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Thread: ABV Calculations

  1. Default ABV Calculations

    I have finally got my first batch of mead going. About a week in the primary so far. I made a 25 litre batch using D47 yeast, yeast nutrient and 6kg of generic grocery store "high mountain wild flower" honey. I am in Taiwan so I am guessing that it is mostly longan honey. I went with generic honey since this was my first batch and I didn't want to throw out expensive honey if it went bad. My plan is to make smaller batches from the original batch. I want to add different fruit or fruit juice to the smaller batches when I rack to the secondary. I plan on making a traditional small batch as well since I want to see what it's like. I have never drunk mead before, however, I do brew my own beer.

    So, my question is this: How do I calculate my final ABV?
    If I add fruit to the secondary then how does this change my ABV calculations? I didn't want a high ABV so I started at 1070. If I add fruit to the secondary then how do I calculate the final ABV since basically I will be "watering" down the original batch.
    Taipei Homebrew
    Web: www.HooperBrewing.com

  2. #2

    Default

    There's a link to a mead calculator in the site menu on the left-hand side of the page. It will let you calculate all kinds of things: specific gravity for particular combinations of ingredients, potential alcohol, etc. Check out the help file for instructions.

    I don't think adding fruit to primary vs. secondary will change your final alcohol level too much (I might be mistaken, though). If that's the case, you should be able to use the mead calculator as if you were doing smaller independent batches.

    Assuming everything goes well and your yeast ferments to completion, the alcohol content will be the lower of the total potential alcohol from the mead calculator, or the alcohol tolerance of your yeast. Things do get a bit fuzzy, though, as it's possible for the yeast to give up early for one reason or another, or to keep going beyond what it's alcohol tolerance should be.

    One other thing unrelated to your questions: Since you're coming from beer brewing, you should be aware that, unlike beer worts, mead musts are nutrient-poor. Lots of sugar, yes, but virtually no nitrogen and other nutrients. For best results, the must needs additional nutrients added in the form of things like Femaid K, diammonium phosphate, etc.

    Ken Schramm has written some nice articles about nutrients and such here. That may be more information than you want, though, and the nutrient regimen he recommends may be a bit much for a first try at meadmaking; dig around in the forums and the NewBee Guide for simpler but still helpful information.

  3. #3
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    There are several factors that will influence the final ABV if you add fruit to the secondary including whether or not you have exceeded the yeasts alcohol tolerance (or stabilized it) and the volume of the fruit and the sugar content of the juice.

    To give an example, if you started with a gravity of 1.070 (on the low end) which has an expected ABV of around 9%, if you added juice from grapes with a gravity of 1.100 it would actually raise the ABV of your mead. How much would depend on the volume of your batch and the volume of juice added.

    A thread on blending discusses the calculations needed to determine how much of an effect you will have. If you measure the gravity of the juice from the fruit you are adding, and estimate perhaps a gallon of juice for 12 pounds of fruit, you can get pretty close.

    Unless you use a big load of fruit, it probably won't make a huge impact.

    I hope that helps.

    Medsen
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  4. Default

    Thanks a lot for the responses. I'll take a read through those threads and blogs you guys suggested.
    Taipei Homebrew
    Web: www.HooperBrewing.com

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