.050 ( after initially starting at 1.100) would require 2 additions of honey instead of just one larger addition of honey at SG 1.010.

Whichever method you choose would still be less stressful for the yeast than starting your initial SG >1.100.

Just out curiosity how high an ABV are you looking for?

Wynx
02-06-2017, 03:59 PM
Oh anywhere between 10 and 14% I'll be fine with. again I plan to backsweeten if it's too dry.

Squatchy
02-06-2017, 04:09 PM
Well, you only need 1075 for 10% and 1105 for 14%. :)

James T
02-06-2017, 05:46 PM
When you guys are step feeding honey, do you stir it at all or just dump it in? I would guess by the time you step feed aeration is undesirable.

I've been playing with a little half-gallon batch that was the result of a short mead that didn't taste very good, so I just started adding honey in small increments. With that small of a container I just let it sit for a while under airlock after adding honey, then swirled vigorously hoping that all the headspace was more or less CO2. After a few days the honey at the bottom would be gone and the mead would be a shade darker.

Squatchy
02-06-2017, 07:48 PM
SO they will eat from the bottom as you have seen. I add just a very small amount of hot water and stir it until it gets soft and runny and then add it in.

caduseus
02-06-2017, 08:15 PM
Oh anywhere between 10 and 14% I'll be fine with. again I plan to backsweeten if it's too dry.
Here you go if you want 10-14% abv:
1) Start at 1.077-1.1, depending on how much abv you want.
2) cold crash and stabilize,
3) add honey to taste
4) let it age at least 3 months- longer is better but not required

Enjoy!

Wynx
02-06-2017, 10:30 PM
Well, you only need 1075 for 10% and 1105 for 14%. :)

Well good thing it started at 1.100!

Wynx
02-06-2017, 10:34 PM
Thanks that's my plan but 6 month aging!
I cold crash after the secondary... or when it gets around 1.0 shall I just cease fermenting then and then age? Do I add honey for taste before or after aging?

I know these are addressed in tutorials but every single one says something different than the last and I never know what to believe :(

caduseus
02-06-2017, 10:58 PM
Add honey right after cold crash/stabilized.

Squatchy
02-06-2017, 11:58 PM
Or wait. LOL

I always say, "ask 5 mazers a question and you will get 7 different answers". If you read my reply this will make more sense :)

YOu can add after it's stable for sure like Caduseus has mentioned. But you will find with time it will get sweeter. As the mead ages some of the overtly acidity will melo as well as some of the tartness. This will cause the perceived sweetness to rise as it isn't compromised by the other things I just listed. All I'm saying is it gets sweeter over time even though the gravity hasn't changed. Also when it's full of yeast, as a beginner I would question if you have enough experience to know what it might taste like once it's clear. The absence of yeast alone will change the finished profile immensely. If your not in a hurry I might suggest waiting for a while. Maybe, until it's somewhat clear after a couple rackings. You will have a much better idea of where you stand at that point in time.

But ya. You could add it right after you stabilize it if you were inclined. I'm sure Caduseus has been doing this enough he already has an idea where he is going before it even is stable.

caduseus
02-07-2017, 12:23 AM
I know I like my mead/wine 1.005-1.010 if not Oaked and less if oaked (I enjoy medium oak the best as it brings out some sweet and vanilla flavors. I have tried a hand at toasting wood myself and found the right temp for me).

So for me it is no brainer where I should backsweeten to.
This was trial and error as well taking SG of beverages I enjoy.

I guess it helps if you know what level of sweetness you like?

Wynx
02-07-2017, 01:43 AM
I read all the replies. I'm sorry if I missed something!

Wynx
02-07-2017, 01:44 AM
Then my an: cease fermentation around 1.01, I'm thinking of adding bladkberries while it ages and after a few months backsweeten with honey before bottling :)

jeffvenuti
02-08-2017, 11:51 AM
Squatchy, do you have a literature reference for osmotic stress starting at 1107? That's sound like something I'd like to read. That and anything about osmotic tolerance for various yeasts. Does Scott Labs publish that?

Jeff