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mrngbear
11-12-2016, 07:37 PM
My meads have had stable SG for 6-7 months and have been bulk aging since.

I added bentonite and Sparkolloid about a week ago, and the following day, I added K-meta and Potassium Sorbate. (IF I WOULD HAVE BEEN SMART AND EXPERIENCED I WOULD HAVE WAITED ON THE FINNINGS TO DROP AND RACKED BEFORE ADDING THE K-META AND SORBATE...BUT, I HAD TO SCREW IT UP!)

The meads became crystal clear but dropped considerable fluff so I decided to rack-off.

I am concerned about how much free sulfites I might have used up (or might have become bound) by racking off the fluff, etc..

I don't have an SO2 testing kit, so I have no idea of the level of Free SO2.

I added 1 Campden tablet to each gallon as previously mentioned, prior to racking off the fluff.

***No campden was added previous to this addition***

BEFORE BOTTLING!
I would like to preserve and protect my investment, and some of these may be bottled-up for perhaps 2-3 years? So... any thoughts on adding, or not, another dose before bottling (+- recommended doseage) without compromising flavor

Thank you!

caduseus
11-12-2016, 08:30 PM
My meads have had stable SG for 6-7 months and have been bulk aging since.

I added bentonite and Sparkolloid about a week ago, and the following day, I added K-meta and Potassium Sorbate.

BEFORE BOTTLING!
I would like to preserve and protect my investment, and some of these may be bottled-up for perhaps 2-3 years? So... any thoughts on adding, or not, another dose before bottling (+- recommended doseage) without compromising flavor

Thank you!

Too late. K-sorbate does help stop fermentation but sets a clock: after 1 year the k-sorbate leaves a celery like taste. Some recommend never using it. Persoanlly I recommend bulk ageing to delay bottling as long as possible and only once I bottle do I add sorbate and date. Some would not even recommend this as it still sets a 1 year limit- just delays starting the clock.
I would age this no more than 11 months and then drink it.

mrngbear
11-12-2016, 08:46 PM
Too late. K-sorbate does help stop fermentation but sets a clock: after 1 year the k-sorbate leaves a celery like taste. Some recommend never using it. Persoanlly I recommend bulk ageing to delay bottling as long as possible and only once I bottle do I add sorbate and date. Some would not even recommend this as it still sets a 1 year limit- just delays starting the clock.
I would age this no more than 11 months and then drink it.

My mistake for not being more specific in my post, as the title of the post states... I was inquiring about adding more sulfites, NOT sorbate.
I would not consider adding more sorbate but, sulfites as far as I understand act as an antioxidant, slowing down the aging, i.e. oxidation, of wine/mead by removing free oxygen suspended in the wine/mead and act as a stabilizer to help prevent spoilage and further fermentation by the removing of oxygen. thus; providing a longer shelf life.

mrngbear
11-12-2016, 09:02 PM
The reason for my concern is that, in my understanding...sulfites dissipate into gasses and, some of it becomes bonded in the mead, and I was concerned about the amount of free SO2 lost through racking; as this could increase dissipation considerably.

mrngbear
11-13-2016, 12:53 PM
Just wanted to extend my thanks and gratitude to all the experienced mazers who have contributed thoughts on this time sensitive matter.

HeidrunsGift
11-13-2016, 01:53 PM
Just wanted to extend my thanks and gratitude to all the experienced mazers who have contributed thoughts on this time sensitive matter.

Hi mrngbear,

Why is this time sensitive? If I understand the post correctly, you have not bottled yet, and your mead is simply still aging. Did you excessively splash the meads or drop a contaminated object into them? You are correct, when you add sulfites, some or all of the "free" sulfites start to bind to molecules in the mead: yeast, O2, bacteria, sorbate, etc. The more that bind, the less there are that are now free.

