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Thread: Understanding sweet mead.

  1. #1

    Default Understanding sweet mead.

    Hello All, first time posing on GotMead. Could I ask for some help with understanding sweet mead please.

    I would like to make a 5 gallon batch of sweet mead. I have made beer and spirits before so I am not completely new to the concepts, but all of my previous experience involves processes where all of the fermentables are consumed in fermentation. It eludes me how a mead can be brewed such that there is residual sweetness. I have never tried a dry wine that I like, so I don't want to go too far and end up with 5 gallons of dry mead. I am fond of an occasional drop of port, which is my driving force to produce a sweet mead.

    So far I have sourced local raw honey, 3 tubs is 8.4 kg (about 18.5 lb), and some Mangrove Jacks M05 yeast. I was told by my supplier this yeast doesn't require nutrient feeding and has very high alcohol tolerance. I have a couple of 30 L plastic fermenters, several 15 L plastic carboys and 5 x 5L glass demijohns.

    I am hoping to keep it simple, which has worked well for me for years with beer and spirits. I am aware I will need a decent hydrometer as my beer hydrometer doesn't have the range required and my spirit hydrometer doesn't read SG, only ABV of an ethanol/water solution.

    Sorry if you have heard this question a million times before. I have been reading voraciously but I am not comfortable I have understood this aspect yet and my head is starting to ache (a lot) ;-).

    Cheers, Rod.

  2. #2

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    Hello Rod. Welcome to the forum . Not sure why no one answered your post. I'm sorry normally that never happens. This is actually the first time I've ever seen it. So I don't know why such a long space and time from when you posted it until now . So having a sweet bmeta actually doesn't have anything to do with the yeast per se. What is going on here is that you end up with the yeast reaching its alcohol potential tolerance level. What this means is once the alcohol reaches a certain level the use can no longer assimilate any more sugar. So if you still have sugars leftover in your must that the use were not able to assimilate any further you then in the paving suite made . The more sugar or honey leftover in that particular batch the sweeter it will be. So as you know can see it doesn't matter about the Yaese per se. It matters that there's more honey in the must then with the use can assimilated alcohol.

    There are a couple different ways that you can achieve this. One is you set up your mess with the X amount of gravity , that equates to a certain ABV. Once you then allow your yeast to chew down all the sugars in your must is gone dry. You can now stabilize your most with sulfate and sorbate. And then a few days later you can add additional sugar in the form of honey. Or fruit juice or sugar or any other thing that would add sweetness to your meat. Because you've stabilized it it will no longer have the ability to chew anymore of that sugar into alcohol this is called back sweetening.

    So, you can either add more honey than what you're used will consume and that will be left over in your batch or you can run it dry stabilize it and then add more honey to desired sweetness level.

    either way I personally would always encourage everybody to stabilize their maids . Just because he used stopped assimilating the sugar into alcohol doesn't mean that they die. In fact that's a misconception that too many people have they don't die at least not for very long time. And so what happens is people think that because their gravity stopped moving for a while that it's now stable in the bottle. Then later on for whatever reasons the east decide to go back to work then the fermenting more alcohol which adds CO2 into their bottles and eventually they get bottle bombs. I've heard of this happening sometimes as much as three years later down the road.

    also if you stabilize your need it will last for a much longer period of time in your bottles . Hope that helps and welcome to the form
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    355

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    Squatchy!

    What's the process for new members getting their initial posts approved. I've seen some of these nitial posts, but couldn't access them and assumed that they needed to be approved by a moderator. Perhaps we need a moderator (or moderators) who's more active on the forums?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    Squatchy!

    What's the process for new members getting their initial posts approved. I've seen some of these nitial posts, but couldn't access them and assumed that they needed to be approved by a moderator. Perhaps we need a moderator (or moderators) who's more active on the forums?
    I have zero idea. It's clear this has hit a bumpy patch. I think it would be a great idea if a few active people were to become moderators. I have no better access to Vicky than anyone else. I will talk to her about thiese things and other stuff once I finally get the chance to talk with her. I still have zero clue how to do the radio show. I think Vicky is not doing well, (perhaps so badly that she can't even talk on the phone). I'll bring us up to speed as soon as I hear from her.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    Squatchy!

