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Rainyn

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I've started a batch of mead over a week ago and I have a few questions. I'm hoping you mead folks can help me with some info or point me in a direction to look.

My first question is about honey.
I was given a lucky gift of 10lbs of local honey from a bee-keeper (apiarist?) and I decided to use that for my mead. This stuff was like nothing I've ever seen before. It was creamy, opaque, and solid. It bent my spoon when I tried to scoop it out of the bucket; that's how thick it was. I was told it was raw, unfiltered. There seemed to be no liquid content to it and it was partly crystallized. When slightly warmed, it turned very creamy. That seem familiar to anyone?

Anyways, I weighed out my honey on mead-making day with a scale, and it came out to 10lbs. Most recipes called for 15 lbs for the 5 gallons of mead I wanted to make, so I finished up with 5lbs of the ordinary clover liquid, store-bought Walmart stuff.

When I went to take my hydrometer reading, I about fell over. At 90F degrees it came out to 1.1160, and adjusting for temperature (my hydrometer said to add .004 to readings taken at 90F) it came out to 1.1200. Way higher than I expected. I'm looking to make mead, not rocket fuel here.
Is that solid honey stuff interchangeable with the liquid stuff? Is it possible that the sugar content of the honey I used was higher than normal? Is there a way to tell the sugar content of a honey before I use it so that I can get a better gauge of how much to use?
And uh, should I try to water my must down? If I don't, how will it affect my future 'schedule' with this batch?

Fortunately I read the FAQ's here about staggered nutrient additions and have had zero troubles with yeast and fermentation. My yeast has been working overtime for 9 days now and is still bubbling away strongly. Woot!

Also, I'm wondering if my hydrometer is off? It was the first time I used this hydrometer, and another subsequent oatmeal stout recipe I tried also gave me higher than expected OG readings.
So my second question: Hydrometer calibration advice anyone? Mine seems to be measuring plain water accurately.


Oh, other recipe info: I used Dry Mead Activator Wyeast ACT4632, a staggered nutrient schedule, and I also added some fresh ginger to my mead.

I've posted a few times to the board but this is my first question/new thread, so Hi all! This board is awesome :)
 

Chuck_Swillery

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1... Trust the hydrometer. Other's may disagree but its a pretty trusty piece of equipment in my experience.

2... Any liquid-sugar based product will get thicker as the water content falls. If you have 10 lbs of thick goo it'll have a higher sugar content than 10 lbs of fairly viscious sugar liquid... Make sense?

Point being - if your OG ended up significantly higher then chances are that 10 lbs of your honey was simply more concentrated than processed honey. Outside of using a refractometer I'm not sure how to figure out the true sugar content of what you started with.

The rest of the mead making questions I'll leave to the mead makin' experts... hope it helps...
 

pimento

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It sounds like the honey was partially crystalized, which isn't a big problem, but it will have a bit more sugar per pound.

Your sg of 1.120 is equivalent to 16.75 lbs of liquid honey with a potential abv of 15.5%, only 1.5% higher than the normal 15lbs.
 
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Rainyn

Rainyn

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Thanks, makes sense.

I went ahead and tested my hydrometer, since I am having some problems with strange high gravity readings on my oatmeal stout too. Alas I measured 1.000 in 59F degree water at the top of the meniscus. So it seems to be working.
 
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