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Drewed
02-20-2017, 03:51 AM
I have an "adversion" to sulfite in my household. It is not as serve as an allergy, nobody will be goin to the hospital or anything, but the uber "hangover" from one glass is a real bummer.

Is there a way to stabilize the mead with out using sulfites? I know I can just go with out, but we also like the sweeter meads and back sweeting with out stabling leads to bottle bombs.

Dadux
02-20-2017, 06:45 AM
Im sure i posted about this somewhere else so im just gonna make a list

-backsweetening with unfermetable sugars like stevia
-letting the ferment run its course until the yeast dies
-filtering
-cold crashing. Unreliable if used alone, generally after you add sulphites but if you do it for a long time and rack, then cold crash again it might do the trick
-blending. Make a dry mead. Make an ubersweet mead by starting at a high abv and adding more and more honey until the yeast gives up. Then after racking and clearing both of them, blend them.
-fortification. (This just ocurred to me, dont know if someone tried) Add honey to get your yeast to 14-16%. When it gets to 10%, cold crash, rack, and add some 95% neutral alcohol until you get your desired abv. The alcohol and the cold crashing can do the job.
-clearing. Maybe if you ferment your mead dry, let it clear, fine it with something that precipitates yeast and age it to make sure no yeast is still there, maaaybe you can backsweeten and it wont referment.

Also, I also wanted to do a sulphite free sweet mead, so im starting a batch in early-mid march and i will tinker a bit with it. If i get good results i'll let you know.
And, just as a question, are you sure its the sulphites that cause your hangovers? Im just saying because they get a bad rep but it might be something else you know... Grape tannins, sorbate, or just low alcohol tolerance.

WayneG
02-20-2017, 07:47 AM
Sulfites are not welcome here also. My first batch of traditional mead just went into grolsch bottles about 3 weeks ago. I let it sit in the carboy until the SG stabilized and then racked it again. The ABV is about 14%.
It is slightly cloudy because I used no additives or filtering. I keep the bottles in the basement at 62 Deg F. and when I opened one yesterday, I did not get a pop when it opened, I think mine is safe from further fermentation. BTW; it is a little sweeter that I wanted but the flavor is good. It justs needs more time.

I am considering buying a filter for the next batch with cherry juice, that should clear it up and if the filter is fine enough, get rid of the yeast. I hear some folks have problems with the Buon Vino Mini Jet Wine Filter, I dont know if there is something better for the money?

Dadux
02-20-2017, 08:59 AM
If you are going for filters, better invest on it and buy the good ones i think. Recently Squatchy said he bought a pair of them for 200$ apiece but that they were worth it.
If using filters do some research about the different pore sizes and when to use which.

Maylar
02-20-2017, 10:42 AM
There is also the option of pasteurizing. Put the bottled mead in a pot of 170F water for 10 minutes and that will kill the yeast and prevent bottle bombs. Some people use a dishwasher for this.

Dadux
02-20-2017, 10:48 AM
Hm but pasteurizing has been said to change the mead flavours. And it would evaporate alcohol for sure. I once thought that if done in a preasure cooker it COULD do decently (lets say if i had to do it i'd do it like that).
And while it might kill the yeast i dont know if heat-killed yeast would impart bad flavour
Many people posted about it but i have yet to read someone's experiences doing it...

Squatchy
02-20-2017, 11:00 AM
Sulfites are not welcome here also. My first batch of traditional mead just went into grolsch bottles about 3 weeks ago. I let it sit in the carboy until the SG stabilized and then racked it again. The ABV is about 14%.
It is slightly cloudy because I used no additives or filtering. I keep the bottles in the basement at 62 Deg F. and when I opened one yesterday, I did not get a pop when it opened, I think mine is safe from further fermentation. BTW; it is a little sweeter that I wanted but the flavor is good. It justs needs more time.

I am considering buying a filter for the next batch with cherry juice, that should clear it up and if the filter is fine enough, get rid of the yeast. I hear some folks have problems with the Buon Vino Mini Jet Wine Filter, I dont know if there is something better for the money?

I love my Buon Vino filters. I wouldn't count a mead completely free of yeast unless you use .4 absolute fitlers. My "fine" filters are .4 nominal. SO in theory it could still let some yeast cells through. Not sure you're going to find a affordable filter that can do what you want

Squatchy
02-20-2017, 11:06 AM
Im sure i posted about this somewhere else so im just gonna make a list

-backsweetening with unfermetable sugars like stevia
-letting the ferment run its course until the yeast dies
-filtering
-cold crashing. Unreliable if used alone, generally after you add sulphites but if you do it for a long time and rack, then cold crash again it might do the trick
-blending. Make a dry mead. Make an ubersweet mead by starting at a high abv and adding more and more honey until the yeast gives up. Then after racking and clearing both of them, blend them.
-fortification. (This just ocurred to me, dont know if someone tried) Add honey to get your yeast to 14-16%. When it gets to 10%, cold crash, rack, and add some 95% neutral alcohol until you get your desired abv. The alcohol and the cold crashing can do the job.
-clearing. Maybe if you ferment your mead dry, let it clear, fine it with something that precipitates yeast and age it to make sure no yeast is still there, maaaybe you can backsweeten and it wont referment.

