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Old 01-08-2011, 02:19 PM   #11
KenSchramm
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Thanks for the props, Ace Club.

Backsweetening only dilutes the mead if you add more water. You can dissolve the honey in some of the mead, and then add that to the full volume, and voila, no dilution.

All yeasts have an alcohol tolerance, beyond which they stop producing ETOH, and in most cases die. If you provide enough honey at the start to reach that point, and they yeast s not starved for nutrients, that's what you'll end up with. Any more hone than that ends up as residual sweetness. That's the aproach I try to take.

If you are shooting for a medium sweet raspberry mead, and like D-47, you could start with that 18 lbs of honey, dilute it up to about 5 gallons, and add, say 10-12 lbs of raspberries. It'll be pretty raspberry-y. Pitch they yeast, stir every day or so, and add 1/2 tsp DAP and 1/4 tsp Fermaid K each time for four days. Then let it ferment itself out, get it off the fruit (you should end up with ~5 gallons when you leave the fruit and the yeast cake behind) and off you go.

BTW, the Siphon Tap is a great way to get a fruit mead out from under a cap of mushy fruit. It won't get everything, and you may have to clean it a couple of times during the process, but it's a decent pre-fab solution. No commercial relationship.


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Old 01-08-2011, 02:22 PM   #12
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Thanks for the props, Ace Club.
Not a problem Ken! Your book is my go-to reference for all my mead making endeavors. I've used the info in it to make some excellent meads!


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Old 01-08-2011, 10:56 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by KenSchramm View Post
Backsweetening only dilutes the meed if you add more water. You can dissolve the honey in some of the mead, and then add that to the full volume, and voila, no dilution.
Ken, even if you add no water, there is always a volume increase that comes with adding the honey. Although in most cases the amount of dilution is negligible, in some cases it can be substantial. I am currently making another batch of my Sour-orange (Seville orange) melomel, and for a 5-gallon batch, I'll have to add close to 3/4 gallon of honey (it has to be quite sweet to balance the massive load of acidity). When I do this I am increasing the volume of the batch by 15% and that will reduce the ABV by about 13% even though I am adding no water at all.

When I make it, I plan the ABV to be a high enough that it will end up where I want it after that dilution. If folks use fruit/juices to sweeten the dilution will be even more pronounced unless they are using concentrates.

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Old 01-09-2011, 01:20 AM   #14
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I understand what you are saying, Medsen. I was more referring to the plan to dissolve the honey in water before adding it to the mead, since Matrix4B had mentioned adding another gallon of water and 6 lbs of honey. I was implying that just adding the honey on its own (sans H20) won't thin down the finished gravity, though you are right, it will reduce the percentage of ETOH. Just a matter of which side of the coin (RS vs ETOH) you are looking at.
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:02 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by KenSchramm View Post
Thanks for the props, Ace Club.

Backsweetening only dilutes the mead if you add more water. You can dissolve the honey in some of the mead, and then add that to the full volume, and voila, no dilution.

All yeasts have an alcohol tolerance, beyond which they stop producing ETOH, and in most cases die. If you provide enough honey at the start to reach that point, and they yeast s not starved for nutrients, that's what you'll end up with. Any more hone than that ends up as residual sweetness. That's the aproach I try to take.

If you are shooting for a medium sweet raspberry mead, and like D-47, you could start with that 18 lbs of honey, dilute it up to about 5 gallons, and add, say 10-12 lbs of raspberries. It'll be pretty raspberry-y. Pitch they yeast, stir every day or so, and add 1/2 tsp DAP and 1/4 tsp Fermaid K each time for four days. Then let it ferment itself out, get it off the fruit (you should end up with ~5 gallons when you leave the fruit and the yeast cake behind) and off you go.

BTW, the Siphon Tap is a great way to get a fruit mead out from under a cap of mushy fruit. It won't get everything, and you may have to clean it a couple of times during the process, but it's a decent pre-fab solution. No commercial relationship.
Thanks for the feedback, Ken. Your book is on the way to my house as I write this. Already planning a trip to Austin HomeBrew Supply possibly next weekend, though I may have to wait since I have some large bills about to pound me.
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:26 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by KenSchramm View Post
I understand what you are saying, Medsen. I was more referring to the plan to dissolve the honey in water before adding it to the mead, since Matrix4B had mentioned adding another gallon of water and 6 lbs of honey. I was implying that just adding the honey on its own (sans H20) won't thin down the finished gravity, though you are right, it will reduce the percentage of ETOH. Just a matter of which side of the coin (RS vs ETOH) you are looking at.
Too true. I had not considered just adding honey to the must for backsweetning. Mostly due to my need to bulk up my raspberry after so much volume loss with the pulp. I also found it easier for me to add it in more of a liquid form. I have also found your book invaluable. It got me started on mead making.

For me the addition of more water was not a big deal as sometimes thining down the ABV% is a good thing. I brew for taste primarily, not to have a high ABV%. My meads have been ending up around 15-18% wit D-47 and doing nothing truely diffrent. I don't even do step nutrients. I personally think it is the altitude as I live in Denver, CO. Or near enough. Are there any books that cover this?

Also, I have been trying to get good flavor out of nuts, almonds in paticular but I plan on trying a Vanilla Walnut after my Vanilla Almond turned out too sweet at first. I can't find much information on brewing with nuts or how much spices to use when brewing with spices and not making a tea. Or Fresh vs Dried spices. Oops, hyjacking the thread, sorry.
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:38 PM   #17
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Matrix, I understand losing some volume when racking when you have a lot of fruit in the mix... Would it possibly help to get a strainer and then after racking, strain the sediment and add it back to the brew? Then rack again later to deal with what sediment is left.

Might cut down on volume loss.
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:08 PM   #18
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For me a strainer only went so far. The pulp went right through. Also a coffee filter was too dense. I found a paper towel helpful but a bit dodgy. It kept on breaking on me and clogging up too much. I did manage to salvage about a 1/3 of what would have been tossed by putting it all in a gallon container and letting it settle out again. This proved helpful. I found that was my best bet. Ofcourse I pureed the raspberries and ran it through a screen to remove the seeds. I took the seeds and put it in a large jar with 2 cups of rum. Can't wait to strain that one out. Should get some raspberry extract like substance there that can be used for cooking. But I digress.

The best solution that I have, short of a filter and pump set up that I wish I had, is to run it through a screen then put the resulting pulp in a gallon container and wait for it to settle. It would be great if I had a tall narrow container to put it in as that seemed to help out in the settling process.

The pulp is noticablly white compaired to the red liquid so it was easy to rack off on top of it. Good luck.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:50 PM   #19
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I take a fine mesh brew bag and wrap it around my cane. The bag is a long one that extends out of the bucket. This removes 95% of the particles. I rack onto more honey which takes up the extra head space. I then rack one more time on to more honey using the cane wraped with fine mesh brew bag. This removes almost all of the particles in my blueberry melomels. I have not tried this for raspberries.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:31 AM   #20
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Thanks for the feedback guys. On another forum's suggestion, I checked out Craigslist and found a guy selling a full beer brewing kit. It has a few things I won't need, but the price is great. I want to try brewing some beer eventually, so the other stuff will be useful.


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