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miss_rach
02-24-2016, 01:41 PM
Guys,
My 1 year old mead is dry...real dry (gravity 1.006) so I know it should be done working. Its to try for me. I've read where folks say to stabilize then add honey.
What do I add to the mead to "stabilize" and how much?
Once I add this do I have to let the mead sit for a few hours, days, weeks, etc...before I back sweeten it?
When I'm ready to sweeten do I have to pasturize the honey?
Whats the easiest way to sweeten it?
I was thinking about pulling x amount out (lets day 6 oz) add honey until I like the taste, once I like the test take a hydrometer reading then start adding honey to the close to 5 gals that I have until the hydrometer reading is at the one I took on the small sample?

Once back sweetened, how long do I have to wait until I can bottle? I assume it will onec again become cloudy so I figure I'll have to let it sit to let it clear again then bottle it.

Thoughts?


Cheers!

Maylar
02-24-2016, 03:11 PM
Stabilizing is done with potassium metabisulfite and potassium sorbate. Follow package directions, but typically it's 1/4 tsp K-meta for 5 gallons (or 1 crushed Campden tablet per gallon) and 1/2 tsp sorbate per gallon. Wait a week then add your honey. No need to pasteurize it. Your taste and measure plan is good.

EbonHawk
02-24-2016, 03:20 PM
Potassium sorbate is the go-to stabilizer, as well as a shot of potassium metabisulfite. Usually the combination of the two is more effective than the sorbate by itself. K-meat stops spoilage yeasts in their tracks and sorta stuns them, and K-sorb renders all yeast (wild and pitched) sterile so they can't reproduce.

Here's a page that explains their functions:
http://winemakersacademy.com/potassium-sorbate-wine-making/

I still haven't decided if K-sorb is something I want in my wines and meads, but I don't see how to keep fermentation from restarting if I backsweeten my stuff. :-(

I think you can just add them and bottle, BUT it's recommended that you wait 3 or 4 days first. I just don't relish that idea that it "puts a definite shelf life on my stuff". Grrr, I'm torn!!

miss_rach
02-24-2016, 04:34 PM
Those two plus the addition of the honey won't cloud the mead? Should I wait sometime before I bottle it?

Maylar
02-24-2016, 05:45 PM
I still haven't decided if K-sorb is something I want in my wines and meads, but I don't see how to keep fermentation from restarting if I backsweeten my stuff. :-(

I think you can just add them and bottle, BUT it's recommended that you wait 3 or 4 days first. I just don't relish that idea that it "puts a definite shelf life on my stuff". Grrr, I'm torn!!

That's the first I've heard that sorbate treatment isn't permanent. People use it all the time and nobody ever said diddly about it having a shelf life. This warrants further investigation.

There is an alternative, however - cold crash, clear, and force filter through 1 micron. No chemicals, no yeasties.

ScottBehrens
02-24-2016, 07:21 PM
Another way to backsweeten is use about a 50/50 ratio water to honey, start with a cup of honey to a cup of water, heat to 160ish for about 15 minutes, put the lid on it, add it the next day when its cooled to your mead storage temp. Stir gently. Check in a week or so. You can sweeten again or stop when its just a tad less sweet than you want it to finish up. Give it a couple months to clear up again or fine it.

bmwr75
02-24-2016, 08:43 PM
Adding honey to back sweeten mead will make it cloudy usually, but time will clear it up.

pwizard
02-24-2016, 09:00 PM
Those two plus the addition of the honey won't cloud the mead? Should I wait sometime before I bottle it?

It will clear but there will probably be some sediment in the bottle eventually, most likely proteins from the raw honey that weren't soluble.

EbonHawk
02-25-2016, 11:11 AM
Adding honey to backsweeten my meads have all ended in failure thus far. Every one of them eventually restarted fermentation, and while some were okay with a little more fermentation, they still went drier than I liked again. Some, made bottle bombs (3 lost bottles). And the rest that didn't explode have made some of the tartest, driest mead I've ever tasted; more like a blueberry/blackberry champagne with tons of carbonation. Kinda neat at first, but it's gotten so dry and tart now that it's more useful as entertainment, to let people taste it and watch their reactions. :-)

One T
02-25-2016, 12:48 PM
I always keep an intentionally over sweet mead around for back sweetening. OG 1.150 FG 1.060ish I cold crash then add finnings to clear. Using a "finished" mead gives a better mouthfeel than using raw honey.

