View Full Version : Cheat sheet for recipe design - is my logic on track?

12-04-2013, 02:11 AM
I have been working on a spreadsheet for recipe planning using the GotMead Calculator. I am a bit math challenged (but I do use hydrometer) and thought if I could get my recipes in the "ballpark" it would be easier. If something is too dry I can back sweeten. If something is too sweet I can dilute but then may lose the body. I have the starting and target SG noted for each.

Is my logic on track? Is there any reason why this could not then be quickly and easily adjusted for 1 - 3 - 5 gallon batches? Basically I am holding the fruit constant and changing the amount of honey for dry, medium and sweet. Then to do a 3 or a 5 gallon batch I would just multiple the one gallon numbers.

I am unable to insert the table or jpeg. The first number is pounds of honey. The second number is pounds of fruit. So blackberry dry is 2 pounds honey and 3 pounds of fruit. I rounded up the GotMead calculator number for the fruit. I use Vinter's Fruit Bases so the fruit would be pretty constant


Flavor Honey Water Fruit Base
Traditional 2.5
Blackberry 2 3 lbs
Blueberry 2 3 lbs
Cherry 2 3 lbs
Cranberry 2 3 lbs
Eldeberry 2 4 lbs
Mulberry 2 3 lbs
Rasberry 2 5 lbs
Strawberry 2 4 lbs
Grape 2 2 lbs
Raisen 2 3 lbs
Peach 2 3 lbs
Plum 2 3 lbs

Og 1.035-1.080
ABV 3.5-7.5
FG (perception) .990-1.010


Flavor Honey Water Fruit Base
Traditional 3
Blackberry 2.5 3 lbs
Blueberry 2.5 3 lbs
Cherry 2.5 3 lbs
Cranberry 2.5 3 lbs
Eldeberry 2.5 4 lbs
Mulberry 2.5 3 lbs
Rasberry 2.5 5 lbs
Strawberry 2.5 4 lbs
Grape 2.5 2 lbs
Raisen 2.5 3 lbs
Peach 2.5 3 lbs
Plum 2.5 3 lbs

Og 1.080-1.120
ABV 7.5-14
FG (perception) 1.010-1.025

Flavor Honey Water Fruit Base
Traditional 3.5
Blackberry 3 3 lbs
Blueberry 3 3 lbs
Cherry 3 3 lbs
Cranberry 3 3 lbs
Eldeberry 3 4 lbs
Mulberry 3 3 lbs
Rasberry 3 5 lbs
Strawberry 3 4 lbs
Grape 3 2 lbs
Raisen 3 3 lbs
Peach 3 3 lbs
Plum 3 3 lbs

Og 1.120-1.170
ABV 14-18
FG (perception) 1.025-1.050

Not sure what this will look like with I submit.

Thank for taking a minute to look.

12-04-2013, 08:04 AM
Seems to me that the short answer is, "If this is what works for you, go for it". In theory, the logic appears to be sound. In practice however, a lot of your results will end up being influenced by what kind of yeast you use, and how happy and healthy the little guys are. For example, there are a lot of strains that can take the OGs in your "Medium" or even "Sweet" category all the way dry.

You should be fine if you use this (much like many use the Mead Calculator or Google Maps) as a planning and estimation tool, but then refer to your brew log if you ever want to make adjustments or duplicate future batches.

12-04-2013, 03:34 PM
I would generally use these strains of yeast

Wyeast 4184 (I am using this for cider with awesome results- goes to 11%)
Montrachet Red - goes to 13%
Lalvin 71B -goes to 14%
Lalvin D47 - goes to 14%
Lalvin RC212 -- goes to 16%
Lalvin 6118 -- goes to 18%

So in "theory" if

---I use any of the above yeasties for my dry recipe the result would be a dry mead.

--- I use Wyeast #4184 (11%) for a medium mead with OG of 14% then I should have residual sugar left over to give me "medium"

---I used Wyeast #4184 (11%) for a sweet mead with OG of 18% of then I would have lots more residual sugar to be sweet.

Am I on track here?

Thank you!!!

Again my goal is to be able to at least start out in the right ballpark knowing tweak might be needed to the final stages.

