Author Topic: 16% Sweet Mead?  (Read 10376 times)

Offline slickdaddy420

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16% Sweet Mead?
« on: August 10, 2012, 04:49:00 AM »
This is a simple question and I think I already know the answer, but I would love to get a response.

I made a Northern Brewer sweet mead kit.

15lbs of honey. The OG was somewhere above 1.100. The FG turned out to be 0.992. I calculated about 16% abv.

This turned out to not be sweet at all since apparently almost all sugar was eaten.

My question is -

In an attempt to "degass" the mead, I almost daily rolled/shook around the carboy on its bottom "to get the gas out".

Did I just keep throwing the yeast back in the fermentables for it to eat more than it was supposed to?

http://www.slicksbrewing.com/

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Primary - Rye IPA
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Braggot Secondary - Northern Brewer Braggot
Mead Secondary - Wildflower Mead

Wine Bottled - Cabernet Sauvignon

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Offline udubdawg

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Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2012, 05:55:58 AM »
you did what you were supposed to do.
I suspect you just got caught in that upper part of the alcohol tolerance limit for that yeast.  I avoid that OG range as I do not personally like high alcohol + dry mead.  I don't think I'm alone in that.

I assume some people must be actively stopping the fermentation or they are marketing kits to people who are really inexperienced and don't understand nutrients. 

I'm looking at the recipe of the week for last week.  I don't see how someone could use D-47 and an OG of 1.090 and end up with a FG of 1.030 without chilling to stop fermentation, racking off the yeast, and then sorbating/sulfiting to keep it from restarting.  Yet it says "ferment completely" and doesn't say anything about back-sweetening.  I guess I can only assume that 1.090 was the OG before she added a bushel of pluots that accounted for a big % of actual gravity?

(sorry about going off on that tangent.  Hey, you can always back-sweeten.)

cheers--
--Michael

Offline beerrat

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Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2012, 06:26:53 AM »
Sounds like you did what I would do.

Just checking.. did you use the wyeast sweet mead yeast?  If so it looks like you keep the yeast so healthy during ferment that they were able to perform better. NB instructions/formulation likely don't assume such care.

Also, what temp did you ferment at?

So how does it taste - besides the dryness?  Any hot alcohol/off  tastes, etc?

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2012, 06:30:34 AM »
I don't have much mead experience, but I've heard (from Ken Shramm) that you can expect yeast to ferment about 100 gravity points of a mead. Given that, you'd need to start at a higher OG to have a mead finish sweet - or otherwise stop fermentation.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2012, 06:44:07 AM »
I don't have much mead experience, but I've heard (from Ken Shramm) that you can expect yeast to ferment about 100 gravity points of a mead. Given that, you'd need to start at a higher OG to have a mead finish sweet - or otherwise stop fermentation.
This is true. If you start with a high enough gravity the yeast will reach their limit. I have not done this much, but the last mead I made was 10# for a 2.5 gallon batch, and it finished fairly sweet. Stagered nutrients and degassed with a mix-stir.
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Online erockrph

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Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2012, 08:32:32 AM »
I had the same thing happen with my first mead. I used 71B, which supposedly has a 14% ABV limit. I started at an OG of 1.120 and ended up at 1.002, which is well over 15%. Michael Fairbrother of Moonlight Meadery gets up to 18% with the same yeast. I think a lot of it has to do with how well you take care of your fermentation.

For now, I'd plan on backsweetening and note everything you do so you can adjust accordingly for next time.
Eric B.

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Offline slickdaddy420

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Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2012, 10:18:29 AM »
Cool, so I didn't really mess it up by swirling it.

What is backsweetening? I would think(major guess) adding 6lbs could even it out.


I fermented at 72-74. It's really the best I can do for my house in FL. Also, I only added the 3 nutrient sachets provided daily the first 3 days.


http://www.slicksbrewing.com/

Secondary - Imperial Coffee Stout
Primary - Rye IPA
Primary - Pinot Grigio

Braggot Secondary - Northern Brewer Braggot
Mead Secondary - Wildflower Mead

Wine Bottled - Cabernet Sauvignon

Bottles - Dead Ringer IPA, Caribou Slobber, Chinook IPA, Slick Dark Ale, PHAT Blonde Ale, Habanero IPA

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2012, 11:05:34 AM »
Cool, so I didn't really mess it up by swirling it.

What is backsweetening? I would think(major guess) adding 6lbs could even it out.


