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pwizard
12-02-2015, 10:51 PM
I have a 1-gallon (split from a larger batch) jug of traditional mead that I'd to sweeten up a bit since the whole batch fermented slate dry. I have it in long-term aging right now, having racked it out of secondary last Friday. I'm in no hurry but should I stabilize and back-sweeten now or do it closer to bottling time? Does stabilization interfere with aging?

The only thing I'm keeping a close eye on just now is some cinnamon metheglin. Should that be stabilized as it infuses? I might sweeten that up too depending on how it tastes after some aging, but for now I intend to check it every week so I don't get too much cinnamon (I have two sticks in a hop bag floating in there). For some reason, that jug cleared up real fast! Maybe the cinnamon had something to do with it.

joemirando
12-03-2015, 12:22 AM
Backsweetening can and usually will cloud the mead, so its best (in my opinion) to backsweeten as soon as you know what sweetness level you want.

Stabilize with K-meta and k-sorbate, backsweeten and let it settle and clear again. Once its clear, taste it, bottle it, put it away for x months.

Do you have a plan for how to backsweeten?

Best way I've found is the FatBloke method....
Check your SG, taste it, mix a little honey in a bit of the sample, taste it and do it again until you get the taste you want, then check its SG again. Add honey to the rest of the batch until the SG matches your taste sample.

Squatchy
12-03-2015, 03:05 AM
I have a suggestion for maybe later down the road. Make 2 different batches of a traditional mead. Make it bare bones with no additional flavors. Make one sweet and the other dry. Now, when you have a mead that is too dry , stabilize it and add some of the sweet traditional. If you have a mead that is too wet,,,,,, you know the drill.

pwizard
12-04-2015, 08:54 PM
I have some campden tablets but I'm not sure how to use them (I only know it's 1 per gallon). Should I drop it in whole or crush it up and mix it with water?

joemirando
12-04-2015, 09:11 PM
I have some campden tablets but I'm not sure how to use them (I only know it's 1 per gallon). Should I drop it in whole or crush it up and mix it with water?

GOOD question! Crush 'em!

I've got a mortar and pestle that I've used, but I get much better results, much more easily and much more cleanly, using a couple of tea spoons to crush them.

And yes, you've got it right... 1 tablet per gallon. Don't forget the sorbate. You need both.

I stabilize at my last racking. I crush the campden tablet(s), drop 'em in the new carboy or jug along with the sorbate, then rack on to it to dissolve 'em, let it sit like that for a day or two, then bottle or bulk age.

Stay to the potassium (K) metabisulfate and sorbate if you can. Sodium can leave a metallic or salty taste.

Cheers!

Joe

storm1969
12-04-2015, 09:20 PM
I don't like sorbate, so I filter to .5micron to stabilize (for cleared meads). Then backsweeten.

joemirando
12-04-2015, 10:22 PM
I don't like sorbate, so I filter to .5micron to stabilize (for cleared meads). Then backsweeten.

Oh c'mon. How could you not like sorbate? <lol>

storm1969
12-04-2015, 10:31 PM
Oh c'mon. How could you not like sorbate? <lol>

A friend of mine got the geranium effect from sorbate once. That's all you have to have happen....

joemirando
12-04-2015, 11:46 PM
Understood.

I've used sorbate on every batch I've made except for the JAOMs, and never had an issue. I think that its POSSIBLE, but not probable.
And I'd be willing to bet that the times people have ended up with the geranium effect have been either because they used way too much or used it with out metabisulphate.

But I can respect your thoughts on it whether or not I agree with them. And if there is a viable alternative (the 0.5u filtering), I'd say go for it.

Joe

pwizard
12-04-2015, 11:52 PM
After tasting my batch tonight and finding it surprisingly drinkable as-is (despite being only 2 months old), I might only backsweeten lightly. I plan to age it more but it is much, much better than it was when I racked it last week. I'm not sure what happened.

joemirando
12-05-2015, 12:07 AM
After tasting my batch tonight and finding it surprisingly drinkable as-is (despite being only 2 months old), I might only backsweeten lightly. I plan to age it more but it is much, much better than it was when I racked it last week. I'm not sure what happened.

Ah the mysteries of science and nature. ;)
There are probably at least a couple of things at work there. Reduction of CO2, the breaking down of a couple of less palatable compounds in the mead, the phase of the moon... who knows? But ain't it great?


