I bought 24 lbs of orange blossom honey that I intend to make a mead with. It's made in Monterrey, Mexico, but I met the apiarist and he told me about his all natural process. Plus the honey tastes and smells awesome. Now I didn't want to potentially screw up my expensive orange blossom. So i am trying to make a 1 gallon desert mead with clover honey from Sam's Club.
I used 5 lbs of clover honey
Spring water to fill up to 1 gallon.
Ld Carlson yeast nutrient and energizer
I've am guessing I was some where around 45 brix or 1.175 OG. my hydrometers and refractometer can't read that high.
I just ended my 3rd day of fermentation. I've been degassing and adding nutrients, energizer every 12 hours.
Problems I have encountered so far are:
Can't measure actual OG.
I'm guessing on yeast nutrients and energizer. Can't measure that small amount. Degassing and oxygenating make a mess. Also SWMBO is going to kill me. I made a mess everywhere.
Part of the problem is you're applying beer making techniques i.e. getting all the fermentable sugars in up front..
That's quite a high SG to kick off with. A total drop of 133 points equates to 18% ABV. Now presuming finished at 1.000, a drop of 175 points would equate to about 23.7% ABV and 71B certainly isn't gonna do that (actually pretty much no yeast will do that irrespective of how "robust" it is).
71B will go to 14% from memory. So I'd suggest that you just split that batch down to 2 gallons but maybe with an extra 1lb of honey, which would give you a normal-ish honey to water ratio.
As it stands, you're gonna end up with a mega, mega sweet batch, with the likelihood that it won't actually get to 14% as the osmotic pressure on the yeast is gonna be vvv high.
See, with your aim of making dessert meads, you'd be better placed in just making a traditional (which seems to be what you're making) to an alcohol level that won't cause you any issues during the ferment and then back sweeten it to your desired level (not a big fan of dessert level sweetness meads, I like mine in the 1.010 to 1.020 sort of range. plenty sweet enough for my tastes).
S'up to you of course, but it would make the ferment infinitely easier.
Oh, and don't forget, 71B makes some good meads, but it carries a caveat. It isn't a good one for ageing batches in the lees/sediment. A rough guesstimate is that the meads need to be racked off the sediment within about 2 months of the ferment finishing, any longer would be risking autolysis related off flavours.
I'll keep that in mind about not leaving on the lees. I had though about using ec-1118 to finish it up if it won't go over 14% or distillers yeast.
Well also don't forget that with some beer making, and using multiple yeast types for flavour complexity is less likely to work as thats done at much lower gravity levels. Whereas you're using fermentables that are likely to cause issues because if there's too higher alcohol levels in the ferment already the yeast will struggle to start (the new yeast that is).
Plus I don't recall how competitive ec-1118 is i.e. whether it will dominate over the 71b or not.......
It may be that you'd need to consider uvaferm 43 (memory again) which is known as being the best for restarting stuck ferments.
Distillers yeast will just provide food for the competition as it generally doesn't get so high. Its basically a glorified bread yeast known for good flavours with grain batches.
Your numbers would be pretty close to spot on for an 18% dessert batch, its just how you're aiming to get there that's worth reconsidering....
I suspect the best path to follow is dilution then step feeding followed by back sweetening or just step feeding past the finish.
After all, it's a mead we're alluding to here not a beer. A very different beast with its own set of potential problems.....
I agree that starting with a lower gravity and stabilizing/back sweetening is the way to go. If you want the higher ABV then still starting lower on the gravity and feeding the must honey over time makes for much better mead. If you let this one run it's course then yea you will probably need to have ec-1118 clean up the over sweetness once 71b is done. You will just need to make a decent sized starter of the 1118 before it will probably take in this mead though.
I still agree with the others is to split this batch into two one gallon batches and then step feed more honey to get it to the ABV you want and sweeten from there whether you need to stabilize or just add honey because you are past the yeasts ABV limit.
I guess I'm off to the store to get another jug of wine.
Yeah I just picked up another demijohn. I split it up now I'm ready for a back sweeten technique.
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