hist-brewing: Sweetening meads and hydrometer questions

Gunther von Lindenwald (Timothy Carter) gunther at visi.net
Wed Jul 12 03:37:30 PDT 2000


I don't know what others do in the course of their mead making.  I usually
try to plan the sweetness of a finished mead from the very start -- when I
initially combine water and honey.  For a sweet (sack) mead I stay to a
ratio of two parts water to one part honey  (no, I don't have the ratio
backwards, look up the mead recipe from Das Buch von Gute Spise as
translated by Alia Atlas, available on the internet).  In the course of
making other drinks (cordials especially) I have known some to add rock
candy, which seems to work.  Adding additional honey after the initial
hydrometer reading has led to inaccurate results in trying to figure the
final alcohol levels.  I admit I am no mathematician so it may well be a
lack of math skill on my part, but even so, it is easier to start with a
working formula measuring 3 times, without fudging numbers than having to
work in "I added x making an addition of x-percentage to Y resulting in an
adjusted percentage-Z" kind of problem... I have never had a need to further
sweeten a mead using the 2:1 ratio mentioned.  Hope this helps...

-Gunther
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----- Original Message -----
From: <WyteRayven at aol.com>
To: <hist-brewing at pbm.com>
Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2000 10:41 AM
Subject: hist-brewing: Sweetening meads and hydrometer questions


> Hi all,
>
> I have a few questions about sweetening my meads.
>
> If I am trying to keep the fermentation going until the alcohol content
gets too strong for the yeast, how often do I need to sweeten it? My thought
is to rack every two weeks, or when fermentation slows down, and top off
with a mixture of honey and water. This usually ends up being (I'm guessing)
3-4 cups for one gallon. I make one gallon batches due to space constraints.
>
> Also, after fermentation has stopped and I want to sweeten the mead ( I
hate dry, I like fairly sweet drinks)how do I go about this. If I pour the
mead into a pot and add honey-water, won't I risk oxidation? How much
honey-water should I add to a 12 oz bottle to make a semi sweet mead? How
much should I add to make a sweet mead?
>
> I also asked a question on the SCA-Brew list about how to read
hydrometers, and someone was kind enough to post a table for me, but the
table doesnt show how to break it down for specific temperatures. It lists a
number of temperatures but the must temperatures never seem to fall within
the temperatures listed. Am I just supposed to round up to the nearest
temperature?
>
> If I start a mead, and take a hydrometer reading, and then at the first
racking I sweeten the mead, do I take a second reading before or after I
sweeten? If I then sweeten a third time, do I use the original hydrometer
reading for comparison, or the second reading?
>
> Is there a book or a web page that explains hydrometer use more in depth?
The instructions that mine came with are woefully inadequate.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Dawn
>
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