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Yeast preferences for type of honey?

I’m going to give a stab a making a mead. I’ve been browsing the forum and gaining some confidence but I really don’t want to spend a year making something that tastes like gasoline. My brother gave me 15 lbs of honey he made (rather, his bees made). He lives in southwest Michigan and it’s a VERY light bodied and delicate honey- nothing like orange blossom or sage honey. I’m worried about making too dry a mead and having the alcohol overpower the honey. Any advice on yeast choices to avoid this? Thanks.

I only make dry meads using 15 pounds of honey. I use Lalvin ICV - K1-V1116 (avb 18%) and it is a great yeast for the meads I am making.

The Compleat Meadmaker by Ken Schramm is certainly worth the $20 price. I am just a beginner, he is a pro.

Good advice on the book.

With mead making, the primary determinant of how sweet or dry it will turn out is the alcohol tolerance of the yeast. So decide how much you plan to make (which may be influenced by how big an aging vessel you have), decide what level of alcohol you want, then pick a yeast that will get you there and no further. You can then calculate how much honey you need to get to the yeast alcohol tolerance limit, and how much additional you want to add to provide residual sweetness.

If you are planning on making a 5 gallon batch, 15 lbs of honey will get you to about 14% alcohol. Most wine yeasts have tolerances in the 13-18% range. Ales yeasts tend to be in the 8-11% range. Wyeast 4184 (sweet mead) has a tolerance of 11%. Using that, you could make a 5 gallon batch with 15 lbs honey and have a residual sugar of 7-8%, which is quite sweet. By beer calculations, this would correspond to an OG of 1.105, and a FG of 1.023. You could even reduce the honey by a pound or two and it would still have some noticeable sweetness.

Good luck.

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