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12-08-2012, 04:14 AM   #1
Bluespark
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 Calculating Amount of Honey??

I'm starting a 5 gallon batch of mead tomorrow(yay!!!) and using ec1118 yeast. If my calculations are correct, for it to finish slightly sweet( without stabilizing) I need a starting gravity of 1.300??
How much honey is that? I currently have 18lb.

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12-08-2012, 03:13 PM   #2
fatbloke
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Bluespark I'm starting a 5 gallon batch of mead tomorrow(yay!!!) and using ec1118 yeast. If my calculations are correct, for it to finish slightly sweet( without stabilizing) I need a starting gravity of 1.300?? How much honey is that? I currently have 18lb.
Erm no. You've got the numbers wrong. I doubt that you'd even manage to start something that high and without knowing how to reverse calculate that number into % ABV but there's not a yeast on the planet that would work it.......

Ok, so, apart from the fact that EC-1118 will blow a lot of the aromatics and some of the finer, more subtle flavouring elements straight out the air lock its tolerance is 18%, which in turn equates to a gravity drop of 133 points.

Going straight for a start gravity that will also create conditions that will make for possibly, a difficult ferment.

So rather than making life difficult start it lower (with a better yeast IMO -k1-v1116 is good/better) and then step feed it with extra honey. You can start it at say 1.110 then add the extra honey for the extra gravity points i.e. use a hydrometer to measure the additions something like a total of 4lb per gallon should be something like enough.

Its less likely to stress the yeast and you can just get a little more honey and then stabilise and back sweeten to your desired level....

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12-10-2012, 04:08 PM   #3
Bluespark
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I will take your advice and find some kv1116 for the next round.

So you say something like 4# per gallon. I used 3, 3 kg containers of honey(I believe is 19.8#). Divided by 5 gallons = 3.96lb, so almost at that already, starting gravity 1.110. So maybe just a couple more pounds to add.

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12-10-2012, 04:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Bluespark I will take your advice and find some kv1116 for the next round. So you say something like 4# per gallon. I used 3, 3 kg containers of honey(I believe is 19.8#). Divided by 5 gallons = 3.96lb, so almost at that already, starting gravity 1.110. So maybe just a couple more pounds to add. When do you add the additional honey?
You'll add the more honey once the SG has reached a low point. I'm sure fb has more specific parameters in mind. I'll be doing that with the batch I'm about to start. Otherwise my OG would be about 1.200 which IS insane for yeast (don't want to stress/shock the with that high of an OG).

IME, the trick with getting something good from EC-1118 is to back-sweeten it. If you let it go to dry, and leave it there, you probably won't like it much. You'll also need to do the normal 'care and feeding' to the batch. Talking about degassing, aerating, and adding nutrients. Go on over to the Got Mead forums and see what most mazers will do in this case.
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12-10-2012, 07:52 PM   #5
fatbloke
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Golddiggie You'll add the more honey once the SG has reached a low point. I'm sure fb has more specific parameters in mind. I'll be doing that with the batch I'm about to start. Otherwise my OG would be about 1.200 which IS insane for yeast (don't want to stress/shock the with that high of an OG). IME, the trick with getting something good from EC-1118 is to back-sweeten it. If you let it go to dry, and leave it there, you probably won't like it much. You'll also need to do the normal 'care and feeding' to the batch. Talking about degassing, aerating, and adding nutrients. Go on over to the Got Mead forums and see what most mazers will do in this case.
Nah! bollocks I just wing it. I use Bob's alcohol conversion table over at WaH, so I know roughly how strong it's likely to be if it ferments down to 0.990 or so, but generally I start my batches between 1.100 and 1.110 so if they get to 1.000 they'll between 13.5% and 14.9% ABV. If I decide I want a batch a bit stronger, I'll just chuck an extra 1/2 to 1lb of honey in, but I usually start with a 1/2lb and then check the gravity once it's nicely mixed in before adding more.

I wing it because I don't really give a toss as long as it will get me when I come to drink it.

I don't really keep proper records as I'm rubbish at remembering to do that, plus I like the variety of making stuff differently each time.

The only thing I always make the same is JAO, but even then I make it to 1 imp gallon using the numbers from the recipe, rather than 1 US gallon. Just means my batches are still sweet, just not as sweet as if I'd made them to 1 US gallon (but I get more mead so that's fine by me).

