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Oskaar
10-02-2004, 11:22 AM
I just racked my "Mutiny on the Bounty" cyser for a second time. The gravity is sitting at 0.994. The alcohol is up there and it is very leggy. It is very dry with a very small hint of sweetness, but not enough.

It has a deep amber color and releases a lot of the young astringency with some air and vigorous swirling in a large bordeaux wine glass. It has a pretty clean finish and should age out very nicely. I think I'm going to let it sit for a bit (until about December) and then check again.

I have some considerable headspace in both carboys because I had a good inch plus of dead yeast. I've never dealt with a cyser before in regards to topping off. I goosed it once already with some apple cider when I racked from the primary fermentation vessel to the secondary vessel (no peservatives in the apple cider) There was a very small amount of secondary fermentation but nothing vigorous enough to cause any bubbling in the airlock.

I think I would like to top these off with Apple Juice Concentrate. So far I have only seen discussions of using the AJC to sweeten but not to top off.

So to top off with AJC do I blend it with water, water and honey or something else? What is the ratio for an effective sweetening mixture, gvien a five gallon batch of cyser is at a gravity of 0.994?

Thanks,

Oskaar

Jmattioli
10-02-2004, 08:37 PM
Oskaar,
I racked my 1 gallon of cyser over one 12oz can of apple juice concenstrate after stabilizing and stirred in it gently. That topped it off for me. That was back in May. SG came up to 1.018 from 1.000. My brother thought it was really good last month. I thought it was good also but hate to use AJC this time after using a good cider blend of apples. The 3 gallons I have going now, I will do differently. I made it a wee bit stronger and will use just apple cider blend and honey to sweeten it up to about sg 1.012-1.018.
Joe

Oskaar
10-02-2004, 11:28 PM
I agree with you about the AJC. It will add the sweetness but I really am loathe to bust-up the great cider that I used.

I think I'll do the same with the honey and cider at the next racking since I have more of both.

I generally don't use sufites or sorbate because I have some folks in my cadre of likeminded curmudgeons that are allergic. Do you think that the sorbate will be enough to stabilize?

Thanks,

Oskaar

Jmattioli
10-03-2004, 12:17 AM
Yes. The only thing I read negative was from ThirstyViking who said something about bacteria feeding on the sorbate if you didn't use sulfite also, but I don't quite understand the need. Maybe he will clarify his understanding for us if he reads this.
Joe

Oskaar
10-03-2004, 01:08 AM
Muchas Thankyas!

I'm going through my old microbial structure and function textbooks from college days to see if there is any mention in them regarding sorbate and nutrition.

Regards,

Oskaar

MagickMead
10-03-2004, 04:07 AM
Winemakers tell of a bacteria that eats sorbate if you don't use suffite, it makes an off taste and a smell of gerainiams (sp). I allways use suffite when I use sorbate so I haven't experienced this myself.

Jmattioli
10-03-2004, 04:36 AM
Thanks, MagickMead
That's the same that I heard from ThirstyViking but I would be interested to know if it is really applicable to mead. Any published information or scientific data would be welcome here. I was unable to find anything to back up that precept. My procedure is the same as yours so I can't say what leaving sulfite out would do for sure but in cases such as Oskaar's, it would be valuable to know for sure. From my research, my suspicion is that if there are no Sorbate resistant bacterias present to start with then the Sorbate alone will be fine. Sorbate, by itself not only prevents renewed fermentation but it also kills the majority of bacteria types along with moulds and fungus especially in low PH conditions.
Joe

JamesP
10-03-2004, 08:03 AM
One site that talks of sorbate/sulfite is "Mead made complicated", see "Sorbic Acid" at the following URL

http://www.meadmadecomplicated.org/mead_making/chemicals/other_chemicals.html

I couln't understand the references mentioned on the page :-/

HTH

Oskaar
10-03-2004, 12:15 PM
Ok,

I went through my old microbiology lab books and found a group of chemoheterotrophic bacteria that some of us may find familiar. It is possible that these bacteria could use sorbate to proliferate, and taint mead.

These are acetic acid bacteria which are used in Mother of Vinegar for making vinegar; and they oxidize primary and secondary sugars in fermenting liquids. In our case we are talking about conversion to keto-sugars: sobital to sorbase, mannitol to fructose, and erythritol to erythulose.

The good news is that these little beasties need O2 in order to carry out their conversion and oxidation reactions (Gluconobacter sp. and Acetobacter sp. are the two Genus of the bacteria I'm talking about). They are markedly acidophilic growing in pH as low as 4, with an optimal pH in the range of 5 to 6.

For me that means that I will keep my pH range in the low threes, and rack my meads to corny kegs that have been evacuated of 02 and infiltrated with C02. In this case the sorbate should be sufficient to stabilize and prevent refermentation. The low pH and anaerobic enviornment will prevent the acetic acid bacteria from oxidizing the ethanol and other available substrates into acetic acid.

I'll follow this post with an extended excerpt from my reference source along with a bibliography.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Jmattioli
10-03-2004, 09:06 PM
Thanks Oskaar,
Thats more what I was looking for.
Joe