12-04-2013, 06:13 PM
Yep, sounds like you're on the right track (although 3% residual potential alcohol is still pretty sweet), but I kind of see what you're after now. I re-organized your stuff a little bit and threw in some numbers that I pulled out of the Mead Calculator really quick for use against your yeast alcohol tolerance. Might be you find it helpful.

| Honey |
| 2.5 lbs | 3 lbs | 3.5 lbs |
Traditional | 1.089 (11.9%) | 1.108 (14.1%) | 1.126 (16.2%) |

| Honey |
Fruit | Amount | 2 lbs | 2.5 lbs | 3 lbs |
Blackberry | 3 lbs | 1.083 (11.1%) | 1.100 (13.2%) | 1.119 (15.4%) |
Blueberry | 3 lbs | 1.085 (11.3%) | 1.103 (13.5%) | 1.121 (15.7%) |
Cherry | 3 lbs | 1.091 (12.1%) | 1.109 (14.3%) | 1.127 (16.3%) |
Cranberry | 3 lbs | 1.077 (10.4%) | 1.095 (12.6%) | 1.113 (14.7%) |
Elderberry | 4 lbs | 1.083 (11.1%) | 1.101 (13.3%) | 1.119 (15.4%) |
Mulberry | 3 lbs | 1.090 (12.0%) | 1.108 (14.1%) | 1.126 (16.2%) |
Raspberry | 5 lbs | 1.083 (11.1%) | 1.101 (13.3%) | 1.119 (15.4%) |
Strawberry | 4 lbs | 1.083 (11.1%) | 1.102 (13.4%) | 1.120 (15.5%) |
Grape | 2 lbs | 1.086 (11.5%) | 1.104 (13.7%) | 1.122 (15.8%) |
Raisin | 3 lbs | |
Peach | 3 lbs | 1.083 (11.1%) | 1.102 (13.4%) | 1.120 (15.5%) |
Plum | 3 lbs | 1.085 (11.4%) | 1.103 (13.5%) | 1.121 (15.7%) |

Subtract Yeast Alcohol Tolerance from Potential Alcohol (from table above) to get Remaining Potential Alcohol (residual sugar)
P.A. - Y.A.T. = Remaining P.A.

Remaining P.A. | Est. FG | Class
0% | 1.000 | Dry
0.5% | 1.003 | Dry
1% | 1.007 | Medium
1.5% | 1.010 | Medium
2% | 1.014 | Sweet
2.5% | 1.018 | Sweet
3% | 1.021 | Very Sweet
3.5% | 1.025 | Very Sweet
4% | 1.028 | Super Sweet
4.5% | 1.032 | Ultra Sweet
5% | 1.036 | M-M-M-Mega Sweet
5.5% | 1.039 | Sweet Tooth of the Gods

I left out raisins 'cause the numbers I was getting totally didn't match up.

12-04-2013, 11:16 PM

Awesome. This is exactly what I was doing in my spreadsheet.

How did you get the GotMead forum to take your spreadsheet? When I tried pasting my table it just dumped numbers haywire....

So using the chart, if you wish to make a 5 gallon batch of MEDIUM rasberry the recipe would be

Rasberries 5 pounds x 5 gallons = 25 pounds
Honey - 3 pounds x 5 gallons = 15 pounds
Yeast -- the yeast that will get me closest then would be Montrachet. Probably need to back sweeten a half percent or so.

I am building several other things into the spreadsheet -- like how much chemicals per gallon / when to add and what types of herbs and honey etc... would be a good match for the various fruit. I will post it in the forum when I am done. Perhaps it will be helpful for others.


12-05-2013, 05:38 AM
I make a lot of melomels and you seem to be stuck on the 3lb gal theme, each fruit is different, each tree can be different from its neighbor, might be better to see what the fruit is like before just adding this or that amount based on a table. WVMJ

12-05-2013, 08:50 AM
I am building several other things into the spreadsheet -- like how much chemicals per gallon / when to add and what types of herbs and honey etc... would be a good match for the various fruit. I will post it in the forum when I am done. Perhaps it will be helpful for others.

But who's gallon ? One of your "short measure" gallons a.k.a. a US gallon ? Or one of our "full measure" gallons a.k.a. Imperial/UK gallon, or even a "metric" (?) gallon etc etc etc.

Also termed as 3.78 litres, 4.55 litres and 5 litres (or don't the good people of the "chilly north" a.k.a. Canada, sometimes call 4 litres a "Canadian gallon" due to some liquids being sold in that size of container ?).

See what I mean ? My alluding to different size units, doesn't matter if you're only talking with people who use the same measures as you do, yet we're all in different regions, hence you'd need to produce a dynamic spread sheet to handle that........

Oh yeah, someone already did that. It's called the mead calculator, linked in the left side yellow box :eek: which allows for different size batches, different fruit/juice/etc etc.

