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Old 01-08-2012, 07:21 AM   #1
zolcos
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Default Question about results from hightest's spreadsheet

I did some reverse usage of the calculator to find the water and honey required for a desired sweetness and ABV.
The yeast I'm using has a stated alchohol tolerance of 14% by volume which is also the ABV I want to end up with. The "mead fg" guide says that the minimum sweetness for the "dessert" level is represented by a FG of 1.020.
The final calculation is that 25 cups of honey and 59 cups of water will give that FG and ABV with a final volume of 5.25 gallons which gives me a quarter gallon of slack when I rack to secondary, which will happen in a 5 gallon carboy.

So here are my questions:
1. This looks a little less strong than what is considered sack mead; does that mean that I can add all the honey at the beginning and not have to worry about too much honey causing stuck fermentation?
2. Is a quarter gallon of slack the right amount to avoid sucking up lees when racking from a 6.25g primary carboy?
3. This is about 3.5 pounds of honey per gallon of final volume. The "mead sweetness" guide places 3.5 lbs/gal at the low end of "sweet" when it seems like this mead would be at the high end. Did I miss something?

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Old 01-08-2012, 03:18 PM   #2
MedsenFey
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To be clear, remember that the weight of honey does not determine sweetness alone. It is the weight of honey, and how much the yeast will ferment that determines sweetness. Using 3.5 pounds and a high-ABV Champagne yeast will leave you dry and hot. Using 3.5 pounds and a lager yeast that goes to 8% will leave you syrupy sweet. So it is the difference between the potential alcohol of the must and the ABV tolerance of the yeast that will tell you if it will be sweet.

Secondly, "sweet" is very subject and depends an awful lot on what has been added to the mix. A dry mead with no acid and tannin added may actually taste a little sweet. On the other hand, I've made batches with high-acidity fruits that didn't taste sweet with a final gravity of 1.040. The 1.020 number is a rough general guide for traditional meads, and frankly, you may find for any given honey, that 1.020 is either too much or not enough depending on your taste buds.

If you have a yeast that can go to 14% ABV, it will ferment (if properly managed) about 105 gravity points, so if you mix up your starting gravity at 1.125, it will likely end at about 1.020. Starting at 1.125, I'd treat it like a high-gravity batch. I'd pitch at least 0.5-0.75 g/L of yeast, and give plenty of nutrients, and aeration.

You might want to consider starting at a lower gravity. perhaps 1.110 or 1.115. When this finishes, the final gravity should be 1.005-1.010. You might find that sweet enough, but if not, you could always add a little more honey to sweeten to your liking. I say this because yeast can be a bit unpredictable, and if they end too sweet, it is hard to fix, but if they end a little too dry, it is easy to correct.

When you rack out of a carboy, depending on how well things flocculate you'll often loose 1-1.5 liters.

Good Meading!

Medsen

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Old 01-08-2012, 06:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by MedsenFey View Post
To be clear, remember that the weight of honey does not determine sweetness alone. It is the weight of honey, and how much the yeast will ferment that determines sweetness. Using 3.5 pounds and a high-ABV Champagne yeast will leave you dry and hot. Using 3.5 pounds and a lager yeast that goes to 8% will leave you syrupy sweet. So it is the difference between the potential alcohol of the must and the ABV tolerance of the yeast that will tell you if it will be sweet.

Secondly, "sweet" is very subject and depends and awful lot on what has been add to the mix. A dry mead with no acid and tannin added may actually taste a little sweet. On the other hand, I've made batches with high-acidity fruits that didn't taste sweet with a final gravity of 1.040. The 1.020 number is a rough general guide for traditional meads, and frankly, you may find for any given honey, that 1.020 is either too much or not enough depending on your taste buds.

If you have a yeast that can go to 14% ABV, it will ferment (if properly managed) about 105 gravity points, so if you mix up your starting gravity at 1.125, it will likely end at about 1.020. Starting at 1.125, I'd treat it like a high-gravity batch. I'd pitch at least 0.5-0.75 g/L of yeast, and give plenty of nutrients, and aeration.

You might want to consider starting at a lower gravity. perhaps 1.110 or 1.115. When this finishes, the final gravity should be 1.005-1.010. You might find that sweet enough, but if not, you could always add a little more honey to sweeten to your liking. I say this because yeast can be a bit unpredictable, and if they end too sweet, it is hard to fix, but if they end a little too dry, it is easy to correct.

When you rack out of a carboy, depending on how well things flocculate you'll often loose 1-1.5 liters.

Good Meading!

Medsen
Here, here! Well said Medsen. I was wondering how to word a reply when I read the OP's post a little earlier, but I'm not gonna bother as you've said it better than I could anyway....

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Old 01-09-2012, 12:57 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MedsenFey View Post
You might want to consider starting at a lower gravity. perhaps 1.110 or 1.115. When this finishes, the final gravity should be 1.005-1.010. You might find that sweet enough, but if not, you could always add a little more honey to sweeten to your liking. I say this because yeast can be a bit unpredictable, and if they end too sweet, it is hard to fix, but if they end a little too dry, it is easy to correct.
Or you could start at a lower gravity and add more honey after your yeast has chomped partway through the original must.
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:10 PM   #5
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Thanks, things are looking good. My original plan was for 10g of yeast which puts me just over 0.5 g/L. I considered adding more, but on the next day the inner part of the airlock has risen to the top so it looks like there's activity going on.

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