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!Wine
04-09-2012, 01:32 AM
Heyas :D

I don't use any chemicals in my wine and am planning on leaving in secondaries until the yeast is dead.

For meads that require back-sweetening to bring out the flavors... how long will it take for the mouth feel of the honey to disappear, if ever?


Happy Fermenting! :P

TAKeyser
04-09-2012, 01:48 AM
You really can't put a time-line on the mead process. You could make 2 identical batches on the same day and the chance that they will follow an identical progression is very slim. So asking how long something will take is impossible to answer. Plus everyone perception of mouthfeel is different so again it makes it difficult to answer.

As for the not stabilizing your meads because you don't want to use "chemicals" you risk refermentation and bottle bombs with every batch you backsweeten unless you use an appropriate filter instead of "chemicals". And even with a filter I still occasionally get a little sediment from time to time in a few bottles.

fatbloke
04-09-2012, 02:30 AM
You really can't put a time-line on the mead process. You could make 2 identical batches on the same day and the chance that they will follow an identical progression is very slim. So asking how long something will take is impossible to answer. Plus everyone perception of mouthfeel is different so again it makes it difficult to answer.
Spot on !


As for the not stabilizing your meads because you don't want to use "chemicals" you risk refermentation and bottle bombs with every batch you backsweeten unless you use an appropriate filter instead of "chemicals". And even with a filter I still occasionally get a little sediment from time to time in a few bottles.Without using chems, TAKeyser is correct here as well.

You either have to either exceed the alcohol tolerance of the yeast, or hit it with sulphite/sorbate - if it's going to be back sweetened with a fermentable sugar of some sort. Otherwise your option is a non-fermentable sugar/sweetener (lactose, or maybe an artificial sweetener are good examples).

But there is an alternative that gets mentioned sometimes and a lot of us forget about (but as I haven't tried it, I can't vouch for it's ability), and that is sterile filtration i.e. you do all the normal stuff getting it cleared, whether with time or with finings, then run it through a "sterile" filter. Defining sterile isn't so easy as there's different levels/sizes. I've seen filters with a gauge of 0.45 microns listed as "sterile", while the filter elements that I can get for my enolmatic that are described as sterile, the gauge is 0.25 microns. Some of the US based vineyards/wineries will routinely run their wines through filters of this sort, usually "white" wines.

Reds are less likely to be treated to this level of filtration, because not only does it remove yeast cells, it can also remove colour pigmentation (after all, if the filter is fine enough to remove bacteria, then.......)

Hence that's where making batches to an organic status, can indeed make it more expensive - the filtration of this sort of level can work out expensive.

In times past, this was less of an issue because they would use materials (think yeasts) that were less able, so would poop out long before it became an issue and the meads were likely quite sweet. These days, using more materials derived from the wine making world has raised a few more issues like this......

TAKeyser
04-09-2012, 02:46 AM
You either have to either exceed the alcohol tolerance of the yeast, or hit it with sulphite/sorbate

Hardest part of exceeding the alcohol tolerance is how do we know when it is reached? As Fatbloke will attest to most of us regularly exceed the posted limit from the yeast. Plus even if you hit say 14% with D47 doesn't mean that it won't kick back up again at a later date, as I think we've all seen that happen as well. My Tart Cherry Melomel held at a steady 1.015 for over three months (started at 1.130 so it sat at 15% exceeding the tolerance) and than suddenly dropped to 1.008.

My advice is either buy a quality filter or get over the sulphite/sorbate issue.

fatbloke
04-09-2012, 02:52 AM
Hardest part of exceeding the alcohol tolerance is how do we know when it is reached? As Fatbloke will attest to most of us regularly exceed the posted limit from the yeast. Plus even if you hit say 14% with D47 doesn't mean that it won't kick back up again at a later date, as I think we've all seen that happen as well. My Tart Cherry Melomel held at a steady 1.015 for over three months (started at 1.130 so it sat at 15% exceeding the tolerance) and than suddenly dropped to 1.008.

