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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    If you were to add honey at the time of bottling, how much honey per bottle? Is it only to sweeten the mead?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    Post

    I THINK that adding honey can restart the fermentation process. Muldoon's Killer Mead recepie called for a double fermentation, and that is one of the things he added to get it to kick back in.

  3. #3
    Brewcat Guest

    Post

    You're right BB; honey has fermentable sugars and will renew fermentation unless the mead is stabilized with sorbate. John, please let us know your goal with the honey addition. Are you carbonating to make a sparkling mead, or trying to sweeten a too-dry mead?

    ------------------
    Ben Brewcat brewing in Lyons, CO

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    5,159
    Way to go Brewcat, I've never seen a Guard Bee with less than 18 posts! That's a first. Thanks for moderating the forum!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    United States
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    Post

    man leave the guard alone they protect you feild workin arse

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Fredericksburg, Va
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    >> let us know your goal with the honey addition

    I was not necessarily going to add any honey. I had just seen the comment before and needed clarificartion. I had seen the adding of honey (or Corn Syurp) at bottling as a means to sweeten a dry mead and as a means for making sparkling meads.

    I was afarid of making exploding bottle meads.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Clarksville, MI
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    Adding honey at bottling will definitely restart carbonation. I wouldn't recommend doing it - the variable amount of sugar in honey can easily cause overcarbonation and bottle bombs. I never ever use sugar where honey can be used, but this is one case where knowing exactly what you are adding is a safety issue. Get corn sugar from your homebrew shop and use that instead.

  8. #8
    Brewcat Guest

    Post

    Yep, to sweeten a mead (and I would do this based on a taste rather than because a recipe says to), I'd agree to avoid the honey. Variations in sugar and moisture content and potential osmophilic yeast contaminations from raw honey made it a little hit-or-miss.
    Stabilize with Potassium Sorbate if you're not totally averse to a chemical. It's worth noting that by the time you have read this post, unless you get ALL your groceries at Whole Paycheck or a local farmer's market, you have probably ingested some sorbate in your food today. It's that common (and innocuous). Sorbate will inhibit the reproduction of yeast and thus prevent carbonation so sugar can safely be added. There is even a combination sugar syrup with sorbate added that can just be added to taste. I'd recommend adding it and continuing to age the mead in bulk for a couple weeks, just to make sure the stabilizing "took".
    Note also that once stabilized, you won't be able to bottle-condition (carbonate naturally) that mead, as the yeast will be inhibited from eating priming sugar also.

    ------------------
    Ben Brewcat brewing in Lyons, CO

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Clarksville, MI
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    Post

    Just to clarify -

    My opinion is that carbonating with honey is a bad idea, but sweetening with honey is a good idea. I wouldn't want to make a dry mead and then put a sugar-sweet taste on top, I want it to taste honey-sweet. Sweetening is much less sensitive to amounts than carbonation is, and is far less dangerous if you screw up.

    Other than that, I agree with the comments about stabilization and sweetening. My preferred method for sweetening though is to exhaust the alcohol tolerance of the yeast, and add honey past that until the desired sweetness level is reached. No chemicals, but it requires a little more experience and knowledge.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Post

    So what is a suggested method for carbonating the mead since it requires a certain amount of yeast activity?

  11. #11
    Brewcat Guest

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    As Scott described, adding dextrose (corn sugar) is preferred by most. It's easily measured by weight (to reach desired levels of carbonation) and readily fermentable. If the mead's been aging a long time, like done fermenting for more than a few months, it's not a bad idea to add a tiny bit of dry yeast at bottling time to make sure you've got some viable beasties to carbonate with.

    Make sure to use a yeast that does not exceed the alcohol tolerance of your fermantation strain if you have a mead with residual sweetness... it's tricky to carbonate meads with some sweetness 'cuz they don't know when to stop. They sense more food and want it all if they don't fully succumb to the alcohol (their waste product). Also important to remember to carbonate at near room temperature, especially if carbonating with ale yeast. At cellar temp (if you're that geeky) it can take a long time for the carbonation to develop. At room temp, two weeks tops except in rare cases.

