View Full Version : Too weak and dry

04-19-2011, 12:00 AM
I followed Charlie Papazian's recipe for Barkshack Ginger Mead but it came out too dry and low in alcohol. The low S.G. should have been my first clue but the yeast is cast and the mead in it's secondary for well over a month now. I've read the posts on back sweetening but would really like to jack up the Alc. at the same time. As the posts suggest killing off any residual yeasts with sanitizer before adding the honey my intention is to add more honey per the calculator straight into the secondary and hope for re ferment and residual sweetening. Any suggestions or cautions?

Medsen Fey
04-19-2011, 09:03 AM
Welcome to GotMead Kent!

I don't have my copy of Mr. Papazian's recipe handy. Would you mind posting up the OG, final gravity and which yeast you are using. That will make it easier for folks to give you useful ideas.

Chevette Girl
04-19-2011, 09:05 AM
Welcome to the addiction, Kent!

There shouldn't be a problem with adding more sugar to get it to ferment more, but stir up your lees first and DO NOT add stabilizer beforehand if you want more alcohol... otherwise you'll have very sweet thin weak mead. You DO want to use chemicals to stabilize it before you bottle it if there's any residual sugar though, othewise you risk bottle bombs.

If it doesn't start fermenting (noticeable change in SG within a week), my suggestion would be to get another packet of whatever yeast you started with and make an acclimated starter with it.

If you can let us know what your exact recipe and procedures were (or a link, if you followed a posted recipe exactly), then the more knowledgeable folks can help you better.

04-19-2011, 01:47 PM
Thanks for the warm welcome! Addiction indeed...I found a gallon carboy with a 15 yr. old mead in it I somehow forgot about!? Criminal, I know, but it was amazing!!! A bit weak given the water had long ago evaporated from the air lock but Wow! So I am back in the saddle again and brewing said mead for a friends wedding.

The original recipe for 5 gallons of Barkshack Gingermead

7 lbs light honey
1.5 lbs corn sugar
5 oz. grated gingeroot
2t energizer
2t nutrient
1t acid blend
1/4 t irish moss
6 lbs assorted berries and cherries
lalvin 71B-1122 yeast

O.G. 1.079
final .998

When I got ready to bottle the color was a lovely claret but the overall taste underwhelming, though it had a very nice light berry nose and palate.

I bottled 2 gallons with 5 T corn sugar for a light sparkling mead for toasting and would like to beef up the remaining 2 gallons (so it appears) for the bride who likes her red wines on the sweet side- drinks Lambrusco.

working with the example in the guide of 3 0z honey per gallon for 14% alc. and another 4 0z per gallon to add mild sweetness I come up with 2.5 more lbs of honey to get my 2 gal. home. I'm trying to learn the calculator to confirm these numbers and will defer to the advice of those wiser than me before I commit.

Oh, I started this in the winter, it is now late spring in S. Texas and we're hitting mid 90's already...I have a basement but no central A.C.

so there's the challenge..and again, thanks for the hearty welcome. This site is amazing.

Medsen Fey
04-19-2011, 02:28 PM
Well, if you have two gallons, and you want to raise the effective gravity up by about 30 points (so your effective starting gravity would have been around 1.109 - around 14% potential alcohol) according to the calculator, you'd only need 1.7 pounds of honey. You can take 1 ounce of your honey and dissolve in 1 cup of water and measure the gravity. That's how much increase in gravity you'd get with 1 pound in 1 gallon so from there, you can estimate it a little closer. Ultimately, you want to dial it in using your hydrometer, though you may want to use less than you think and see if it takes it dry before adding more so that you don't go past the level of sweetness you want to end up with.

Now adding honey at the end like this - "step feeding" can produce stressed yeast and if it is happening at high temps, you may get some less than stellar results, but it probably will ferment it.