View Full Version : Stabilization Question

02-11-2011, 10:02 PM
I have a stabilization question with a batch of mead i am making. I started a batch of "Joe's Grabe Mead/Pyment on 02/01/2011. I followed this recipe - http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewrecipe&recipe_id=120&Itemid=459

On day 10, yesterday morning, i had a SG of 1.000 (OG was 1.120) so I followed the recommendations in the recipe and racked into a clean carboy with the saved juice (5 oz), honey (4oz), 1/2 tsp potassium Sorbate and 1/2 crushed campden tablet. I had no activity in the airlock and heard no fizzing anymore for at least a day prior.

Tonight, 36 hours after racking, i still have some activity/bubbling on the surface and in the airlock. I re-read portions of Ken Shramm's book today and he recommends stabilizing with sorbate 24 hours prior to backsweetening. I added the 'sugar' and postassium sorbate at the same time.

Is the activity i am seeing the result of reactions of either the P.S. or the campden or did the yeast wake up? I am concerned because I used EC-1118, which supposedly has a ABV tolerance of 18%.

I'd like to just wait it out but if the yeast is fermenting i don't want to take the ABV much higher. Advice?

02-11-2011, 10:41 PM
i'm only new but it sounds like lack of time between stablizing and adding the extra juice and honey. also the more times you rack the better. try to get rid of as much yeast as possible.
i'm not sure on what size batch you made but it sounds way low on campden tablets.

i've just back sweetened my first batch where i used EC-1118. its a very hardy yeast so can be hard to stop. even tho i rushed mine it seams to have stopped.
big difference to yours is i racked twice, 3 campden tablets to 2.5gal, waited for a while, then added sorbate. waited a few hours before back sweetening.

not to sure if just adding extra campen would stop it by itself.

Chevette Girl
02-12-2011, 02:01 PM
I think Tweak'e has a point, I seem to recall that the minimum recommended dosage for campden tablets is one tab per gallon and this is a one-gallon recipe. If I were you I'd add another full campden tablet and see if that stuns the yeast into submission. The sorbate should be sufficient, it doesn't degrade over time the way sulphites do.

Did you check your SG after adding the juice and honey? If not, I'd recommend getting a reading ASAP so you can tell whether it is still converting sugar to alcohol. I have had one or two batches that started bubbling when I stabilized them but it was probably just CO2 coming out of solution.

Do some searches on here using the term "stabilization" so you can better undersand the process, but in a nutshell, you use the sulphites to stun the yeast into submission and the sorbate to stop them from breeding. Being at SG = 1.000 is no guarantee that all sugar is gone as many musts will get down to 0.990, so typically we like to stabilize at least a couple days before backsweetening, just to make sure the stabilization actually works. Yeasties are funny things, sometimes they poop out early and sometimes they keep going looooong after they should have quit, and every now and then they don't listen when you tell them to stop :)

02-13-2011, 01:56 AM
Thanks for responding both of you. I took an SG reading just now and it is at1.012, but unfortunately i didn't take a reading right after adding the juice and honey.

I crushed and added one additional campden tablet and i'll take a reading tomorrow to see what is happening. Not sure why the recipe only called for a 1/2 tablet.

02-15-2011, 12:38 AM
I took another SG reading tonight and am still at 1.012 so i think the yeast is dead for now! I got a taste and have to say it didn't taste too bad for such a young brew. Not too bad for my second mead attempt, i think this one will be quite tasty after it ages a couple months.

02-15-2011, 01:03 AM
Nope, check that gravity for at least a week after the sorbate/sulfite treatment. Go ahead and rack to a secondary container and monitor it for any activity. If there's no change for a week after the treatment, and no visible activity (degassing, foaming, etc) then give it a week worth of cold stabilizing and you should be golden.

Hope that helps,


03-02-2011, 11:12 AM
Thanks for the advice.

After 2 weeks the SG is still stabile at 1.012 and there is no activity in the container or airlock.

Iíve searched the forums for Ďcold stabilizationí but didnít find anything specific. Can somebody provide a link to an existing thread or provide more info on what it is. Obviously it is some sort of cold storage, how cold?

Thanks again.

03-02-2011, 11:45 AM
Cold Stabilization (sometimes called "cold crashing") is simply keeping your mead at a temperature lower than the minimum temp of fermentation for your yeast strain. This causes any remaining active cells to go dormant, and they will eventually fall out of suspension in the must, and create (or add to) a lees layer at the bottom of your fermenter or storage vessel. While cold stabilizing of a mead can be at temps as little as a few degrees cooler than your yeast's min rated temp, getting the mead down close to the freezing point of water (0C or 32F) will hasten the crash to dormancy. The colder the better, down to the point of freezing.

While cold stabilization isn't generally enough to completely arrest fermentation by itself (there always seem to be a few hardy cells out there that wake back up the minute the mead is warmed back to room temperature), if it is combined with chemical stabilization (sulphite and sorbate), it does serve to provide the final coup de gr‚ce for the yeast a bit quicker than chemical treatment alone.

Chevette Girl
03-02-2011, 11:45 AM
try searching for "cold crashing", that should get you some hits.