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Old 07-24-2008, 12:06 AM   #1
gmay10
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Default Difference between sweet and dry??

I made a mead from 12 lbs of honey. I used a montrachet yeast packet. I think my mead came out very dry. I know it has a high alcohol content because I feel a nice buzz by drinking one glass. I did not take a OG reading (I was a novice at the time) but I know the gravity reading was 1.001 prior to me bottling. Is the reason my mead is so dry because all the sugars fermented out? I also put in 6 pomegranates too. How would I make a sweet mead and should I have changed the yeast that I used?

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Old 07-24-2008, 12:36 AM   #2
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It's primarily a factor of the yeast you use. Montrachet has a fairly high attenuation (I remember a Basic Brewing Video episode where they calculated something like 80% app. att. for Montrachet). White Labs and Wyeast have less attenuating "sweet mead" yeasts, and there should be equivalent dry wine yeasts as well. These will leave more residual sugars.

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Old 07-24-2008, 12:38 AM   #3
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I have never brewed a Mead, and am a relative newcomer, but I can offer some suggestions and others can correct me...

You can always add lactose (milk sugar) to your brew, because it is unfermentable and hence only adds sweetness. (This is used in milk/sweet stout).

Others add Splenda. I am not sure the quantity but I am sure someone will chime in.

The Montrachet yeast seems a very popular yeast, but it does attenuate well, so if it does its job it is going to convert most of the fermentable sugars. You could look for a wine yeast with a lower attenuation rate.

I do believe, though, there are things you can add to wine to cause the fermentation to stop, which you wouldnt do in a beer due to the potential off flavors it may cause... though I may be wrong, maybe you dont do this in windes either...

As I am going to brew some fruit wines myself as soon as my fermenting buckets empty I would love to hear some answers to this question too... And due to my diet I cannot use the lactose, and if there is a way to avoid adding Splenda I would appreciate it, so alternative methods are something I am interested in studying...

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Old 07-24-2008, 12:44 AM   #4
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One way of making a sweet mead is to use a yeast with lower alcohol tolerance. Another is to kill the yeast with campden and back-sweeten with more honey.

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Old 07-24-2008, 01:06 AM   #5
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Dont use lactose it will affect mouthfeel, if you have to back sweeten use splenda or stabilize your mead and then use a honey water solution to add sweetness back in. Im not sure about the adding wine idea. Another way you can achieve sweet is to figure out the tolerance of your yeast then determine how much honey to use in the beginning to achiever sweet, semi, or dry in your final product.

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Old 07-24-2008, 02:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tooomanycolors View Post
Dont use lactose it will affect mouthfeel,
+1 Mead is a wine and should not really have a big bready mouthfeel. If you must, you should sweeten with Splenda or MaltoDextrin. The MD will also add to mouthfeel, so I'd avoid that too.

I tend to taste mead as sweeter than it really is. I think the nose and tongue see the honey and says sweet, and it is a more powerful sensation than the tongue and throat saying "DRY"

If you want a sweeter mead, simply find out what ABV% tolerance your yeast has and add a bit more honey. Like David said....Kill off the yeast before it has converted all of the sugars. I don't think that campden on it's own is enough to kill off the yeast, and having never tried, I can't say from experience.
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Old 07-24-2008, 02:30 AM   #7
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See, this is why I posted, so I could learn more...

So Lactose doesnt work too well for wine, since it adds a bit to mouthfeel. Good to know.

And Campden is the addition I was thinking of. But it may not kill off all of the yeast? It seems to sell itself under the auspices that it does.

At least in beer, yeast doesnt just go sugar=alcohol. There are intermediate steps, all of which produce different chemicals and flavors. In a full fermentation, the yeast essentially cleans up after itself. If the yeast is prematurely stopped you can get Acetaldehyde (green apple flavors) or diacetyl (caramel/buttery flavors), which you dont want (hypothetically). Do these not happen in wine yeasts?

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