Did I mess up my first Mead?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

eggey515

Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2022
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
Location
America
Hey guys, trying to make my first mead. I’ve made a couple home brew beers from kits only before. Then a friend of mine introduced me to mead and I was hooked so I started doing some research into home brewing mead ordered my equipment. My brother gave me the yeast he uses for his wine so I didn’t look into the yeast too much he said it goes up to 18% so I was excited to have a strong mead for my first try for home brewing. I’m currently one cider and one mead started them both on September 19 both in one gallon batches my mead OG was 1.155 but the mead has been really slow. I thought maybe it’s just a lag phase since that’s a lot of sugar to break down and I added some yeast nutrients and it was still going slower than I thought it should compared to the cider. So I did more research and came to find out the yeast is Redstar premiere classique wine yeast and is actually only good for up to 15% so now I’m slightly worried should I rack some off and dilute my must to a workable SG for the yeast or since it’s been a week and has been slow would it be better to repitch with new yeast or a combo of both or did I screw up my first mead?
 

MightyMosin

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2021
Messages
70
Reaction score
79
You didn't screw it up, but you gave the yeast a huge task with that high of a starting gravity.
A huge downside of starting with a gravity that high is that you will generally have to wait longer for it to taste palatable. I would split this into two different meads.

If you were to rack off half a gallon and add 1.6Lb honey to it and then add water to 1 gallon you should end up with a SG of ~1.114 which will get you an ABV of 14.84%

Do that again for the other half and you now have two 1 gallon batches that will be targeting that 15% range of the yeast.

I completely understand that urge to go for the high ABV and my second mead came out at 16.8% ABV and it tastes great after 15 months; it was so horrible at first that I just shoved it to the side and forgot about after 6 months of periodic tastings. When I remembered it and tried it so much later it was a different beast.

My opinion is to shoot for that 10%-13% range and you can get some tasty meads without extended waiting times while still able to get a lot of different flavor profiles and you don't have a flabby mead or one that is just too hot that it needs to sit and wait it out.

Low ABV meads are ready so much sooner but they generally need to be carbonated to add some body and/or you need to have some tannin added to add structure to it.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
eggey515

eggey515

Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2022
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
Location
America
Thank you so much for the advice. I think since it’s my first Mead I shot really hard for a high ABV like the mead my friend shared with me without fully doing all the research, especially about the yeast. I’ll have to pick up some more honey and do this. Maybe I’ll keep one batch a little lower SG to see the difference in how they turn out. Again thank you so much I was kinda worried that I might have killed my yeast and if I tried anything it would have an off taste.
 
OP
OP
eggey515

eggey515

Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2022
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
Location
America
So I went ahead and got a SG reading before I split the must into two batches and It was about the same as my starting 1.155 so I went went ahead split it then added the honey and water it wasn’t quite as even if a split as it should have been and I probably didn’t add enough water since I wanted to leave room since I had a nice foam head already batch 1 ended up having a 1.120 SG and I figured since I had them opened up and split I might as well try something different with the 2nd batch so I ended up adding some green tea in with a little less honey and that came out to a 1.16 SG so they are still higher than they should be but I really didn’t want to have to dump any must out which might come back to haunt me but I think I’m going to start a new batch soon after my cider finished up I want to keep one jug free for anything just incase for now I guess I’ll give it a couple days to see how it’s going then if it’s not really doing anything I’ll pitch the rest of yeast maybe that’s will help kick it back off I know both those SG’s are still on the higher end for the yeast but like I said I really didn’t want to dump any out so I guess I’ll see how it turns out and if it’s drinkable or will just have to age for a while
 

bernardsmith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
5,614
Reaction score
2,040
Location
Saratoga Springs
Hiya Eggey515 - and welcome. How strong were the beer kits you made? Why would the beer kits be designed to have that amount of alcohol in them when the kit manufacturers could have simply added more DME (dry malt extract). Each added pound would have raised the gravity by about 1.044. The secret to good brewing and wine making is in the idea of balance. You really want to balance the richness of flavors with the amount of alcoholic burn with the acidity of the drink (how fresh it tastes) and with wine (or mead), with the amount of tannin it has - mouthfeel. When you go much about 12% ABV (how many bottles of commercially made wine do you see that are above 14%? ) the heat from the ethanol overpowers the flavors, the acidity and the tannic spine. And sure if all you want is to get smashed, then any port in a storm but if you enjoy the burn of the alcohol then check out distillation, but wine ain't spirit. Wine should not hit you with the alcohol. And this balance is behind the reason why you drink beer and cider by the pint (16 oz), wine by the glass (about 5 oz) and you drink whisky by the shot, (1.5oz)
 
Top