Plus, not withstanding the fruit can vary in sugar levels from tree/bush/plant, even if growing side by side, as pointed out by Jack above.

I'd have thought you'd be better trying to improve the calculator, maybe even into some sort of a mini-app type thing ?

As little is gained from "re-inventing the wheel", especially when the "hive mind" of gotmead is already possessed with an amazing depth of knowledge.

Maybe it just need collating centrally, like as an article for the main Gotmead site or similar, or have I missed the point of your spread sheet idea ???

12-05-2013, 01:55 PM
Just my $0.02 worth, but it can sometimes be worthwhile to 'reinvent the wheel'... if you're doing it for yourself and learn along the way.

I set up a spreadsheet which allowed me to do a lot of things on the fly. It would give you a red, yellow or green light on your ABV, depending on your preferences and what you were hoping for. I never did get the math exactly right for figuring ABV, but in messing around with all the difference facets involved with figuring a batch of mead, I learned a hell of a lot. I'm not a fast mead maker, I'm not a slow mead maker... I'm a halfassed mead maker. <grin>

Having said that, I now like to play around with the mead calculator here, and am always finding new ways to use it in figuring out step feeding and such. I've heard several people say the mead calculator is old and outdated, but I find it incredibly helpful.

By the way, what does anyone use as a formula for figuring out ABV? What formula does the calculator use?


12-05-2013, 02:52 PM
Wow! Hummm...

A couple of thoughts

The purpose of the exercise was to create a quick recipe planning tool to be used by ME. And as Joe mentioned it has been a very good learning exercise. As a novice mead maker looking at various recipes on the web my question has been -- will that recipe have a dry or sweet outcome? This exercise has given me insight to that.

Regarding different fruits and stuck on the 3 lb theme. Not all of the fruits in my list are 3 lbs. I had already used the GotMead Calculator to obtain different values. Generally I rounded up to the next lb. For example, for a one gallon recipe, GotMead is about 5 gallons for raspberries and 4 gallons for Elderberries. As for the quality and sugar content of the fruit, I predominately use Vinter's Harvest Fruits or store bought frozen and the fruit is consistent. Will the measurement always be perfect? No and I do not expect it to. Just looking for ballpark here.

The comment related to different measurements and reinventing the wheel -- frankly I am trying to make ME a better mead maker. Not too worried about the mead makers in the UK or Tanzania. But if the discussion and resulting spreadsheet makes a lightbulb go off for someone else then all is good. The GotMead calculator is a great tool but frankly I am not always at a time/point that is convenient to sit down at the computer, go to GotMead and play with the calculator. My spreadsheet can be stored in my phone or taped on the wall in my brew area.


12-05-2013, 03:12 PM
Joe -- Here is a link to a very good discussion of ABV of WINE and how to calculate it. Not sure if the process would be the same for mead.


12-05-2013, 07:23 PM
Joe -- Here is a link to a very good discussion of ABV of WINE and how to calculate it. Not sure if the process would be the same for mead.


Thank you, sdrilling. I've seen a bunch of different calculations, some of them as simple as this one, some much more complicated. At 'average' alcohol percentages, most of them seem to be pretty close to one another. But at the higher or lower ends of the scale, they seem to diverge rather wildly.

I would think that calculating meads would be the same as calculating wines, but I guess its possible that there are some differences that I am discounting.

Does anyone know what formula the mead calculator uses? Who designed and built it? It really IS a great piece of work. Others have mentioned newer, more <something> calculators elsewhere, but I found them harder to use and harder to 'fiddle' with to obtain different aspects of what I'm looking for. For instance, if I'm making a gallon batch and want to step feed it, I can use it to figure out how much headspace I need to leave to accommodate the extra additions, I can fiddle with it to see how much my initial sugar will provide both for the entire batch and the starting volume, etc.. I find it incredibly helpful. Thank you to whoever took the time to design and implement it.


12-05-2013, 07:53 PM
The mead calculator on this site just doesnt work in any way for me. Fermcalc though is very easy and works quickly and is intuitive. Are you just being compulsive trying to figure out to the last drop how much alcohol is in there:) As long as you get it all does it matter. I like the blending feature on it, we use it for blending different ciders that had high and lower acid levels, worked like a charm.

Trying to expand your options a little sdrilling, do you want people to have to guess what kind of wine is in their glass or do you want them to go "how did you get that much fruit and honey in there?" (they wont actually say the words as they will be busy drinking but they say it with their eyes).