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  1. #1

    Default Dilution and FG?

    Hi guys, Iíve got my first ferment going in a 5L demijohn and it appears that there is going to be a fair bit lost when I do my first rack. Iím worried about the head space issue and was toying with adding water but am concerned of the dilution. My confusion is compounded by calculating the ABV - if I add water will I get a lower FG which will give me a false high ABV? Or am I way off in thinking🙈?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,407

    Default

    Hi Meadboy69 - and welcome. Your final FG is not going to depend on how much you add water. Adding water will alter your nominal starting gravity, so if your starting gravity for one gallon was say 1.090 and you add another gallon of water your true starting gravity would be 1.045. The final gravity is what the final gravity will be and that for all intents and purposes won't be affected.

    That said, when you rack you may lose a significant amount to sediment but if you refrigerate those lees in say a mason jar you will find that after a day or so liquid will separate from the solids and you will have a significant amount of liquid you can use to top up your secondary. You may still need to add more liquid but the best solution IMO is to begin with more volume than you want/need to rack to the secondary. you do that by using a bucket as your primary and you create your "recipe" to make say 12 or 25% more volume than you plan on bottling. The excess stays in yoru fridge in sanitzed containers until you need them (and if you don't need them you can always drink them or use them as starters for another batch of mead. Win -win all around.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for that, in future I will start with a greater volume😀. Do you know of any resources that can be used to reverse calculate the dilution issue you described above so that I can have a good stab at the ABV once Iíve racked and chilled/reclaimed/retuned the lost amount?

  4. Default

    I think it was somewhere in these forums that someone mentioned eliminating head space after your first rack by adding marbles to the carboy instead of adding water to dilute your mead. The displacement of the marbles reduces the headspace without affecting the FG or ABV.

    Also, I'm not quite sure how it works, but the GotMead Batch Calculator has a blending calculation utility where you should be able to calculate the ABV after diluting with X amount of water.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    North Carolina and Mississippi
    Posts
    153

    Default

    I thought I would chime in and say that I have never worried much about the head space business. I doubt that if you also don't worry about it, it will make much difference. Much of what happens to mead and wine during the aging process that is beneficial is due to oxygenation on a small scale. I do what I can to avoid introducing oxygen to the mead once fermentation is complete, without diluting it or adding objects like marbles that could impart unknown effects to it. Our ancestors made a perfectly drinkable beverage brewing and aging in wooden containers that admit all sorts of oxygen. I would keep this fact in mind.

  6. #6

    Default

    I doubt our ancestors mead was all that great. Never before in history have we been able to make the kind of mead we make now due to modern science. Micro oxidation is a far cry different than what gross exposure is to a mead. I would suggest to try and manage your head space. And equally important. learn how to manage your long term SO2 additions.

    https://morewinemaking.com/web_files.../files/so2.pdf
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks everyone for your input, appreciate it.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    when you rack you may lose a significant amount to sediment but if you refrigerate those lees in say a mason jar you will find that after a day or so liquid will separate from the solids and you will have a significant amount of liquid you can use to top up your secondary.
    This just blew my mind. I've been tossing all that liquid because it was so cloudy. It never dawned on me to cold crash it in a mason jar. Every little bit matters! Almost a year into this hobby and I'm still learning helpful techniques!

    And to Meadboy I would echo what everyone said. The best thing to do is make extra to account for losses. I've used marbles but you have to sanitize them and then I worry about glass chips because they are very cheap glass.

    With this batch, you might also be ok by leaving that headspace for a few weeks while you make up another batch of mead and then topping up with the new mead. Using sulfites will help protect the mead during that time. And topping up with new mead will help maintain ABV (as opposed to using water). That's what I would do. Good luck!
    Raisins are NOT nutrients for yeast... but french fries ARE!

  9. #9

    Default

    I suggest making a bone-dry mead and a really sweet one just so you have something to top off with. If it's both sweet and dry, you can adjust your sweetness level at the same time. Once you start making enough mead you'll eventually just toss away the crap that you put in narrow glass now and consider it the cost of doing business. I said at one point, "I will know when I am a real maker when the time comes I toss that crap instead of wrestle over a glass worth.

    That's not putting anyone down. I did the same thing. But it is reflective (in my opinion) that you need to make bigger batches
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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