I started a melomel batch two weeks ago. Below are a list of batch details:

  • 5 gallon batch

  • frozen blueberries (roughly 4-5lbs per gallon)

  • 18.5 lbs of honey (raw, unpasteurized honey from my fathers farm)

  • 10 grams of Red Star Cote De Blanc yeast

  • pitched with 12.5 grams of Go-ferm

  • Staggered yeast nutrient addition (fermaid O)

    • 0 hours : 10.9 grams
    • 24 hours : 10.9 grams
    • 48 hours : 10.9 grams
    • 1/3 sugar break (roughly 96 hours) : 10.9 grams
  • OG: 1.155

Fermentation started really well. In about 16 hours it started burping out of the airlock. I "punched" the cap twice a day for the first week, and do it once every two days now. On a final note, I have a very sanitary procedure.

This is my 3rd mead, and my 2nd melomel. My question is regarding SG's and ABV. My OG started high at 1.155, and hit that 1/3rd sugar break rather quickly. I took a measure of the SG today and it was all the way down to 1.006! Meaning the %ABV is at 18.8! The Tolerance of Red Star Cote De Blanc is rated at 12-14%.

I took these measurements multiple times today to make sure I wasn't making a mistake. So my question really is: Is there something wrong with this batch that would allow it to go to such a low SG? Or is this just a happy little accident that will make this batch much higher %ABV than intended?

I know wild yeast can exist in raw unpasteurized honey so I am wondering if it is possible that is playing a factor.

2 Answers 2


I've seen these go up to 16%, but not 18.8%. Three options here:

  • Your hydrometer is off
  • You actually had very good yeast nutrition and managed to push it even higher (e.g. some Champagne yeasts have been reported to go up to almost 21% abv with a good yeast nutrition schedule)
  • Assuming you did not heat up your must, you may have a wild yeast. It's unlikely that you would hit such a high abv on a wild yeast. Do a smell and taste test to see if it's overly sour or smells bad - that being said, you may have just found a new good yeast strain :)

Very likely just a happy accident!

You already pitched your yeast with go firm so there should be a decent colony when you added it to your must. So I do not think it is a wild yeast (they anyway usually do much lower fermentations, not crazy high ones)

I think it is important to remember that yeast can't read, so they don't know when they should stop working, so even if you always use the same yeast the yeast may sometimes just be extra active :)

There's also a chance that your brew might have had a big enough temp difference between your OG and SG reading, to change the result by several points!

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