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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > first mead, somewhat low abv, raisins and peach in secondary, need approval
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Old 12-16-2008, 06:03 AM   #1
ubermensch
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Default first mead, somewhat low abv, raisins and peach in secondary, need approval

Hello everybody!

I have fermented fruits/fruit juices before, but never honey. For my first mead I'd like to aim low, hoping to shorten aging, and compensate the possible lack of body with raisins, and peaches, cause I love 'em.

I want to make a 5 gal batch with 8 lbs of clover honey and rack it on about 1 lb of chopped raisins and 4 lbs of peach for a while, should end up under 9%, good idea?

Do you think I'd drown the taste of mead that way? How long should I let it sit on the fruits? What do you think?

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Old 12-16-2008, 07:52 AM   #2
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Your looking at a 7.? ABV, Depending on the honey, and sugars from the fruits. So maybe an 8% final ABV.
That will provide a nice little kick to the head, but not so high as to move it up to the ageing time of years.
Raisins are great, the pears are my weak spot, never used them in a mead. I would start the mead with just the honey and raisins, add nutrients, and get it started in a bucket. A week later once it has fermented up to a 5% ABV, add the pears. Give it another two to three weeks and rack.

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Old 12-16-2008, 07:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kauai_Kahuna View Post
Your looking at a 7.? ABV, Depending on the honey, and sugars from the fruits. So maybe an 8% final ABV.
That will provide a nice little kick to the head, but not so high as to move it up to the ageing time of years.
Raisins are great, the pears are my weak spot, never used them in a mead. I would start the mead with just the honey and raisins, add nutrients, and get it started in a bucket. A week later once it has fermented up to a 5% ABV, add the pears. Give it another two to three weeks and rack.

I'm assuming you mean peaches not pears?
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kauai_Kahuna View Post
Your looking at a 7.? ABV, Depending on the honey, and sugars from the fruits. So maybe an 8% final ABV.
That will provide a nice little kick to the head, but not so high as to move it up to the ageing time of years.
Raisins are great, the pears are my weak spot, never used them in a mead. I would start the mead with just the honey and raisins, add nutrients, and get it started in a bucket. A week later once it has fermented up to a 5% ABV, add the pears. Give it another two to three weeks and rack.
Hi, thanks for the reply

I'll follow your advice and skip the peaches. Mead recipes I found online call for more honey, I was worried this low abv experiment would end up bland without adding fruits to the secondary. But without it'll be easier to make out and hopefully acquire the taste of mead.
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:09 AM   #5
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lordbeermestrength - Yes, I'm sorry. My bias against fruits is overpowering my reading skills.
ubermensch - You certainly can add peaches or pears, and they will greatly impact the end flavor, and I'm sure your like it a lot if you like the taste of the fruit, I would just suggest less is truly more.
The point of my initial post was to add them after you have a good strong fermentation to overpower any natual yeast, etc. By adding fruit you may increase the clearing time, but hey, its your mead and your taste.
I would suggest taking a hydrometer reading after a week, take good notes. Then taste the sample, understanding it will be very "yeasty" in the taste and decide if you really want to add the fruit. For me even a dry mead or cider is very sweet, adding fruit does not match MY taste.
I think I need to add that to my sig. Bitter beer, dry wine, ultra dry meads; or something along those lines.

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Old 12-19-2008, 07:53 AM   #6
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Hi Kauai_Kahuna, I prefer dry wine myself, my guess is this is going to please me as is, i.e. clover honey and raisins

A little headsup, I just mixed my mead and the SG is 1.079, much higher than anticipated. Actually, if had used the same amount of sucrose in weight, that wouldn't even reach that high, I know that. Something's funny. I'm guessing honey contain a gelifying agent (pectin?) skewing the reading? Should I add some pectinase?

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Old 12-19-2008, 01:31 PM   #7
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...I just mixed my mead and the SG is 1.079, much higher than anticipated. Actually, if had used the same amount of sucrose in weight, that wouldn't even reach that high, I know that. Something's funny. I'm guessing honey contain a gelifying agent (pectin?) skewing the reading? Should I add some pectinase?
FWIW, honey contains no pectin.

Not knowing how you estimated what your OG should be, I'll note that in my experience ingredient measuring errors are the principal reason for deviations from an expected OG.
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Old 12-19-2008, 10:07 PM   #8
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Hi hightest

It's 4 kg honey in 20 L (8,82 lbs in 5,28 gal). I multiplied the honey weight by 0,80 and used the formula for sucrose, getting an estimated gravity of 1.061 originally. Maybe that honey has a very little or no water in it, which would match the gravity reading? Or there's more than 1 kg per pot, I dunno.

I topped as much as I could and got 1.076. My "low abv" mead is going to end up around 10%. Not exactly what I had in mind.

On the plus side, it's foaming right now and smell nice.

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Old 12-19-2008, 10:51 PM   #9
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It's 4 kg honey in 20 L (8,82 lbs in 5,28 gal).
Hi. I have suspect it will turn out just fine.

Now for the "bad" news. Using your recipe, I calculate an OG of 1.052 (assuming typical 18% MC honey). Even with 15% MC honey, the OG only gets to 1.055.

For your mead to have the OG it has, one (or a combination) of the following must have ocurred:
  1. The must was stratified - not thoroughly mixed
  2. More than 4 Kg of honey was added
  3. Less than 20 L of water was added
  4. Your hydrometer is inaccurate (scale may have moved) - test on plain water (preferrably distilled water)
What is interesting is that you originally noted that you wanted to make a 5 gallon batch. Yet the combined volume of your recipe yields slightly more than 6 gallons. So if the must is presently in a 5 gallon carboy, and I adjust the water to account for the actual carboy volume, your OG becomes 1.062, which is still a far cry from 1.076.

Did you happen to verify the honey weight before using it?
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Old 12-20-2008, 01:15 AM   #10
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Sorry, I meant 20 L of liquids total, in which there's 4 kg of honey. That's in a 25 L bucket. That mix gave me a 1.079 reading. I added about 1,5 L of water and the SG dropped to 1.076. The honey was first dissolved in 10 L of water at ~55°C. That worked quite well, I would eliminate stratification.

I didn't weigh the honey. The label says 16 g sugars per 20 g, the pot volume is 0,7 L, I just measured it. The temperature was 21°C when the SG was measured. That's not helping me cause I don't know the average density of clear honey, but there's 2,8 L of honey in there. There's also some DAP, a little boiled up yeast, and a pinch of epsom salt, not that it really affect gravity anyway. 20°C tap water read 1.000 with my hydrometer.

I kind of hoped it was the hydro, cause it's starting to look like I made a mistake and I can't figure where nor when. I'll tag the bottles "fall 2009" and forget about it

Tomorrow, I'm buying 3 kg of that same honey, mixing another 20 L, and hopefully it will be drinkable by summer. I'll use sparkolloid if it isn't clearing fast enough.

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