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So, I made a batch (4.5 gallons) of show mead using 10lbs of locust honey. Starting gravity was 1.091

I used dry white wine yeast and fermentation went relevantly quick (with some help of potassium carbonate, DAP and Ferment-K), dropping from 1.090 to 1.003 in just 5 days and stopping. I just injected a last portion of the nutrients a night before and next day it was all done.

So, right now it is 1.003 with 11.5% of alcohol. For obvious reason I cannot taste anything yet in my mead, and probably won't be able for at least another 4-5 month (that's where the taste would start evening out.

So, since I've never made a standard dry show mead (by definition of BJCP Guide OG=1.080-1.120, ABV=7.5-14.0%, FG=0.990-1.010), I'm not sure what to expect. I was hoping to finish at 1.010, but overshoot a little bit. Thus I have few questions:

  1. How does a dry mead turns out usually? Like a white wine, Chardonnay, I assume?
  2. Will it preserve the aroma of locust honey even with 1.003 gravity?
  3. Should I back-sweeten it with 8-12oz of locust honey trying to bring the gravity to 1.008-1.010 or would it be fine like that?
  4. Would 2-3 years of aging help it? I'm pretty new into mead-making (a year), and never aged my mead longer then that.
  5. What is the best time for the back-sweetening? After mead just cleared out, 9-12 month out when it is servable or right away after fermentation is over and I stabilized with camden tables?
  6. I was thinking about splitting a batch into 3 and 1 gallons for aging, so I could play around with 1 gallon without fear of loosing the whole batch. If I use few french oak cubes with 1 gallon (1/4 of an oz or so), how much character would it bring to dry mead?

Sorry, if that was too long, and really appreciate your help.

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1) Dry mead usually turns out like a light dry wine with the floral hints of the honey coming through.

2) In my experience yes.

3) split the batch and see.

4) split the batch and see.

5) I usually do it just before bottling. But ensure I make sure to use a strong bottle in case some yeast slid past and turns it into sparkling mead.

6) Definitely split and experiment, and make sure you keep notes and label things so 12 months down the line you can tell which worked and you want to repeat and which failed.

As you have 4.5 gallons, I would split this into 2 batches and back sweeten half, then split these each into 3 or 4 batches and leave some for 6 months, 1 year, 2 years and try some with oak chips. You can end up with a whole load of different meads from one brew.

Happy Experimenting.

| improve this answer | |
  • Number 5 shouldn't be a problem if you stabilize before you backsweeten. It's also worth noting that if you backsweeten with honey (which almost everyone does), it will likely cloud up the mead slightly if it was already clear. If you bottle immediately, this will likely result in some extra sediment on the bottom of the bottle. Whether that matters or not is more a matter of personal preference. – valverij Jun 8 '15 at 16:41
  • Thanks. I'm glad that I was thinking in the right direction. I actually may split it 4 ways: as it is, as it is + oak-aged, back-sweetened, and back-sweetened + oak-aged. – Trigger Jun 8 '15 at 17:31

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