Author Topic: Melomel - low OG  (Read 6018 times)

Online erockrph

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Melomel - low OG
« on: June 05, 2012, 09:30:58 PM »
I started my first mead last night (a Blackberry-Lemon melomel). My OG came in quite a bit lower than I was expecting. I was modeling this after a recipe that had a projected OG of 1.158, and I ended up at 1.120. According to the recipe, the FG should end up between 1.030 and 1.040. I am a little concerned that this will end up fermenting down way too dry. Should I add some more honey now while fermentation is just starting to ramp up, or am I better off waiting until fermentation is done and I rack it to secondary?
Eric B.

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Offline realbeerguy

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Re: Melomel - low OG
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2012, 07:50:41 AM »
What yeast are you using?  Typically a wine yeast (71B, D47 et:al) will ferment down 100 points.  You should end up with a semi-sweet if it finishes at 1.012.  If not, you can always backsweeten.  You will also get some sugar from the blackberries.  Watch the PH since you have added the lemon upfront.  It could drop too low and affect fermentation.
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Re: Melomel - low OG
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2012, 08:17:34 AM »
What yeast are you using?  Typically a wine yeast (71B, D47 et:al) will ferment down 100 points.  You should end up with a semi-sweet if it finishes at 1.012.  If not, you can always backsweeten.  You will also get some sugar from the blackberries.  Watch the PH since you have added the lemon upfront.  It could drop too low and affect fermentation.

I'm using 71B. As far as the lemon goes, I only added zest to the fermenter. I held off on the juice for now for exactly the reason you mentioned. I was going to wait and use lemon juice if I need to adjust the acidity after fermentation. I think I'll wait on the honey and use it to backsweeten if needed. That will give me time to score some more of the honey I used in the mead (a killer local wildflower honey that has a fantastic cinnamon spice note), instead of just using the orange blossom honey I have on hand.
Eric B.

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Re: Melomel - low OG
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2012, 10:53:02 AM »
I just racked this over to secondary. Wow - this yeast is a beast! It went from 1.120 down to 1.002

I obviously need to sweeten this quite a bit. To calculate the amount of honey to add, is it as simple as this?

(desired gravity point increase) * (total volume) / (PPG)

Or is there another factor to consider? Also, do I just warm the honey I'm adding, or do I need to mix it in water first?

I'm thinking of adding enough honey for about 15 gravity points, waiting a couple days to make sure I don't get any more fermentation (which would blow my mind since the mead's already at 15.7% ABV), then giving it a taste to see if it needs any more sweetness or acidity at that point.
Eric B.

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Melomel - low OG
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2012, 11:09:58 PM »
You could do it that way, but the way Gordon taught me to adjust meads goes like this.

First, make sure it is clear.  It will save you some problems later.  If possible, keg it after you have clarified it.

Next, taste it.  Dip a spoon in honey and then swirl it in the glass, taste it again.  Keep doing that to get a feel for how the mead tastes best - you'll probably find a spot where it's really nice and then it won't be as good any more.  Try to save a good sample.

Do ALL of this gently and with as little O2 uptake as possible.

Take a large container and run some of the mead out into that - add some honey and stir it gently until the honey is dissolved, then add it back to the rest of the batch and mix it in gently.  Taste it and see how close you are to your target flavor.  Repeat the process until you are there.

It's as easy as that.  Better to add the honey in small doses and do it a few times than to overshoot.  You've got to rely on your palate, but it's pretty easy to do.
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Re: Melomel - low OG
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2012, 08:26:55 AM »
Thanks for the tip. It's only a 1.3 gallon batch, so I don't want to shoot through too much if I can avoid it. This is loosely based on one of Curt stock's recipes and gives an FG range of 1.020-1.030. It is waaaay dry for my tastes so I think it will be safe to add at least 10 gravity points worth of honey to start.

I think my plan will be to hit it with sparkolloid now. Once it clears I'll rack it and mix with the honey. I'll rack 1/3 over and mix with enough honey to raise the full batch by 10 points and take a sample. Then I'll rack enough over so there's a total of half racked and take a sample. Then I'll rack the full amount over and take another sample. This way I'll have samples of roughly 1.012, 1.022 and 1.032 to taste and know what ballpark I'm shooting for. Then I can fine tune and dial it in from there.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer