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Old 02-21-2013, 02:20 PM   #1
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Default Does Potassium Sorbate Halt Fermentation?

Hello, long time wine lurker, first time wine poster. If I'm making a wine, and want to leave a little residual sweetness, can I add sorbate to the wine and that will halt fermentation? For instance, lets say I want to stop wine at 1.004 vs. going dry, and I don't want to backsweeten.

Or does the sorbate just not allow future activity? Also if I'm not aging this wine, should I still hit it up with potassium metabisulfites?

This wine was just a tester using store bought grapejuice. I want to dial in my method before trying actual grapes this fall. Thanks!!

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Old 02-21-2013, 02:46 PM   #2
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No, it probably won't unless the yeast was ready to poop out anyway.

sorbate doesn't kill yeast but instead inhibits yeast reproduction. since during active fermentation, there is plenty of yeast already, adding sorbate won't impact the fermentation.

If the yeast are finishing up, sorbate may stress them enough to slow down or stop. But that can cause an unpleasant taste as well.

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Old 02-21-2013, 03:01 PM   #3
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Excellant, thanks for that great info Yooper. So basically, I should let fermentation finish completely, hit it with metabi and sorbate, then backsweeten, bottle.

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Old 02-21-2013, 03:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by cosmatics View Post
Excellant, thanks for that great info Yooper. So basically, I should let fermentation finish completely, hit it with metabi and sorbate, then backsweeten, bottle.
Yes. And not only fermentation finished, but the wine should be clear. Because if it's still dropping lees, that means there is still plenty of yeast in suspension to start up again!

The other technique is to keep incrementally feeding the wine (honey or sugar, whatever) until you overwhelm the yeast and end up with some residual sweetener. That works if you want to avoid using sorbate. The thing is, you might end up with an 18% hot sweet rocket fuel this way! Some winemakers do this, and use a less attenuative yeast strain, but even so the wine may get "hot" if the yeast are happy!
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