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10 lbs Honey = how many gal. of Mead?

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Revvy

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I just was given 10 pounds of bulk honey, for free, and since I have an extra packet of Montrachet lying around, I thought I'd make up a batch of mead.

The problem is that in looking at the various recipes here and on some of the mead sites, I can't seem to fugure out how many gallons of it I can make with my 10 pounds. I thought I'd just be able to find a 1 gal mead recipe that used "x" pounds of honey/ gallon, and be able to calculate from there... but no luck, different people's recipes have different amounts.

So is there no rule of thumb as to how much honey, how much water, yadda yadda yadda?

I have an empty 6 gal better bottle right now, and after I bottle this weekend I'll also have a 5 gallon one empty, as well as my old mr beer fermenter gathering dust.

So I have some options as to batch size...limited only by the amnt of honey I have.

Thanks for your help.
 

shunoshi

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The average mead is made with roughly 3lbs. of honey per gallon of water. A 5 gallon batch of mead would then have 4 gallons of water and 1 gallon of honey (or roughly 12 lbs.) Of course this can be modified depending on what sweetness level you want in the finished mead.

I would be wary of using that Montrachet yeast though. This stuff will devour every last ounce of sugar in the must and leave you with a very dry mead and if you wanted to backsweeten with more honey you'd have to add some sorbate otherwise that would get fermented as well.

I used Montrachet on a whim in a one gallon cyser and it's currently sitting at 17% and is going to take quite some time to condition.
 

sirsloop

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10# will make 3-5 gallons of mead.

You can figure on around 35 gravity points per pound pr gallon. So...

(lbs of honey * 0.035) / gallons of water = approx. gravity

You can figure that the mead will ferment out to at least 1.000 gravity (the FG).... so...

(OG / FG)*131 = percent alcohol
 

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Different recipes call for different amounts of honey based on the yeast being used and the amount of residual sugar desired.

With Montrachet, anything up to an OG of about 1.100 should ferment to dryness. Assuming our honey is fairly average in its sugar content, if we shoot for exactly 1.100 we should have a volume of around 3.6 gallons. If we aim to end up with 3 gallons the OG will be around 1.122, which with Montrachet should end up a fairly sweet mead. However, as the sugar content of honey can vary somewhat this is only a rough guideline.

Or, of course. there's the option of making a cyser or similar rather than a straight mead. In the case of a cyser, the added sugar from the apple juice should easily allow you to hit your desired OG in a 5 to 6 gallon batch.
 

flowerysong

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shunoshi said:
I used Montrachet on a whim in a one gallon cyser and it's currently sitting at 17% and is going to take quite some time to condition.
Oh, hmm. My calculations were based on an alcohol tolerance of 13%, as that's what I had seen quoted for Montrachet.
 
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Thanks for your help gang.

Uh, I have a half pound of lactose lying around that I could use for an unfermentable sugar with the montrachet. Anyone use it to back sweeten?

Also are there any calclulator programs that can be used to figure this stuff out like I do with my beers? That would include fruit sugars and such if I ever wanted to do pyment or something?
 

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I wouldnt use it. I would let the mead finish dry, add potassium sorbate and campden, then use more honey to back sweeten.
 
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sirsloop said:
I wouldnt use it. I would let the mead finish dry, add potassium sorbate and campden, then use more honey to back sweeten.
How do you figure out how much honey to back sweeten, let's say for a 4 gallon batch, after you've killed the fermentation off?
 

sirsloop

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Take a small sample, do it by taste, multiply it out to your entire batch size.

For example... take a 1/4 cup of mead, add 1/4tsp of honey/sugar/dextrose, mix well, taste... change the a amount... when you have the desired sweetness you know the ratio. If this is your first time doing it I suggest going one step dryer than you initially decide on.
 

shunoshi

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flowerysong said:
Oh, hmm. My calculations were based on an alcohol tolerance of 13%, as that's what I had seen quoted for Montrachet.
I did a cyser with honey and apple cider with no water added. This gave me an OG of 1.137. It's finished out to roughly 1.006 as it stands right now. According to my calculations that should bring me in over 17%. Its taste is extremely hot and I'll probably end up conditioning this for a couple years. So, I'd definitely keep an eye on that Montrachet if you decide to use it.
 

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All the above answers are beating around the bush and not exactly correct!

The real answer is: How many gallons of honey you add to water to make mead is relative to how strong you want to make it. ;)

I've made 5 gals of mead with only 1/2 gal of honey (6 lbs) as well as used a whole gallon (12 lbs). Both tasted differnent and had different alcohol levels that's all. :D
 
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homebrewer_99 said:
All the above answers are beating around the bush and not exactly correct!

