Questions with Acerglyn recipe

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

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

Srimmey

Active Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2022
Messages
30
Reaction score
11
Location
Eugene oregon
Good day!

I have a been wanting to make a solid Acerglyn and am trying to pick out the right recipe to make. This is the second batch I’ve ever made so I want it to be simple but solid. Thank you in advance for helping me!

This recipe caught my eye as a good balance or flavor to complexity, but I had some questions about it… if I follow the recipe exactly, I’m going to need to make another trip to the home brew store.



1. I had originally planned on using EC-1118 yeast.
Should I go out and buy the yeast mentioned here or just wing it with the 1118?

2. Originally I planned for a 3 gallon batch and an abv of 18%+. If I continue with that plan, how much honey/maple syrup should I use?

3. My original plan of action was to juuust barely over feed the yeast with maple syrup so it would finish primary with a wee bit of sugar (maybe 1.002-1.004 fg). Then back sweeten with honey to 1.008-1.010. Is this a bad idea?

4. If I stick with my original plan on Q3, amount how much honey would it take to hit that final gravity mark? 2 lb’ish?

5. What are wine tannins? What do they do to the flavor? What purpose do they serve in the mead? I saw a lot of other recipes use black or ear grey tea to add acid for balance. Do the tannins do the same job?

6. I bought a ton of vanilla beans that I planned on using. With the oak used in secondary, should I skip the vanilla? That could result in a vanilla overload.
 

bernardsmith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
5,596
Reaction score
2,029
Location
Saratoga Springs
Hi Srimmey - and welcome. Have made an acerglyn mead only once so take what I say with a grain or two of salt.
1. QA 23 yeast needs less nutrients and less oxygen and ferments in lower temp environments than many other yeasts. Your preferred yeast is what I call a sledge-hammer and will ferment in a furnace or at the north pole BUT it blows off aromatics and flavor molecules. QA 23 highlights aromatics and is a preferred yeast for wines such as Gewurztraminer or Chardonay (whites).
2. Eighteen percent ABV? Your call but most wine and mead is better balanced at 12-14%. Can't say how much of honey or maple syrup you need . One pound of honey dissolved in water to make 1 US gallon will raise the gravity of the water by 35 points (and so 1.035). According to Charlie Pappazian dissolving a pound of maple syrup in water to make a gallon of solution will increase the water by about 33 points (so 1.033). To make 3 gallons you need to multiply the amount of honey or maple syrup by 3 (and so you need 3 pounds of honey to raise 3 gallons of water (with the honey to 1.035 etc. To find the potential ABV (alcohol by volume you basically multiply the gravity reading by 131 - so we are talking about a potential ABV of 4.6% for every 3 lbs of honey or maple syrup.
3. Yeast's tolerance for ethanol (alcohol) is much like the manufacture's stated breaking strain for a rope or chain. They will guarantee say 500 lbs but it could hold 2000 lbs . If you put on a load of 505 lbs and the chain snapped and killed someone, YOU would be responsible not the manufacturer. They listed 500 lbs.. Scott Labs state QA 23 tolerates 16% . It might go as high as 19 or quit at 16.01% (of course, depending on your methods and practices it could quit at 10%)
But all other things aside, to nominally hit 18% you are going to need a mix of 12 lbs of maple syrup and honey (can't speak to maple syrup, but a gallon of honey is 12 lbs .
How much honey would you need to back sweeten to a gravity of about 1.010, well, if we are talking about 3 gallons and if you ferment dry you would need about 1 lb of honey to hit around 1.010 (again, honey has a gravity of 1.035 per gallon water and so about 1.012 in 3 gallons), but amounts of sweetener depend on a host of factors - alcoholic burn, acidity, desire for more viscosity (mouthfeel) etc Bench testing is always better than guesswork.
4. Tannins are not acids. Tannin is the compounds that seem to dry the saliva in your mouth: think of eating an unripe persimmon or the experience of chewing on a yellow banana skin. Wine makers view tannin as the spine of a wine. Acids give the wine their zing. A wine with too little acid tastes blah. When making mead NEVER add acids until fermentation has ceased. Honey has no pH buffers and the pH of fermenting honey can hit the floor. Yeast have no problem fermenting at higher pH but a pH below 3 can stall the fermentation, dead. On the other hand we have no interest in the pH of a wine. Taste is about the TA and TA is a measure of the AMOUNT of acids in a wine not their STRENGTH (pH). Tartaric acid (grapes is stronger than malic which is stronger than citric) but oranges have MORE acid than grapes...
Many novice wine makers use black tea to add tannin (ever over stewed real tea?) but tea will not add acid. You can use lemon juice (citric) or you can add acid blend ( a mix of tartaric, malic and citric compounded for wine makers, or you can add malic or tartaric or food grade citric)
5. Oak CAN add vanilla flavors but toasted oak will add many more flavor compounds (and tannins) and may not add vanilla - depends on the level of toast and the kind of oak. You could add vanilla to the secondary and rack off the vanilla after a few days or weeks after tasting the intensity of flavors and then you could add oak and again rack off the oak after a week or two or three depending on the intensity of flavors. Yes, Virginia, you should always taste your wines and meads. How else do you know what they are likely to taste like after you bottle?
Good luck.
 
