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andee5460
04-22-2017, 07:07 AM
Hello,
Getting ready to start making my first batch of Mead. Following a basic receipt from The Compleat Meadmaker by Ken Schramm for a 5 gal batch using 15lbs orange blossom honey along with 71b-1122 yeast I have a question regarding alcohol %. We have tried different Meads ranging from 8% to 12% ABV. My wife finds the higher ABV (10.5% and 12%) gives her a burning in the back of the throat feeling. The 8% does not. Now for my question. If using different honey as in orange blossom will that produce a better month feel with a higher ABV%? I'm thinking the brands you purchase are not using high end honey. Using the Got Mead calculator I'm able to formulate a 6 gal batch with a result of 8% using only 8lbs of honey. I'm also considering adding fruit after the first fermentation cycle using the 15 lbs of honey with a 12% ABV but need to know if adding fruit with mellow out the alcohol sensation in the mouth.
Any guidance to these questions would be most appreciated.

Dadux
04-22-2017, 07:36 AM
Hey there and welcome andee.

Well, different honey can give different mouthfeel but honey is 80-84% sugar, so the ABV wont change much unless you change the ammount you use.
Alcohol burns a bit, so its normal you feel some burning. This is sometimes even desired. Depends on the person drinking it and its sensibility. You can make a mead less harsh with a few tricks such as using oak, making the mead sweeter, and others. 8% is pretty low for mead, and would enter the category of "short mead". The "brands you purchase " you mention will vary incredibly. What brands do you actually purchase? if you live in north america there are a few great meaderies that i doubt are skimping on the honey. Mead is like wine. There is good commercial wine and bad wine made with bad grapes.

If you add fruit, the sugars will get fermented unless you stabilize with sulphites. Also the water from the fruits will dilute the mead, lowering the ABV (alcohol by volume), so obviously it can be mellowed. This depends because if for example you add raisins or dates, you wont be adding nearly any water. But most fruits add some or a lot of water.

You have to keep in mid that alcohol taste usually mellows with time. So you will find that your mead, early on, will give you a more blunt and harsh burning, but with some months this will mellow, and can end up dissapearing. Maybe the commercial bottles you bought were a bit too young. If you use 15 pounds of honey you will get a 14-15% ABV mead, by the way.

A last piece of advice, before you start making mead, if you have any doubts read the newbee guide from this site. Ken's book is great and covers most of what you need to know, but reading another source of knowledge may help you understand.

Squatchy
04-22-2017, 09:56 AM
Most of your mouthfeel, (everything else equal) will come from your yeast selection. Some yeast create more byproduct of fermentation that lends it's self to volume.

Look in here to find different yeast and thier attributes.

andee5460
04-22-2017, 11:36 AM
Thank you Dadux,
Great information for a newbee such as myself. The thing about the alcohol being harsh with the commercial brands being to young is a great point. I believe I'm sticking with the basic Mead and let it have the time it needs. It's all about the learning process.

caduseus
04-22-2017, 11:48 AM
Oak ageing helps most meads. The vanillin content is higher with medium and medium plus oaking. I like to toast my own oak at 350 degrees to maximize the vanillin flavor.
From your post I don't know if you mean an off alcohol flavor or your wife does not like the taste of any alcohol period.

You can also cover up alcohol taste by having a higher final gravity by back sweetening.

Dadux
04-22-2017, 12:52 PM
Thank you Dadux,
Great information for a newbee such as myself. The thing about the alcohol being harsh with the commercial brands being to young is a great point. I believe I'm sticking with the basic Mead and let it have the time it needs. It's all about the learning process.

You should but keep in mind, that its normal an alcoholic beverange has a bite or burning taste, because of the alcohol. Wheather or not you want this in your mead is totally a personal preference. As a result of a fermentation you also get higher alcohols, called "fusels", which can give tastes like gasoline or its also described as rocket fuel. This is a less desired taste (too much is a sing of a bad fermentation), and it also mellows with time. A good mead wont taste like this, but it can have some normal alcohol bite. If you have problems with the second, using oak, making sweeter mead and longer ageing periods helps cover it up.

If you dont want your mead to have many fusels so it tastes good sooner, i'd recommend you to look into temperature control, degassing and aereation during the fermentation process, and a good protocol of adding nutrients, such as TOSNA or TiOSNA. Dont want to overwhelm you with more info, as i know for a newbee its a complicated matter, but im telling you now so you dont try your mead and be like "why does this taste so strong?!", and also because sooner or later you will ask yourself "what can i do to get better mead?". In any case, most meads end up great, only some take longer than others to do so. Dont be afraid to go ahead and start making some mead.

Also as Squatchy said, the yeast type has a lot to say in mouthfeel (high glycerol production = higher mouthfeel), but schramms book has a section about that. He likes 71B because he does a lot of melomels, but you can read what he wrote and see that you can use many others. Dont get too caught up on this for now anyway. It another whole world.

Squatchy
04-22-2017, 03:33 PM
You can add different oak additions that will roll of some of the edge/heat from the higher ABV,. You can also add Booster Blanc

Squatchy
04-22-2017, 03:34 PM
Oak ageing helps most meads. The vanillin content is higher with medium and medium plus oaking. I like to toast my own oak at 350 degrees to maximize the vanillin flavor.
From your post I don't know if you mean an off alcohol flavor or your wife does not like the taste of any alcohol period.

You can also cover up alcohol taste by having a higher final gravity by back sweetening.

Unless your ageing your oak outside for 3 years it's not at all the same thing. :)

PitBull
04-24-2017, 09:20 AM
Here is a old post: Improving Mouthfeel with Oak and Acid (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/18393)

Good Luck.