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WIMARIPA
03-23-2011, 10:53 PM
True or False, one should always sulphite and sorbate a mead that has any residual sugars in order to prevent resumption of fermentation in the bottle? Even if you are beyond the yeasts alc. tolerance and that mead has batch aged for a long time?

akueck
03-23-2011, 11:00 PM
Yes.

You should do something to ensure that no fermentation starts back up again. Sulfite/sorbate is one option, and probably the easiest on the home scale. Sterile filtration and pasteurization are more common on industrial scales.

K5MOW
03-24-2011, 05:55 AM
When sould you add the Sulfite/sorbate and should you add them at the same time?

Roger

RightHookCook
03-24-2011, 09:26 AM
if you look at my most recent thread about bentonite etc a few people have given good answers on that to your question.

Medsen Fey
03-24-2011, 11:22 AM
True or False, one should always sulphite and sorbate a mead that has any residual sugars ... Even if you are beyond the yeasts alc. tolerance and that mead has batch aged for a long time?

You are always safest to use stabilizers, however, they do not have to be used in every case. Yeast have a knack for being able to wake up after appearing dormant - sometimes because the temperature goes up, or there's some aeration, or some old yeast break down and bind inhibitors, or the phase of the moon changes, or whatever else it is that inspires yeast happens. This is a particular problem with Champagne yeast and Bayanus strains, especially when they haven't reach their ABV tolerance.

I've seen yeast wake up months later. Brother Adam noted that it could occur in his sack meads up to 2 years later, so it pays to have a healthy respect for yeast.

With all that said, I make batches that end sweet which have reached the ABV tolerance of the yeast and I don't typically use sorbate in those cases. I will usually use sulfites as I believe it is important to protect from spoilage bacteria, Brettanomyces and other unwanted critters that can make themselves at home in a batch with residual sugar. I also like the antioxidant properties of sulfites. However, sulfites may not be needed at all if you have a high ABV and enough residual sugar to discourage spoilage organisms.

In cases where I'm not using the stabilization, I definitely keep them stored for long bulk aging before I even think about bottling.

Soyala_Amaya
03-24-2011, 01:12 PM
What is the difference between bentonite and potassium sorbate? I've read several threads and most people seem to post both interchangeably.
On the sites to buy them betonite is specifically labeled as a clarifier, but sorbate is listed as a stabilizer. Which is better when dealing with a sweet mead/backsweetening?

Medsen Fey
03-24-2011, 01:31 PM
They serve different functions.

Sorbic acid (sorbate) is an organic acid that acts as a yeast inhibitor preventing the yeast from functioning and metabolizing, which helps prevent them from growing and dividing. It is used as a stabilizer in conjunction with sulfites (KMeta) to keep the yeast from fermenting when you want to sweeten.

Bentonite is a clay that that is used as a fining agent to help meads clear faster. It binds positively charged particles like proteins and amino acids and makes them precipitate faster. This can assist with stabilizing because a clear mead with fewer yeast cells is easier to stabilize.

wayneb
03-24-2011, 01:32 PM
What is the difference between bentonite and potassium sorbate? I've read several threads and most people seem to post both interchangeably.
On the sites to buy them betonite is specifically labeled as a clarifier, but sorbate is listed as a stabilizer. Which is better when dealing with a sweet mead/backsweetening?

Although often bentonite and potassium sorbate are used in treating meads that have finished fermenting, they are fundamentally different compounds and they do two entirely different things. Bentonite is a type of granular clay (yes, essentially a special type of dirt) that carries a slight electric charge when suspended in water-based liquids. It thus binds to oppositely charged compounds that may be suspended in your mead. Bentonite is a little more dense than water, so once it is stirred into your mead it will slowly sink to the bottom of the container, and drag those other compounds down with it. That is how it is employed as a clarifying, or fining, agent in wine and mead. Otherwise it is completely chemically inert.

Sorbate is a chemically reactive compound, that is used to inhibit the reproduction of yeast cells in a mead or wine that has some residual sweetness, and so could otherwise still support some fermentation should dormant yeast cells decide to wake up one day. Sorbate added to the mead keeps those few hardy straggler cells from ever building up a colony that could cause fermentation in the bottle - and in so doing producing enough CO2 to pressurize the bottles, perhaps to the breaking point (this is known as creating bottle bombs). Sorbate, in combination with metabisulphite, are used together to biologically "stabilize" a wine or mead.

And Medsen beat me by a minute again! ;)

Soyala_Amaya
03-24-2011, 01:57 PM
So should one use all three, or just a combination of sulphite and bentoniteORsorbate, depending on whether you have a sweet or dry mead? Or is it just a decision based on how fast you want to clear and bottle your mead? Would using all three together give the mead a chemical flavor? I've seen timelines of waiting an hour or two after the sulphite, but usually the bentonite or sorbate are then used (depending on the poster) with no mention of the other.

Is it just personal choice? Or are some people not recognizng the difference when the OP posts a recipe for a sweet/dry mead?

akueck
03-25-2011, 12:33 AM
Are you thinking of benzoate being interchanged with sorbate? That substitution makes sense, since both those compounds prevent the reproduction of critters. Bentonite, on the other hand, is totally different as Medsen and Wayne have pointed out. Which things you add (sulfite, sorbate/benzoate, bentonite) depends on what you're trying to accomplish. Bentonite can help clear up the mead, but won't do very much to yeast/bacteria viability, for example.

AToE
03-25-2011, 02:14 AM
Holy on-topic spammer batman!