Hey everyone, I've got a hopefully simply question for you all. I'm making my first batch of mead, and I formulated a recipe for strawberry mead using the mead calculator at http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?opt...=745&Itemid=16
I wanted a highly alcoholic mead, 18%, with about 2.6% extra potential to make it a very sweet mead, so I calculated using the link there that a 5 gallon batch with 20 lbs of honey and 15 lbs of strawberries at 15% sugar content would give me my desired results. By using an 18% yeast (Lalvin EC-1118) I figured I could ferment to the yeast's full capability and still have some sugar left over to put me in the 1.020 gravity range for sweetness. I was expecting an OG of about 1.165 and a final gravity around 1.020.
Now the problem begins. When I had all this mixed up and ready to go, in the primary I had all the strawberries (whole, frozen then thawed), all the honey, and 5 gallons of water, which brought the total volume of the must up to almost 7 gallons. Would the proper thing to have done have been to add water only to 5 gallons? I don't know if a 5 gallon batch (on that calculator or in general) means 5 gallons of water or 5 gallons of total must. I worry I may have diluted the must and therefore reduced the alcohol potential.
What is the correct procedure for batch size, and was my math correct for my desired results or am I just all wrong here?
Another thing: I sterilized with campden so I had to wait a day to pitch the yeast. The day I sterilized my specific gravity was 1.130, and the next day before I pitched, the reading was 1.122. I've heard that adding whole fruit can throw off your hydrometer readings due to the solids that are not sugars in them changing the gravity, so I assumed this drop was due to the strawberries having a little time to donate their innards to the must overnight. If the problem with my hydrometer readings is not the 5/7 gallon batch conundrum, then does it have something to do with the fruit? And in that case is a hydrometer pretty much completely inaccurate in this application?
It's been fermenting for 6 days, and due to my readings I'm already at 10% alcohol, so it's going all right, I'll be drinking something, but not necessarily what I expected. Could you help me out?