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Thread: Can I start a classic mead at this low-ish gravity?

  1. Default Can I start a classic mead at this low-ish gravity?

    Hi all,

    I am ready for my first mead, but sadly the hydrometer I got online only goes up to 1.120 my initial plan was to aim for 1.150 as I am making a classic mead using Mangrove Jack M05, this yeast should be able to survive up to 18% ABV.
    If I go on and make one at SG 1.120 so you guys think it will be extremely dry?
    On a sitenote I don't want to add any chemicals to kill off the yeast, will I still be able to back sweeten even if I don't kill the yeast with chemicals?

  2. #2
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    It's not a great idea to start off with a gravity that high. It tends to stress out the yeast with such a high sugar content. You can start low and add honey (feedings) later in the ferment to keep your overall sugar content down. Just predetermine how much honey it will take you to get to 1.150, and save maybe a third of it to add later in the ferment. So your starting gravity would be around 1.100. There's a couple of ways you could do this, but the easiest IMHO is to add honey until you get to 1.100, and keep track of how much you added. Then add half that (i.e., 50 more gravity points worth) later on. I'd suggest the 1/3 sugar break (i.e., when your gravity has come down to about 1.067) as a good time to add the remaining sugar.

    And don't forget to add nutrients along the way too. Yeast will get tired out and stressed eating through that much sugar, and if it quits on you, you'll have a stuck ferment. Not fun. I recommend TOSNA. Go to www.meadmaderight.com to learn more.

    I'm sure there are other much more educated suggestions to follow, but that's what I have done successfully many times. Good luck!

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    "Then glory in battle to Hrothgar was given, waxing of war-fame, that willingly kinsmen obeyed his bidding, till the boys grew to manhood, a numerous band. It burned in his spirit to urge his folk to found a great building, a mead-hall grander than men of the era ever had heard of, and in it to share with young and old all of the blessings the Lord had allowed him, save life and retainers." - Beowulf

  3. Default

    That sounds like a good plan, is the gravity scale completely linear? So if I start out with a gravity of say 1.100 and wait for the gravity to reach 1.070, then add honey till I reach 1.120 - will that be equal to having a start gravity of 1.150?

    Do you also have to compensate for the volume, of the honey used for the feeding, in the start volume?

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    My understanding is that it is linear. Again there are those on this site who have studied mead making at a sub atomic level, who may have a refined point of view. Lol. You should be fine, just don't worry. Nothing will ruin a ferment faster than worry.

    And yes, save yourself a little room for that final honey addition.

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    "Then glory in battle to Hrothgar was given, waxing of war-fame, that willingly kinsmen obeyed his bidding, till the boys grew to manhood, a numerous band. It burned in his spirit to urge his folk to found a great building, a mead-hall grander than men of the era ever had heard of, and in it to share with young and old all of the blessings the Lord had allowed him, save life and retainers." - Beowulf

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    Also, just as a tip, if you want a starting gravity higher than your hydrometer can read, you can take a sample and dilute it with an equal amount of water. You have to be reasonably precise with you measurement of volume, but then the gravity reading can be taken and will represent 1/2 of the gravity of the must. So if you get a reading of 1.075, you know the must is at 1.150. This may be a bit easier than staggering honey additions.
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

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