Joe

storm1969
12-05-2015, 12:46 AM
Understood.

I've used sorbate on every batch I've made except for the JAOMs, and never had an issue. I think that its POSSIBLE, but not probable.
And I'd be willing to bet that the times people have ended up with the geranium effect have been either because they used way too much or used it with out metabisulphate.

But I can respect your thoughts on it whether or not I agree with them. And if there is a viable alternative (the 0.5u filtering), I'd say go for it.

Joe

The truth is, however, I tend to ferment with the sg above the lvl that a yeast can ferment, so I don't have to backsweeten. I know, it's not exact, but it works for me.

Nimrod
12-06-2015, 03:24 PM
I've bottled meads bone dry that turned out semi-sweet a year later. Weird.

beecarp
12-06-2015, 11:37 PM
How is that possible? Maybe the perceived taste is sweeter but the mead cannot get more sweet as time passes.

joemirando
12-07-2015, 12:07 AM
But sweetness IS a perception. Saccharine and aspartame are both a huge amount sweeter than sucrose, and yet have no nutritive value... or very little in relation to what we perceive as sweetness.

Perhaps what remaining sugars there were in the mead were bound in more complex or in simpler forms that do not present themselves as 'sweet' to our taste. Give it a year and they've recombined or split apart and... voilą.

Take inverted sugar, for instance. You take a given amount of sucrose, add a little acid and heat it and it splits into fructose and glucose and, without adding any more sugars, it is 'sweeter' than the sucrose was.

Just a thought.

Joe

beecarp
12-07-2015, 09:00 PM
I strive to make a mead that tastes sweeter than the hydrometer says it should be. So Nimrod, nice job. But the categories of mead are based on S.G. and not perceived sweetness. Or am I missing something?

Nimrod
12-08-2015, 07:56 PM
Experience? Just kidding.
On paper I agree with you, but now that I'm cracking open 18-month-old bottles I'm noticing that 1.000 isn't as dry-tasting as I originally thought. Maybe it's because the fussels are gone and the honey has come through? I really don't know.

storm1969
12-08-2015, 08:52 PM
Actual dry tends to measure at .992-.998

beecarp
12-09-2015, 02:36 AM
Of all the lies I have told, just kidding is my favorite. But hey, I do lack experience. Gotta start somewhere! And yet we all gain more with each new brew and with very informative discussions like this thread. With higher abv meads , my favorite SG so far is in the 1.004 to 1.008 range. As others have said, the perceived taste changes as your mead ages.

Nimrod
12-09-2015, 10:37 AM
Actual dry tends to measure at .992-.998

Really? My bad. I was just going off chapter 7 of the NewBee guide.
I'll go back to reading and not talking... ;)

Squatchy
12-09-2015, 11:58 AM
Really? My bad. I was just going off chapter 7 of the NewBee guide.
I'll go back to reading and not talking... ;)

He's talking about how dry a medium can measure on the hydrometer. In terms of speaking in the language, dry is between 1.- 1.010

Mazer828
12-09-2015, 04:33 PM
Amazing, though, how we rely so much on all of these quantitative measurements to describe and categorize flavors, and in the end analysis it always comes down to individual perception.

storm1969
12-09-2015, 06:59 PM
Alcohol is less dense than water. Once the sugar is gone the alcohol/water mixture (mead) is actually less than 1.000 (

pwizard
12-10-2015, 11:21 PM
I added one campden tablet and 1/3 tsp sorbate (both dissolved in a little bit of water) to my gallon mini-batch. I'm going to let it sit for a day to give the chemicals time to work and add my honey tomorrow.

mannye
12-11-2015, 11:49 PM
Experience? Just kidding.
On paper I agree with you, but now that I'm cracking open 18-month-old bottles I'm noticing that 1.000 isn't as dry-tasting as I originally thought. Maybe it's because the fussels are gone and the honey has come through? I really don't know.

I've had a bone-dry mead (.990) that had everyone saying it was a sweet-tasting but with a clean finish. I don't know what causes the sweet, probably certain ::insert chemistry words here like "flavonoids":: and such. But the clean finish comes from the dryness and lack of "bad" fusels in the wine. (I think)

All I know is take care of the initial 30 days and the next 30 years will take care of themselves.