View Full Version : A Number of meads with high Sg 1.04 - 1.06

09-03-2006, 06:32 PM
So I have a number of meads with high Sg 1.04 - 1.06


#1 Traditional w raisin

og 1.15 dec 6th 2004 repitched, ph adjusted, dapped, repitched ec-1118 and other wise fiddled with until I can't take no more.

fg 1.06 aug 28 2006

#2 Black cherry melomel

og 1.165 June 3rd 2005 ... same as above, give or take some time...
fg 1.06 aug 28 2006

#3 Apple Reduction (two gals of cider reduced to one gal)no honey added...

og 1.12 June 11th 2006
racked 1.04 aug 28 2006

My question / concern is this. If I go no further with these, if I simply sorbate them so they don't make bombs( not that I think they are fermenting at all) and call it quits, are they going to HARM any one. Will the sweetness cause any problem to those drinking it? In your opinion, might it shorten their shelf lives. Or, is there enough alcohol to balance it out?

They ARE incredibly sweet, but the flavors are actually coming along nicely especially the Black cherry that spent a year of its life tasting rather a lot like cough syrup.

I've Tweaked #1 and #2 seven ways to Sunday usually with the same results, no change in sg, they kill a live batch a yeast faster that I can say re-pitch. The third is a very recent batch, but it is very very good as is and I'm loath to mess with it...though, it may continue to ferment since I have only racked it recently.

Not wanting to poison my friends with sweet yummy alcohol.


09-03-2006, 11:25 PM
Dear Tusuchi,

Have you tried "thinning" it out a bit?

I am not a major mead guru, but when I have a high s.g. and the yeast have stopped, I have either added some fruit or even just some boiled and cooled water.

Generally, things take off after this.

I have bottled a couple of 5 gallon batches in the 1.01 range and every single one of them have carbonated.

I have also had a 1.05 batch that had bulk aged for several months, completely cleared with no lees start up again when I added the fruit I had planned to flavor it with. It's still going strong and is now in the 1.009 range.

I don't know about damaging the drinker with too sweet mead. Thinking about how sweet this may be sort of puts me in the mind of yummy mead pancake syrup. :laughing7:

It is sort of bugging me on the edge of my memory - but I don't think sorbate actually kills the yeast - I can't quite remember. Just something that tugged on my memory from something Oskaar wrote that I didn't quite commit to memory.

I feel your pain, by the way. I have a couple of batches that I have been messing with since March 06.


09-04-2006, 01:34 AM
Correct Leonora, Sorbating only prevents further yeast activity. Potassium Metabisulphite is what you want to stop current activity and prevent in bottle carbination when fermentation hasn't quite finished.

09-04-2006, 01:29 PM

Watering it down is a thought, but if I do that, I lower it's alcolhol % and if the yeast are dead and don't rebound...will it be even less stable?

hhmmmm, still, I hadn't really thought about it. It's a decent idea. I think I'll try the mead calc and see if i can figure how much i would need to dilute.


09-05-2006, 05:15 PM
Most of the time my mead is so high in alcohol that the idea of lowering it is good! *grin* Keeps my knees from getting weak quite so quickly. I often make a mead spritzer with mead over ice and some sparkly water. Heresy? It tastes good on a hot day!

I just think of it as making the environment more hospitable to the yeast. I think there is a magic point where the alcohol/honey are at such a level as to make it too difficult for the yeast to thrive. When I have altered the environment in some way most of the time activity kicks off within a couple of days. Once the little beasties get going, they usually stay going until they kill themselves. And even then they sometime kick up again when I tweak it! I don't use the sulfite/sorbate chemicals and I have yet to have a fermentation that has stopped short not pick up again with some sort of change of environment.


09-05-2006, 06:52 PM
It's hard to know exactly what went wrong unless you provide more information on your process. I ran the numbers of your #1 mead recipe through the mead calculator and came up with approx. 7.8% ABV, which is very low for EC1118.

Questions I would have;
- did you use any nutrients?
- what is the current pH?
- what was your racking schedule?