OP
OP
S

Srimmey

Active Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2022
Messages
30
Reaction score
11
Location
Eugene oregon
Hi Srimmey - and welcome. Have made an acerglyn mead only once so take what I say with a grain or two of salt.
1. QA 23 yeast needs less nutrients and less oxygen and ferments in lower temp environments than many other yeasts. Your preferred yeast is what I call a sledge-hammer and will ferment in a furnace or at the north pole BUT it blows off aromatics and flavor molecules. QA 23 highlights aromatics and is a preferred yeast for wines such as Gewurztraminer or Chardonay (whites).
2. Eighteen percent ABV? Your call but most wine and mead is better balanced at 12-14%. Can't say how much of honey or maple syrup you need . One pound of honey dissolved in water to make 1 US gallon will raise the gravity of the water by 35 points (and so 1.035). According to Charlie Pappazian dissolving a pound of maple syrup in water to make a gallon of solution will increase the water by about 33 points (so 1.033). To make 3 gallons you need to multiply the amount of honey or maple syrup by 3 (and so you need 3 pounds of honey to raise 3 gallons of water (with the honey to 1.035 etc. To find the potential ABV (alcohol by volume you basically multiply the gravity reading by 131 - so we are talking about a potential ABV of 4.6% for every 3 lbs of honey or maple syrup.
3. Yeast's tolerance for ethanol (alcohol) is much like the manufacture's stated breaking strain for a rope or chain. They will guarantee say 500 lbs but it could hold 2000 lbs . If you put on a load of 505 lbs and the chain snapped and killed someone, YOU would be responsible not the manufacturer. They listed 500 lbs.. Scott Labs state QA 23 tolerates 16% . It might go as high as 19 or quit at 16.01% (of course, depending on your methods and practices it could quit at 10%)
But all other things aside, to nominally hit 18% you are going to need a mix of 12 lbs of maple syrup and honey (can't speak to maple syrup, but a gallon of honey is 12 lbs .
How much honey would you need to back sweeten to a gravity of about 1.010, well, if we are talking about 3 gallons and if you ferment dry you would need about 1 lb of honey to hit around 1.010 (again, honey has a gravity of 1.035 per gallon water and so about 1.012 in 3 gallons), but amounts of sweetener depend on a host of factors - alcoholic burn, acidity, desire for more viscosity (mouthfeel) etc Bench testing is always better than guesswork.
4. Tannins are not acids. Tannin is the compounds that seem to dry the saliva in your mouth: think of eating an unripe persimmon or the experience of chewing on a yellow banana skin. Wine makers view tannin as the spine of a wine. Acids give the wine their zing. A wine with too little acid tastes blah. When making mead NEVER add acids until fermentation has ceased. Honey has no pH buffers and the pH of fermenting honey can hit the floor. Yeast have no problem fermenting at higher pH but a pH below 3 can stall the fermentation, dead. On the other hand we have no interest in the pH of a wine. Taste is about the TA and TA is a measure of the AMOUNT of acids in a wine not their STRENGTH (pH). Tartaric acid (grapes is stronger than malic which is stronger than citric) but oranges have MORE acid than grapes...
Many novice wine makers use black tea to add tannin (ever over stewed real tea?) but tea will not add acid. You can use lemon juice (citric) or you can add acid blend ( a mix of tartaric, malic and citric compounded for wine makers, or you can add malic or tartaric or food grade citric)
5. Oak CAN add vanilla flavors but toasted oak will add many more flavor compounds (and tannins) and may not add vanilla - depends on the level of toast and the kind of oak. You could add vanilla to the secondary and rack off the vanilla after a few days or weeks after tasting the intensity of flavors and then you could add oak and again rack off the oak after a week or two or three depending on the intensity of flavors. Yes, Virginia, you should always taste your wines and meads. How else do you know what they are likely to taste like after you bottle?
Good luck.
Thank you for your advice! I’m taking it as, the guy in the video did everything for very specific reason which should not be changed.

I’m going to try making this today along with a Cherry mead. I’ll let everyone know how it goes!
 
OP
OP
S

Srimmey

Active Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2022
Messages
30
Reaction score
11
Location
Eugene oregon
Looking for a quick check on my math before I get started…

Target ABV 14.5%
Target starting gravity = 1.114
Target gravity after fermentation = 1.000

3 gallon batch
3.6 lb honey
6.61 lb maple syrup
 

bernardsmith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
5,596
Reaction score
2,029
Location
Saratoga Springs
Are you able to pour .61 lbs of syrup? What kind of equipment do you have that allows you to so accurately pour such viscous liquids as honey and maple syrup?
The math is close enough... but honey is not very viscous and it tends to stick to container walls (and funnels) .
 
OP
OP
S

Srimmey

Active Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2022
Messages
30
Reaction score
11
Location
Eugene oregon
Are you able to pour .61 lbs of syrup? What kind of equipment do you have that allows you to so accurately pour such viscous liquids as honey and maple syrup?
The math is close enough... but honey is not very viscous and it tends to stick to container walls (and funnels) .
I use a kitchen scale that seems to be able to measure down to .1 grams. Then a rubber scraper to get it all out of there. My honey was also crystallized so it came out in chunks instead of viscus goodness. Dump everything in to hot water and stirred until dissolved
 

DBhomebrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
2,283
Reaction score
4,348
Location
St Louis, MO
I've never had a problem pouring honey to the thousandth of a pound. When it gets close, I slow the pour to a very thin thread. I imagine syrup would be similar.
 

Ty520

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2020
Messages
227
Reaction score
133
-an Acerglyn should typically be 50/50 honey to syrup - their gravities are pretty much identical. Once you crunch the numbers for your OG and yeast, all you have to do is split the sugar source in half between honey and syrup

-maple syrup will ferment to a very bone dry almond like aroma and flavor - it's like licking a raw board of wood. You will not perceive any maple aroma or flavor without backsweetening - i would recommend 50/50 honey/syrup again...and the same variety used in the ferment.

i am a big fan of QA23, and it should do well for you, but I would let it sit on the lees for a bit - it gives off tropical citrus notes early on, but develops into nutty, bready notes with time
 
Top