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-   -   Questions about making sweeter meads (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/questions-about-making-sweeter-meads-154443/)

dacole 12-31-2009 03:39 PM

Questions about making sweeter meads
So I plan on making a simple Cyser. It calls for:

1 gallon of apple juice
2-4 lbs honey (I got 2.2 lbs)
1 packet of champagne yeast (I will probably get EC-1118 because its all over here locally)

It says in the text that this will produce a dry cyser. I was wondering how one would make a sweeter mead than this. I plan to list what I have learned below and was hoping you all could tell me where I am wrong and some other options I may have not heard about yet.

1. Start with more honey.
2. Use Sodium Bisulfite or Campden Tablets to stop fermentation so as to leave some sugars around.
3. Add Potassium Sorbate and sugar after fermentation is done to add sweetness back in (backsweeten).
4. Start with same amount of honey (not necessarily this recipe above) and use a yeast that produces less alcohol then a champagne yeast.

Am I missing any other methods or are these even correct?


bubbachunk 12-31-2009 04:15 PM

#2 will not work. I recommend using a lower abv yeast and figuring out what gravity you need to start so the yeast will die out leaving some sweetness.

thorson138 12-31-2009 04:25 PM

It sounds like you have all the info you need! Any of those methods will work. I think the best thing you could do would be to let it finish dry then when it's done sweeten it back to taste. Add your potassium sorbate then add a cup of honey and stir it in very well then sample it to see if it's where you want it. I don't recall if you're making a 5gal batch or not. If you're making less than 5gal then use less honey at a time to sweeten it back. Also, you could use a less powerful yeast. Something that doesn't have quite as high of an alcohol tolerance like D47 or something like that. You could use one of the lower tolerance yeasts and and put in more sugar to start with and it could finish sweet for ya. I just got done doing a batch of traditional sweet mead that way. Good luck and have fun!:rockin:

david_42 12-31-2009 04:27 PM

All but #2 will work, Campden kills bacteria.

dacole 12-31-2009 05:00 PM

Thanks guys. I planned on doing a one gallon batch with this. So these would be acceptable methods to achieve a sweeter mead then:

1. Start with more honey.
2. Add Potassium Sorbate and sugar after fermentation is done to add sweetness back in (backsweeten).
3. Start with same amount of honey (not necessarily this recipe above) and use a yeast that produces less alcohol then a champagne yeast.

I will make it as is so that I can see if I like it dry and if I don't I can backsweeten it from there.

You guys are very helpful. I have never been on a forum were theres been 4 people viewed a thread and 3 of them have responded.

hightest 12-31-2009 05:11 PM

Regardless of whether or not Campden (bisulfite, or others) will, or will not, effectively stop an in progress fermentation, I tend to follow Dr. Clayton Cone's (Lallemand fermentation scientist) opinion that forceably stopping an active fermentation is not a wise choice - the reasons are somewhere in my files. This knowledge was shared during an email while I was reverse engineering a pyment recipe for which the author kept no brew records.

While I may attempt to construct a recipe that finishes at a particular SG, if it does not then I simply back-sweeten at the end, and allow the result to clear before bottling.

jezter6 12-31-2009 05:26 PM

Everyone here seems to be on the right track. #2 may or may not work, but it's highly likely it will not work as well as you want anyway.

I would ditch the champagne yeast and go with a wine or sweet mead yeast. The sweet mead yeast appears to crap out right around 11%.

If you do crap out at 11% with the sweet mead yeast, you'll be left at ~1.020 - which might be a touch too sweet, but probably very drinkable.

KenSchramm 12-31-2009 05:34 PM

Like Thorson and Bubbachunk have said, but more emphatically: #1 Priority: do not use EC-1118. Find a yeast with a lower alcohol tolerance.

It may take some legwork, but mail order some 71B-1122 or a Riesling strain. Add another pound of honey to the recipe, and use a little nutrient. 3/4 tsp of Diammonium phosphate and 1/2 t Fermaid K. Aerate it well before you pitch, and you should be on the right track.

Happy New Year.


dacole 12-31-2009 09:32 PM

Thanks for the replies again.

I think for my second batch I will go for a lower alcohol tolerant yeast but for now I was thinking of using the EC-1118. My intention was to try and get the dry cyser like the article says will be produced and then sweeten it if I donít like it. I donít like dry wines so I imagine I will end up sweetening it. That way I will get to try one of the techiniques that I have read about and listed above so that I can learn from it.

My second batch I will try with lower alcohol tolerante yeast as has been suggested.

Hi Ken,

I have looked through your book before and will have to get it from the library again and read it. I just wanted to clarify some of the things you have mentioned. Is that a Ĺ tsp or Ĺ tbsp that you have listed for the Fermaid K?

I had read before that using the apple juice would help negate the use of nutrients. Do you think this recipe I have listed for the Simple Dry Cyser will work fine without them?

So my first recipe I will use is:

Simple Dry Cyser
1 gallon of apple juice
2.2 lbs honey
1 packet of EC-1118

and the second based off of recommendations here:

Sweet Cyser
1 gallon apple juice
3 lbs honey
1 packet 71B-1122 or a Riesling yeast or D-47
ĺ tsp diammonium phosphate
Ĺ (tsp or tbsp) Fermaid K

KenSchramm 12-31-2009 09:57 PM

That's teaspoon, since it's only a one gallon batch.

I can't stop you from using the 1118, but I have yet to make a mead with 1118 that I really liked. It's just too aggressive. It will strip that must clean, and leave very little fruit or honey character for when you backsweeten. Apple juice should not negate nutrients. It will provide some nitrogen, but not as much as you'll need for a must of that gravity. Without nutrients, 1118 will definitely exaggerate its tendency to push higher alcohols. I'd wait the time it'll take to order a friendlier yeast and some nutrient, if I was making it. Meadmaking rewards patience, in more ways than one. But ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chances. It's always your call.

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