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Old 12-18-2012, 05:16 PM   #1
Intheswamp
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Default Add k-meta/sorb to carboy of recently racked traditional?

I got concerned about oxidation so last Saturday (Dec-15-2012) I racked my 3 week old traditional over to a 3-gallon carboy. The SG at racking was 1.009 and both my wife and I were impressed with the taste. I was somewhat surprised by the taste, actually. Anyhow, we liked the taste so if nothing else we now know about how sweet/dry we like it.

FWIW...
OG was 1.108
Last SG reading was 1.009
K1-V1116
~3.75# of honey (total of3.25 gallons of must which yielded 3 gallons in carboy, about 500ml for topping off, and about 250ml of some test tube must)
Fermented for 21 days before being rack into carboy

I wasn't sure what to do with the mead at that point being as there had been little to no airlock activity for several days, the SG was getting low, and I was beginning to worry about the excess headspace without having active co2 production. So, I racked it out of the plastic bucket into the glass carboy filling it up into the neck a couple of inches below the stopper. I did not stabilize. There has been no airlock activity other than what I think was a few blips of disturbed co2 coming out...it appears to be very still now.

After thinking about it, with the SG where it is and the taste to our liking I wished I had stabilized it then but I didn't. After reading some more I've concluded that would have been a good thing to do.

So here I am today wondering about stabilizing it. I'm wondering about whether I could thieve some of the must from the carboy (being sanitary about everything, of course), mix the k-meta and sorbate into it and then add this back to the carboy maybe stirring gently with the handle end of my paddle. It seems I've read mostly that folks rack onto the stabilizers but I would think racking again so soon would probably be detrimental to the mead in regards to oxidation.

Would simply mixing the stabilizers in a small amount of thieved mead and adding it back to the carboy work ok?

Thanks,
Ed

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Old 12-19-2012, 02:09 AM   #2
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Ed,
If your mead is not done fermenting, stabilizing with sorbate and k-meta/campden would not have stopped the SG from dropping any lower. Huge misnomer. Any residual live yeast will feed off of the 0.009 that remains. You are only three weeks in, way too early to worry about stabilizing. Just keep the airlock in place, do not worry about airlock activity, and check the SG in a month. I have had mead take 6 months to ferment dry, and there are others which can take years. Regardless, you want this batch to be nice and clear, with preferably some time under its belt before you move to stabilizing, backsweetening to 1.009 and bottling. Just remember that if the SG does continue to drop, the ACV will rise & you will want to do a taste trial to ensure that 1.009 is the magic number.

Though, with future batches, consider this: use your hydrometer to determine when to transfer from primary fermenter--many transfer when OG has dropped by 2/3. This takes the guesswork out of it. Congrats...almost there.!!

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Old 12-19-2012, 05:44 PM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback, saramc. I'm learning about stabilizing.

I'll watch the alcohol level. The K1-V1116 is listed as being able to go to 18%...which I'm really not interested in. According to the forumula (OG-FG)133 then if the yeast takes it down 100 points to .998 then the resulting %ABV would be around 14.5%. I guess we'll have to wait and see on that.

I went into this batch with the thought of long-term aging. My problem is that taste we took the other day was pretty doggone good! I just gotta be patient and stick to my plan!

Thanks for the tip on re-tasting to figure out the magic number. I hadn't thought about the increased alcohol content changing the taste even though we might backsweeten to the same sg. It makes sense but that had gone completely over my head.

Regarding racking at a specific SG... Figuring my of OG=1.108, would the 2/3 sugar break be around 1.036...2/3's of 108 ? Or, would it be 1.041...which is 108-66.66 (figuring 100 point drop)? I know it's not a big difference, I'm just trying to figure out the correct way to figure that.

Thanks!
Ed

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Old 12-19-2012, 06:20 PM   #4
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not to hijack, but i'm in a similar position, maybe a month ahead of you though, and i'm starting to question when is the best time to stabilize also... i have a Carmel Apple Mead that's been racked in to a secondary and is about 2.5 months old now, and a Blueberry Vanilla Melomel in it's secondary that's about 1.5 month old. i do plan on bulk aging both of these for some time before bottling them, so is it best to bulk age it in the growlers as is, or "stabilized"? or should i save stabilizing it til right before bottling and back sweetening? i'm looking at racking both of these after the holidays to get them off the lees on the bottom and looking to see if i need to do anything else at that time, or just a simple racking for more clearing and aging!
cheers and thanks

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Old 12-19-2012, 11:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intheswamp View Post

Regarding racking at a specific SG... Figuring my of OG=1.108, would the 2/3 sugar break be around 1.036...2/3's of 108 ? Or, would it be 1.041...which is 108-66.66 (figuring 100 point drop)? I know it's not a big difference, I'm just trying to figure out the correct way to figure that.

Thanks!
Ed
2/3 sugar break would be 1.036 (108/3 is 36). Even a rough calculation is fine. Enjoy!
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