What I don't do, is make my meads like a lot here who seem to want to make them as if they're making a beer. They don't seem to follow that while a yeast will hit, say 18%, it's worth starting it lower so that there's little to no chance of stressing the yeast. They want to make a batch that's 18% and they also want residual sugars, so rather than using something like a reasonable starting gravity and step feeding, they work out that they think they'll want 18% which equates to a drop of 133 points, so rather than starting at a max of 1.123 points with the aim of getting the batch down to 0.990 and then back sweetening to taste, they'll do sh1t like starting it something like 1.140 - which to my mind is too high and leaves too much leeway for stressing the yeast with some osmotic shock. It also seems to allow much more chance of even worse pH swings than if started lower.

But hey, maybe it's just me being over cautious or something daft like that.

Besides, Golddiggie seems to take a much more sensible, measured attitude to mead making, not like the half-arsed idiot way I make mine !
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12-10-2012, 08:06 PM   #6
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Well, we KNOW you're daft, but that's a different thread.

My initial batches were mixed to maximum OG at the start (to high ABV tolerance of the yeast and leave something behind). They came out really well, but did require more care and feeding than if I hadn't. I also mixed up a smallish batch to hit 21% last December that I pitched Wyeast Eau de Vie into. Took it a few days to actually get rolling, but then it didn't stop for about three months. It just keep on chugging. Once it got going, it was a machine gun airlock for weeks. Decided, right then, probably not a good idea to dump the yeast into THAT strong of a must.

I'm getting things ready for my 24%+ batch now. Need to get the honey into a more liquid state, and figure things out for how much to use initially (and how much water it needs, and if I should reserve some water volume too). Got two vials of WLP099 in the fridge waiting for the batch to be mixed up. Got the bucket of honey warming up too. Target volume is about 4 gallons, so that I have a decent amount of headspace in the fermenting vessel. I do plan on adding more honey (about 9# to be added) as it progresses through the honey I add initially. I already know the sugar level of the honey (from the first batch I made with it), so I'm good there.

I do tend to keep at least SOME records of what I've made (that's not beer). Helps me to make it again another time if I really like it. I'm still experimenting with different yeast strains, and formulations though. So, if I located a combination I don't like, at least I know what I did so I won't do it again.

Need to mix up another batch of maple. This time, I'm going to add more syrup later, after fermentation appears to be over. I think I want it a bit sweeter at the end (than the first batch). Just need to figure out which yeast to use in it.

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12-10-2012, 10:31 PM   #7
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Ha! I'm too lazy to make a proper high strength batch like that. I'd just make one to about the 16 to 18% mark, make sure it's got a little extra tannin mixed in, then back sweeten to dessert levels before adding a bottle or two of neutral spirit/vodka/etc.....

Enough to make it stronger, but also to dilute down any extra viscosity caused by back sweetening to that level.

I "think" I've still got something I made a bit like that kicking around somewhere.... but where.

In the meantime, I'm gonna go back downstairs for NCIS reruns and a large brandy and coke

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12-10-2012, 11:27 PM   #8
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fatbloke, somehow all that doesn't surprise me. It also sheds some light on why you hate EC-1118 so much.

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12-11-2012, 09:30 AM   #9
fatbloke
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Golddiggie fatbloke, somehow all that doesn't surprise me. It also sheds some light on why you hate EC-1118 so much.
Nah! that's because it seems to blow too much of the aromatics straight out the airlock.

Don't get me wrong, it's a good yeast, but if you want to make something that (IMO) has a bland taste, lacking in aroma, yet reasonably light and then carbonate it, it's ideal.

Champagne IMO, is over priced pi55 that's been hyped to hell and back by both the French and the marketing nazis. Yet some people actually claim to enjoy it, though I suspect they "like" it because of the status symbology....

Plus, most of the morons who run HBS, know little about meads and just recommend it because they presume that you'd need it for an ingredient like honey and all it's inherent natural sugars. They know bog all about flavour, aroma, etc in meads as they've often only made (if at all) wines from kits and beers from kits or maybe if they're really daring, all grain. They then end up using the typical sales trick of not admitting that they don't know.......

S'why I like it here, and over at gotmead. People who know and are happy to spread the knowledge for others to at least try and make good meads.....
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12-11-2012, 02:48 PM   #10
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I left enough sweetness in the meads with EC-1118 that the honey flavors and aromas are still really good. I'm sure if I had let it go to dry what you said would be true. But I didn't so it isn't. I am trying out other yeast strains, not just sticking with that one. I'm more the kind of person that will take advise and then experiment to see if its true for me.

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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
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K3: TripSix
On Deck: Caramel Ale

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