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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Meads with very high initial gravity - a question
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:08 PM   #1
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Default Meads with very high initial gravity - a question

I was wondering if anyone has any experience fermenting a mead at very high initial gravity...like around 1.2? A 50/50 mix of honey and water should give a specific gravity of about 1.22. Fermented down to 1.08 it would yield a port-like substance with an abv of about 19% and 200grams/litre residual sugar. Has anyone tried this? I am wondering if yeast would even take hold in a mix this sweet. If it will...any recommendations on a good yeast to try?

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Old 10-10-2008, 09:17 PM   #2
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There are a few yeast strains that will go to 20+%
The trick is getting enough nutrient and oxygen to do it. Most guys that want to do this will do staggered nutrient and honey additions. Add your honey over the course of 2 or 3 weeks (or months) that way you are constantly feeding and "culling" the yeast to the very strongest of the cells...and will reduce the possibility of producing nasty flavors....although at 20+ % I'm not sure how much you'll actually taste?

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Old 10-10-2008, 09:42 PM   #3
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ports are around 18-19% abv and quite sweet. This should be similar.

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Old 10-10-2008, 09:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhinofly View Post
ports are around 18-19% abv and quite sweet. This should be similar.
I'm not disagreeing.
Let us know how it goes!
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Old 10-11-2008, 02:37 AM   #5
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In addition to the other suggestions (staggered nutrients), I would add potassium bi/carbonate, and infuse pure oxygen at 24 hr intervals for the first 3 days after the start of active fermentation.

I found this necessary with Cruz' Apple Butter Cyser recipe : OG 1.174

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Old 10-11-2008, 02:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhinofly View Post
ports are around 18-19% abv and quite sweet. This should be similar.
However, to achieve this ABV, ports (true ports) have Brandy added after the first 2-3 days of fermentation.
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Old 10-11-2008, 02:43 AM   #7
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Port isn't fermented to that ABV though. It's fortified with brandy to raise it to that level. If they could get that flavor straightaway, they probably would have.

EDIT: Hightest types faster than I do...

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Old 10-11-2008, 05:14 AM   #8
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Yes you guys are correct about ports being fortified. The point I was trying to make was in regards to taste not construction.

I do have an oxygen stone to pump in pure o2 if needed. Hell I'll just give it a go with a 1gal batch. I was just hoping someone had tried this already.

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Old 10-11-2008, 05:19 AM   #9
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Construction and taste are linked. I'm thinking that fermenting out that high won't give you the same taste as fermenting out to a lower ABV and then bumping it up by other means.

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Old 10-11-2008, 05:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChshreCat View Post
If they could get that flavor straightaway, they probably would have.
I don't believe it is possible to get 1.22 initial gravity (over 49 brix!) with grape juice alone...at least not normally (maybe with cryoextraction). They would have to add some other source of sugar to the grapes to get it that high. And then it wouldn't be port any more.
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