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CosmicCharlie
04-26-2005, 01:13 PM
I thought about using ale or bread yeast to get a sweet mead, but finally decided to delve into k-sorbate and/or k-sulphite.

Do you use both? Or just one? Do they 'strip' fruit flavor/color? Should I not worry about that? Any other comments? Thanx,

Oskaar
04-26-2005, 02:51 PM
Hey CC.

Sulfite will kill yeasties and sorbate prevents further fermentation, but will not stop active fermentation. Generally sulfite will preserve color, kill any possible pathogens in the must/mead, and prevent oxidation during prolonged aging in the bottle or in bulk. Sorbate is a good stabilizer to prevent further fermentation and prevent bottle bombs. If you're looking to stabilize with residual sugar then a combination of the two would generally be indicated if active fermentation is in process.

Here are a couple of good explainations of sulfite and sorbate from Jack Keller's website. While this is a wine site, the information about the chemical nature and effect of sulfite and sorbate are right on the money. I use sorbate on occaision if I have to bottle in a hurry for a party or something, generally I do not use sulfites. I may begin to label all of my bottles with a warning that "natural occuring sulfites" are containted as a by product of the yeast fermentation.


http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/qa.asp

http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/finishin.asp

Cheers,

Oskaar

Jmattioli
04-26-2005, 06:45 PM
Hey Charlie,
A common and safe practice to obtain sweet meads without bottle bombs is to start with an SG that will give you the alcohol content you desire. Then ferment to dryness to obtain that content. When done rack over manufacturers recommended amount of Sorbate and add the recommended dosage of sulfite recommended at racking. Add the amount honey you want to obtain the sweetness and stir well.

Sulfite is not a requirement here but is a good idea to prevent any bacteria from growing and to help prevent any oxidation effects from handling. That's it.
Joe

CosmicCharlie
04-27-2005, 10:52 AM
Thank you for your input. You can tell that I don't know much about it, since I cannot even spell them correctly!

Dwhite
11-11-2006, 11:22 AM
Hey Charlie,
A common and safe practice to obtain sweet meads without bottle bombs is to start with an SG that will give you the alcohol content you desire. Then ferment to dryness to obtain that content. When done rack over manufacturers recommended amount of Sorbate and add the recommended dosage of sulfite recommended at racking. Add the amount honey you want to obtain the sweetness and stir well.

Sulfite is not a requirement here but is a good idea to prevent any bacteria from growing and to help prevent any oxidation effects from handling. That's it.
Joe


So you can add sulfite, sorbate, and your required honey for back-sweetening in the same racking, or, are you better off racking onto sulfite and sorbate, waiting a week or so, then adding your back-sweetening honey?

I've recently back-sweetened a mead that had finished fermenting. After racking onto sulfite, sorbate ( 1/4 tsp. sorbate, 1 crushed campden tablet to a gallon), and adding additional honey I seemed to have some fermentation still occurring which now appears to have stopped. Also, now a week since racking, can I add further honey for additional sweetness without fear of fermentation re-starting?

Inquiring minds....

All the Best,
Doug White

Recluse
11-11-2006, 08:33 PM
I've read that adding sorbate without sulfite can lead to 'geranium' odor/taste.

Some recent experience from a Newbie Mead Maker:

When I made Joe Mattioli's 3 Week No Age Mead, I sulfited/sorbated when the SG was 1.02 as the recipe indicated. There was still considerable activity with bubbles on the surface. After about a week or so, I checked and the SG had dropped to 1.012, and I racked again to more sorbate/sulfite. There was still some activity, but the SG wasn't changing much. Finally, it dropped clear as a bell and I bottled. The bottling process must have either stirred up something or the must was very gassy because I had some foam in the bottles. I capped them loosely (screwcaps) and eventually the foam dissipated. I just finished drinking about half a bottle and it is still pretty gassy..almost sparkling, but after swirling in the glass to degas, it is nice and still, and, despite all the worries and alarms I posted through the process it tastes GREAT. I'm glad the SG dropped a bit as 1.02 was probably a bit TOO sweet for my tastes.

Opposite situation with Joe's 5 Week Pyment. In this case, the first sulfite/sorbate treatment stopped it pretty much cold (EC-1118 yeast) and I backsweetened without restarting any fermentation.

This one is still a has a bit of gas in it as well, but it also tastes great after standing/swirling in a glass!

So, I guess the definitive answer it "IT DEPENDS". Wrathwilde said in answer to one of my questions that sometimes sulfite won't stop active fermentation from strong wine yeasts (the 3 Week No Age mead used the Killer K1V-1116).




Recluse

Dwhite
11-16-2006, 05:36 PM
This same mead mentioned below developed a cloudiness immediately after back-sweetening. Is this normal? If so, how long until it clears again?

All the Best,
Doug White

<<<<<<(Paste from previous post)>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I've recently back-sweetened a mead that had finished fermenting. After racking onto sulfite, sorbate ( 1/4 tsp. sorbate, 1 crushed campden tablet to a gallon), and adding additional honey I seemed to have some fermentation still occurring which now appears to have stopped. Also, now a week since racking, can I add further honey for additional sweetness without fear of fermentation re-starting?

Inquiring minds....

All the Best,
Doug White