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PDonn63
09-19-2011, 01:56 PM
So I rarely cold crash because I usually like dry meads/wines. If I do want to go sweet I usually stabilize then sweeten. However, I wanted to leave residual sugar in my most recent batch since I really like the flavor of the tupelo honey I got from the BeeFolks. I'll post my recipe (JAO inspired) before I get into my faux pas.

12lbs tupelo honey
2.5lbs orange blossom (I needed to bring the gravity up and the BeeFolks gallon is only 12lbs)
6g GoFerm
19g Fermaid-K
8g Fermaid-O
8g DAP
6 Oranges (zest and pulp, no pith)
5 cinnamon sticks
4 cloves
114 raisins (14 is my lucky number)
Yeast - WLP Dry English Ale Yeast (WLP007)
5 gallon yeild

I went with an ale yeast because I wanted to leave residual sugar from the tupelo, and WLP is a hardy ale strain that has a tolerance of 10-12%

I made a starter in a 1/2 gallon carboy with the ale yeast rehydrated in the GoFerm (even though it was a liquid yeast I still went ahead with rehydrating as I would a dry yeast), 1/2 lb of the orange blossom, and 14 raisins. Starter S.G. 1.040. Added 2g Fermaid-K and 1g DAP after lag.

The must was made up of the rest of the honey, oranges, cinamon, cloves raisins, 8g Fermaid-K, and 4g DAP. S.G. 1.11. Pitched the starter after it was going for a day.

At 1/3 I added 9g Fermaid-K and 3g DAP. I went heavy on the nutrients because I wasn't sure how this ale yeast would behave in a mead must. At 1/2 I added the 8g of Fermaid-O. Aerated twice daily until the 1/3ish break.

Anywho, now onto my question. When the S.G. dropped to 1.024 I put the fermentation bucket into a mini-fridge I have in the basement, and turned the temp all of the way down. I left it in there for three days, took it out, and racked it. Where I made the mistake: I am so used to racking onto cambden tablets (1.5 per gallon) first, then sorbating, that this is what I did. Obviously since I cold crashed the cambden wasn't necessary. So after racking I waited two hours before sorbating at the package instructions of 1/2tsp per gallon. I didn't want to wait too long for the mead to heat back up, but didn't want to go too soon after the cambden tablets. S.G. 1.022

What really sucks is that I am seeing fermentation today. I know that this strain is really close to its advertised tolerance (for a beer must anyway) but I am trying to consider my options. Should I let it go and hope that it stops before it drops in gravity too much (I am looking for a minimum of 1.017), or should I try stabilizing again? I'm not sure if re-stabilizing is even an option since I have already added the first failed dose. I suppose if I let it go I could always backsweeten if there is too large of a drop in gravity, but I don't really want to with this batch.

EDIT: There was a large sediment drop in the primary after racking, and after less than a day in secondary, there are visible lees at the bottom; maybe it might crap out around in my desired gravity range? Also, I forgot to mention that I like the taste as it is. The yeast seem not to have been stressed as there is little heat, no off aromas/flavors, and the tupelo is really coming through. I greatly want this one to stick where it is and age.

AToE
09-19-2011, 02:53 PM
Actually cold crashing (if for the purpose of attempting to stop a fermentation, rather than to speed clearing) absolutely does need stabilizing chemicals to have any hope of working - and even then it's a long shot. Stopping a fermentation is very very very difficult to do... as you've now found out!

I'd just let it go and see what happens, between the cold, the sulphite and the sorbate, plus the lower ABV tolerance, those yeast have been through hell now, so they're not likely to go a whole lot further in my opinion.

Medsen Fey
09-19-2011, 03:13 PM
You can stick it back in the fridge. To successfully cold crash, leave it for 2 weeks and let as many of the yeast as possible drop out. I think the reason this failed was that you didn't eliminate enough of the active yeast in 3 days. If you can measure the free SO2, you determine with some certainty if you need to add more. Otherwise, you can add another 1/2 Campden tablet per gallon and, another couple of grams of sorbate after you rack it again.

Sometimes attempting to stop a fermentation is like trying to stop a freight train.

PDonn63
09-19-2011, 05:31 PM
Thanks for the repplies. Back into the frdige it will go; I'm in no hurry so I will leave it there for a few weeks. Two quesitons though:

Will I be able to replace the airlock with a stopper? My fermentation bucket is about 4 inches shorter than my carboy, and it just hardly fit with the airlock attached. There is no way the carboy with airlock will fit, however it will if I just place it in there with an un-drilled stopper. I figure fermentation will stop as soon as it gets back down below 45 or 50 degrees and pressure wont be a huge problem.

Also, would it be best to drop the cambden tablets into the mead something like the day before I take it out of the fridge, then sorbate as soon as i bring it out?

Thanks for the help

Medsen Fey
09-19-2011, 05:56 PM
As long as your fridge stays cold, you can use a stopper rather than an airlock; if the power goes off, you may have a lot of fun cleaning up. :)

You can add the Campden and Sorbate when you rack it again. It really isn't time sensitive.

PDonn63
09-19-2011, 07:48 PM
Right, fingers crossed on the power grid staying strong. Doesn't the cambden have to go in for at least some amount of time before the sorbate though?

Chevette Girl
09-19-2011, 08:49 PM
Sorbate can degrade into geraniols if there's not enough sulphites around. but if you put them in at the same time you're probably fine.

wayneb
09-19-2011, 09:03 PM
Sorbate can degrade into geraniols if there's not enough sulphites around. but if you put them in at the same time you're probably fine.

Actually, to be a little clearer about that, potassium sorbate can be metabolized (i.e. "eaten") by the bacteria that are also responsible for malolactic fermentation, and a byproduct of that metabolism is the nasty smelling substance called geraniol. Geraniol cannot be removed from a wine once it is introduced, and it virtually never breaks down. In the event that you inadvertently have your sweet mead exposed to MLF bacteria, if there isn't enough free SO2 in there to inhibit their activity, they will transform any sorbate into geraniol. That's why an addition of both metabisulphite and sorbate is often done to a sweet mead/wine just before bottling. The free SO2 introduced by the metabisulphite will effectively kill off MLF bacteria, and the sorbate in conjunction with sulphites will inhibit and/or kill yeast activity. It is OK to add them together, although I usually wait an hour or so after a sulphite addition before I'll add sorbate to a sweet mead. Also, I typically add the sorbate immediately before bottling, and after I know that my free SO2 level is above 60ppm, which is the level at which MLF bacteria are killed.

huesmann
09-23-2011, 10:52 AM
Will I be able to replace the airlock with a stopper? My fermentation bucket is about 4 inches shorter than my carboy, and it just hardly fit with the airlock attached. There is no way the carboy with airlock will fit, however it will if I just place it in there with an un-drilled stopper.

Suggestion: if it'll fit in the fridge, stick a flexible hose in the stopper instead of an airlock, just stick the other end in a bottle of water next to the carboy.