    What's the process for new members getting their initial posts approved. I've seen some of these nitial posts, but couldn't access them and assumed that they needed to be approved by a moderator. Perhaps we need a moderator (or moderators) who's more active on the forums?
    Not just new members having issues. I've been a member for a year and a half and just now am starting to get a message stating that a moderator has to view and approve my messages/replies before they will be posted on threads. Definitely frustrating, since I tried posting them a couple days ago and still haven't seen them pop up...which means that maybe this one won't be up for another week or two...

    Edit: Hey so this one did go through The ones I had issues were from on my phone using Tapatalk, this one was on my computer. Maybe that has something to do with it

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
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    Hi Rod - and welcome. You were advised that Mangrove Jack's M05 yeast does not need any nutrients. I find that a little hard to believe. There seems to be no detailed spec sheet for this strain but the one I found makes no mention of a lack of any need for nitrogen or other minerals. https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/01...39801183846214

    The other thing is that you suggest that your hydrometer does not have the scale you think you need. I am not sure that aiming for an ABV off the charts is what will result in a good drinking mead. You can make a wonderful mead that can compete with beers with its level of alcohol or wines. Not sure the fact that Mangrove Jack promotes their yeast as hitting 18%ABV means that you need to approach that mountain. 2 lbs (1 K) of honey to make a gallon (4 L) can be delicious. There is no law of nature that states that a mead needs to have enough alcohol to power a rocket. And if you are looking for a sweet mead I think that it is possible to halt fermentation by cold crashing at very low temperatures (below freezing point of water) and the racking the mead off the flocculated yeast cells - so even if you prefer not to back sweeten you are not required to kill your yeast through alcohol poisoning..
    Last edited by bernardsmith; 08-28-2017 at 04:22 PM.

  7. #7

    Default

    I would never try to make a mead without nutrients regardless of what yeast is being used
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  8. #8

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    Good advice squatchy about your maid. I too prefer mine to be stabile. If they aren't, the bottles downstairs seem to randomly disappear.
    better to do it than to live in the fear of it
    Drink mead & do stupid things faster

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clwurster View Post
    Good advice squatchy about your maid. I too prefer mine to be stabile. If they aren't, the bottles downstairs seem to randomly disappear.
    My ohone did a crap job of writting what I said to it and I got distracted and by the time I got back to edit the window had passed.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  10. #10

    Default

    Thank you for the below responses and welcomes. To be honest I had given up and written off this first post. With additional research and the comments below, my thoughts have changed a lot over the last month (other than liking sweet things). In particular the comments regarding high ABV. I can only imagine the trouble I'd get into if the mead turns out really nice and I get to quoffing like there's no tomorrow, similar situations have occurred in the past .

    I bought 11 kg of raw local honey, six 5 L glass demijohn's and a host of other gear including a 3 scale hydrometer, go-ferm protect and mermaid A. I now intend to put down several smaller batches, keeping detailed records and see where the path leads. I will attempt to make it dry and back sweeten, it sounds like a more repeatable process. This leaves a couple more details to clarify before I start.

    What is the preferred stabilising agent?

    Is the stabilising agent applied before or after the first racking, or even later?

    Thanks again and cheers, Rod

  11. #11

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    You're going to get different types of replies here as to "when is the best time"

    First of all the 2 agents you will be adding are pH dependant. Many folks don't seem to know this for some reason. Secondly,the sulfite binds to different types of stuff in your mead making it insufficient because part of what you add will bind and once they bind up with stuff they are no longer "free" to be available to work any longer.

    Read this. http://morewinemaking.com/public/pdf/so2.pdf

    To save losing mead from each racking session, I cold crash my mead and add the sulfite/sorbate and let things drop out first and then this is my first racking. Rather than rack first, add the chems and then rack again.

    Welcome to the forum.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  12. #12

    Default

    IMHO. For Sweet Mead.

    Start with more sugar than the yeast can eat before they reach their alcohol tolerance. Left over sugar will keep the mead sweet.

    Add honey as you go along so that excess sugar is present at the end.

    Use a yeast with a low alcohol tolerance, so it quits early with sugar left.

    Use sulfite to kill the yeast when you get to your desired sweetness.

    Use sulfite to kill the yeast and sorbate to keep anything else in there from reproducing, and then back sweeten to your desired sweetness.

    I suspect that back sweetening with honey may be your most direct route to a sweet mead.

    You can determine what 'sweet' is for you by using your hydrometer and adding sugar/honey to water and noting the Gravity when the solution is the correct sweetness for you.

    If memory serves correctly, most here would consider a mead at 1.020 to be sweet

    Check - http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthr...how-much-honey post by fatbloke

    Thanks,
    Jwaldo.

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