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Frequently Encountered Questions and Problems for Mead, Wine, Cider and Beermaking

Do this first!
90% of the questions and problems we see VIP members bringing up are answered in this playlist! (click the link to open)

I have a question and I’m not sure if CS made a video on it.
Well, we made a video on how to search for our videos too! This will get you a quicker answer and might help a lot!
How to Search YouTube – Ways to Find Videos and Channels on YouTube

How much honey or sugar should I use?
There’s no one answer here. It greatly depends on your yeast. For instance, if you use a 12% yeast, you don’t really want to go much higher than 1.090 specific gravity or so. How did I come to that number? Easy: Alcohol tolerance of yeast divided by 135 = Max starting gravity. Yes, you can go over by a little, but remember, yeast cannot read so it’s better to add some sweetening later than be sorry your brew came out too sweet.
ABV – Brewing Basics – Alcohol Making Demystified and Simplified!

I’m really worried about getting it off the lees and racking it!
Don’t rush it. There’s no need to get it off the lees quickly. Lees is dormant, dead, and LIVING yeast. It’s also tons of proteins, tannins and other things that over LONG periods of time (read: many many months or years), can maybe affect the flavor of your brew. Don’t fall for it. Only rack your brew when it’s ready.
When to Rack Wine Mead and Cider? Are YOU Racking too Soon?

How long can I leave my brew with fruit in it?
Theoretically, as long as fermentation lasts. The trick is to keep the fruit cap wet. Either stir, swirl, or shake the brew periodically (every day ideally) to keep it wet. There is plenty of carbon dioxide being produced during fermentation so it “should” be safe, but keeping it wet is a HUGE help. In general though, a few weeks is enough to pull all the fruit has to offer out of it. You can then rough rack and keep your colony safe while removing the fruit.
Dragon Blood Rough Rack – Dragon Blood Wine Part 2

How do I know how much alcohol I will make?
Okay, this is fairly simple really. We base it off a gallon brew, but you can scale this as needed. 1 pound (454 grams) of sugar (any kind pretty much) is about .046 specific gravity when included in a gallon of must. That means, if you had a gallon (US gallon, 3.785 liters) and added 1 pound of sugar to it, then filled with water, your gravity should be around 1.046. Two pounds would be around 1.092, etc. Put one pound in two gallons and you’d be around 1.023. Make sense? Honey is .035 per pound.

To calculate ABV, we use a basic formula:
(Original Specific Gravity – Final Gravity) multiplied by 135 = ABV

For example… Original Gravity 1.100, final gravity 1.000
How to Read a Hydrometer – Why are they so Confusing?