    For me sparkling meads can add appeal, especially for sweeter meads. And for a gift, especially weddings the traditional mead favorite, the POP of a sparkling mead is festive and fun.

    ------------------
    Ben Brewcat brewing in Lyons, CO

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Clarksville, MI
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    Post

    Brewcat, have you developed a method of consistently and safely making sweet sparkling mead? As far as I know, the only really safe way to do it is to keg, carbonate, and bottle with a counterpressure filler. Not exactly a beginner technique.

  13. #13
    Brewcat Guest

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    You're correct; that's the gold standard. It's actually pretty easy except on the pocketbook. I actually haven't used the CPBF in years; I've rigged a cobra head with a bit of broken racking cane (fits inside the outlet snugly) to deliver chilled carbnonated beverage at next to no pressure straight to the bottom of a frozen bottle (cold reduces foaming). Cap on the foam which eliminates oxygen in the headspace, and target your carbonation level one to one-and-a-half atmosphere high to compensate for the modest loss. I like it better than CPBF, costs about $5, and is pretty easy. Two and a half alternatives:

    1) Sweeten with non-fermentable sugars. Some sugars that don't ferment like lactose will contribute a flavor to the mead. Many wine and beermakers have used nonfermentable sweeteners especially Splenda successfully to sweeten and preclude renewed fermentation. Prime with dextrose to the carbonation level desired.

    2) Sweeten, prime, and monitor carbonation level. You could open a bottle every few days, but far easier on the mead supply is to bottle a couple in one-liter ptastic soda bottles (size doesn't matter here). When the bottle has firmed up, and this takes some experience and judgement, then you stop the carbonation for the whole batch by:
    a) refrigerating the whole batch. For beer geeks with chest freezer conversions or wine fans with coolers this in practical; for most folks who use fridge space for FOOD (poor fools) not as workable unless you have a small batch size.
    b) bottle pasteurizing. This is done with sparkling hard ciders, which generally ferment out very dry and are hard to sparkle sweet for the same reason we've discussed here. Place the bottles into a water bath and heat to 140 for 10 to 20 minutes if I recall... I'd have to look up my records on this technique it's been years. Be sure to bottle with returnable beer bottles (crown caps) or champagne bottles (crown capped or corked with a wire bail); they're designed to hold pressure. WINE BOTTLES ARE NOT. I only did this in small runs inside my pressure cooker with the little weight removed so as to contain any grenades. None ever blew, but safety is definitely worth attending to using this technique and I'm safe to a fault.

    For most beginners I'd definitely recommend the Splenda. Folks have experimented with other sweeteners; you'd have to see what suited your palate best but Scott makes a good point about lacking true honey character in the sweetness. For a serious competition or for commercial sale, someone might well pick up on the difference but it would still be enjoyable for most IMHO.

    ------------------
    Ben Brewcat brewing in Lyons, CO

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    estevan, sask, canada
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    185

    Post

    When making wine yew add suger to the bottle for carbination,does honey do the same for meed?

  15. #15
    Brewcat Guest

    Post

    Yes, if the wine is fermented to dryness and the yeast are viable and not overwhelmed by alcohol. However as noted above dextrose (corn sugar) is preferred for several reasons. 3/4 to one cup per five gallons will give a moderate level of sparkle to a mead.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    estevan, sask, canada
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    Post

    Thanks

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    estevan, sask, canada
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    Post

    I added corn sugar,not much, just fer the little sweeter,do I need a fermenting cap on top or safe to just cap it
    B. roger eagles

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Lyons, CO
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    Post

    Has it been bottled or is it in the fermenter still?
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    estevan, sask, canada
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    Post

    Ijust put it in a gallon Jug.
    B. roger eagles

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
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    Post

    I'd use an airlock just to be sure. In case it does ferment more, a cap could be popped out and expose the mead to the air and its load of bugs and oxygen (or the vessel could burst if it were plugged solidly, potentially causing injury and certainly wasting mead!).
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

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