My advice is either buy a quality filter or get over the sulphite/sorbate issue.
The published data, is all quoted from their experiments using grape musts. So in any case, can only really be used as a guide. You can then use whatever techniques you want to get to the published tolerance, but then would end up having to step feed more honey. Tiny increments, followed by gravity testing - to achieve 3 stable, identical hydrometer readings across a period of about a week - unless you have a chem lab in your pocket with densiometers, gas chromatagraphs and the like.......

It's about using the tools we have to achieve "best guess", whereas mega accuracy for alcohol content is for the commercial world to worry about, as it's them who need that level - because in a lot of locations, it would then translate into how much excise duty they'd pay......

tweak'e
04-09-2012, 04:39 AM
the other option is pasteurization.

got a local brewery here that pasteurizes their cider because filters strip to much taste out of it.

brian92fs
04-09-2012, 11:58 AM
The other problem with filtration is the difference between nominal and absolute filtration ratings. 0.45 micron absolute is the level often used to remove 100% of the yeast. However, 0.45 micron absolute filters are fairly expensive. Don't confuse them with 0.50 micron nominal plate filters.

akueck
04-09-2012, 12:16 PM
Pasteurization is a bit harder to do on a home scale. Ideally you want to input and remove heat as quickly as possible to avoid damaging the product. Commercial operations have systems to pass a small amount of liquid through a set of heat exchangers, bringing the temp of that little packet of liquid up and down quickly. At home you're probably talking about heating the whole batch at once unless you own a couple counterflow chillers (and turn one into a heater). It can still be done, and I've heard success stories, but just be aware of that issue.

Chevette Girl
04-09-2012, 01:22 PM
The published data, is all quoted from their experiments using grape musts. So in any case, can only really be used as a guide. You can then use whatever techniques you want to get to the published tolerance, but then would end up having to step feed more honey. Tiny increments, followed by gravity testing - to achieve 3 stable, identical hydrometer readings across a period of about a week - unless you have a chem lab in your pocket with densiometers, gas chromatagraphs and the like.......


!Wine, I can't answer your question about mouthfeel, but I can contribute a bit on bottling sweetened meads without stabilizing because I do it too. My recommendation is to leave it at least a year in the carboy after the SG stops changing, and if you're at the end of your yeast's abilities, backsweetening/step feeding can slow down so much at the end that you think you're done if you're measuring weekly but then check a month or two later and the SG's dropped again... so I'd expand the '3 stable identical hydrometer readings' suggestion to be on a scale of months, not weeks. And always have a "control" bottle, best if it's the last one with any sediment, put it in a screw-top or flip-top bottle, and check on it every few weeks for six months.

I've had three batches pop corks on me (thankfully no bottle bombs), and all of them were bottled within a year of pitching, even though things had apparently stabilized, they actually hadn't. I think I had even sulphited but not sorbated one of these three batches.

That said, I've had one batch that fermented dry within a week or three of pitching, and then kept bubbling for 3 years before I finally hit it with some sulphites so I could bottle it and get my carboy back. And I had another batch that would have gone on like that, but I wanted to bottle it so I stabilized it, and the first time didn't take, so I ended up sulphiting it three times and sorbating it twice. So even when you stabilize, you still have to check up on it. Sometimes the yeasties are just really determined...

The chemicals are just tools in your toolbox, it's up to you when to use them or not. Just be aware that bottle bombs are a very real, dangerous threat and if you're gonna insist on being stupid like me, at least be stupid the smart way, with checks and balances.

!Wine
04-10-2012, 01:21 PM
!Wine, I can't answer your question about mouthfeel, but I can contribute a bit on bottling sweetened meads without stabilizing because I do it too. My recommendation is to leave it at least a year in the carboy after the SG stops changing, and if you're at the end of your yeast's abilities, backsweetening/step feeding can slow down so much at the end that you think you're done if you're measuring weekly but then check a month or two later and the SG's dropped again... so I'd expand the '3 stable identical hydrometer readings' suggestion to be on a scale of months, not weeks. And always have a "control" bottle, best if it's the last one with any sediment, put it in a screw-top or flip-top bottle, and check on it every few weeks for six months.