Also, I also wanted to do a sulphite free sweet mead, so im starting a batch in early-mid march and i will tinker a bit with it. If i get good results i'll let you know.
And, just as a question, are you sure its the sulphites that cause your hangovers? Im just saying because they get a bad rep but it might be something else you know... Grape tannins, sorbate, or just low alcohol tolerance.

I have used fortification to stop fermentations. And I liked the results as well. I do this in Port style meads. As a side note. I have found that if you're yeast tap out by reaching the ABV tolerance. It doesn't kill them. (at least not initially). It only makes them stop making ethanol. Many times I have reached this point. If you then add more fruit. It dilutes the ABV and the yeast go back to work. I am however, not sure, how long they can sit in this tapped out state before they finally die, but it's not something that happens right away.

Maylar
02-20-2017, 11:07 AM
Hm but pasteurizing has been said to change the mead flavours. And it would evaporate alcohol for sure. I once thought that if done in a preasure cooker it COULD do decently (lets say if i had to do it i'd do it like that).
And while it might kill the yeast i dont know if heat-killed yeast would impart bad flavour
Many people posted about it but i have yet to read someone's experiences doing it...

It would need to be capped bottles. The alcohol won't go anywhere. You still need to allow the mead to clear and rack it before bottling, just as you would when stabilizing with chemicals. There won't be much yeast at that point.

It's a very common practice in the cider world for achieving a carbonated sweet cider. Nobody has reported off flavors as a result.

Stasis
02-20-2017, 11:57 AM
While Dadux made a list of ways to help prevent a bottle bomb, none of those methods guarantee bombs will not happen. Clearing a mead will lessen the chance that a ferment restarts but there certainly is a chance of this happening since a bottle of clear mead might still have yeast cells which are not visible to the naked eye.
The bit about blending was especially not clear. If a sweet mead has reached an abv at the upper limit of a yeast's tolerance it might restart on its own. If this is blended with a dry mead of a lower abv the chances of a restart are even greater. Yeast from any of the 2 batches might restart the ferment: The sweet batch's yeast might restart because the abv is not again below their tolerance, the dry mead batch's yeast might restart because there are sugars in the batch once again.
It is also difficult to know whether or not yeast have actually really died or if they have simply tapped out as squatchy mentions. I'd give batches at least a year in order to HOPE that the yeast died. I've said many times that we had carboys of wine restart 9 months to a year after fermentation has stopped. I have at this very moment a carboy of prickly pear wine which has restarted fermentation in the middle of friggin' winter just because I blended 2 DRY meads. Granted one batch had Ec-1118, but both batches fermented dry (~0.995) by the end of August, which was over 5 months ago. These carboys had been racked 3 times before fermentation restarted: Once racked off the gross lees, once after about 2-3 months, and racked again before blending. The wine was very much clear. It's so incredible that I thought the carboy was degassing but after slow but consistent bubbling for 2 weeks I could only assume it's fermenting. I'll take a gravity reading once fermentation stops again.
Anyway, my point is that ferments restarting is a very real thing. I cannot imagine how the hell people claim they bottle their stuff so early and do all sorts of stuff and nothing ever happens to their mead. They are either very lucky, or they have very unhealthy yeast, or the ones who get fizzy mead or bottle bombs don't post here when it happens out of shame.
I also have a t'ej which I fermented dry (below 1.000), aged for over a year, bottled when crystal clear, and now every single bottle that I open is mildly fizzy such that I have to open a bottle 6 hours before serving just so that most of the C02 clears off. This happened because i didn't use sulfites. Surely this does not only happen to me?

Dadux
02-20-2017, 12:56 PM
Yes you are right Stasis. Nothing except filtering, backsweetening with unfermentables and stabilizing is really 100% reliable.
About blending i mean that you can blend two meads where the yeast tapped out. one sweet and one dry. But as with the others they can restart...
I once had a batch referment because i moved the bucket. Just that. It kinda sucks. And i was using a 14% ABV yeast and the mead had like 16.5% ABV... I thought the yeast died but nope!
Heck i even had batches referment after using sulphites. But that was because i misscalculated, the pH was higher than expected and i didnt check it.
However there are people that used methods listed there and worked for them. As long as you are aware of the risk, you can try.