The Great Bottle Opener Giveaway

Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > backsweetening

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 10-06-2009, 04:11 PM   #1
lowlife
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 688
Liked 11 Times on 8 Posts
Likes Given: 33

Default backsweetening

I made my first mead around the beginning of the year. Its was JAOM. Its ok but not something I would make again (at least not with cloves). I also made a 5 gallon batch of mead (with just honey, water, and a couple oranges) around the same time a couple weeks later. I have racked it three times and is now completely cleared and has been aging for quite a while. At first it tasted like rubbing alcohol, then like vodka, then like white wine, and yesterday I noticed that now you can taste the honey as an after taste. Its getting much better. Im not sure If Im going to backsweeten or not. It fermented pretty dry (cant remember the reading). If I were to try backsweetening what is suggested chemical to add to kill of the yeast. I have read about several that work. Which suits my needs? I am not going to carbonate and plan to bottle still. I will probably age until Christmas and then bottle.

__________________

Last edited by lowlife; 10-06-2009 at 06:13 PM.
lowlife is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-06-2009, 04:31 PM   #2
Smogre
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Smogre's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Colorado
Posts: 265
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default

In general, you would use sorbate to "kill off" the yeast.

__________________
aisle19
Smogre is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-06-2009, 04:57 PM   #3
hightest
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Bridgeton, NJ
Posts: 441
Liked 17 Times on 6 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smogre View Post
In general, you would use sorbate to "kill off" the yeast.
Sorbate does not "kill off" yeast and will not stop an active fermentation. It does however work synergistically with KMETA.

Sorbate additions should be made AFTER active fermentation has finished, and together with KMETA. Those who make wine kits will note that they all add these two chemicals after the SG has stabilized at (or below) 1.000

What sorbate does is merely inhibit renewed yeast activity under the correct conditions...
__________________

Visit me at the Brew Brothers

hightest is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-06-2009, 05:54 PM   #4
wayneb
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Evergreen, Colorado
Posts: 211
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts

Default

More specifically, you want to ensure that the mead is stable. That is, you want to make sure that it won't pick back up and re-ferment just because you added more sugars. That can be done by sterile sub-micron filtration (removing all the yeast), or if you're like the rest of us and can't afford several hundred $ for a good filter setup, you can stabilize chemically using a combination of potassium metabisulfite and potassium sorbate. The metabisulfite does several things - first, it deactivates (kills off) most of the yeast cells that are still alive after fermentation is done. It also kills off malolactic bacteria - which is very important if you are going to be adding sorbate, and I'll tell you why in a minute.

But first, let me tell you why sorbate is also needed. The remaining yeast (and unless you use enough metabisulfite to leave a noticeable flavor/aroma of burnt matches in your mead, you will likely have a few hardy yeast survivors) could still, given enough time, build up a population sufficient to re-start the fermentation. By adding sorbate you prevent the yeast from being able to bud - so it is effectively "birth control" for your yeast. Eventually, even those hardy old souls that survived the sulfite treatment will expire, so sulfite and sorbate make an effective one-two punch to keep fermentation in check.

But, if you only relied on sorbate to keep things in check, you might be in for an unpleasant shock. Malolactic bacteria, if there are any present in your mead, will metabolize sorbate, and turn it into a nasty smelling substance called geraniol. Some people compare its aroma to that of wilted geranium flowers; others compare it to citronella. Either way, it is not something that you want in your mead. And even worse, it is chemically stable so once it has been produced in a mead it never breaks down, and will be there forever.

Ha! Hightest beat me to the punchline again!! That's what I get for starting a response, only to be distracted for a bit by "real" work....

__________________
wayneb is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-06-2009, 06:00 PM   #5
hightest
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Bridgeton, NJ
Posts: 441
Liked 17 Times on 6 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by wayneb View Post
Ha! Hightest beat me to the punchline again!! That's what I get for starting a response, only to be distracted for a bit by "real" work....
That's ok - you wrote the more detailed and comprehensive reply.
__________________

Visit me at the Brew Brothers

hightest is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-06-2009, 06:09 PM   #6
AZ_IPA
PKU
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
AZ_IPA's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: The Cold Part of AZ
Posts: 41,692
Liked 5967 Times on 5241 Posts
Likes Given: 669

Default

Best multiquote ever!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hightest View Post

What sorbate does is merely inhibit renewed yeast activity under the correct conditions...
and now for the correct conditions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by wayneb View Post
More specifically, you want to ensure that the mead is stable. That is, you want to make sure that it won't pick back up and re-ferment just because you added more sugars. That can be done by sterile sub-micron filtration (removing all the yeast), or if you're like the rest of us and can't afford several hundred $ for a good filter setup, you can stabilize chemically using a combination of potassium metabisulfite and potassium sorbate. The metabisulfite does several things - first, it deactivates (kills off) most of the yeast cells that are still alive after fermentation is done. It also kills off malolactic bacteria - which is very important if you are going to be adding sorbate, and I'll tell you why in a minute.

But first, let me tell you why sorbate is also needed. The remaining yeast (and unless you use enough metabisulfite to leave a noticeable flavor/aroma of burnt matches in your mead, you will likely have a few hardy yeast survivors) could still, given enough time, build up a population sufficient to re-start the fermentation. By adding sorbate you prevent the yeast from being able to bud - so it is effectively "birth control" for your yeast. Eventually, even those hardy old souls that survived the sulfite treatment will expire, so sulfite and sorbate make an effective one-two punch to keep fermentation in check.

But, if you only relied on sorbate to keep things in check, you might be in for an unpleasant shock. Malolactic bacteria, if there are any present in your mead, will metabolize sorbate, and turn it into a nasty smelling substance called geraniol. Some people compare its aroma to that of wilted geranium flowers; others compare it to citronella. Either way, it is not something that you want in your mead. And even worse, it is chemically stable so once it has been produced in a mead it never breaks down, and will be there forever.
__________________
AZ_IPA is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-06-2009, 06:12 PM   #7
lowlife
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 688
Liked 11 Times on 8 Posts
Likes Given: 33

Default

Thanks for the info!

__________________
lowlife is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-06-2009, 06:30 PM   #8
Smogre
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Smogre's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Colorado
Posts: 265
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by hightest View Post
Sorbate does not "kill off" yeast and will not stop an active fermentation. It does however work synergistically with KMETA.

Sorbate additions should be made AFTER active fermentation has finished, and together with KMETA. Those who make wine kits will note that they all add these two chemicals after the SG has stabilized at (or below) 1.000

What sorbate does is merely inhibit renewed yeast activity under the correct conditions...
Thanks for the non-general answer. I couldn't of done it better myself. As a matter of fact, I didn't.
__________________
aisle19
Smogre is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-08-2009, 06:58 PM   #9
mrgoodcheese
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 38
Default

You've already removed most of the yeast through time that it has settled out, and your 3 rackings. I'd just add 5/8 teaspoon pot. sulfite and 2.5 teaspoons sorbate to your 5 gallons, then backsweeten. After that I'd let it sit for a couple of months to settle again.

__________________
mrgoodcheese is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Apfelwein backsweetening Dagatris General Techniques 6 10-07-2009 03:00 AM
Is filtration enough to allow for backsweetening? Tonedef131 Bottling/Kegging 8 06-29-2009 10:52 PM
Backsweetening Question claphamsa Mead Forum 3 06-05-2009 12:32 PM
Backsweetening question? timmystank Cider Forum 12 05-30-2009 03:51 AM
Cloudy after backsweetening dqeuvtcxotaa Mead Forum 10 04-12-2008 04:53 PM