I've had three batches pop corks on me (thankfully no bottle bombs), and all of them were bottled within a year of pitching, even though things had apparently stabilized, they actually hadn't. I think I had even sulphited but not sorbated one of these three batches.

That said, I've had one batch that fermented dry within a week or three of pitching, and then kept bubbling for 3 years before I finally hit it with some sulphites so I could bottle it and get my carboy back. And I had another batch that would have gone on like that, but I wanted to bottle it so I stabilized it, and the first time didn't take, so I ended up sulphiting it three times and sorbating it twice. So even when you stabilize, you still have to check up on it. Sometimes the yeasties are just really determined...

The chemicals are just tools in your toolbox, it's up to you when to use them or not. Just be aware that bottle bombs are a very real, dangerous threat and if you're gonna insist on being stupid like me, at least be stupid the smart way, with checks and balances.

As always... a very detailed and useful answer. Thank you. :cool:

I had planned on leaving in carboys for up to 2 years... anything that doesn't stabilize at that point isn't going in bottles.

Chemicals are a shortcut... they're NOT absolutely necessary and they DO mess me up in ultra-minute quantities. I don't appreciate people insisting they are. (edit: I understand I'm bucking the current 'trend' in the commercialized pro-chemical world we live in.)

Filtration isn't an option since, yeah... it strips flavor with color and I'm way low-tech. Just leaving it in the carboy is much more appealing... and again.. if it doesn't stabilize... it gets drunk.

So, would racking to a secondary main 5-6 gallons and the last bit to a half or full gallon glass carboy work? Would bottling from the smaller carboy be a good representation of the 5-6 gallon secondary as far as stabilization?
The idea would be to watch the bottles from the smaller carboy for a few months.... good results would end in bottling the main.

Thanks again all,

Happy Fermenting 8)

TAKeyser
04-10-2012, 01:41 PM
Chemicals are a shortcut... they're NOT absolutely necessary and they DO mess me up in ultra-minute quantities. I don't appreciate people insisting they are.

No one said that they were necessary. You asked a question and it was answered with what you would be risking by not making sure the mead was stabilized. Alternatives to Sulfites/Sorbates were also passed on to you since you don't want to use chemicals. So to me if you don't want peoples opinions DON'T ask the question in an open forum.


So, would racking to a secondary main 5-6 gallons and the last bit to a half or full gallon glass carboy work? Would bottling from the smaller carboy be a good representation of the 5-6 gallon secondary as far as stabilization?
The idea would be to watch the bottles from the smaller carboy for a few months.... good results would end in bottling the main.

Again, you could make two identical batches on the same day and they will react differently, so you will not be able to tell what is happening in the large carboy by checking the small carboy. It's your mead so feel free to do it your way, damn the experience of the people you are asking the questions to.

brian92fs
04-10-2012, 02:25 PM
Chemicals are a shortcut... they're NOT absolutely necessary and they DO mess me up in ultra-minute quantities. I don't appreciate people insisting they are. (edit: I understand I'm bucking the current 'trend' in the commercialized pro-chemical world we live in.)

Filtration isn't an option since, yeah... it strips flavor with color and I'm way low-tech. Just leaving it in the carboy is much more appealing... and again.. if it doesn't stabilize... it gets drunk.


A couple of thoughts on this.


Sulfites are not a modern trend or something that originated out of commercialization. They have been used in wine making at least as far back as the Greeks and Romans.
Sulfites are a byproduct of fermentation. So even if you donít add them, some level of sulfites will likely exist in the finished mead.
Filtration can strip flavor or aroma, but it can also improve flavor and aroma depending on what is being stripped out. Itís not a clear cut case of it always being a negative.


