View Full Version : Lowering alcohol content vs. flavor

07-18-2017, 12:05 PM
Hi. New guy here. Just bottled my first two one-gallon batches of mead last week. Recipe: two quarts honey (about 6 pounds, I guess) to six quarts distilled water, and one rehydrated packet of Red Star Premier Blanc yeast, because that's what they had at my local brew store. I also used one cup of red grapes, chopped in half, and added them to one of the gallons, just to see.

Heated the water to 170, then turned off heat and added the honey. Kept the temp at 150-ish for 20 minutes, then cooled in an ice bath to under 80. Aerated for a minute each in 1-gallon carboys and added yeast.

Left in primary 5 weeks, temps between 62-66, and just bottled the other day. I wonder if I should have re-racked before we went camping last week, but too late now. Both were a little cloudy, but had a sweet, dry taste. I liked it. The non-grape one more than the grape one.

I only tell you all this because it says on here to post a detailed recipe. Thoughts and advice welcome.

Anyway. OG was 1.118 (big wow from this usually-beer brewer), and FG after 5 weeks was REALLY close to 1.000. If there was space between the line and the top of the mead, I couldn't tell. So that makes something like 15.5% ABV. No worries, really - that's not out of line for wine. If it's too strong, we'll just make spritzers.

But here's my question: if I wanted to start with a lower OG, then I need to use reduce the ratio of honey to water. How much will that affect the flavor on the other end?

07-22-2017, 12:36 PM
Welcome to the forums

Flavour comes in a traditional mainly from two sources.
Honey and yeast. Some honey has very strong flavours, but usually its not.

Short meads (beer ABV range) will have much less flavour so many people depend on using ester producing yeast to make flavourful mead or using other ingredients such as spices.
Lower abv but still in wine range should keep the honey taste percivable. (11-14%)
Sweet meads will always have more honey taste since you need more honey for the sweetness.

About the recipe, coming from beer you avoided a few mistakes but did others. Dont heat the honey. Just dump it in water and stir. This will help keep honey flavour. Heat destroys some flavour.

You also need some guidance for your mext meada. Read the newbee guide. You need to use nutrients since honey is nitrogen deficient, preferably Fermaid O or if not Fermaid K/wyeast wine nutrient. You need to aereate the first days of the ferment (2-3 days twice a day), and its recommended to degass until finished, then instead of racking rouse the lees daily for a month. This cleans the mead and prevents off flavours among other things.

Its a lot to take, i know. I hope at least your oroginal question was answered. I recommend you read around the forum and post the next recipe you intend to make before actually making it so we can tell you how to improve it, so you get better mead. Also forget some things about beer brewing. Mead is different. It does not oxideze as easily, does not need starters, needs nutrients, etc

07-22-2017, 01:03 PM
It will reduce flavor but there are ways around this: carbonation (most common), herbs/spices (there is a commerical one out there that is basil lemongrass; yumm), and oaking.

07-22-2017, 07:22 PM
Learn how to rehydrate your yeast and temp control. Doing this along with SNA will make huge jumps in success level