View Full Version : Backsweetening questions

06-17-2013, 12:03 AM
I am working on my 2nd mead. It is actually slightly further along that my 1st one so I am still breaking new ground for myself. This is a 5 gallon vanilla cinnamon mead but so far the flavors aren't coming through. It fermented dry down to 0.993. I stabilized it with Potassium Metabisulfite, waited a day added Potassium Sorbate, waited another day and then tonight I backsweetened it back up to 1.020. I tried adding honey directly to the carboy and it just sunk to the bottom. I ended up using the drill with a mixing attachment to mix it up. I hope I didn't add to much oxygen. I tried to keep minimal headspace in the carboy and hope the sulfite will protect it. I also ended up removing some of the mead to make room for the additional honey. After I added the honey directly, I read about diluting the honey with an equal volume of water to making the mixing easier. That would involve removing even more of the mead that I am making. For now I put the removed mead in a wine bottle in the fridge thinking I could use it for reducing head space after further racking if/when needed. Since it already has sorbate added, I can only add it to stabilized meads for now.

My questions are:
How much damage did I do to the mead by using the drill mixer?
Is diluting the honey the best way to deal with mixing in the honey for backsweetening?
Should I keep the wine I removed refrigerated or should I just put a ballon on top as a minimal airlock and let it sit beside the rest of the mead in the carboy?


06-17-2013, 08:51 AM
So as long as the drill attachment was a fair way in, as you'd already sulphited and sorbated, and you say its a carboy, then it'll likely have minimum damage/issues.

What the drill attachment will have done is to degas it. Yes, some of the sulphites will have been driven off but the drill will have lifted any sediment and that will have created the nucleation points for the carbonic acid to bind to and come to the surface as bubbles of gaseous CO2. Which in any case, is heavier than air so affords some unconsidered protection.

Meads don't oxidise as quickly or readily as grape wines anyway so hence anything detrimental having occurred being remote.

In practice, the 50/50 honey and water trick does help to get it mixed in quicker but also makes it a bit more manageable if its accuracy you're looking for. Whereas if you just prefer to use 100% honey it will likely sink but you can just gently stir with the handle part of a plastic stirring paddle or similar spoon. Just stir gently. The same as using the drill stirrer but less foaming/degassing. Just enough to get the honey to dissolve so you can measure the gravity. If stirred manually its better to stir a bit too much than too little as you could get a jump in gravity with another process and end up with it too sweet.

As for keeping the reserved bit ? A plastic pop/soda bottle is fine. You can put the liquid in, then squeeze it before capping, that way it minimises airspace and any CO2 that comes out of solution while its chilling down will just increase the airspace a bit with a protective layer. Just keep an eye on the bottle for a couple of days and if it gets hard to depress then just let some pressure out.

06-17-2013, 10:02 PM
Thanks! I was also slightly afraid the fermentation would start back up but it seems stable today so it looks like the stabilization did what it was supposed to. I guess I just have to give this one some time now.

Thanks again,