hist-brewing: melomels

BrewInfo brewinfo at xnet.com
Tue Feb 15 13:11:57 PST 2000

Renee writes:
>Please help!  I normally brew metheglins, but am attempting to delve into 
>the world of melomels.  Unfortunately, I'm having a slight calculations 
>problem.  If 11.5 brix of sugar is 9 brix of honey, and my calculations tell 
>me I need 5 1/4 lbs of sugar, how much honey is that?  I thought it would be 
>around 4.1 lbs, but my brewing mentor tells me it's much higher, around 6 
>3/4 lbs honey. How can this be?
>11.5 / 9= 1.278, but 9 / 11.5= .75 (or there abouts.)  What's going on?
>I really hope someone can help me.  Thank you.

I don't use brix at all.  Since I started as a homebrewer of beer and then
moved to meads, I stuck with specific gravities.  Here's how I made my
most recent melomel (last Sunday):

I had a bunch of honey on hand.  I had roughly 2.75 gallons of juice
of unknown specific gravity (SG).  I began by measuring the SG of the
juice... it turns out it was 1.048.  I wanted an OG (original gravity)
of about 1.100 or so, so I knew I needed to add 0.052 gravity points
via honey.  I guessed that I would have about 3.25 gallons of mead
must after adding the honey, so I used that as my final volume.

Then I calculated how many total gravity points I wanted in the fementer:

3.25 gallons times .052 points = 0.1690 gallon-points

I happen to know that the honey I have adds about 0.0373 points/pound/gallon
so I divide 0.1690 by 0.0373 and get 4.5308 pounds.  (The arithmetically
gifted can see that I could develop a polynomial to give me the exact
values and that there is always a little error in that there is some water
in the honey and that I should really only be calculating the points
contributed by the exact volume of the juice, but I'm really only shooting
for a rough OG and the formula below is actually much better at this.)

So to make roughly 3.25 gallons of 1.100 mead must from roughly 2.75 gallons
of 1.048 juice, I need to add roughly 4.5 pounds of honey.

Similarly, you can estimate the OG you would get from adding X pounds of
honey to Y gallons of Z SG juice by the following formula (the 0.0373
comes from the points contributed by the honey and the 12 comes from
the fact that there are roughly 12 pounds of honey in a gallon):

 OG =  1 + ((X * 0.0373) + ((Y * (Z - 1))/(Y + X/12)))

Using the above example:

 OG =  1 + (((4.5 * 0.0373) + (2.75 * (1.048 -1)))/(2.75 + 4.5/12))

    =  1 + ((0.1678 + (2.75 * 0.048))/3.125)

    =  1 + ((0.1678 + 0.132)/3.125)

    =  1 + (0.2998/3.125)

 OG =  1.096

I was off by a little bit because I had guessed my final volume to be 0.25
gallons more than it really was.  You are better off guessing how much
honey you need to add and then repeatedly run this OG formula until you
find the X that you need.


Al Korzonas, Lockport, Illinois, USA
korz at brewinfo.org

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