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guys, I'm planning to brew a sweet mead this weekend with 15-18 lbs of honey for a 5 gallon batch...

Here's my goal... I want it to be strong (15% or so) and sweet. I'm pretty much prepared, but still deciding on yeast. So far, I have a choice between WLP099, which is a Super High Gravity yeasts and WLP720, which is a Sweet Mead Yeast...

My question: if I go with WLP099, it should bring the FG to 1.023... Would it be still sweet, semi-sweet or dry?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

It's roughly 1 pound of honey to 1% abv in 5 gallons, 15lb will get you around 14% and 18lb about 17%.

If looked after, WLP099 will consume all the sugars you have available at leave you with a very dry mead. 15% is no problem for that strain, and 18% is achievable with care.

The sweet mead yeast WLP720 will stop around 14-15%, although actual performance depends upon how much you baby sit it. So it could ferment out completely or leave your honey slightly sweet, although I doubt it would be anywhere near 1.023 unless you add the extra 3 lbs to take it up to 18lbs.

The good thing is that the WLP720 is self limiting. So in the event it does ferment out all your honey, you can keep adding more honey until the abv prevents the yeast fermenting it, so then the honey is then going to backsweeten the mead.

In your shoes, I'd start with 15-16lbs of honey, ferment with WLP720 and then after fermentation is complete, decide if I need to add more honey. Note that adding more honey may restart fermentation so be sure to leave for several weeks before bottling. (This is usually not an issue with meads, with tend to sit for months.)

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The attenuation of my meads has always been dictated by nutrition levels, not alcohol content. This suits me fine, as I like my mead to slightly sweet and not too strong. But if your intention is to reach the alcohol tolerance of your yeast, it's a good idea to add nutrient periodically during fermentation. – Tobias Patton Mar 28 '14 at 17:11
Definitely. Add nutrients and O2 for the first 3 days. – mdma Mar 28 '14 at 17:46
Yeah, I've read that honey is very poor on yeast nutritions... I'm getting Go-Ferm Protect, Fermaid K, DAP, Potassium Carbonate. Also, I've looking to buy Aeration System for a while... How it would be a good time to buy it. – Red Trigger Mar 28 '14 at 20:55

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