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Thread: too little honey to start... now what?

  1. #1
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    Default too little honey to start... now what?

    So a couple months ago I decided to try for lower ABV. I don't know what I was thinking.

    I have two 1gal batches, one Orange Blossom, one Avocado Blossom. Both started around 1.056 and finished at .992, about 8.5% ABV. As you can imagine they are both quite insipid, very dry, but bland. Both have been racked and the Avo got cleared with a dose of bentonite and sparkolloid.

    I am trying to think of what to do with them that does not involve inverting the carboys over a toilet.
    Capsomel Maybe? What if I were to put the two together and add cherry juice (concentrate?) to 1.05 (3gal total volume), toss in a couple Chipotle chilies and pitched some ec-1118?

    thanks,
    jeff
    "the only difference between myself and a madman, is that I am not mad" -Dali

  2. #2

    Default

    Acid blend? Oak? Stabilize and Backsweeten? Let it age some more is a definate. If nothing else make a new batch of traditional with more honey and mix with that.

    Yay mead!

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by eikon View Post
    So a couple months ago I decided to try for lower ABV. I don't know what I was thinking.

    I have two 1gal batches, one Orange Blossom, one Avocado Blossom. Both started around 1.056 and finished at .992, about 8.5% ABV. As you can imagine they are both quite insipid, very dry, but bland. Both have been racked and the Avo got cleared with a dose of bentonite and sparkolloid.

    I am trying to think of what to do with them that does not involve inverting the carboys over a toilet.
    Capsomel Maybe? What if I were to put the two together and add cherry juice (concentrate?) to 1.05 (3gal total volume), toss in a couple Chipotle chilies and pitched some ec-1118?

    thanks,
    jeff
    Personally, I would add another half pound of honey each and try to get fermentation going again. I don't trust meads with less than 10% ABV... it's an invitation to all kinds of bad bugs. If you really really want to stay with that low an ABV, I would recommend stabilizing, adding enough honey to them to bring the SG to just a bit over 1.000 (actually, to taste. Fatbloke recommends mixing some in a glass until you like the taste, checking the SG and then figuring out how much to add to the carboy to match it), and letting it age. I've never tried avo honey, but I seem to remember people saying that it has a unique flavor. Orange blossom has its own special taste. Anything you add will probably mask the taste of the honey.

    I'm not against adding stuff, but the batches I add to are usually in the 14-16% ABV range, where the non-sugar part of the honey is better able to assert itself. I've got a chipotle batch coming up on 9 months old, and its just starting to "get nice". And my "Madame Rosmerta's Oak Matured Mead" is slowly and stubbornly inching toward drinkability. The down-side of higher ABV meads, I'm afraid. And my two sack meads (20% and 18.5% ABV) won't be ready to drink for another year at least.

    Oh, if you DO add honey to 'thicken up' the taste, make sure you stabilize first. Otherwise fermentation will just start up again.

    Good luck,
    Joe
    Intelligence Is Knowing That A Tomato Is A Fruit
    Wisdom Is Knowing Not To Put It In A Fruit Salad

  4. #4

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    That's +7.5% alcohol each. Not too bad. I'd probably call them hydromels and many people have tried such low alcohol meads in the past. Unfortunately, I have very little knowledge about hydromels other than people do it on purpose not just by "mistake". Give a search of these forums about hydromels and maybe you'll see ideas or even whole recipes which can help you. maybe some recipes have found tricks how to make certain flavors prominent with little honey. I wouldn't necessarily consider this a mistake
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  5. #5
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    Default

    These are great candidates for adding some fruit juice/acid blend/honey and force carbing. If you can get the fuit/acid/sweet balance right you have a good session drink.

  6. #6
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    thanks for the input! I think I'm gonna combine a few ideas.
    The Avo will get stabilized, backsweetened, acidified and carbonated.

    But I'm gonna go all Mad Flavorist on the OB, to hell with the low ABV, it's gonna get some caramelized OB honey to about 1.05ish, then add some good tart cherries, heavy toast french oak & a mix of spices (birch bark, cinnamon, orange zest, vanilla, habanero, liquorice root, ginger and clove). I'll repitch with 1118 and let it chew it's way through, then stabilize, backsweeten, acidify and carbonate. If all goes well I'll have a knee weakening Root Beer inspired Psycomel, if it goes sideways, oh well, I'll have to mix my hobby and my professional life & go to town with the artificial flavors

    I may not get to it till next weekend, but I will do a meadlog...
    Last edited by eikon; 06-23-2014 at 03:18 AM.
    "the only difference between myself and a madman, is that I am not mad" -Dali

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by joemirando View Post
    And my "Madame Rosmerta's Oak Matured Mead" is slowly and stubbornly inching toward drinkability.
    Can you give a quick rundown in the brew log section on how you finished this up and what changes you would suggest? I was just reading it today and noticed you stopped updating just before you got to the cherry addition. Thanks

  8. #8
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    I ended up mixing the avocado batch with a wildflower bochet that was a little too caramelized (ie. BURNT), back-sweetened just a hair, added some vanilla & very lightly force carbonated. It's now gone. Everyone at the 4th of July party absolutely loved my 'Dry Adult Cream Soda' I may try to replicate it in a single batch one of these days...

    The OB batch is being left as is, for now...
    "the only difference between myself and a madman, is that I am not mad" -Dali

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