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Old 07-02-2010, 01:04 AM   #1
MountainManWannabe
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Default volume question.

I'd like to make about a 5 gallon batch of mead. Since it looked fairly simple I was planning on using this recipe:

Simple Mead Recipe (Sack Mead)
10lbs quality wildflower honey
Champagne or sweet mead yeast
5tsp yeast nutrient
Approx. 3-4gal water

10 lbs of honey, looks to equal about a gallon. Will all this add up to five gallons or will the honey dissolve into the water without changing the volume, like sugar in water.

Do I need to adjust the recipe to make 5 gallons?

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Old 07-02-2010, 01:32 AM   #2
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Yes, you must account for the volume of honey...a gallon of honey will take up a gallon of space no matter what you mix it with. (FWIW, dissolved sugar also increases volume, it's just more subtle...)

In your situation, you essentially will have 2 lbs of honey per gallon of mead if you take your volume to 5 gal...this is going to make a relatively low gravity mead...probably the average is about 3 lbs per gallon.

While it varies slightly by batch, honey on average is 3 lbs per quart and 12 pounds to the gallon.

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Old 07-02-2010, 02:52 AM   #3
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I agree with biochemedic, to make a SACK mead you may need twice as much honey as you are planning. I use 15lbs in my normal 5 gallon mead recipe with 3.5 gallons of water. I think a good guess would be closer to 20lbs of honey and 2.5 gallons of water, but I have no idea what that SG would be.

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Old 07-02-2010, 03:31 AM   #4
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Sack strength usually means a mead that is above 14% ABV. To get to that strength you will need to add just enough water to your 10 pounds of honey to bring it to a total of 3 gallons. That will give you a starting gravity near 1.120 which will be around 15.5% ABV if it goes dry.

If you want a nice, easy to drink, standard strength mead, you can shoot for a gravity of about 1.090 which would be near 4 gallons of total volume and which will give just shy of 12% ABV.

If you want to make them sweet, you'll need more honey, or to save a pound and work with slightly less volume.

I hope that helps.

Medsen

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Old 07-02-2010, 03:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedsenFey View Post
Sack strength usually means a mead that is above 14% ABV. To get to that strength you will need to add just enough water to your 10 pounds of honey to bring it to a total of 3 gallons. That will give you a starting gravity near 1.120 which will be around 15.5% ABV if it goes dry.
Medsen
+1 to the last 2 posts...I've found this chart from the explanation section for the mead categories of the BJCP to be helpful:

OG:
hydromel 1.035 - 1.080
standard 1.080 - 1.120
sack 1.120 - 1.170

ABV:
hydromel 3.5 - 7.5%
standard 7.5 - 14%
sack 14 - 18%

FG:
dry 0.990 - 1.010
semi-sweet 1.010 - 1.025
sweet 1.025 - 1.050

Edit: Oh, and I wanted to add that another technique for making a sack mead involves periodic "feedings" of honey as each fermentation slows...you kind of need to keep close track of the gravity readings pre and post each addition in order to calculate your ABV and effective OG, but this kind of periodic addition can push a given yeast much closer to and sometimes even past it's rated alcohol tolerance
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Old 07-02-2010, 08:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biochemedic View Post

Edit: Oh, and I wanted to add that another technique for making a sack mead involves periodic "feedings" of honey as each fermentation slows...you kind of need to keep close track of the gravity readings pre and post each addition in order to calculate your ABV and effective OG, but this kind of periodic addition can push a given yeast much closer to and sometimes even past it's rated alcohol tolerance
This is sometimes called "step-feeding." It may indeed allow you to push a yeast beyond its expected alcohol tolerance in some cases (though in many cases, the estimated ABV is erroneously high because people fail to factor in the dilution caused by the added honey). The problem with step-feeding is that it tends to stress the yeast and may produce harsh alcohols and other unpleasant odors/flavors.
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