ScottBehrens
02-25-2016, 02:32 PM
Using a "finished" mead gives a better mouthfeel than using raw honey.

I have a hard time understanding this, only cause I never tried it. Can someone explain the difference in flavor/mouthfeel between blending with a sweet finished mead that contains unfermented honey and simply using a honey/water mix of unfermented honey?
I have blended down for dryness and to combine flavors, but never blended up for sweetness.

valverij
02-25-2016, 03:09 PM
I have a hard time understanding this, only cause I never tried it. Can someone explain the difference in flavor/mouthfeel between blending with a sweet finished mead that contains unfermented honey and simply using a honey/water mix of unfermented honey?
I have blended down for dryness and to combine flavors, but never blended up for sweetness.

I just heard an interview with Michael Fairbrother from Moonlight Meadery on the MeadMakr podcast (episode 14, I think?), and if I remember correctly, he said that while mead backsweetened with honey might be good, it will taste like mead sweetened with honey, not like sweet mead. You lose (or rather, cover up) a lot of the finer flavors that result from fermentation.

That said, I've never tried blending up, either. Given current space issues, I don't really have anywhere to store surplus mead for blending, so I usually just try to feed the yeast more honey than it can eat if I want it to come out sweet.

ScottBehrens
02-25-2016, 03:54 PM
Thanks but it still not meshing for me, you are using unfermented honey in both cases. Have to put this on my to do list.

valverij
02-25-2016, 04:18 PM
It's not necessarily unfermented honey, just incompletely fermented honey (if that makes any sense). From what I understand, honey is made up of several different types of sugar and several trace nutrients. So, if the yeast eats 50% of the sugars and nutrients, it's not going to be 50% across the board. Some sugars and nutrients would have been eaten more, and some less. Basically, this means that the the makeup of the sugars and nutrients you are left with is not going to be the same as what you started with.

That's my very unscientific understanding of it, anyway.

One T
02-25-2016, 04:21 PM
Thanks but it still not meshing for me, you are using unfermented honey in both cases. Have to put this on my to do list.

A sweet mead is not unfermented honey. They have a distinctly different taste and mouthfeel. With raw honey, you can actually feels its texture on the tongue. Raw honey also has a sharper flavor / sweetness. Fermentation "rounds out" the flavor and will also leave some of the yeast character.

Mazer828
02-26-2016, 12:11 PM
I suspect the yeast takes the easiest sugars from the honey first, and works it's way up the ladder into more complex (require more energy to digest) sugars as it progresses. I also suspect that this process renders the flavor of the honey in the mead far less "candy sugar" and far more complex.

So adding two pounds of honey near the end of the primary to try to layer in some sweetness will not end with a raw honey taste, but a more finished character. Adding even a couple of cups of raw honey to a stabilized batch to backsweeten, contributes that candy sugar honey flavor that is so easily detectable.

ScottBehrens
02-26-2016, 12:38 PM
I am not disagreeing with anyone, but I bet I have 50 sets of score sheets and all but 1 of those meads has had some degree of backsweet with pasteurized honey. Not one sheet has a comment of 'cloying' or 'raw honey' or 'tastes like its been backsweetened'. If blending is an improvement I am all for it.

ScottBehrens
02-28-2016, 09:53 AM
So, any recommendations for a basic sweet mead recipe destined for blendsweetening?

Chris_from_Miss
02-28-2016, 12:16 PM
So, any recommendations for a basic sweet mead recipe destined for blendsweetening?

Formulate your recipe correctly from the get go and you won't have to sweeten anything.
Michael Fairbrother's analogy was ketchup on meatloaf. The ketchup that is cooked on the meatloaf tastes very different than the ketchup you add after it's already cooked.

ScottBehrens
02-28-2016, 12:20 PM
I try. I cant stop my yeast.

djsxxx
02-28-2016, 12:43 PM
Can you not just cold crash when you reach a SG you are happy with?

Sent from my SM-G925F using Tapatalk

ScottBehrens
02-28-2016, 12:55 PM
yes I do that. got a controlled fridge can get to ~38F and separate chest freezer set at 33 or so. Guess I need to stop them earlier

GntlKnigt1
03-03-2016, 10:08 AM
KC, I have had success stopping fermentation of K1 yeast, and stabilizing and cold crashing ( on patio here where temps vary from about 31 F at night and 44 F during the day) at about 1.020. Have done it more than once with no problems thus far.

