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Old 02-11-2009, 03:44 PM   #1
claphamsa
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So everyone seems to like the sweet meade better.... figure that!

I have 2 batches that are approaching 6 months, the plan is to medicate them (campden and um the other yeast killer ) then back sweeten... ideally I would like to bottle them this weekend.

how do yalls go about back sweetening? Can I medicate today, then back sweeten with honey in the bottling bucket? and just hit it with the wine whip? Or do i need to let it sit on it till it naturally absorbs?


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Old 02-11-2009, 04:03 PM   #2
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I've heard of some people using Splenda to back sweeten. No personal experience, though.



 
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Old 02-11-2009, 04:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jif View Post
I've heard of some people using Splenda to back sweeten. No personal experience, though.
AAAGGGGHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

People this is mead. Using anything other than honey to sweeten the nearly finished product is anathema, seriously so.

This is a really good question Clap. If you don't ensure that the honey dissolves you have uneven sweetening; if you stir with a wine whip you add in too much oxygen. What to do?

Perhaps dissolve the honey in a small amount of warm/hot water then add to the container for a few weeks before bottling?
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Old 02-11-2009, 04:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jif View Post
I've heard of some people using Splenda to back sweeten. No personal experience, though.
splenda makes everything taste funny too!
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Old 02-11-2009, 04:26 PM   #5
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I would assume that
1) you'd want to dissolve the honey in a solution
2) You'd want to ensure that it's mixed up.

I would do like priming sugar for bottling brew - mix the honey in water and then put in the bottling bucket when cool enough then rack the mead onto it and do a nice steady non-aerating stir like we did to mix the priming sugar back before we were keggers.
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Old 02-11-2009, 04:37 PM   #6
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Well, the best way to answer your question is to explain how the yeast terminators do their jobs. Metabisulfite (Campden is just potassium or sodium metabisulfite pressed into tablet form) produces sulfur dioxide in the mead. Molecular SO2 in the mead will, at a high enough level, kill all the yeast (and most other spoilage organisms) in there. The amount of SO2 actually available to do the dirty deed really depends on a couple of things in the mead -- first and foremost is pH. Generally speaking the lower the pH the more SO2 is able to function as a yeast killer. The other factor to consider is how much of that SO2 becomes "bound" by organic chemicals in the mead -- the more that is bound, the less is "free" to finish off your yeast.

That said, figuring out exactly how much metabisulfite to add can be an exercise in analytical chemistry, or you can choose to add typical "rule of thumb" amounts of Campden tabs, which often are conservatively adjusted assuming your pH is relatively high, and most of the time you're good to go.

The other yeast terminator isn't actually a killer -- it is more like "the Pill" for yeast. Potassium sorbate naturally inhibits the production of hormones in yeast that cause them to bud, and thus prevents them from reproducing. So a complete stabilization of your mead involves adding metabisulfite to kill outright nearly all the yeast cells in there, and sorbate to prevent any stragglers from starting a whole new yeast colony.

You want to be sure to add your metabisulfite relatively soon before bottling. The effect is nearly immediate (yeast are terminated about as quickly as a can of Raid works on houseflies), and then an immediate addition of sorbate will keep everything nice and stable. You don't want to wait too long before the sorbate is added, since the free SO2 in your mead will dissipate as SO2 gas starts coming out of solution almost as soon as you add metabisulfite. SO2 levels will naturally drop with time. SO2, in addition to killing yeast, also eliminates malolactic bacteria. If you happen to get some wild malolactic culture in your mead, and if there isn't enough SO2 to eliminate it, then the bacteria will, along with converting malic acid to lactic acid, also start "eating" the sorbate, turning it into a vile organic chemical that smells a lot like rotten geraniums. There's no way to remove that geranium odor once it is in there, so it is best to do the one-two punch of sulfite and sorbate just before you bottle.

Hope that makes some sense.

 
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Old 02-11-2009, 04:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jezter6 View Post
I would assume that
1) you'd want to dissolve the honey in a solution
2) You'd want to ensure that it's mixed up.

