Step Feeding my mead

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SKBugs

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I would like to try step feeding with EC-1118. I'm not sure exactly how to, but I think I can give it a go.
I would like some help in working out how to calculate ABV when step feeding. Do I take a new reading each time I add honey then after that fermentation ends?

Do people try for a maximum SG, or for an ABV and work up to it?

Or is it much ado about nothing?
 

bernardsmith

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If you know the total volume of your final mead and you know the weight of the honey you have added then you know the total amount of sugar that was in that volume and so you can calculate the total gravity and so the potential ABV. In other words, if the total volume is say 1 gallon at the end of the process in your primary and you have added say 4 lbs of honey then you know that the maximum SG would be equivalent to 4 * .035 (or 1.140). A gravity of 1.140 has a potential ABV of 18% but your yeast may quit the race with say 30 points of sugar left unfermented. So, the ABV would involve the sugar (honey) that would have given you 1.110 (or about 14.5% ABV ) with 30 points of sweetness. In other words, step feeding is for all intents and purposes simply a slow and steady way to increase the total gravity and so the final ABV. It really doesn't matter (in terms of calculations) whether you add everything at once or over time. It does matter to the yeast that may not be able to play in an environment that starts at 1.140. That is a bit like telling someone that to prevent drowning they must drink their way out of a barrel of whisky that they have fallen into.
 
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SKBugs

SKBugs

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More research on the yeast then. Thanks, and I love the analogy. Reminds me of the joke about the fella who fell into a vat of whiskey. His friends tried to rescue him, but he fought them off bravely.

Cheers
 
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