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View Full Version : stabilising: it does not work



ash
03-15-2010, 02:40 PM
I have checked SG a couple of times in the last months (did not change), added some sulfite and sorbate to my 2 L batch and botteled.

Now one of the botles keeps on pusching its corc out...

I had it in the frige for a week before adding sulfite and sorbate prior to botteling.
yeast is epernay and alc vol should be around 20 %.

what the hell am I doing wrong?

I did top off with apple juice, because I just didn't have enough for 3 bottles, but I tought yeast was dormand and kept dormand by the sulfite.


How can I prevent this from happening when I bottle my 2 15L batches?
They have been sitting there for 7 months and the airlock still shows activity.
Here I also used Epernay yeast. Alcohol should be around 14 %.
SG I kind a lost track of since I added a liter of apple juice a month ago after racking.

Can I stop the fermentation dead, bottle them and let age safely?
Somwhere I asked an other question about these batches and someone warned me that stabilizing this wouldn't be eazy ... :p

wayneb
03-15-2010, 03:02 PM
How much is "some" sulphite and sorbate? The ability of the stabilizing chemicals to do their job depends on several factors, including if the yeast have already gone dormant (that seems to be the case for you), and also how much of each chemical you add to the mead. Please let us know the quantity of each chemical, and what was the net size of your batch before you stabilized and bottled it. Finally, is this a traditional mead, or were there any other additions.

Also, I find it strange that a mead already at 20% ABV would re-ferment. How much juice did you use in each bottle to top up?

AToE
03-15-2010, 03:02 PM
I have no clue how to help you (me=newb) but whover will help you might need this: Recipe and sulf/sorb dosages, or a link to those.

EDIT: Wayne is faster than I !

dr9
03-15-2010, 04:07 PM
Does malolactic fermentation create CO2 or other pressure?

wayneb
03-15-2010, 04:14 PM
Yes, CO2 is a byproduct of MLF.

dr9
03-15-2010, 04:28 PM
Could MLF be Ash's issue?

wayneb
03-15-2010, 04:30 PM
If MLF is occurring in there, then likely some geraniol will also be produced, and that would not be a good thing (you can use the search too to find out why).

Without knowing how much sulphite and sorbate have been added, any guesses as to what is going on would be only speculation on our part.

ash
03-16-2010, 08:17 AM
slightly more than 175 mg/l (sulfite) and a theaspoon top of sorbate sugar per bottle.

apple juice was about a shot glass and a half per bottle

the batch was not sparkling.

It's not traditional mead. There are also apple, apple juice, clove and cinamon in it. It was pasturised and made with a yeast starter.

It's a champagne bottle with plastic champane corc. One of the other botles is just a wine bottle, I hope that one does not explode on me.


I put the bottle in the frige to get potential active yeast on hold. For now the plan is to ad more sulfite after a day or twoo. The only thing is that I hate to open the bottle over and over because of potential occidation.

The good news is that this mead smells better and better everytime I open the bottle :-)

Medsen Fey
03-16-2010, 09:32 AM
It's a champagne bottle with plastic champane corc. One of the other botles is just a wine bottle, I hope that one does not explode on me.


I would get the wine out of the wine bottle. The Champagne bottle may tolerate some refermentation while you tinker with it, but the wine bottle will not. Either put it back in a fermenter, or get a stopper that will fit a wine bottle and put an airlock on the bottle.

I have had several failures of stabilization. There have been several factors contributing to the problem for me.

1. Storage temperature. Here at the Fusel Shack, most of my storage is at room temperature (23 C). With higher storage temps the yeast are more prone to restart. Cool storage is much better.
2. Stabilizing batches that aren't clear. Sorbate and Sulfite will inhibit a percentage of the yeast. The higher the number of yeast you have in your batch, the more yeast will remain active even with the chemical treatment. Letting the mead clear as much as possible before stabilizing has improved my results.
3. Skipping observation after stabilization. After stabilizing and sweetening (or adding more juice) you need to watch the mead under airlock for a few weeks to make certain that the fermentation does not restart. Stabilizing and quickly bottling can cause problems.
4. Sulfite binding. Honey binds a lot of free SO2, (due to the gluconolactone, and probably the sugars) and when you backsweeten, it leave you with less SO2 than you need. Brouwland sell test kits, and if I confirm an adequate level of sulfite based on the pH, I get better results.
5. Sorbate age. While manufacturers say sorbate stored properly should be good for 3 years (at least), some folks say you should replace sorbate every 6 months to maintain peak effectiveness. I don't know if this is true, and I have not seen any study documenting it, but I do buy sorbate in small quantities so it is always less than a year old.

Since I have changed my practices with regards to these issues my problems with refermentation have virtually disappeared.

Your mileage may vary.

Medsen

ash
06-27-2010, 01:01 PM
I also start to notice some lees in the botles now, so they have been refermenting. If I restabilise and rebotle, will I not cause the whole thing to occidise thus rendering it undrinkable?

Medsen Fey
06-27-2010, 02:32 PM
You can get sediment forming in bottles even if no more fermentation occurs especially if it was bottled early. It it did ferment more, the gravity should be lower and it should be carbonated (either a little or a lot).

As a general rule, meads are somewhat less prone to oxidation than wines, but it is always good to avoid oxygen exposure. However, if there is a risk of bottle bombs, it is better to error on being safe and returning the mead to a carboy.

Chevette Girl
06-27-2010, 07:02 PM
The first time I tried using potassium sorbate (that WAS what you used, right?), it made things bubble again and I bottled it right away because I was impatient, so I ended up with very slightly bubbly wine (which I drank quickly just in case). The potassium sorbate DID kick in eventually, just not right away. Now if I'm going to stablize something, I first make sure there's no airlock activity, then I rack it onto the sulphite and k-sorbate, mix it up well, and give it at least a week where I'm stirring it daily to degas it, then another week for any more sediment to settle out before I bottle it...

ash
06-27-2010, 07:22 PM
i should have stirred it after adding the sulphite and sorbate i guess :-)

Medsen Fey
06-27-2010, 08:15 PM
then I rack it onto the sulphite and k-sorbate, mix it up well, and give it at least a week where I'm stirring it daily to degas it, then another week for any more sediment to settle out before I bottle it...



Quite honestly, 2 weeks is not enough time to be sure that the stabilization has worked. You really need to keep it under airlock longer just to be sure.

irishrose
06-29-2010, 11:18 PM
I have a question about this. Is it possible that the corks are edging out due to too much headspace left in at bottling? I'm obviously still very new to making mead & haven't bottled, but am wondering if this may be the issue or if it is indeed a drawn-out fermentation.

Jord
06-30-2010, 08:27 AM
I would guess that if you mead had not fully degassed prior to bottling there could potentially be enough pressure built up over time in the bottles to move the corks but that's just a guess on my part.....to err on the side of caution I'd take a gravity reading, put the mead back into a carboy and put it under airlock, and monitor it for a few weeks at the least to see if there is any change in the gravity which would indicate ongoing fermentation.

Chevette Girl
06-30-2010, 10:00 AM
I have a question about this. Is it possible that the corks are edging out due to too much headspace left in at bottling? I'm obviously still very new to making mead & haven't bottled, but am wondering if this may be the issue or if it is indeed a drawn-out fermentation.

Not sure about everyone else's experiences but so far for me, if headspace is going to cause the cork to come out, it happens right when I bottle, and the cork just won't go all the way into the bottle in the first place or pops out as soon as I get the corker off. I haven't had one move on me after bottling though (I use a pen to mark any corks that don't sit all the way into the bottle just to make sure they don't move and so far none of them have).