View Full Version : Stopping Fermentation?

10-10-2003, 07:16 AM
Okay..I'm relatively new to this hobby, but I'm already really pumped about it! :)

Like I tried to explain to my wife, I'm taking up this hobby for the taste of mead, not to try and see how potent I can make it.

The way I figure it, I would brew a batch and taste it often. when It gets to the point that I like it, I want to stop the fermentation so as not to keep adding to the alchol content and dry it out. I really dislike the dry wines.

So, after that long winded intro...any one have any tips on how to stop fermentation to where you want it?

10-10-2003, 10:47 AM
There are additives that you can get from your homebrew store that will stop fermentation. I've never done it the way you've suggested, simply because there is no aging involved and that really does change the overall flavor.

I would recommend using a yeast designed for sweet meads/wines. It will die off at a lower alcohol concentration, leave plenty of residual sugar so it's not dry (I don't like dry either) and still be able to complete it's course.

A spice wine that I made once, didn't tase quite right until it had aged a couple years. If I had repeatedly tasted it while it was fermenting, I probably would have tossed the batch instead of letting it do its thing.


10-13-2003, 03:21 AM
Thanks for the info Jamie.

I was actually going to tyr to use it for this years gifts. This batch started out about the middle of Sept. with a SG of 1.115, and about three weeks later I racked it to my glass with a SG of about 1.07. It was still just a tad too sweet, but I'm afraid of getting something that will taste like kerosene when the yeast is done fermenting.

I like a really sweet mead, almost sickening sweet to allot of people. ;) I'm using Lalvin EC-1118, and my research showed me that this yeats is pretty good for leaving residual sugar and making a pretty good mead.

I understand that time changes the taste of mead. hehe, I got some that a friend of mine brewed for me before I started myself. It tasted worse than carberator cleaner when I first got it, but now, about 9 mos. later,,it's almost palateble. :) Albiet it was a very dry mead, made with champ. yeast...but it's getting better. I'm not tasting mine and thinking, "ahhh, thats just where I want it", I'm tasting at rackings and thinking to myself, Is this going to taste like crap after it ages for a while,,or is this going to take 50 years before anyone can drink it?! lol

Thanks for the advice. I'm going to let this one sit for another month or so and let the yeasties die out as much as possible and clear it before bottling. I'll just put a little disclaimer that this should be a gift left for 'opening' till later in the year. :)

10-15-2003, 08:30 AM
there are four ways to stop fermentation;

1. let it ferment until it is dry. With an EC-1118 you can go really really high alcohol though so you want to expect an either very strong mead that is swet or a very dry mead with pretty much any alc. level

2. pasteurize after fermentation, kills the yeast ruins the mead (IMHO)

3. chemicals - uugghh nasty, ruins the mead

4. sterile filtration at bottling. Preferred by many including me for my commercial meadery. Ideally a two stage filtration system. First stage depth filtration to pre-filter all the large particle out and some of the small stuff, and a second stage filter that is an absolute filter at least the same pore size as the pre-filter and possibly a bit larger. So to remove all the particles you want you need to use for example a prefilter of .4 micron and a seconstage filter of .45 or .4 micron.

This does two things.

1. the first stage depth filters are cheaper and will prevent your absolute from clogging up too fast
2. the absolute at .4-45 micron will remove 99.99% of the yeast. Thats pretty much guaranteed by the labs that sell me my filters.

Of course the filtration systems are not cheap and the filters run anywhwere from $150 - 500 each depending on the size and the pore size.

Realistically the only way for the home wine maker do do it is either option 1, 2 or 3, option 1 being the msot preferred and option 3 being the most common. Option 3 probably being the biggest culprit for a terrible mead.

Now I suppose there is an option 5 that would be chilling to kill the yeast but there is no way I would trust that as yeast will simly go dormant in cold and potentially come back.

Absolute filtration is the right way to do it, or as others call it ;ultra-filtration'

Mike Faul

10-17-2003, 11:37 AM
Potassium Sorbate will stop fermentation. I use this when I sweeten meads that have finished too dry. I also sulphite my meads at bottling (potassium bisulfate). I'm just paranoid about infections and it would be too expensive to lose a batch (22.5 gallons) to an errant bug. :P

10-17-2003, 07:36 PM
4. sterile filtration at bottling. Preferred by many including me for my commercial meadery.

Mike Faul

I've heard some people say that filtering strips away some of the flavors. Obviously if it was entirely true, commercial meadery's like yours wouldn't do it. Have you found any truth to that?