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hepcat
03-15-2012, 04:13 PM
I have a batch I plan to try and make sparkling mead from some of it and haven't found answers to a couple of questions I have about the process:

First, the batch of mead in question is finishing dry, SG was 1.000 when last checked on 2-17-12 and is quite likely lower now. I used Lalvin EC-1118 yeast and it still looks like there is a little ferm activity still going on.
So, because it's turning out pretty dry, I'm probably going to want to eventually back sweeten it a bit.

Since I plan to back sweeten, can I wait to do that right before I am ready to bottle so it would accomplish both back sweetening and priming (for a sparkling mead)?

Thanks for any advice!

TAKeyser
03-15-2012, 04:36 PM
I think you may have a problem with this one since usually you halt the fermentation when you backsweeten so the yeast doesn't go after the new sugars. If you do it before bottling any viable yeast left is going to go after the sugar giving you more ABV but not much sweetness. The amount of sugar you use to prime isn't enough to sweeten it.

You may want to try a non-fermentable sugar such as lactose to sweeten it and than prime it at bottling.

hepcat
03-15-2012, 05:13 PM
Thanks TAKeyser. So If I understand you correctly, if I first back sweeten this dry batch, to keep it at the sweetness level I desire I would have to stabilize so then a sparkling mead would not be possible?

Or, I can just add priming sugar before bottling to get a sparkling mead that will be dry?

And so when you do back sweeten, you stabilize so the sugar you add doesn't restart fermentation, for a still mead correct?

I don't see why I couldn't add enough honey to make it a little sweeter than I want then not stabilize and bottle so it makes a sparkling mead?

And this makes me think of another question, I guess when you make a sparkling mead, you always have a little sediment in the bottles due to the fermentation that happens in the bottle?

As you can tell I'm a bit confused about this.

HunnyBunz
03-15-2012, 05:51 PM
Think of priming and back sweetening as two different things (which they are!)

To back sweeten you stabilize so that the yeast will not become reactivated, then sweeten to taste before bottling.

To prime for carbonation you add just enough honey or sugar (1/2 - 3/4 cup in a 5 gal. batch) to give the yeast something more to work on right before bottling. This technique is something that takes some experience because it could easily create bottle bombs.

Like TAKeyser said, if you want a sweeter mead to be sparkling, the only way is to use unfermentable sugars. That's why Braggots work well for carbonating because not all of the sugars in malt are fermentable.

Hope that helps a little.:)

hepcat
03-15-2012, 06:10 PM
It does hunnybunz and thanks! I guess with this batch, if I want a sparkling mead, it will be a dry one.

Has anyone ever used lactose to back sweeten and then prime with honey to make a sparkling mead?

TAKeyser
03-15-2012, 06:14 PM
Thanks TAKeyser. So If I understand you correctly, if I first back sweeten this dry batch, to keep it at the sweetness level I desire I would have to stabilize so then a sparkling mead would not be possible?

You could add a non-fermentable sugar such as lactose to sweeten the mead and than bottle using the priming sugar. This method would give you the added sweetness and the carbonation you want. You would not have to stabalize if doing it this way since the yeast can do nothing to the lactose


Or, I can just add priming sugar before bottling to get a sparkling mead that will be dry?

You could do it this way as well and have a Dry Sparkling Mead. Many Champagne's are drier than they appear but from some reason the carbonation makes many think they are sweeter. I'm sure there is a scientific reason having to do with taste buds, but i don't know it :)


And so when you do back sweeten, you stabilize so the sugar you add doesn't restart fermentation, for a still mead correct?

Correct


I don't see why I couldn't add enough honey to make it a little sweeter than I want then not stabilize and bottle so it makes a sparkling mead?

You'll have a corked or capped bottle building up a ton of pressure so I wouldn't recommend this method, I forecast explosions if you go this route. Plus the yeast is going to be eating those sugars so you'll not know how sweet/dry it will be when you open the bottle. You'll be going into it blind.


And this makes me think of another question, I guess when you make a sparkling mead, you always have a little sediment in the bottles due to the fermentation that happens in the bottle?

You'll get a little sediment, but it will become fairly compacted and if you do a nice smooth pour most of it will be left behind in the bottle.

TAKeyser
03-15-2012, 06:19 PM
Has anyone ever used lactose to back sweeten and then prime with honey to make a sparkling mead?

I've used lactose with many beers, but I'm using it for the first time in a mead now to backsweeten a peach so I can make it a Sparkling Peach

hepcat
03-15-2012, 07:42 PM
I've used lactose with many beers, but I'm using it for the first time in a mead now to backsweeten a peach so I can make it a Sparkling Peach

Alright, very cool TAKeyser! Hope it goes well.

And may I ask where you get lactose? Never mind, just found it on my local LHBS web site, they have 1lbs bags for $3.99. Gonna have to try that.

hepcat
03-16-2012, 06:36 PM
Picked up a 1# bag of lactose today at my LHBS. Going to give it a try when it's time.;)

TAKeyser
03-16-2012, 06:53 PM
Picked up a 1# bag of lactose today at my LHBS. Going to give it a try when it's time.;)

It's not as sweet as corn sugar, but just add in small increments and stir and taste and repeat until it is where you'd like it.

hepcat
03-16-2012, 07:47 PM
OK thanks again TAKeyser.

