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Old 07-12-2012, 08:00 AM   #1
Vespa
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Default How much honey to add?

Hello! So I made a 5 gallon batch of blueberry/strawberry melomel a few months ago (end of April). It has cleared well and I'm ready to rack it to tertiary (primary was with the fruit). Anyway it has a current gravity of 0.998 and is a little dry for my wife's liking. My question is, how much more honey should I add to kick up the sweetness just a tad. Going through my notes I can not find the original gravity (shame on me) and I used Lavin D-47 if that helps. I started with 15 lbs of honey and 10 lbs of fruit.

Adding just a few drops of honey to the sample made it taste perfect, so I really think, this will end well if I could get some sweetening advice. thanks in advance!



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Old 07-12-2012, 08:52 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Vespa View Post
Hello! So I made a 5 gallon batch of blueberry/strawberry melomel a few months ago (end of April). It has cleared well and I'm ready to rack it to tertiary (primary was with the fruit). Anyway it has a current gravity of 0.998 and is a little dry for my wife's liking. My question is, how much more honey should I add to kick up the sweetness just a tad. Going through my notes I can not find the original gravity (shame on me) and I used Lavin D-47 if that helps. I started with 15 lbs of honey and 10 lbs of fruit.

Adding just a few drops of honey to the sample made it taste perfect, so I really think, this will end well if I could get some sweetening advice. thanks in advance!
Ah! D47........ I do hope you kept an eye on the fermentation temperature.

Anyway, if you get a pound of honey that you like the taste of, mix half of it with water, then add it a little at a time, making sure that you stir it in slowly and carefully, then take a hydrometer reading and a small taste, you'll know A) what a dry batch tastes like, B) roughly what final gravity is needed to get it to your desired/preferred sweetness.

Make sure that you stabilise this batch (sulphite and then sorbate) before back sweetening, as adding more fermentable sugars can start a re-ferment.

The only thing when back sweetening with honey, I tend to do that once the batch has finished it's ferment and it's been racked off the sediment and stabilised. Honey can sometimes cause a protein haze, and if it does that in an already cleared batch, it has to be cleared again. Hence I just ferment, rack, stabilise, back sweeten and then clear it - so I only clear it once.

I find that the "dessert" meads I've tasted are too sweet for me (IRO 1.040). I enjoy mine sweetened to about 1.015, which is what I tend to aim for.


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Old 07-13-2012, 03:04 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I was careful with the temperatures and kept them in the 60's during fermentation, even so, I have selected 71B-1122 for the next mead already to compare. As far as sweetening, I think I will take your advice as-is, but for curiosity's sake I have a follow up question.

If I started with an OG of 1.110 or higher, the ABV should be just over 14% which is the average tolerance for D-47. If it had reached its tolerance, would adding more honey still kick off more fermentation? Or could the mead be sweetened this way too without stabilizing it?

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Old 07-13-2012, 03:10 AM   #4
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Read up on 71B (check out the Got Mead forums) before you use it. Where as most of the Lalvin strains are forgiving for when you get the mead off the lees, 71B is not. You'll, basically, want to rack to the second vessel as soon as fermentation is finished (also hear that should be no longer than a month from when it starts).

I used 71B in two batches I started in [first week of] December (been racked a few times already) to see how it would perform for me. I won't know how it did for a few more months (if not longer) though. While the batches appear good, so far, I've not tasted any of them yet. I'll probably pull a taste sample in September/October. Not planning to bottle before November/December anyway.

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Old 07-13-2012, 03:17 AM   #5
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It depends........14% not set in stone. ABV% tolerance can vary with any yeast depending on fermentation conditions. (temperature, nutrients, etc) But yes if the tolerance has truly been reached you can bypass stabilizing. It is safest to monitor for quite some time to assure fermentation does not restart.

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Old 07-13-2012, 03:24 AM   #6
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It depends........14% not set in stone. ABV% tolerance can vary with any yeast depending on fermentation conditions. (temperature, nutrients, etc) But yes if the tolerance has truly been reached you can bypass stabilizing. It is safest to monitor for quite some time to assure fermentation does not restart.
If the SG remains above 1.000 (such as even 1.001) for an extended period, then you're probably safe. But, you'll want to watch (as mentioned) to be sure. Yet another case where time is the greatest ally/tool you can have.

I stabilized some of my initial batches of mead, so that I could bottle them even though it had been less than a year from pitching. I reserved 3 gallons of traditional to age in bulk for a year, as well as age on some oak cubes. I didn't stabilize the part that was aged with oak, simply bottled it up. No poppers to date (been about 8 months so far) and the stuff tastes so damned good. It did finish sweet (about 1.020-1.025) so IF fermentation could have picked up again, it would have. It was also at 18%, so the sweetness helps to balance the higher ABV. I've had people who have had a bottle (they take them home to share, most of the time) that it's easy to drink, but then nails them when they least expect it. Love that about it...


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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
On Deck: Caramel Ale
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