View Full Version : Stopping bread yeast from goin' CRAZY!!!!!!

Archie Zietman
09-14-2005, 09:31 PM
I am new to meading, and have a question: I only have access to bread yeast, which I know some people have used, though it is powerful enough to really dry out a batch of mead. Is there any way to stop the yeasts doing their thing once the sweetness/dryness is to your satisfaction, or is that not possible?
Archie Zietman

09-15-2005, 05:29 AM
From what I know about yeasts they have favorable conditions. To slow activity you would have to take away an element that they require. Now as far as I am aware they need a temperature consistent to what they enjoy, energy, and nutrients. Since the energy and nutrients are part of your mead they are not easily effected but you can effect temperature. Heat evaporates alcohol and would no doubt effect taste, so that leaves a person to cool the batch. From the brief reading I just did I think a bread yeast prefers a warm temperature, so cooling it should slow activity. I think they enjoy about 27c (80f) so dropping the temperature to say 20c (60F) would slow your fermentation down, or perhaps stop it, im not sure of the threshold of bread yeast.

Hope that helps somewhat, Iím new to this as well, so any other recommendations would be good.


09-15-2005, 09:38 AM
Hey Archie,

There are several means of control. Most common is the use of sulfites, to stop fermentation followed by sorbate to insure against a renewed fermentation.

For sulfite additions to wine, 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons gives 50 PPM. Dissolve in a small amount of cold water then stir into wine thoroughly. Hazard classification is Irritant and will provoke allergic reaction in hypersensitive individuals. Individuals with asthma or emphysema should not breathe the dust or sulfur dioxide gas from the prepared solution. The sulphite content of wine can be determined with a Titrets sulfite titration kit.

POTASSIUM SORBATE (Prevents new Fermentation)
Stable salt of sorbic acid derived from the berries of the mountain ash tree. Prevents renewed fermentation in sweet wines and inhibits reproduction of mould and yeast. Do not add until all fermentation is finished and the wine is clear and stable. Dissolve 1-1/2 teaspoons of Sorbate per 5-6 gallons of wine, in cool water and then stir in thoroughly. Must not be added until all fermentation has ceased. Sorbate present during malolactic fermentation will be converted to hexanedienol (geraniol), a compound with the strong odor of geraniums.

CAMPDEN TABLETS Should not be used
Sodium Metabisulphite tables used to suppress unwanted bacteria and wild yeast prior to fermentation and to stabilize wine during racking. Each pre-measured tablet equals 1/3 oz (10 gr). For every gallon of wine completely crush one or two tablets. Dissolve in a small amount of cold water then stir into wine thoroughly. This sodium source of metabisulfite is not recommended because of possible flavor changes in wine. The US government currently bans the use of sodium metabisulfite in all wines made in or imported into the country due to health concerns over sodium in wine. A much better choice would be potassium metabisulfite.

I've had success with cold stabilization. The method I use;

Refrigerate the mead for 2 - 5 days, rack off the lees into a sanitized carboy fit with an airlock and repeat. Mead has normaly been clear within 2 or 3 repetitions. After which check the gravity every 3 or 4 days to insure fermentation has not restarted.


09-15-2005, 02:03 PM
One thing to remember is that neither K-metabisulfite or K-sorbate will stop an active fermentation. If you have an active fermentation going it's a good idea to pop it into the fridge for a week or so and put the yeasties to sleep, then hit it with double "K" dose and you're good to go.



09-16-2005, 12:04 AM
Just out of curiosity, where did you hear about sodium metabisulfite being banned as a food additive in the US? I have been digging through some of the FDA sites lately and haven't seen anything on it. I would be very interested to hear what they have to say about all the particulars of the ban. If you have a link oir something, could you please either post it or pm me??
momentarily hijacking a thread to be nosey,

09-16-2005, 01:53 AM
A google search for sodium metabisulfite banned as a food additive in the US turned up these as well as a host of others.

This page relates to wine additives - http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/agreements/euwine.html - under item 6. it's listed. At the time of this papers writing it was on the list of chemicals proposed to be banned.

This page food additives - http://www.cnn.com/FOOD/resources/food.for.thought/additives/table.html - this page has a list of chemicals banned from being used in/on food.

This page on a HBS's website - http://www.leeners.com/stablizers.html#campden - does refer to the US ban of it's use in wine.

The USDA & CNN are fairly reliable sources, I'll email the HBS and ask them to site where they got that info.

I can't find the page stating that it had been banned again & I don't recall exactly what I was searching for when I found it. When I come across that page again I'll post it here


09-17-2005, 05:19 AM
This is what I found as far as being banned

1) Effective August 8, 1987, the FDA has banned the use of "Sulfiting Agents" or "Sulfites"
on fruits and vegetables intended to be served raw or sold raw to consumers.
2) Effective January 9, 1987, the FDA is requiring when a sulfite is present in a detectable
amount in a finished food, regardless of whether it has been directly or indirectly added via
one or more of the food ingredients, it must be declared on the label. The regulation defines
a "detectable amount" of sulfite to be 10 ppm.
3) Sulfiting agents or sulfites are not to be used on foods or meats recognized as a source of
Vitamin B1.

