View Full Version : A Question For Those More Mead-Minded Than Me

06-24-2013, 10:43 PM
I am hoping that those more adept at mead-making will be able to help me out here. This is going to sound ... shall we say, inept ... but I'm sure I'm not the first to ever do this.

In January of this year I began a 1 gallon batch of JAOM ... exactly as the recipe called for. Except, after I dumped all the honey in and got everything mixed together, I found that my poor eyesight had led me to dump 6 lbs of honey into the carboy ... in stark contrast to the 3.5 that the recipe calls for. So, I thought, let's just see what happens. By the end of April nothing had happened ... no sign of life. At least not detectable to my unaided (and admittedly) poor eyesight.

So, I racked the golden, sweet smelling (and tasting) liquid equally into two new 1 gallon carboys (disposing of all of the fruits and spices). I then topped-off each carboy to the 1-gallon mark and tested the gravity. Each sat at 1.092. Seemed a little low for what should be equal to 3.0 lbs honey in a total volume of 1 gallon (1.108 based on the handy-dandy mead calculator) ... but then, maybe a little activity had occurred? Anyway, I then re-pitched with Fleischman's dry yeast. Activity started straight away!

By June 13 activity had ceased, and clearing began. One is still quietly sitting in the mead closet, but I got antsy with the other (we will call it "A"). And it's story goes on ...

I took "A" and dropped sparkalloid in (on 13 June), and in about a week it was clear as can be ... looked mighty fine. So, in preparation for bottling, I thieved a bit out for tasting. Turns out it was quite dry, good, I think, but dry ... and I would prefer something sweeter.

I re-stoppered and cogitated. What to do?

So, last night I measured out 0.5 lb of honey into a new, clean, 1 gallon carboy, and racked "A" into it ... and mixed it so as to blend the new honey in ... thinking that I would essentially be bringing it back to the 3.5 lbs honey in a total volume of 1 gallon. And here is my question ... have I backsweetened ... and can I assume that the little yeastie beasties have pushed the alcohol content to their max (as per a JAOM)? Or should I expect renewed fermentation activity?

This is beyond my tiny pea brain. ???

Thanks in advance for any pearls of wisdom and advice.


06-24-2013, 11:04 PM
Sorry, forgot to mention that the gravity of the new "A" (after the addition of 0.5 lb honey) is 1.025 ... and it's quite tasty (sweeter), but kind of "hot". Certainly doesn't taste like a JAOM. Not bad at all, just not like a JAOM.

Based on the two gravity readings (OG after split = 1.092, and SG after ferment and addition of new honey = 1.025) that the alcohol content is something akin to 8.5% ... close to the bread yeast tolerance?

Or am I a fool! :o


06-25-2013, 06:54 PM
Bread yeast has max alcohol tolerance of 14-16% depending on temperature, pitch rate, honey, and random luck. If you bottle now, you will essentially have glass grenades. Don't do it man!

At this point, I would let the current batch ferment dry, clear naturally, then bottle and forget about it for a year. In the meantime, start another batch of JOAM and don't deviate from the directions!

Medsen Fey
06-25-2013, 07:15 PM
There's a fair chance that fermentation will restart. Put it someplace warm and check gravity in a month. If it stays quiet and the gravity doesn't change, the yeast have probably given up.

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06-25-2013, 09:27 PM
Thanks Medsen ... that's what I've done. I figured better safe than sorry. And if it sits a while longer ... oh well ... that's mead!

So, a further question is, can you effectively back sweeten without using the yeast inhibiting chemicals? I'm assuming "yes", but it takes practice and experience to know what your yeast will handle, and how they will behave?

Medsen Fey
06-26-2013, 03:57 PM
It can be done, and typically for a JAO batch when the yeast are finished they are really done. With other recipes and yeast, especially if fermented cool, long aging (like a year or more) is a good idea. If the ABV is below the yeast tolerance level, it is wise to stabilize with chemicals.

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06-26-2013, 07:47 PM
Excellent! Thanks again for the advice!