09-05-2006, 07:24 PM
Questions I would have;
- did you use any nutrients?
- what is the current pH?
- what was your racking schedule?

1) What temperature did fermentation take place at? Was it in a cool fridge, room temp 70 deg F, etc?
2) What chemicals??? were used for the ph adjustments?
3) When using nutrients (DAP, raisins etc), how much was used? Rough dosing schedule?

The last one sounds like it's doing better. How does it's current ph compare to the first two batches?

09-07-2006, 03:07 PM
ohhh k i use excel for my logs so here goes formatting...

batch Date Time Test observations

R 6-Dec 10:00 PM 1.15 raisins hanging out at the bottem

R 8-Dec 7:30 PM 1.162 did the rasins add sugar? Same yuckey smell could just be the yeast

R 11-Dec 11:00 AM 1.148 where the others just rasins bobbing on the surface

R 12-Dec 7:30 PM 1.136
fiar amount of lees… should I rack I wonder?
R 15-Dec 8:00 PM 1.12 wonder when I ought to remove rasins?

R 18-Dec Noon - this one went fine phew!

R 19-Dec 7:00 PM 1.112 test again

R 19-Dec 7:30 PM 1.112 Added 1/2 q h20 1/2 q cuke honey

R 23-Dec 10:00 PM 1.12 Slower but not quite stalled on blip every 30 sec or so … sigh

R 28-Dec 12:00 AM shook for a bit
Im going to shake again for about 15 min and then pop the mini hydrometers in and read them an hour or so later
R 29-Dec 12:00 AM 1.085 Got the minis in today so this is all good! Im going to shake again for about 15 min and them pop them in and read them an hour or so later

R 1-Jan 2:32pm 1.08

R 3-Jan 6:00 PM - bubble every minute

R 7-Jan 8:00 PM 1.08 It's clearing… the little bastards have died GRRRR!

R 8-Jan 5:00 PM racked and repitched with five hour old starter

R 9-Jan 10:00 PM moved to under sink hopefully to warm up a bit repitching didn’t seem to hlp much

R 14-Jan 10:00 PM 1.06 CLEARING! Damit this is anoying

R 20-Jan 10:30 AM 1.06 nearly clear.

R Jan-05 10:00 AM 1.05 Clear 1/4 inch lees
R 5-Feb 7:40 PM 1.06 racked off lees.. Smells yucky strong alchahol.. Toped to sholder with water…

R 1.05 still very sweet but quite smooth as well

R Sept 7 2005 10:30 PM 1.07 airlock is dropped and fluid is glass clear and a lovely amber colour. I think this one gets bottled tonight. In the wytchwood & ghrolsh bottles tastes rather like candy honey wine.. Good though

R june 8 2006 8:00 PM 1.04 test ph at 4 and in 1/4 tsp increments add Calcium carbonate total 1/2 tsp to 4.2 ph test and one tablet DAP
R june 8 2006 9:00 PM 1.04 pitch yeast ec1118 exp 02 06 1/3rd into shaken jug… mini hydr reads 1.06

r 11-Jun 6:30 no bubbles

r 28-Aug 1.06


Test observations Process
1.165 cordial like, lightly cherry beautiful colour the same as the fruit Pitch yeast in h2o as per M I mix in sanitised jug, take a read, pitch, airlock
one blip every 20 sec
one blip every 7 sec shake
one blip every 5 sec
1.105 one blip every 5 sec, too sweet to judge but sharp crerry still there. shake gently
one blip per 10 -15 sec
1.06 rack off 1" semi solid lees deep cloudy black cherry colour still there still amazing ly sweet cherry hot deep in mouth and on toung firey really! Though the sugars keep it semi smooth think hot velvet… dangerous! rack off 1" semi solid lees
1.06 sweet cherry cordial, would be a nice mix into good vodka or juice. Bit much on its own though. Beautiful burgendy colour. rack off minimal lees
1.06 cherry is less pronounced, too sweet still sharp alc nose less cherry tone thick test ph at 3.6 and in 1/4 tsp increments add Calcium carbonate total 1 tsp to 4.4 ph test and one tablet DAP
1.06 pitch yeast ec1118 exp 02 06 1/3rd into shaken jug… mini hydr reads 1.06
no bubbles repitch ec-1118
1.06 stubborn but good, age is helping? rack