With that said, Iím not trying to convince you to use sulfites or filtering. You can still make a fine product without these, but there will be a few more hurdles to overcome.

akueck
04-10-2012, 02:25 PM
A few months of bottle monitoring is not a guarantee that the batch is stable. Some batches start up more than a year after they seem to be done, and the activity is often (but not always!) linked to weather and/or physical disturbance.

You can certainly go ahead with that plan if you want. Most of the time you will be fine bottling a finished mead after 2 years of aging in a carboy. Just be aware of the real risk you take. Most is not all and you might find some bottles blowing up on you over the years.

!Wine
04-10-2012, 05:37 PM
A few months of bottle monitoring is not a guarantee that the batch is stable. Some batches start up more than a year after they seem to be done, and the activity is often (but not always!) linked to weather and/or physical disturbance.

You can certainly go ahead with that plan if you want. Most of the time you will be fine bottling a finished mead after 2 years of aging in a carboy. Just be aware of the real risk you take. Most is not all and you might find some bottles blowing up on you over the years.

Risk analyzed and accepted. The alternative for me is really not pleasant. :D

Thanks!

akueck
04-10-2012, 09:00 PM
One thing I might suggest is storing bottles in a rubbermaid type container. That way if anything does blow its top, the mess is contained. If you can keep the temperature constant, that helps a lot too. Absolute temperature is best to be on the low side, but a constant temperature is probably more important than having a specific temperature.

!Wine
04-11-2012, 03:47 AM
One thing I might suggest is storing bottles in a rubbermaid type container. That way if anything does blow its top, the mess is contained. If you can keep the temperature constant, that helps a lot too. Absolute temperature is best to be on the low side, but a constant temperature is probably more important than having a specific temperature.

Ya... I plan on bottling the half or full gallon and putting them at a nice 75F or so for a couple months. Figure that should help activate any leftover yeast :)

Since it will have the most lees in it... it should activate sooner than the full secondary... if it's going to.

Man... gouda cheese is really REALLY good. :D Drank too much wine last night and almost pissed off the wife.. fortunately I guess I figured that out and put myself to bed. LOL

Happy Fermenting!

jpog
04-11-2012, 11:59 AM
Serious question here guys but after bottling could you store your bottles in a fridge or something below 55F, the sheet I have for yeasts have almost all of the become in-active at low temperatures (usually around 59 F, from my sheet). That would decrease the chance of the bottle bombs even further.

akueck
04-11-2012, 12:57 PM
Cold does help, but some strains will continue to ferment even down into the 40s. It will be slower, but you probably can't guarantee stopping them completely with cold unless is down near freezing. And that's not really a good long-term storage temperature.

!Wine
04-13-2012, 02:50 PM
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Chevette Girl
04-18-2012, 01:13 AM
So... time is your answer for non-chemical wines. Chemicals are the answer for bottling quickly.


Pretty much. Procrastination can be a strenght rather than a weakness in wine and meadmaking :)

Although I have had a few batches that kept bubbling slowly for years, no matter what I did until I hit it with chemicals... every now and then, a batch needs corrective action. They're tools in the toolbox for me, I don't use them unless I have a reason to...

!Wine
04-18-2012, 07:51 PM
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TAKeyser
04-19-2012, 02:46 AM
!Wine,
Thinking about what you are attempting to accomplish and I'm surprised no one has mentioned it previously, but you may want to give encapsulated yeast a try http://morewinemaking.com/search?search=encapsulated+yeast

Chevette Girl
04-19-2012, 10:34 AM
Huh, yeah! That would certainly be an interesting experiment!

!Wine
04-22-2012, 02:18 PM
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Moderated for content by Oskaar

Moderate this!

I'd reply but.... programmed folks don't like being called programmed and use censorship to make themselves feel better. *shrug*

Screw your fermenting. *shrug*