The real answer is: How many gallons of honey you add to water to make mead is relative to how strong you want to make it. ;)

I've made 5 gals of mead with only 1/2 gal of honey (6 lbs) as well as used a whole gallon (12 lbs). Both tasted differnent and had different alcohol levels that's all. :D
I was thinking of using the 10 gallons of honey to make 4 gallons of mead...What do you think? (My 5 gallon carboy will be open this weekend so I figured I'd use that leaving headspace- unless I don't have to worry about a blowoff with mead...then I guess I could go with 5 gallons.)

Thanks HB_99
 

shunoshi

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Revvy said:
I was thinking of using the 10 gallons of honey to make 4 gallons of mead...What do you think? (My 5 gallon carboy will be open this weekend so I figured I'd use that leaving headspace- unless I don't have to worry about a blowoff with mead...then I guess I could go with 5 gallons.)

Thanks HB_99
You could do that or, as flowerysong mentioned, you could make a cyser and easily use up the remaining space as well as bring more sugar and an interesting flavor to the party.
 
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shunoshi said:
You could do that or, as flowerysong mentioned, you could make a cyser and easily use up the remaining space as well as bring more sugar and an interesting flavor to the party.
I'll take a look at cysers then...But I'm cash strapped at the moment and only want to use what I've got lying around the house...

I know I have some lactose in the house, some extra corn sugar, and a pouch of maltodextrin leftover from my mr beer days, plus the usual cooking ingredients...raisins, brown sugar, maybe even some dried apricots.I know I have some dried figs for sure...

Anything I could do with any of those ingredients and the honey?

Oh, is headspace an issue with meads? I know it's not with Apfelweins.
 

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Revvy said:
I was thinking of using the 10 gallons of honey to make 4 gallons of mead...What do you think? (My 5 gallon carboy will be open this weekend so I figured I'd use that leaving headspace- unless I don't have to worry about a blowoff with mead...then I guess I could go with 5 gallons.)

Thanks HB_99
Right, there's no need for a blow off tube with a mead. You can make 5 or 6 gals if you wnat. The only difference would be the starting gravity. The more water you add the lower the potential alcohol percentage of the final brew.

Many people forget that the honey is going to take up volume. Adding 1 gal of honey to 4 gals of water will equal 5 gals.

There is no need to boil your honey either. I would boil 1 gal of water then add you honey to it and let steep for 15 mins. Cool the must with some of your top off water and rack to your carboy and top off to 5 gals.

That's all you need to do for a traditional (non-flavored) mead.

If you want a sweet tasting mead use a Sweet Mead yeast, champagne yeast for a dry mead.
 

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Revvy said:
I was thinking of using the 10 gallons of honey to make 4 gallons of mead...What do you think? (My 5 gallon carboy will be open this weekend so I figured I'd use that leaving headspace- unless I don't have to worry about a blowoff with mead...then I guess I could go with 5 gallons.)

Thanks HB_99
That's about what I did. I got 15lbs at Costco. I warmed it enough to pour easily, and dumped it in the carboy, and topped off with enough water to get to roughly the 5.5gal point. My OG was 1.113. I used a couple teaspoons of LD Carlson Yeast Nutrient, which you'll need as honey doesn't have some of the stuff yeast needs, and I pitched a packet of Lalvin D-47, rehydrated. Check out GotMead for more info. If you don't mind splitting up your honey and trying a couple different batches there's always JOAM, or Malkore's mead from this forum.
 
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Has anyone heard of Bunratty Meade? It's an Irish mead drink made with white wine? MY GF is Irish and is reading me something on the phone about it...
 

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Revvy said:
Has anyone heard of Bunratty Meade? It's an Irish mead drink made with white wine? MY GF is Irish and is reading me something on the phone about it...
Talk about timing...I just had a bottle last week while on travel...upstate NY...$17.99...a bit expensive for a tall wine bottle size.

IMO, it's not really mead. The label says it's white wine and honey added, not mead with white wine added. It's closer to a mead subgroup called Pyment since it has grape juice (wine) in it.

Overall it tasted good. It had a nice cloying honey flavor to it and easy to drink. So I would recommend it for a first time mead drinker. There's also another mead that was available that was from Cali, but I didn't buy it.

I drank the whole bottle in one sitting in my hotel room. I could not drink that much mead at home...I would have been totally wasted by then. :D

My wife and I stayed at a B&B about 1/2 mile from Bunratty Castle a couple of years ago. They have an old village (tourist trap to some) on the site and we spent the whole day on the grounds. It's a place I would recommend for visitors.
 
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