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Old 01-23-2012, 02:38 AM   #1
UpstreamBear
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If I had a starting gravity of 1.110, and I wanted to get it to about 20%, I would have to bring it up by about 0.050, right? Just add sugar to bring my gravity up? I might not fully understand how hydrometers work. I came to this conclusion by using a hydrometer calculator and finding that an SG of 1.110 and FG of 0.958 would bring me to 19.95%.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that I mean to increase ABV in secondary. I've got myself all confused now... :V



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Old 01-23-2012, 02:48 AM   #2
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In essence you are correct...you'd need an OG of ~ 1.150 and go completely dry to 1.000 to have about 20% ABV. I'm assuming you have realized that a FG of 0.958 doesn't exist when it comes to mead fermentations, and that your scenario of 1.110 down to that is theoretical...

Practically speaking, though, it is somewhat difficult to actually get a mead up to 20%. Most practical brewing yeasts, even the really big guns like EC-1118 top out at about 18% alcohol tolerance. That being said, if you were to start with a lower gravity, then do a few rounds of incremental feeding (ie, add a little more honey every time the fermentation starts to slow down), you can sometimes push tolerance higher that the yeast is "rated" for. You'll probably have to do a lot of other things to help manage the fermentation too: proper nutrients, good aeration and degassing, proper pitching rates, etc. I think a lot of your really, really big beers are also done in this way.

Out of curiosity, why are you set on the goal of reaching a particular ABV?


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Old 01-23-2012, 02:56 AM   #3
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I wasn't sure but I assumed that less than 1.000 meant nothing left to ferment. I just went below to figure out how much I needed to add. I hadn't really thought of why I wanted to go for a specific ABV... I think I just want to see how high I can go. I am using EC-1118.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UpstreamBear View Post
I wasn't sure but I assumed that less than 1.000 meant nothing left to ferment. I just went below to figure out how much I needed to add. I hadn't really thought of why I wanted to go for a specific ABV... I think I just want to see how high I can go. I am using EC-1118.
Actually, .990 would be dry, with no fermentables left.

You can easily go from 1.128 to .990 with EC-1118, particularly if the yeast is fed some nutrients. That's about 18.5%.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:42 AM   #5
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On the internet one guy claimed to obtain 26% with ultra distillers yeast which he got from the internet, tons of sugar, and loads of nutrients, but I'm not sure I'm convinced that's even possible. I'll be convinced once someone who isn't already convinced gets convinced and posts all their progress.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:33 AM   #6
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I have had some wine that I got up to 24% .... I just did my first bach of mead an put it in the secondary a few nights ago and it smelled like it should be that high...
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UpstreamBear View Post
EDIT: I forgot to mention that I mean to increase ABV in secondary. I've got myself all confused now... :V

I wasn't sure but I assumed that less than 1.000 meant nothing left to ferment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Actually, .990 would be dry, with no fermentables left.
You can easily go from 1.128 to .990 with EC-1118, particularly if the yeast is fed some nutrients. That's about 18.5%.
Of course Yooper is correct, I was trying to simplify things for the OP, but because alcohol has a lower density than water you certainly can actually go below 1.000.

It sounds like maybe you are trying to do an additional feeding as I had mentioned in my original reply...you could certainly just add additional honey...assuming a 5 gal batch, adding a quart, or about 3 lbs will bump your effective OG up by about 20-25 points (all depends on the actual sugar content of your particular honey.)


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