Hello! New member, so happy I found this forum! So on to the cry for help part....
My first Mead is in secondary, been there for around three months, done fermenting. Its a basic sweet mead, 6 gal, 12 pounds buckwheat honey. I want to back-sweeten, or possibly add some more flavor before its too late.... thinking a vanilla or maple flavor, or just more honey. Not real sure how to go about doing this though.
So do I add some honey / maple / brown sugar or whatever, and let it furment again? Or should I add a tablet (not sure about name, just function) to stop fermentation from starting again? How long before I want to add the tablet? (Assuming I do at all).
Thank you so very much, oh Mead masters!
Once the mead is very clear, and no longer dropping any lees at all, you can rack into a new carboy into a solution of 1 crushed campden tablet per gallon, and 1/2 teaspoon of potassium sorbate per gallon. I dissolve those in about 1/2 cup boiling water, and make sure it's mixed up well, then pour that into the receiving carboy. Then, rack the mead into it. Wait a few days, then sweeten to taste with whatever you'd like to use.
I'd probably pull out a sample, and put it in several small test jars (shot glasses) and see what I like best- a little honey diluted in some water, some brown sugar, some brown sugar, or whatever you think sounds good. I normally just like more honey, but you could try several different things to see what you like.
When you find one that is perfect, then take out a bigger sample and make the bigger sample the same way. Take the SG reading of that sample, and then sweeten the whole batch to that SG. I'd sweeten to just a tad under where you want it to end up, though- for some reason, it seems to taste a little sweeter after being in the bottle for a while. So, if you love it at, say, 1.010, then sweeten the entire batch to 1.008. Wait three days, under airlock, to make sure fermentation doesn't restart and that the mead doesn't cloud up on you. Then it can be bottled.
Yooper said it all right!
I just want to add that Buckwheat honey seems to have some strong flavors and when striped of the sugars, some batches may have a grassy/wheaty taste to it. Friend of mine made a pure buckwheat mead and was not overly pleased. So backsweetening would be a must IMO and if you use honey, use a clover honey or another verietal. Also I think Vanilla would be a complimenting flavor profile to buckwheat. Think about getting a couple of real vanilla beans, Split them down the middle and drop the whole thing in your next racking after back sweetening. Great thing about traditional meads is that it is never too late to add a flavor.
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