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Old 03-19-2011, 12:37 PM   #1
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Default Honey to Water ratio?

So I have 5lbs of Orange Blossom Honey. I was thinking that would be like a 2 or 3 gallon batch. I was just going to make a straight mead this time it would be my third batch. I've only made gallon batches so far.
I also have a question about yeast. I was just going to use some champagne yeast but I still wanted it to be a bit sweet. Is there a good happy medium of getting to the yeast's tolerance and still having some sweetness left over without having to back sweeten?

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Old 03-19-2011, 03:02 PM   #2
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champagne will make it bone dry.

I'd use something like D-47 or 71-B dry yeast (1 satchet, rehydrated, no starter)

for 5lbs of honey I'd raise the total must volume to 2 gallons,s o you have 2.5lbs per gallon.

that should let you hit 12%ABV and still have some sweetness left behind.

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Old 03-19-2011, 04:39 PM   #3
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3# of honey per gallon.

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Old 03-21-2011, 02:45 PM   #4
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If you use a Champagne yeast, you will definitely need to backsweeten as they will take your batch bone dry as Malkore points out.

You have several options depending on how you want to do things:

1) If you want to keep the ABV to around 12%, mix up the must to a gravity of about 1.090, which you should be able to do with something around 4.5 pounds of honey in 1.75 gallons total volume. Save the last 1/2 pound of honey to backsweeten it after fermentation has finished, and you have stabilized it to make sure they yeast won't ferment more.

2) If you want to keep the ABV around 12% but don't want to backsweeten, try making the must to a gravity of about 1.100, which will should take the full 5 pounds in about 1.75 gallons total volume. Then ferment using an ale yeast that will go to around 12% such as Nottingham.

3) If you don't mind the ABV getting to 14%, you can start with a gravity of of 1.115, which should be reached with the full 5 pounds in a total volume about 1.4 gallons. Then ferment with 71B (or another 14% ABV yeast). That will leave you with some residual sweetness when the yeast gets done.

The key to all of these is go by gravity and not by honey weight, as the variability in moisture content can add a good bit of error when going by weight. By using the hydrometer, you can get what you want. In each of these cases, the yeast should be rehydrated properly, and you should add nutrient/energizer and aeration.

I hope you get a great batch.

Medsen

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Old 03-21-2011, 11:01 PM   #5
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I'm going to agree with the others in saying that if you want some sweetness left over you need to avoid using the champagne yeast. I have had a lot of success with the OB honey, it generally has a very good flavor to it. It also blends well with other honeys and/or fruit if you want to go that route. If you decide to go the fruit direction, I would recommend using Lalvin V1116 for your yeast. It lets the flavor of whatever fruit you are using come through. As far as your volume goes with that amount of honey, I'd stick to the 2 gallon batch size.
Whatever you decide, good luck to you.

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Old 03-23-2011, 05:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedsenFey View Post
If you use a Champagne yeast, you will definitely need to backsweeten as they will take your batch bone dry as Malkore points out.

You have several options depending on how you want to do things:

1) If you want to keep the ABV to around 12%, mix up the must to a gravity of about 1.090, which you should be able to do with something around 4.5 pounds of honey in 1.75 gallons total volume. Save the last 1/2 pound of honey to backsweeten it after fermentation has finished, and you have stabilized it to make sure they yeast won't ferment more.

2) If you want to keep the ABV around 12% but don't want to backsweeten, try making the must to a gravity of about 1.100, which will should take the full 5 pounds in about 1.75 gallons total volume. Then ferment using an ale yeast that will go to around 12% such as Nottingham.

3) If you don't mind the ABV getting to 14%, you can start with a gravity of of 1.115, which should be reached with the full 5 pounds in a total volume about 1.4 gallons. Then ferment with 71B (or another 14% ABV yeast). That will leave you with some residual sweetness when the yeast gets done.

The key to all of these is go by gravity and not by honey weight, as the variability in moisture content can add a good bit of error when going by weight. By using the hydrometer, you can get what you want. In each of these cases, the yeast should be rehydrated properly, and you should add nutrient/energizer and aeration.

I hope you get a great batch.

Medsen
Glad I searched the forums before posting a new thread. I want to make a sweet mead with Montrachet yeast by red star. This yeast will top out at around 14% ABV, so I should aim for an OG of 1.115 you're saying.

I was wondering how you figured this out. Is there a calculator or equation that allows you to find your FG based on OG, yeast attenuation, yeast alcohol tolerance, etc?

Thanks.
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:38 PM   #7
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Actually Montrachet usually poops out at 13%, so if you start at 1.115, you'll probably end up with a gravity around 1.015-1.020 which is nicely sweet. You may want to start with a lower gravity - say 1.105 - and that way you end semi-sweet, and you'll be able to add more honey if you want it sweeter.

The GotMead calculator is pretty useful and Hightest's spreadsheet (see the sticky) also works. The math is pretty simple - convert the ABV level of the yeast into a starting gravity and that tells you approximately the number of gravity points that yeast will consume when well-managed. Of course, yeast have a mind of their own, so sometimes they do much more than expected. This is why I prefer to choose the ABV level I want to hit, and make the batch to that strength - then I backsweeten to get it where I want it for the sugar level.

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