Also, I noticed it says on the package(Crosby&Baker brand): "Boil in water to sterilize before adding to beer. Is that necessary for mead?

TAKeyser
03-16-2012, 07:59 PM
OK thanks again TAKeyser.

Also, I noticed it says on the package(Crosby&Baker brand): "Boil in water to sterilize before adding to beer. Is that necessary for mead?

You're Welcome.

I've never boiled it in water. I usually nuke a cup of water and use that just so it dissolves easier and doesn't clump like some powders can do when adding it to a liquid.

hepcat
03-16-2012, 09:08 PM
Cool thanks again.

tuumi
03-16-2012, 11:09 PM
To further complicate things and provide another option you could pasteurize. To do this you backsweeten and let the yeast go to work and carbonate your mead. Test the bottles often and when the carbonation is just right heat the bottles in a water bath to kill the yeast. I've never done it but Ive read a lot about it in cider forums and there are commercial cider companies that do it. You'll have to read more about it for the finer details (temp and time).

TAKeyser
03-16-2012, 11:33 PM
To further complicate things and provide another option you could pasteurize. To do this you backsweeten and let the yeast go to work and carbonate your mead. Test the bottles often and when the carbonation is just right heat the bottles in a water bath to kill the yeast. I've never done it but Ive read a lot about it in cider forums and there are commercial cider companies that do it. You'll have to read more about it for the finer details (temp and time).

Just had to throw an off the wall complicated method to counter my nice simplistic approach :)

hepcat
03-17-2012, 07:21 AM
Interesting Tuumi,....sounds risky though, I'd be concerned about creating bottle bombs.

BBBF
03-17-2012, 07:37 AM
You could also stabilize, backsweeten, keg it, force carbonation and bottle from the keg.

hepcat
03-17-2012, 07:56 AM
You could also stabilize, backsweeten, keg it, force carbonation and bottle from the keg.

Aahh, another piece of equipment, that i don't have....yet:;)Coincidentally, I was at my local LHBS recently and they were unpacking these really cool looking little kegs they just got in, 2 or 3 gallon ones. I would like to try that sometime.

TAKeyser
03-17-2012, 09:53 AM
You could also stabilize, backsweeten, keg it, force carbonation and bottle from the keg.

OK this would have been the easy way to tell you to do it, but I was guessing you didn't have a kegging set-up.

hepcat
03-17-2012, 04:43 PM
Wow my local LHBS sells 5 gallon refurb ball lock kegs for $45! Not bad! And I've already got two 20# CO2 cylinders. I see one of these in my future8)

TAKeyser
03-17-2012, 05:15 PM
Wow my local LHBS sells 5 gallon refurb ball lock kegs for $45! Not bad! And I've already got two 20# CO2 cylinders. I see one of these in my future8)

You'll also want a counter-pressure bottle filler so that you can fill your bottles from the keg. your LHBS should have them if they sell kegging equipment, but if you want to check it out you can look here http://morebeer.com/view_product/18279/beerwinecoffee/Counter_Pressure_Bottle_Filler

tuumi
03-17-2012, 05:30 PM
Interesting Tuumi,....sounds risky though, I'd be concerned about creating bottle bombs.

It can be. You just have to practice and do a few trial runs to get your process dialed in.
Here is a link that discusses the procedures. It's a long read but worth it if you have time.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/easy-stove-top-pasteurizing-pics-193295/

TAKeyser
03-17-2012, 05:36 PM
It can be. You just have to practice and do a few trial runs to get your process dialed in.
Here is a link that discusses the procedures. It's a long read but worth it if you have time.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/easy-stove-top-pasteurizing-pics-193295/

OK actually it doesn't look too hard

Legitapotimous
04-28-2012, 06:49 PM
So any good lactose to sugar honey ratios out there? So with out kegging equipment to carbonate and backsweetin, adding both honey and lactose to a must late in life would get you a sparkling sweet mead. I gotta say it once to make it sink i guess, but sounds the best route for little batches..might use plastic till i trust my self... I have seen the pasteurization stove top done in caning but not cider/mead i would asume that they are similar.

that link really is a good method

skunkboy
04-28-2012, 06:59 PM
Biggest issue with lactose is that it isn't very sweet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweetness

HowardVic
11-24-2012, 12:24 PM
Greetings everybuddy. Long time no see.

Originally Posted by hepcat - I don't see why I couldn't add enough honey to make it a little sweeter than I want then not stabilize and bottle so it makes a sparkling mead?

If bottled in champagne bottles, would the above procedure avoid bottle bombs and produce a sweet, sparkling mead?

I found two articles on making sparkling mead that weren't so complicated which simply advised to use champagne bottles.