(from) http://www.solvaychemicals.us/pdf/Sodium_Metabisulfite/SODMETA.pdf

Some good medical info on sulfites


Archie Zietman
09-17-2005, 10:09 AM
I think I'm going to start out with a higher starting gravity (3 pounds to the gallon) and one it's where I want it, I'm going to put it in the fridge for a few days, and siphon it off into another carboy a few times.

Archie Zietman
09-18-2005, 11:41 AM
Does freezing alter the taste at all?

09-19-2005, 12:24 PM
I have little experience with bread yeast, but I believe it has an alcohol tolerance in the 12-14% range. Using 3-3.5 lbs of honey/US gallon should end up with a semi-sweet to sweet finish.

Archie Zietman
09-19-2005, 06:05 PM
Thanks! That's a very cunning idea! In october, I'm gonna go to the faire with my friend who is also into mead (and has done several batches), and get honey in bulk to really get started ;D. Also, my dad is gung-ho about doing my first batch this weekend (he makes jam for fun, and sees mead as me continuing the brewing art) ;D

09-20-2005, 12:55 AM
Hey Archie,
When you rack from the chilled carboy into the secondary, drop in a campden tablet metabisulfide and sorbate and rack on top of them. That should take care of your yeasties and the campden will take care of any stray beasties that may happen along. If your sterile technique is very good, you can do without the campden tablets.
Freezing will not alter taste. By freezing mead you will fortify the mead. Since alcohol does not freeze, the frozen part is water only, resulting in a very concentrated, much stronger mead. You must be aware that fortification of wines is illegal in the U.S., even though *accidents* with mead still happen occasionally :-X


09-20-2005, 10:45 AM
Hey Ted,

The idea behind chilling, racking, chilling, racking etc. is to stop the fermentation Without the use of chemicals.


09-20-2005, 03:23 PM
Hey Anthony,

Chilling then racking onto K-metabisulfite and K-sorbate is a pretty well established practice as well. I do both.



09-20-2005, 05:45 PM
The idea behind chilling, racking, chilling, racking etc. is to stop the fermentation Without the use of chemicals.

Have you had success using this technique on very active fermentations? I didn't think this would work reliably.

Thanks for the info!

Archie Zietman
09-20-2005, 10:36 PM
Thanks for the replies! Why is fortifying illegal? I'm gonna try it without chemicals, even if this doesn't work, I'm gonna use a higher gravity as a safety net. I also found 2 1 gallon glass carboys in my basement, so I cleaned them out with soap and water, then boiling water to sterilize them. I'm gonna go with a somewhat improvised cyser:
1 gallon apple cider,
2.5-3 pounds of honey
cinnamon and cloves (added to the carboy after the cider raisins and honey)
bread yeast.
Will this be okay do you think?
Thanks immensely for all your help,

09-23-2005, 12:06 AM

Stopped a batch which had a potential of 18% That had been inoculated with EC-1118 @ 1.024 with three cycles of chilling and racking, and yes the fermentation was still going strong. It's kind of a pain doing it this way.

Rather then use chemicals which I do not want to do, or hassle chilling and racking to be rid of the yeast, I've started planning the must for the qualities wanted in the mead, i.e. semi-sweet or dry, ABV, color etc. then select a yeast that will help to bring out these qualities, lastly adjust the potential of the must for the residual sweetness i want in the mead based on the predictable alcohol threshold of the yeast.

If the yeast will go to 14% and I want a semi-sweet mead, I'll shoot for a starting gravity around 1.114. If it looks as if the fermentation is not going to stop, it gets chiiled or I get a dry mead.


10-13-2005, 11:03 AM
I was told that adding everclear to the carboy will stop the fermentation by raising the alcohol level beyond what the yeast can handle... will this work... Or would i just end up really drunk ;D??

10-13-2005, 12:04 PM
Any alcohol added to the must will create this effect, however of course you will be modifying the flavor. If your using a higher alcohol such as everclear it will take less to achieve the desired result.. It's known as fortifying and is done alot in wine. (I.E. fortified wines such as Porto).

10-13-2005, 12:46 PM
Fortification is a reliable means to halt an active fermentation.

From what I've learned reading and talking with wine professional's, this is most often (but not always) done with spirits distilled from the wine being fortified, This limits the total effect to the flavor.

I don't know about elsewhere, but here in Los Angeles everclear is hard to come by. Having drank that crap, I wouldn't use it for anything.

IMO, a better means of stopping fermentation through fortification of mead would, be a with mead that has been distilled or condensed mead, see - http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=1608.0 - for information on this.


10-17-2005, 12:07 AM
first time I read that, It sounded like Fournication! :-\