Originally Posted by dummkauf
I'm not sure I'm following you on not starting it that high(it's too late now but I'm curious anyway). Would you normally start with a lower gravity must, start the fermentation and then add more honey/water as needed to get to where you wanted to be in terms of alcohol and sweetness? If so, how do you normally calculate the additions?
Yes, that's exactly what I do. I prefer to keep the gravity down to about 1.100 to start, then once I get to the 1/3 sugar break, that's when I add any further honey and the final nutrients etc as I'm happy that the ferment is progressing well.
I don't bother calculating per se, I make small additions and then test with a hydrometer, but keep a "weather eye" on the increases.
For instance, I know that a starting gravity of 1.100 will give me about 13.5% ABV, and an addition of a further 30 points at the 1/3rd sugar break will give a total initial gravity of 1.130, which if fermented down to 1.000 is a drop of 130 points, which equates to about 17.6% ABV
So you just need to remember the SG, then add the amount added at 1/3rd break to the SG and you've the number for calculation when it's finished to know where the mead has got to.
Just that I use "Bob's table" over at WaH
to work the gravity to % ABV conversion, but just remember to take hydrometer readings when making any additions, and keep 'em small, to prevent any ferment problems....