I fermented at 72-74. It's really the best I can do for my house in FL. Also, I only added the 3 nutrient sachets provided daily the first 3 days.

You have to stabalize the mead using potassium sorbate and/or potassium metabisulphite, then add the sugar source (honey, fruit, etc). Don't over do it. 6 lbs would propably be too much. Add in smaller steps, taste the mead, add more until you are happy with the taste.
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2012, 12:07:59 PM »
You have to stabalize the mead using potassium sorbate and/or potassium metabisulphite, then add the sugar source (honey, fruit, etc). Don't over do it. 6 lbs would propably be too much. Add in smaller steps, taste the mead, add more until you are happy with the taste.

Sulfite by itself certainly won't stop yeast activity - just temporarily suspend it. And sorbate alone won't stop actively fermenting yeast.
 
Cool, so I didn't really mess it up by swirling it.

I'm pretty sure a wire whip degasser would stir up the yeast too, so no worries.
Jimmy K

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2012, 01:22:35 PM »
You have to stabalize the mead using potassium sorbate and/or potassium metabisulphite, then add the sugar source (honey, fruit, etc). Don't over do it. 6 lbs would propably be too much. Add in smaller steps, taste the mead, add more until you are happy with the taste.

Sulfite by itself certainly won't stop yeast activity - just temporarily suspend it. And sorbate alone won't stop actively fermenting yeast.
 
Cool, so I didn't really mess it up by swirling it.

I'm pretty sure a wire whip degasser would stir up the yeast too, so no worries.

I use them together, couldn't remember if that is what everyone does.

OP - If you have not read this I recommend it.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0937381802/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=14204363528&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=892505412542833524&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&ref=pd_sl_9gkx8i8wb6_e
Jeff Rankert
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Offline slickdaddy420

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Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2012, 08:18:15 AM »
ok, I have another question about this mead. I bought and read the book mentioned above and it wa a good read, but I don't remember reading the following scenario. :)

FG before : under 1.000

Last week, I added a potassium sorbate to stop fermenting, mixed it in, added 3lbs of honey, mixed it in, added isinglass a few days later, and mixed.

FG now - 1.024

Question :

Last night I noticed the airlock letting out gas about every 2 minutes. This seems to go against what I thought would happen. Is this right? What might be happening?



http://www.slicksbrewing.com/

Secondary - Imperial Coffee Stout
Primary - Rye IPA
Primary - Pinot Grigio

Braggot Secondary - Northern Brewer Braggot
Mead Secondary - Wildflower Mead

Wine Bottled - Cabernet Sauvignon

Bottles - Dead Ringer IPA, Caribou Slobber, Chinook IPA, Slick Dark Ale, PHAT Blonde Ale, Habanero IPA

Online morticaixavier

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Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2012, 08:22:15 AM »
What temp are you storing it at? in order to keep the yeast from fermenting the new additions you have to keep it pretty cold. the chemicals you added to knock the yeast out just stuns them. if you give it favorable conditions it can still start again.
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Offline slickdaddy420

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Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2012, 08:28:20 AM »
It is about 70-74 degrees. It is about as low as I can keep it since I have no basement.

Do I need to rack to a third carboy a few days after adding the potassium sorbate?
http://www.slicksbrewing.com/

Secondary - Imperial Coffee Stout
Primary - Rye IPA
Primary - Pinot Grigio

Braggot Secondary - Northern Brewer Braggot
Mead Secondary - Wildflower Mead

Wine Bottled - Cabernet Sauvignon

Bottles - Dead Ringer IPA, Caribou Slobber, Chinook IPA, Slick Dark Ale, PHAT Blonde Ale, Habanero IPA

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2012, 11:53:38 PM »
How does it taste?  Are you happy with it as is?  If I lacked cold storage I would probably bottle a bit and chill it, then when I finished those bottles repeat the process.  It's going to do what it's going to do in the carboy.  You can rack it to get it off some yeast, but at 16% there's probably not much healthy yeast to start fermenting in there anyway at this point.  If the bottom looks fairly clear, there won't even be enough yeast for autolysis to be detectable.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline punatic

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Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2012, 01:11:36 AM »
When I backsweeten I use the just wait method.  I wait a year or more until the mead has dropped super clear and all the yeast have died before I backsweeten.

But then again I am a beekeeper, and own a s***load of carboys and cornelius kegs.
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