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View Full Version : Backsweeten or Kill the yeasties ?



apc
12-22-2010, 12:08 PM
We like our Mead Med. sweet 1.008 - 1.015, Med. ABV 8 - 12 %.
Typically we let it finish then stabilize, meta. and cam tab, at which time we back-sweeten. My question is when we get to 1.015 can we stabilize and just stop the yeast instead of burning out all the sugar only to put more in later ??
Thank you, apc

YogiBearMead726
12-22-2010, 12:21 PM
We like our Mead Med. sweet 1.008 - 1.015, Med. ABV 8 - 12 %.
Typically we let it finish then stabilize, meta. and cam tab, at which time we back-sweeten. My question is when we get to 1.015 can we stabilize and just stop the yeast instead of burning out all the sugar only to put more in later ??
Thank you, apc

The short answer is no. Using those chemicals won't stop an active fermentation unless you add so much that it starts to degrade the flavors.

Now, if you want to stop fermentation, there are some ways to do it, just not with chemicals. You could try cold crashing first to slow down/stop the yeast and to drop them out of solution. Then you can rack off the mead, and most of the yeasts will remain behind. You want to get as close to freezing as you can without actually freezing the must. I think there was a thread recently with a table listing the freezing point of different EToH and water mixtures. Just be aware of what yeast you're using because some can actually continue to ferment even at low temperatures. Also, this isn't a guaranteed method for removing ALL the yeast...if a few are still viable, they'll ferment whatever extra sugar you add, assuming they haven't reached their ABV tolerance yet (which with the mead you're describing, most yeast would still have a few % left before their rated ABV tolerance).

If you want to be doubly sure the yeast have been removed, you'll need to do something called sterile filtration. This thread (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17118&highlight=backsweetening) has more info on what you'd need for that. Just scroll down and it should discuss the use of filtration.

The last way I know of (and probably the least "flavor friendly" of the three) would be pasteurization. This would kill of the yeast, but also potentially degrade your mead to something with an even lower ABV and different flavors. The only way (I think?) to do this and avoid that would be to flash-pasteurize...but I'd say that's a little bit of over-kill.

Hope this helps! :)

akueck
12-22-2010, 12:35 PM
You can cold crash and rack onto stabilizing chemicals. The cold both slows the yeast down and drops a lot out of solution, and the chemicals take care of the rest. Be sure to rack while the mead is still cold, otherwise the yeast just wake up again. I have done this before (once), and got a mead to stop at 1.016.

YogiBearMead726
12-23-2010, 01:34 PM
You can cold crash and rack onto stabilizing chemicals. The cold both slows the yeast down and drops a lot out of solution, and the chemicals take care of the rest. Be sure to rack while the mead is still cold, otherwise the yeast just wake up again. I have done this before (once), and got a mead to stop at 1.016.

That's an excellent point. I didn't even think of the fact that they'll hibernate while cold, pausing fermentation so that the chemicals can do their thing. :)