Ask the Meadmaker – Dry July and Healthy Fermentations

Ask the Meadmaker – Dry July and Healthy Fermentations

Groennfell Meadery
3 minute read

In which Ricky the Meadmaker answers questions about what happens when you use too little yeast, how late in the process you can pitch more yeast, making higher alcohol meads without a lengthy aging process, how much must you can fit in a fermenter, and more!
Further Reading:
How We Brew Everything We Brew
Homebrew Recipes
Aging: The Secret of the Ages


I'm trying this dry July thing where I don't drink alcohol for the whole month of July unless it's raining. Or I'm in the shower. Or someone nearby is washing their hands. Or it's raining in an adjacent county. Or--

Welcome to Ask the Meadmaker, where I, Ricky the Meadmaker, answer your questions about mead making, mead drinking, mead brewing, and really any question you're willing to send to me. 

Our first question this week comes from Pablo, who has a wonderful question. Everyone knows who has seen even five of these episodes that I'm always going on about pitching enough yeast. Pitch more yeast! Pitch more yeast! You really can't over pitch. He wants to know what happens if you don't. What happens if you pitch too little yeast? Is it just a slow fermentation? The answer is yes, it's a slower fermentation. But it's also a less healthy fermentation most of the time. A lot of your off flavors in mead comes from an unhealthy fermentation, which can be caused by any number of things, but often just too little yeast. 

Our next question comes from several different people. And it's one that I had never really thought of. Is it ever too late to add more yeast? There's a fella who has a 13.5% ABV mead, that really should be 16%, but it's already been sitting in his basement for two and a half years. Can he add more yeast? And the consensus on YouTube seems to be, "Yes. Why not?" As long as he doesn't do something like sulfite and sorbate it, I would agree with all the other commenters. 

The Sound Depot wants to know if it can make a mead at 10-12% without a very long aging period and the answer is you sure can!

Here's a question I somehow have never answered but totally thought I had. How much mead can you put in a seven-gallon fermenter? Or a five-gallon or a one-gallon for that matter? How much space do you need to leave at the top? The answer is less space than you need to leave for beer, that's for sure. So, the general rule is for a seven-and-a-half-gallon fermenter you put in about five, maybe five-and-a-half gallons of beer to account for the krausen foam at the top that then pushes the lid off or goes out through the airlock. Since mead doesn't krausen in a seven-gallon fermenter you could probably put in six-and-a-half gallons.

Lord Niles Rattle Esquire of Northborough sends us our last question this week. He sent several very good questions, but this week I'm going to answer this one. What is the difference between mead making and mead brewing? Apparently, I say both in my introduction, and the answer is nothing. You know how sometimes you start saying something that doesn't really mean anything and you stick with it? Apparently, that's what happened. Thanks for pointing that out. 

Well, that was our last question this week. Keep sending them and I’ll get to them as soon as possible. Cheers.

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