Back to the previous question, why do you think you need to add so many sulfites? If its a concern of not enough sulfite with the sorbate, and its 6-7 months old at this point with no ill effects, you are probably good regarding that issue. From what I've read, grape-wine is a bit more sensitive than mead in terms of oxidation, but even some grape-wine brewers (not sure if theres a better term for that) argue that you don't need ANY sulfites if you have good brewing techniques when it comes to sanitation and racking. It would stand to reason that mead would also not need any either. (Except when you add sorbate). I'm not arguing this position, but simply stating that smart, experienced wine makers believe this.

What type of meads do you have? Are they traditional or do they have fruit? What ABV are they? If they are traditional and higher ABV, theres even less reason for sulfiting.

Technically speaking, how much sulfites you need is dependent on your pH. What pHs are your meads? Generally its going to be around 50 ppm, for a "normal" grape wine. You can test the free sulfites with a kit, and then add according to whatever sulfite source you are using. I don't use campden tablets because they are sodium based, regardless, it should say how much ppm each tablet imparts per gallon (or other quantity of volume).

I've never used this kit before, but its an inexpensive option for testing sulfites: https://morewinemaking.com/products/sulphite-test-kit.html

Also, I've never experienced celery flavors from sorbate. I have several meads close to two years that have been sorbated with sulfites with no ill effects.

mrngbear
11-13-2016, 03:53 PM
HeidrunsGift,

The time sensitivity revolves around the fact that I had intended to bottle in the next few days (which is not apparent by my posts) so I could give some for Thanksgiving.

I greatly appreciate the time and information you have extended and I apologize for my frustration, it was just hard to understand why after over 100 views I had yet to receive any relevant reply's.

Thank you very much!

HeidrunsGift
11-13-2016, 05:35 PM
Ok that makes sense, sharing brews with friends and family during the holidays is certainly exciting! :)

So without knowing your ABVs, pHs, types of meads, and protocols with which you made your meads, what I would suggest is this: if after 6-7 months they taste good right now, they are most likely fine. Even if there are some small amount of bugs in the meads, I highly doubt anything you bottle will grow enough lactobacillus, brett, or acetobacter colonies in the to spoil the meads between now and Thanksgiving (~2 weeks). Obviously make sure to sanitize the bottles (corks are also better than caps IMO. Zpeckler I think has the most info on bacteria/spoilage organisms that I know of on this forum, he would have a better idea of how long it would take them to ruin a batch than I though).

If you are still worried about the meads spoiling long term: right now, you could bottle what you think you will drink during Thanksgiving. Buy the sulfite test kit, and test the remaining meads' free SO2 levels. Go by the chart on page 69 to determine how much more free sulfite you need to add: http://morewinemaking.com/public/pdf/wwhiw.pdf . If the link doesnt work, Google the White Wine Making Manual from Morewinemaking. I use potassium metabisulfite, believe its something like a quarter TSP adds 50 free ppm SO2 per 5 gallons.

Also, you can Youtube plenty of videos about not needing to sulfite wine at all. Granted, a lot of it out there is from "organic" wine companies that are trying to sell their product, hence the very one sided arguments they have, and focusing only on the negative sides of sulfites (ie, its toxic). Having said that though, if they were completely wrong, their wines would be going bad and they'd be out of business.

mrngbear
11-13-2016, 07:07 PM
I thank you again and appreciate all your help.
luck in brews, Terry

Squatchy
11-14-2016, 12:53 AM
I might suggest that what you plan to drink for the holidays should be fine as is. For the other stuff that will get bottled for a longer period of time you might fair the best by testing Free SO2 and then add according to pH. I think your unusual situation left everyone scratching their heads.

mrngbear
11-14-2016, 10:11 AM
After careful consideration, including research into organic wine and advise from 'Yooper' on Home Brew Talk (who's experience is highly regarded!), I have decided to roll the dice!!! My great tasting mead's will be bottled as is!

I've always been a risk taker, so why be different now! It's like sitting on a board waiting for a wave with your feet dangling as shark bait, or jumping off a cliff with a frigging kite strapped to your back!

No worries and mahalo's!
Terry

Maylar
11-14-2016, 05:45 PM
And BTW, it's Madam Yooper to you sir.

mrngbear
11-14-2016, 06:52 PM
Thank you Dave, I will offer my apologies to her!

Terry