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Thread: New mead, new stupidity?

  1. Exclamation New mead, new stupidity?

    1.8 kg honey, 5 L water, Port yeast, 1,6 kg peaches.

    i read online that you have to add Campden to it after 4 weeks. then after i read somewhere else it kills yeast. so... what do i do now? i put in half a tea spoon.

    i feel like an idiot now.

  2. #2
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    Campden (potassium metabisulphite) is one of the two chemicals used to stabilize a mead and prevent any further fermentation. Potassium sorbate is the other chemical.

    Don't know if you fermentation was done or not. Have you measured the Specific Gravity using a hydrometer?

    If the fermentation was done, adding the Campden tablet didn't hurt anything and 1/2 a teaspoon in the size batch you made is not out of line.

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    The impression I got was that campden tablets won't stop an active ferment, it's used to prevent oxidation.

    Don't quote me on that though

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    First of all, making a mistake simply makes you human. It's incurable, so don't let it get you down. Only if you did something and you knew better, would I say you might begin teasing the boundaries of stupidity.

    Second, if you're following a recipe that arbitrarily tells you to add something after a certain period of time, without qualifying what stage of the ferment you should be looking for, ought to be avoided. Such folks who do something once successfully and figure that it'll work the same for everyone else are setting new meadmakers up for heartbreak. Two different meadmakers, operating in different conditions, using different honeys, potentially different yeasts or nutrients, different water (with varied mineral content), etc., may be in vastly different places after 4 weeks. In the future, I recommend you follow recipes that identify target landmarks during the ferment, such as the 1/3, 1/2, or 2/3 sugar breaks, and tailoring your actions to what your mead is actually doing, not how much time has passed.

    On to your present dilemma, I agree, the amount you added is probably appropriate. And although I personally do not ever use chemical stabilizers, from what I understand, sulfites are primarily used to sterilize the must prior to pitching, or after the ferment is 99% complete. During an active ferment, it would take more than you would want to add. Sorbates simply stop yeast (and only yeast) from reproducing. So at the end of a ferment, a one-two punch of sulfites and sorbate will kill off active bacteria and yeast, and the sorbate will prevent any yeast who survive from reproducing.

    Hope that helps.
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    "Then glory in battle to Hrothgar was given, waxing of war-fame, that willingly kinsmen obeyed his bidding, till the boys grew to manhood, a numerous band. It burned in his spirit to urge his folk to found a great building, a mead-hall grander than men of the era ever had heard of, and in it to share with young and old all of the blessings the Lord had allowed him, save life and retainers." - Beowulf

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Middel View Post
    1.8 kg honey, 5 L water, Port yeast, 1,6 kg peaches.

    i read online that you have to add Campden to it after 4 weeks. then after i read somewhere else it kills yeast. so... what do i do now? i put in half a tea spoon.

    i feel like an idiot now.
    You'll be fine. Commercial yeasts are quite tolerant of sulfites. As mentioned, campden is used as an antioxidant in the later stages of the process, especially with fruit wines and ciders which are easily oxidized. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't kill yeast and won't stop an active fermentation.

    You've come to the right place... check here before doing anything potentially dumb to your mead.
    Dave from New Haven County

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maylar View Post
    You'll be fine. Commercial yeasts are quite tolerant of sulfites. As mentioned, campden is used as an antioxidant in the later stages of the process, especially with fruit wines and ciders which are easily oxidized. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't kill yeast and won't stop an active fermentation.

    You've come to the right place... check here before doing anything potentially dumb to your mead.
    it stopped fermenting. added more yeast and waited a few days. nothing. sigh.

  7. #7

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    What's the SG? Adding more yeast probably won't do much. You may have just chewed through all the sugars

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    A few things will cause the yeast to stop, the usual one is running out of sugar (like djsxxx said) and more yeast won't help cause there's nothing for it to eat, even if it could just start up in an environment that already contains alcohol.

    You should get a hydrometer so you can tell how much sugar you have left in your must, failing that, have a taste. If it's still sweet, then it might have stalled out for one of the other reasons, but if it's dry tasting, it probably already finished naturally.

    If it's still really sweet and you want it to be less so, then we start looking at other reasons why yeast will stop... if the must gets too acidic (too low in pH) that can make the yeast stall out, and correcting the pH can make them start right back up again.

    If the yeast has reached its alcohol tolerance (again, another use for the hydrometer is checking the amount of sugars in the initial must so you can determine whether the yeast you used will be able to chew through that much sugar before it gives up), diluting it can often make it kick back up so adding more water or juice can sometimes cause it to start back up again. Those are the next most likely culprits, as you didn't report dropping or raising the temperature severely. If you can confirm that it was one of these reasons and after correcting the matter it doesn't kick back up on its own, the yeast may be done but just adding yeast into a toxic environment and expecting them to finish someone else's unfinished business is a bit on the idealistic side, if you ever have to add yeast to a must that's either very high in sugars (hydrometer again) or already has alcohol in it, you should look up how to make an acclimated starter to get the new yeast used to the harsh environment so it's better equipped to do its job.

    Good luck with this batch, and give it a taste and let us know how it is!
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
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