I would do like priming sugar for bottling brew - mix the honey in water and then put in the bottling bucket when cool enough then rack the mead onto it and do a nice steady non-aerating stir like we did to mix the priming sugar back before we were keggers.

you remember how high quality my bottles were
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayneb View Post
Well, the best way to answer your question is to explain how the yeast terminators do their jobs. Metabisulfite (Campden is just potassium or sodium metabisulfite pressed into tablet form) produces sulfur dioxide in the mead. Molecular SO2 in the mead will, at a high enough level, kill all the yeast (and most other spoilage organisms) in there. The amount of SO2 actually available to do the dirty deed really depends on a couple of things in the mead -- first and foremost is pH. Generally speaking the lower the pH the more SO2 is able to function as a yeast killer. The other factor to consider is how much of that SO2 becomes "bound" by organic chemicals in the mead -- the more that is bound, the less is "free" to finish off your yeast.

That said, figuring out exactly how much metabisulfite to add can be an exercise in analytical chemistry, or you can choose to add typical "rule of thumb" amounts of Campden tabs, which often are conservatively adjusted assuming your pH is relatively high, and most of the time you're good to go.

The other yeast terminator isn't actually a killer -- it is more like "the Pill" for yeast. Potassium sorbate naturally inhibits the production of hormones in yeast that cause them to bud, and thus prevents them from reproducing. So a complete stabilization of your mead involves adding metabisulfite to kill outright nearly all the yeast cells in there, and sorbate to prevent any stragglers from starting a whole new yeast colony.

You want to be sure to add your metabisulfite relatively soon before bottling. The effect is nearly immediate (yeast are terminated about as quickly as a can of Raid works on houseflies), and then an immediate addition of sorbate will keep everything nice and stable. You don't want to wait too long before the sorbate is added, since the free SO2 in your mead will dissipate as SO2 gas starts coming out of solution almost as soon as you add metabisulfite. SO2 levels will naturally drop with time. SO2, in addition to killing yeast, also eliminates malolactic bacteria. If you happen to get some wild malolactic culture in your mead, and if there isn't enough SO2 to eliminate it, then the bacteria will, along with converting malic acid to lactic acid, also start "eating" the sorbate, turning it into a vile organic chemical that smells a lot like rotten geraniums. There's no way to remove that geranium odor once it is in there, so it is best to do the one-two punch of sulfite and sorbate just before you bottle.

Hope that makes some sense.
it does... so add the killers right before I sweeten... but I do need to sweeten in there.

Good info on the killers though

and welcome!
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:08 PM   #9
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So Wayne - what's your backsweetening process?

For others... WayneB is a widely respected gotmead dot com member/mentor.

A gotmead search for "how to backsweeten" gives some insight:

How to Backsweeten

Clap - I would use the gotmead calculator (do a google) and set it up so that your volume and F.G. are inputs and let the calculator tell you how much honey it would take to get to a certain F.G. I give a list of typical F.G.'s below.


From: Ken Schramm's The Compleat Meadmaker:

Dry Mead: 0.099 to 1.006 (or lower)
Medium Mead: 1.006 to 1.015
Sweet Mead: 1.015 to 1.020
Dessert Mead: 1.020+
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Primaries: Old Ale, Barleywine, ESB, Scottish 80/.
Secondaries: Lime Wine, Strawberry-Banana Mead, Carmenere (from 144 lbs of grapes!), Engl. Barleywine, Modded JOAM, Concord Grape Pyment.
Kegs: Choc/Coffee Stout, Saison, Dry Stout.
Bottles: Belgian Str. Dark, Dubbel, Cider X 2, Modded JOAM, RJS Pinot Noir, RJS Aussie Cab. Sauv.
Coming soon: Blueberry Mead.

 
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:13 PM   #10
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As an addendum to my prior post:

From:A few pointers please.

"Do keep in mind that sweetness is not just of function of gravity and residual sugar. For any particular level of residual sugar, alcohol will tend to enhance the sweetness, while acids and tannins will tend to reduce it. In an extreme example I have made meads with a final gravity of around 1.070 that tasted only a little sweet due to large acid load- nice though, and great body."


__________________
Relax, don't worry etc. and so on.

Primaries: Old Ale, Barleywine, ESB, Scottish 80/.
Secondaries: Lime Wine, Strawberry-Banana Mead, Carmenere (from 144 lbs of grapes!), Engl. Barleywine, Modded JOAM, Concord Grape Pyment.
Kegs: Choc/Coffee Stout, Saison, Dry Stout.
Bottles: Belgian Str. Dark, Dubbel, Cider X 2, Modded JOAM, RJS Pinot Noir, RJS Aussie Cab. Sauv.
Coming soon: Blueberry Mead.

 
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