Chevette Girl
11-25-2012, 01:19 AM
Howard, if you want it 14% and a little sweet but used a 16% yeast, the yeast will eat all your priming honey and will start into your backsweetening honey and will keep going until it's reached its tolerance, which will be way more than a safe amount of priming sugar... and you'll find as you make lots of meads that yeast's estimated tolerance is just that - an estimation. Sometimes a 12% yeast will hit 14% and sometimes a 18% yeast will stall out at 15%. You'll have no real idea exactly where the yeast will stop, and .005 (SG) of sugar converted to alcohol can be the difference between pleasantly carb'd beverage and dangerous bottle bombs... the yeast will eat all it can, whether it's safe to do so or not.

The safest way is to ferment it dry AND under your yeast's tolerance, then prime and bottle it. That's the simple one. Trying to also have it be sweet is when things get complicated.

HowardVic
11-26-2012, 11:37 PM
Greetings Chevette Girl.

I greatly appreciate your feedback.

I was just about to turn off my pc when I remembered having posted this question and was happy to have gotten a reply.

Ok, so it will have to be a dry mead in a champagne bottle. It's been a loooong time since I last drank champagne but I have a remote memory that I tasted a semi sweet champagne once or twice. I think they referred to it as being demi-sec or something like that.

By the way, my mead with Passion Fruit, Rosemary and Cardamom is tasting VERY good. It has a strong honey scent. I drink it room temp in a snifter to better enjoy the fragrance. I'm still searching for that illusive ingredient to add mystery to a future batch. Something that was served on Mount Olympus. Pine resin, ground pine needles, organic Spikenard essential oil? I have a small amber bottle containing organic Spikenard essential oil and I think I am going to try a small one gallon batch with a few drops. Spikenard is a very ancient aromatic oil going back before Biblical times. It smells like an aromatic and "dank" forest after a rain.

Later...

Chevette Girl
11-27-2012, 02:38 AM
There certainly are sweet sparkling wines out there, but I'd bet you dollars to doughnuts, they were stabilized, backsweetened and then force-carbonated.

That sounds like an interesting idea, but do make sure the stuff is edible, some essential oils shouldn't be taken internally.

HowardVic
11-27-2012, 07:40 PM
I just did a Google image search for Wamssler Sparkling Mead and I noticed the bottles are not punted. Nor do the bottles look to be thicker like champagne bottles. What's up with that? From all I have read recently on making sparkling mead, champagne bottles are recommended to avoid bottle bombs. Seems this sparkling mead is from a centuries old recipe. I just don't get it. I am planning on buying two dozen, green, punted 750 ml champagne bottles for my next experiment on making a sparkling mead and these new pix and info on Wamssler sparkling mead has me confused.

Although, I found the following info on Spikenard being edible, I will contact the manufacturer of the organic Spikenard essential oil I have to ask if it can be used for flavoring beverages. I didn't post the link to the following info because, if am not mistaken, I remotely recall there being a rule against posting links in Gotmead.com . (?)

"...The edible roots of these plants are consumed to treat health disorders like epilepsy and hysteria.
Paste made from Spikenard root and water is used to cure inflammation and burning sensation of skin.
This root and its oil extraction are used for fighting many skin conditions like allergies and rashes.
This herb is useful in the treatments of cholera, hepatitis and enlargement of liver.
Its expectorant properties make it useful to cure cough, cold, asthma and fever.
This essential oil is used for alleviating headache, insomnia and other stress related conditions.
It is widely used by Tibetans for making healing incenses.
It is used as herbal remedy for numerous health disorders in countries like India and China..."

Later...

skunkboy
11-27-2012, 07:47 PM
You can carbonate mead like beer, in beer bottles, I do it on and off. Just have to make sure that you don't overpressurize them.

HowardVic
11-27-2012, 09:13 PM
Thanks. Skunkboy.

I will Google search on how to carbonate beer and other alcoholic beverages, as well as, force carbonating as mentioned by Chevette Girl.

Chevette Girl
11-27-2012, 10:49 PM
The thing with a normal bottle carbonation is that you have to make sure you're completely out of sugar in your must before you prime and carbonate. There are ways to sweeten and stabilize a bottle-carbed batch but it's a lot more work than just leaving it dry.

I've got a bunch of bottles I saved from sparkling ciders and juices that aren't punted either, but it's possible these aren't carb'd to the same extent as champagne is, which is why champagne bottles are so thick and heavy. Beer bottles aren't punted either... <shrug>

skunkboy
11-28-2012, 11:36 PM
Champagne is carbonated to a higher pressure, then like pop, than beer.

champagne = 4-6 atmospheres
soda is about 2-4 atmospheres
beer about 1 atmospheres

corny kegs are rated to like 10 atmospheres or something crazy? would be nice if all of the industries used the same standard, I'm trying to compensate to one...

------

Hmm...I might not have been paying enough attention in my last post, I sparkle dry (fermented out) product like mead/cider like I do beer, but I match my container to
the pressure I am trying to obtain [ see above ].

Steve Works
10-03-2014, 04:51 AM
Lalvin works just fine for me. I know the thread is old but did you find any answers to your questions?
________________________
Steve Works
demi sec champagne (http://www.canard-duchene.fr/en/champagne-authentic/authentic-demisec)