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Old 10-08-2010, 10:39 PM   #1
eulipion2
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Default Help backsweetening a blueberry melomel

Hello,
I've got a blueberry melomel I've been aging for a few months now, primarily because it's really dry, and I don't know how to backsweeten it.

The recipe consisted of 13.5 lb honey, 10 lb blueberries, and 2 oz oak cubes plus nutrients, yeasts, and stabilizers (sorbate and campdens).

It was supposed to finish around 1.012 but dried way out to 0.998! I'm wondering if I should backsweeten with honey, blueberry juice, or a combination of the two, and how much? I'd really like the blueberry and honey flavors to pop, but without being too sweet.

I've read posts about "Oh, you need to backsweeten..." but never a follow-up of "Start with xxx amount..." Not wanting to oversweeten or infect, could anyone offer some pointers on backsweetening?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 10-09-2010, 12:34 AM   #2
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Add potassium sorbate to inhibit yeast budding, then add a cup of honey, taste it, then repeat until it's where you want it to be.....that's what I've always heard and have just now started to practice.

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Old 10-09-2010, 02:01 AM   #3
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As a very rough rule of thumb, 3 lbs of honey will add about 18-20 points to your S.G. for a 5 gallon batch. But I'd start with much less and work up from there.

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Old 10-11-2010, 05:32 PM   #4
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First, you'll need to stabilize by adding both potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulphite. You need the combination as neither alone is as effective at preventing the yeast from restarting.

Then take a glass of mead, and add honey a little at a time until you decide that the sweetness level is just right. Then take a gravity reading of that mead in the glass. Now you have a target. You probably want to aim for a little below that point as meads tend to develop a little more sweetness over time. Beside, you can always add more later, but you can't take it out.

A pound of honey in 5 gallons of liquid will typically raise the gravity something close to 8 gravity points (i.e. from 1.000 to 1.008). If you want to be precise with your specific honey, you can take one ounce (weight) of honey and dissolve it in 1 cup of water - then measure the gravity. That will tell you what 1 pound of honey in one gallon of volume will produce. With this info, you can take the volume of your batch and estimate about how much honey you need to reach you goal.

I'd add about half of that amount to begin with and go up slowly from there making sure to keep it under the target.

Now all that assumes you want to use just honey for sweetening. If you want use juice, you can, but the sugar content is much lower in juice, so you get a large dilutional impact on the ABV (yours isn't all that high to begin with). Juice concentrates are sometimes better for sweetening, and you can use the same process I suggest above. You can also add honey to juice (or vice versa) to use both. Generally speaking, I prefer to use the honey for sweetening meads.

You don't need to worry about infection much since you're treating the mead with sorbate/sulfite, and it already has alcohol in it - just keep everything sanitized.

I hope that helps.

Medsen

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Old 10-11-2010, 06:54 PM   #5
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I backsweetened a raspberry melomel a few months back that fermented completly dry. All I did was transfered to a different bucket, added potassium sorbate and let sit for 3 days to make sure ferm didn't restart. Then i took about 8oz of the mead and mixed it with 1 tsp of honey. Just keep adding it in measured amounts until your happy with it. Then I just scaled up to how big my batch was. I think i used right around a cup of honey for a 2.5gal batch. You could notice the sweetness but not overpowering. Worked fine for me.

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Old 10-16-2010, 04:43 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the feedback. So, I sorbated about 6 months ago, and campdened about two months ago because my stopper popped out, allowing in air and gnats, so I over-campdened to prevent infection. So I guess my question is, do I need to re-stabilize?

Thanks!

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Old 10-18-2010, 06:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eulipion2 View Post
So I guess my question is, do I need to re-stabilize?
Probably not. The sorbate is still there. The sulfite fades over time. You can alway get a test kit and measure the free SO2 to see if it remains at an adequate level.
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Old 10-18-2010, 09:32 PM   #8
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Thanks, that's what I thought. Just wanted to be sure though.

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Old 10-18-2010, 09:37 PM   #9
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I think I'm going to go with a cup of honey dissolved into 1/2 cup of blueberry juice. I may switch to blueberry concentrate if I can find it: I really want that blueberry flavor to pop!

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