I've got my 2nd batch of mead going right now. It's a standard JAOM in a 6.5 gallon carboy. I've left plenty of room for expansion (It's sitting at about 5 gallons right now) but my plan is to add water to get it to 6 gallons once I'm confident there won't be any more major expansion. I followed the recipe almost exactly - multiplied everything by 5 except the yeast (I used 2 packets) and instead of 17.5 pounds of honey, I used a full 20 pounds because I had the extra honey and knew I'd be adding water to the mix later...
So with that in mind, two questions:
When I add my water (in maybe a week or two?) should I also add the extra pound of honey to get it to a full 21 pounds or should I just top it off with water and let it be? My concern is whether I'm risking that the Fleishman's yeast kicks back into high gear (and over-flows) when the additional honey is added.
I'm guessing that adding water and/or honey midway through will mess with my ABV calculations, but out of curiosity my gravity meter when I pitched read two hash-marks above 1.150. So it sat directly between "1.150" and "40". What is that reading?
Thanks for your help!
Each mark is 0.002. So if it is 2 marks over 1.150 (or 3 under 1.140) means its at 1.146.
You should not have added all the honey in one go with less water. Yeast do not like that much sugar in the mix, its bad for them. I'd recommed maybe add half a gal more of water, or as much as you feel comfortable with (not too much or it will overflow with foam). Next time add the 17.5 and thats it.
When you add more water to top it off (after the fermentation is over) you should add the remaining honey, or else it might be drier than the normal JAOM. Of course, if you want it drier, then dont add the honey. When you add water you reduce the ABV %. This might make the yeast retart the fermentation (even if you dont add honey) and eat some more sugar, but not much. However, this should not be a problem. It should be so little, i doubt it will foam at all.
You do realize that bread yeast is only good for an alcohol tolerance (where the yeast starts crapping out) of around 10 or 11 percent? And that the alcohol potential, for a 6 gallon batch, with 20lbs of honey is 15.54% and for 21lbs is 16.23%, so any honey you will be adding will not actually be turning into alcohol, but will just be adding to the sweetness. JAOM's a very sweet mead anyway, so I would probably hold off on adding the extra pound.
I'm not sure how forgiving bread yeast is, but trying to kick off a fermentation with a starting gravity over 1.150 is usually something that you will want to avoid in the future. It usually requires some babysitting and you could possibly end up with a stalled fermentation.
I think the number you are reading on your "hydrometer" is 1.146.
Last edited by darigoni; 04-17-2017 at 02:56 PM.
Great, thanks for the advice Dadux!
I just added another half gallon. I don't think I'll have a problem with that. There's still some room for expansion. I'll do it differently next time so I don't have too much sugar in there. It seems to be doing okay as of now - I'll cross my fingers that it remains that way. Thanks again!
I've added some extra water at this point. Hopefully I'll be okay at a starting gravity of 1.146... With 6 gallons of mead, my guess is the extra pound of honey will only make it slightly sweeter but probably wont make a huge difference either way. I'll probably leave it out on this batch.
It's already going to be sweeter than what most people would enjoy at this point already. Just do a little test batch first to make sure you want it sweeter. I would follow recipes exactly from now on, until you truly understand what your doing.
7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!
When he adds the water to 6 gals, for 6 gals JAOM he needs 21 lbs of honey right? so the only probblem is he added 20 of them upfront in only 5 gals (which should be 5.5 now).
I mean, Squatchy is right. try to follow it to the letter next time and after the fermentation is done you can add the rest of the water, or not, and then taste. If you want, you can add the extra pound to add some sweetness. In the end this is about you liking the results.
And by the way, since you added the water, the reading should no longer be 1.146, but instead something closer to 1.133 (because you diluted it)
Adding water will make it to lose body, as it also will dilute other things than sweet.
I am not a n expert in JAOM but I make it a lot, as I like it very much, sometimes with some variations.
Here we donīt have Feishman , only other brands.
As sweetness is subjective, I donīt find Jaom very sweet (at least as mine ends) . It begins about d - 1.127 ~1.130 and it ends normaly at @ 1.028 , not very sweet for me, so usualy when itīs around 1.070 I add honey enough to end about 1.050. Even there, I find it sweet at the begining but a year or two later, somehow it seems to lose sweetness.
And if you cut in raisins, you are likely to have pH issues...
1.010 or less is dry
1.010 to 1.025 is off-dry (some call semi-sweet)
1.025 or higher is considered sweet by BJCP guidelines.
Some consider above 1.050 to be dessert level of sweetness.
That said, the JAOM has the pith of the orange which counteracts the sweetness of the residual sweetness.
It is not unusual for JAOM mead-makers to leave this out for one of two reasons:
1) Make the JAOM even "taste sweeter" without actually being sweeter
2) To get by with less honey to get the same level of "taste sweetness"
That said I would not alter the JAOM recipe, other than removing the pith, unless you have lots of experience with JAOM or you get a proven JAOM recipe from someone else.
Well, Iīm not a big fan of "guidelines" as they are just a sort of "orientation" marks used to classify things...
Some find pith gives heartburn. Yes, removing it will give you a sweeter sensation but also will uncover bread taste in a newly finished JAOM. Aging for two or three years will soft orange taste, but you will also find it less sweet.