You will now have the basic list needed to begin calculating how much of each ingredient to use. The following example demonstrates how to go about this:
- I am going to make a straight traditional (sometimes called a ‘show’) Mead with only honey.
- I want it to have an alcohol content (ABV) of 14%.
- I am going to make a 1 gallon batch.
- I want it to finish Medium right around the 1.010 mark.
Step 1: How much honey is needed? In 1 gallon of Must, 3 oz. of honey will result in approximately 1% of alcohol. Therefore, to reach 14%, multiply the 3 oz. by 14.
3 oz. x 14 = 42 oz. = 2 lb. 10 oz.
But, you want to have some remaining sugar since you are aiming to finish the Mead medium. From the chart in Appendix 6, an SG of 1.010 is equivalent to 1.3% ABV. Therefore:
3 oz. x 1.3 = 4 oz
The total honey needed is therefore: 2 lb. 14 oz.
You may be asking if there is an easier way to get this figure. The answer is yes, thanks to JamesP. He created a very handy little calculator that allows you to select the batch size, honeys, and other ingredients, and calculates the SG for you (remember, some ingredients such as fruit, maple syrup etc. are fermentable and will affect the SG). You can even start with the SG you want, and it will tell you how much honey you need to add. The instructions on how to use the calculator can be found in Appendix 5.
You can also use the table in Appendix 6 to figure out the honey amounts.
Step 2: Next, you need to select the yeast that will ferment to the level that you want. Chapter 9 explains in detail the characteristics of brewing yeast and provides a short list of available yeast and their alcohol tolerance. Since we are aiming for 14%, any of the yeast that can ferment up that point, for example Lalvin ICV-D47, will work. Any of the yeast that have a higher tolerance will eat through all of the honey, leaving the Mead dry rather than medium.