apple reduction

11-Jun 1-5 pm 3.8 ph 1.12sg beautiful burgendy colour reduce on med high 2 gallons down to 3/4 of a gallon allow to cool somewhat
11-Jun 6:30 shake to airrate, Pitch ec-1118
28-Aug 10pm 1.04 oh so yummy and dangerous rack

so uh there's the info ... i dont as a rule track temps though they likely account for some of my hydrometer reading varriations. All the carboys are in the basement up off of the floor.

09-07-2006, 03:56 PM

Looking at the first batch, if I take the December 8th SG reading as correct (assume there was a problem with the December 6th reading causing it to be low), the final SG gives me a minimum ABV of around 14 percent. Assuming the batch was fermenting from the 6th to th 8th, the ABV would be even higher (possibly 16 to 18+ percent). Even a yeast like EC-1118 may have problems getting started in this level of alcohol. Not sure that I can give you a solution for this batch other than to make a dry batch of the same recipe with less honey and mix the two. Next time I'd start with an SG more in the 1.120 to 1.14 range...

Same comment with the Cherry batch as well. You have 14 percent ABV or better according to your OG of 1.165 and FG of 1.06. Mix it with a dry batch and use less honey next time.

For the apple, was the SG listed before or after the reduction? 1.12 is a good OG for a batch using wine yeast (12 to 14 percent ABV tolerance - my definition of wine yeast). If you had apple juice at an SG of 1.120 that you then reduced the water out of, the result SG would have been much higher.

Hope this help,

09-07-2006, 10:06 PM

Thanks for the review.. these were some of my first meads ( the first is actualy one of a pair. It's oppisite used bee polen as a nutrient instead of rasins and it fermented down to 1.02... it took longer to clear but it did ferment better) And the cherry was... well, again it takes a while to learn and yah they had way to much honey/sugar content... they were rocket fuel and cough syrup respectively for their first years. i think it's time to start a nice low grav, say 1.04- 1.05 gallon to split between these two.

As for the last... the test was taken after applejuice was reduced (simmering on low two, gallons of cider untill i had one)

It is also still slowly fermenting and if it's like most of the apple things i've done it should make it's way down to somewhere reasonable soon.

I am still curious if anyone has any experiance / info about high sugar and its impact on shelf life (do any of us keep this nectar long enough to know?) and it's effects on the common drinking joe.


09-08-2006, 04:29 AM

A couple of things to be aware of when taking gravity readings. When you have chunks floating around in your must (raisins, chopped up fruit, spices, etc.) your gravity reading is not going to be very accurate to start.
The sequence of SG entries in your log kind of hops around, so I'd strongly suggest that you consider getting a narrow band, or finishing hydrometer that ranges from 1.000 to 1.070. I use such a hydrometer in my batches once they drop below 1.070 on the standard triple scale hydrometer. Advantages are:

1. Easier to read
2. More accurate
3. More consistant readings

I have a couple of them in the narrow band range that I use to compare, and when I do use the standard triple scale hydrometers, I do use three of them. If I'm planning to add some chopped fruit, or spices, or anything else to the must, I'll take a reading prior to adding those ingredients. The reading still won't be accurate because you are adding additional fermentable sugar sources, or additional matter to the must that will throw off your readings.

With EC-1118 I recommend a good aeration schedule for at least the first three days, and nutrient additions as well. EC will produce up to 50 PPM of sulfites during fermentation, possibly more if nutrient starved. That lack of nutrient and subsequent stressed yeast during fermentation manifests itself in off flavors and aromas in your mead. Feed it, aerate it and I think you'll be happy with the results going forward.

Hope that helps,