ScottBehrens
03-03-2016, 11:31 AM
Thanks GK. I wasn't going to approach this again considering the ass-kicking :violent1: I got for mentioning a method that up until 6 months ago was widely accepted on this forum and is still used today by some of the more prolific mazers on this site. Its the way I learned. But I am going to start a blending batch this weekend, just crashing it harder and faster this time. I haven't done this in the past, worries about throwing off the yeast/acid/body/tannin profile in your original batch, making further adjustments needed down the road. Time will tell.

GntlKnigt1
03-03-2016, 03:46 PM
Just make sure you get the sulfite and sorbate measurements right...might not be as effective with other yeast strains, but seems to work with the K1

ScottBehrens
03-03-2016, 04:09 PM
I was going to ask if you tried it with anything other than K1? I was planning on 71B this trip for the high gravity. I always check for free SO2 with a meter and adjust based on pH beforehand, thanks for the reminder. I just got the reagent for testing bound SO2 as well. Do you keep it at .8 molecular when doing this?

pwizard
03-03-2016, 09:57 PM
Adding honey to backsweeten my meads have all ended in failure thus far. Every one of them eventually restarted fermentation, and while some were okay with a little more fermentation, they still went drier than I liked again. Some, made bottle bombs (3 lost bottles). And the rest that didn't explode have made some of the tartest, driest mead I've ever tasted; more like a blueberry/blackberry champagne with tons of carbonation. Kinda neat at first, but it's gotten so dry and tart now that it's more useful as entertainment, to let people taste it and watch their reactions. :-)

How do you stabilize your mead? I've never had that happen.

I generally wait 1-2 months to backsweeten, and I get rid of as much sediment as I can first (I don't mind raw honey fallout in my bottles but yeast sediment is a different matter). I add my sulfite/sorbate and then wait 24 hrs to give the chemicals a chance to do their work before I add honey. Even then I put an airlock on the carboy instead of a solid bung so it won't blow up if fermentation starts again. After that, I wait a week until I bottle, assuming there is no sign of fermentation going on again after that time. I've never had an exploded bottle so far. I had a mead carbonate very slightly in a wine bottle (little more than a few bubbles) but that one probably wouldn't have blown up anyway.

EbonHawk
03-06-2016, 12:58 AM
Oops, sorry for the confusion. I've never stabilized one. I added honey and it all refermented, no matter what I thought wouldn't happen because the yeast was at its tolerance. I was just trying to make sure he understood that if you didn't do something, then expect the results (failures) that I got. Better to use the chemicals suggested instead if you don't like surprises. Sorry about that.

Cobrac
10-09-2016, 01:06 PM
That's the first I've heard that sorbate treatment isn't permanent. People use it all the time and nobody ever said diddly about it having a shelf life. This warrants further investigation.

There is an alternative, however - cold crash, clear, and force filter through 1 micron. No chemicals, no yeasties.


That is very interesting way to do it, but i do wonder: Will all flavors and aromas still be there after such filtration or does it remove some/much of them? Im just curious since im trying to find a non-chemical way to have a sweet mead without the risk of a restarted fermentation in my bottles.

Squatchy
10-09-2016, 02:11 PM
That is very interesting way to do it, but i do wonder: Will all flavors and aromas still be there after such filtration or does it remove some/much of them? Im just curious since im trying to find a non-chemical way to have a sweet mead without the risk of a restarted fermentation in my bottles.

So that's not hard. Just run your yeast into the ground so they tap out and add more. It may start up again but it will eventually die of Alcohol poisoning and will not be able to eat anymore.

Cobrac
10-10-2016, 12:53 AM
Alright, got it. But lets say if I want a sweet low ABV mead, is that even possible without sorbate? I usually make sparkling meads, but I want them clear so dont want any bottle fermentation at all, if possible. I use pressurized stainless kegs to carbonate. So therefore cold crasching and filtering sounded interesting to me.

HeidrunsGift
10-10-2016, 09:35 AM
How low do you want it? If you want 5% low, you'll probably need ale yeast. If 11% is what you want, you can probably find a smack pack sweet mead yeast that will do the trick. Most of the dry yeast from Lalvin that I use are 12% and above, so those won't do the job without sorbate. As squatchy said, keep adding honey till it maxes itself out with the yeast that you choose