Using no water

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Annalida

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I usually use no water in my brews, except I use crushed fruit a lot. Just wondering if the only difference is the sweetness?
 
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Annalida

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Honey and/or juice. I mean the yeast is like a cup of h2o. I only brew by the gallon too.
 

regulatedhobbyist

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It's in the mead forum.. That would be honey and fruit. AFAIK Never done any myself.
Really?

Thanks...

I figured that, it just seemed something that I was not used to as most mead recipe discussions I've had involve water. I was just wondering what a mead made in juice would be like...
 

MedsenFey

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It will make a very fruit-forward melomel that will be more like a fruit wine. The honey character may be light depending on how it is done, and what honey is used, and how much honey is used. This is often done with apple juice when making cyser. I've done it with starfruit juice which turned out quite well. I've tried it with orange juice and with grapefruit juice and I would not recommend them as they leave a result that has too much phenolic character to be pleasant. I've done it with mayhaw juice, and the result took a gold medal at the Mazer Cup last year.

This can also be done with grape juice (see Joe's Grape Pyment recipe), and many other juices and can give a great result.

Medsen
 
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Annalida

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Actually, this isn't a cyser or pyment. I use only the water needed for the yeast or the juice from some fruit I put in (~1lb of crushed fruit). It is quite interesting to watch a bottle full of honey change to a bottle full of mead.
 
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Annalida

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Mainly I was interested if there were any differences in alcohol content or clarity issues for not using water. I have been making it this way for six years. I like it. :)
 

tweake

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can you explain exactly what your doing?

its impossible to make mead without some water. honey does not have enough water in it to support yeast. your either adding water as juice or in your starter.
 
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Annalida

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I put a little over a half gallon of honey in a gallon jar. Then I add about four cups crushed fruit. Then I add the yeast/water/stuff mixture which has about a cup and a half of water. I put my air lock on top and wait a few days and watch the liquid form between the fruit and honey. After a little while the fruit just floats. Sometimes, depending on the weather, I stir up the bottom, because once there is only one or two inches of honey gunk on the bottom, it slows to a stop.
 

tweake

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with that recipe you would most likely get a high alcohol (assuming it actually fermented to 18%) and a very very sweet mead as its still suger.

yes it would be MASSIVELY different if you put a lot less honey in it (or put more water in it).......... it might actually start to taste good.
 

cgenebrewer

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can that actually ferment out?!
Are you using actual honey? I dont see how such little water could possibly allow the yeast to ferment that out into anything.
 

MedsenFey

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I put a little over a half gallon of honey in a gallon jar. Then I add about four cups crushed fruit. Then I add the yeast/water/stuff mixture which has about a cup and a half of water. I put my air lock on top and wait a few days and watch the liquid form between the fruit and honey. After a little while the fruit just floats. Sometimes, depending on the weather, I stir up the bottom, because once there is only one or two inches of honey gunk on the bottom, it slows to a stop.
This technique works because you don't mix in all the honey at the beginning. This is a variation of an approach we sometimes refer to as Bottom Dwelling Continuous Diffusion Yeast Feeding (BDCDYF for short). If you mixed all the honey in at once, your gravity would be so high that the yeast would choke and would not ferment. By allowing the yeast to start in the liquid and fruit they will gradually dissolve and chew up the honey up to the ABV tolerance in the liquid fraction of the mead. This liquid fraction will be substantially less than a gallon because the honey at the bottom will take up space and does not have the same alcohol concentration, and the fruit pulp also takes up space (you can figure about half the volume of the fruit you added - the other have will have become liquid juice that is fermenting). So you probably get somewhere around 0.5 gallons of liquid and if you are using a high-ABV yeast, you will wind up with as much as 18% in the liquid fraction.

When you stir up all the honey in it, you dilute the alcohol and raise the residual sugar to a level where the yeast cannot ferment even with the lower ABV, so at the end of your process, you have a syrupy sweet batch with an ABV of 9% or less. If you want to confirm what I'm telling you, please feel free to measure the ABV by using a combination of refractometer and hydrometer readings, or by doing a spirit indication test.

If you are using a lower-ABV yeast, you will have less alcohol.

A sweet, lower-ABV melomel can be delicious, like a sweet, lower-ABV ice-wine can be delicious.

Medsen
 
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Annalida

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WOW, thanks, Medsen! I really appreciate the info you have given me. I am most pleased in your description of why the yeast are able to live! I am a nerd for all things, especially biology! I will refrain from the stirring of the sludge from now on. You are correct that I usually only get a half gallon at a time, but as I make it so strong, you don't need much. This method started for me six years ago when I forgot to add my water! I used to make it equal shares of honey and water. I like it sweet and slammin'! Fill up my flask on a crisp winters day...and off you go. Yum. The guy who owns the brew store I go to told me to just wait and see what would happen (cause I called for his advice). Well, it worked! LOL I really appreciate the input all around, I am entering a couple different recipes this summer in a contest and don't usually talk to anyone about this stuff--as I am the only one I know that makes mead. Cider, on the other hand, is something my friend and I have done for years together and know/help others in our area.
 
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