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View Full Version : How to Backsweeten



Ahkaine
01-25-2006, 01:04 PM
HI,

it's nice meading you all. Yuk, yuk.

Seriously, new mead maker here, and I have read about the practice of backsweetening in several places on this site and would like to try it, but am unsure of the actual procedure. Can anyone tell me what steps you go through when backsweetening?

Do you add the honey directly to the carboy?
Do you disolve the honey in hot water first? If so, how much water?
Do you let the batch age after the backsweetening, or do you bottle?
Ho much honey do you use per gallon? Spoonfuls? Cupfuls? Pounds?

I know this probably varies for each person, but I would like a few ideas about where to start.

Thanks,

Ahkaine

memento
01-25-2006, 01:37 PM
For me:

I add it directly to the carboy. I "spin the bottle" daily to dissolve it. Takes time, but I'm never in a rush when it comes to my mead!
I do not dissolve it in hot water first, but I do heat up the honey to facilitate easy pouring.
I let it age after backsweetening. In the carboy.
The amount totally depends on what I'm looking for. I judge more by SG and taste, then record the amount I used.

webmaster
01-25-2006, 01:52 PM
I dissolve mine in a little hot water, then cool and pour in.

Like memento, I let it age in the carboy, and generally will taste after a week or so to see how it went, then add more if needed.

David Baldwin
01-25-2006, 02:50 PM
Backsweetening is simply the process of adding sugars or other sweetening agents back to the finished must after the yeast has fermented all or most of the sugars.

How much... Well, that's the question that is so hard to answer. Much of that will depend on your own personal tastes and your own threshold for what is dry and what is sweet, and what is WAY too sweet. ( I had one stalled batch that would have made some wonderful waffle syrup...)

Before you add any sugars, you want to make sure that fermentation isn't going to start back up as soon as the yeast have something to work on. Stabilization is the key word here. You can stop fermentation with K-metabisulfite, and add K-sorbate to keep the yeast from starting back up again. It is a tried and effective method. If however you do not intend to use the sulfites, you can cold stabilize, or bulk age long enough to make sure fermentation is stopped and then add the sorbate. If fermentation starts back up though with only the sorbates you may get some off flavors.

The other option is to run the yeast to the end of their alcohol tolerance and then add honey back to the must. This can be a dicy proposition too. I tried that and the yeast just kept on going - all the way to 23%.

Mixing with a bit of water to a known and measurable specific gravity is a good way to get a controlled backsweetening. You calculate where you are and where you want it to be based on the SG of the honey/water.

The same can be done wtih a sugar syrup using a known quantity at a known SG to bring the current volume of liquid up to the desired point of residual sugars.

Hope this has been helpful and not confusing.

David