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Old 03-02-2010, 09:26 PM   #11
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If your're finishing at 1.004-1.008 and are going lower than that (due to fermenting sugars to carb) then you're also not talking about SWEET mead, which is the topic of the thread.

If you know you're down in the last ~5-10 gravity points and it physically can't go any lower, then yeah -you're probably pretty safe. If you're talking about doing it sweet (around 1.020) and it has the potential to dry out back down to the 1.000 range --- then you are in very dangerous explosion territory.


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Old 03-02-2010, 09:59 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by HoneyJack View Post
If your SG is in the 1004-1008 range, your not going to blow anything up. Beer bottles can easily handle that kind of pressure.
You can find various tables that will show you a gravity of 1.008 corresponds to roughly 24 g/L of sugar. Fermentation of 4 grams/L produce 1 volume of CO2, so at this gravity you can produce about 6 volumes of CO2, and about 5 atmospheres of pressure. That will be roughly 75 PSI at room temp in a beer bottle - kids don't try this at home!

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I hear so many tales of exploding bottles, but haven't had anything blow up. I have 25 cases of a failed hard cider experiment that need to be opened outside, or somewhere you don't want to repaint again (like my kitchen).
HoneyJack, I am glad that you and your family have never experienced exploding bottles. I have. Fortunately they were inside my spare fridge (which had lost power) - I had a big mess but no injuries. If you take a tour of any Champagne house, the one thing they all share in common is broken glass, and these are Champagne bottles designed to hold beverages with 6 atmospheres of pressure. Glass is inherently unpredictable, and to generate excessive pressure inside bottles is tempting fate. I would encourage you and anyone reading this to consider safer practices.

Good Mazing!
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:54 PM   #13
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Related noob question.
Can't you just ferment and rack like you normally would for 9 months or so, and then add back a measured dose of sugar? There might not be much yeast leftover after racking 5 times, but I bet there's still enough to carb up if given enough time.

No?
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Old 03-02-2010, 11:03 PM   #14
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Related noob question.
Can't you just ferment and rack like you normally would for 9 months or so, and then add back a measured dose of sugar? There might not be much yeast leftover after racking 5 times, but I bet there's still enough to carb up if given enough time.

No?
Right, but then what makes it sweet if all the sugar has been fermented away?


It's approaching 8 months since I brewed the mead I wanted to do this with, so I am thinking about bottling again. So, this question is once again relevant, and I never really had a satisfactory answer. Or at least no answer that achieved the result I'm after.

How about this solution?

I add some lactose to sweeten, then add a bit more honey or sugar for carbonation. This mead has been at .096 or thereabouts for months, so I'm not particularly worried about it fermenting out any further than whatever I add to it.
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Old 03-02-2010, 11:05 PM   #15
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Right, but then what makes it sweet if all the sugar has been fermented away?
What? I don't understand. If you brew a high gravity sweet mead recipe to begin with, it will end up sweet, even though the fermentation is complete.
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Old 03-02-2010, 11:07 PM   #16
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I think .0960 is an incorrect reading. I'm sure you mean .996.

I think lactose would be fine, if you like the taste. Or spenda if you can stand the taste of it. You may need to add some fresh yeast to carbonate, especially since the mead is clear and has been finished for a long while. If you have a pretty high ABV, though, that wouldn't work since the high ABV would "poison" the yeast. So, what's the ABV of this mead?

How's it taste? Do you think it'll taste better sweetened with lactose, and carbonated? The reason I ask is that I've never yet had a mead that was better sparkling. Or sweetened with anything except honey, and only to off-dry. A sweet mead just isn't my thing. It may be exactly what you're looking for, though.
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Old 03-02-2010, 11:15 PM   #17
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I think .0960 is an incorrect reading. I'm sure you mean .996.
You are correct, I just made a typo.

The current ABV is not very high; around 10%.


My initial idea for this was to make something akin to Framboise in mead form in terms of mouthfeel and sweetness.
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Old 03-02-2010, 11:28 PM   #18
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What? I don't understand. If you brew a high gravity sweet mead recipe to begin with, it will end up sweet, even though the fermentation is complete.
If there's ANY yeast left to carb, then there's yeast left to make bottle bombs.

The yeast don't magically stop at an exact point. There's a science to it, and yeast is quite unpredictable.

If there's residual sugars (sweetness) and yeast available to carb - then there's the potential for bombs.

In theory, you may be correct. IE: if a yeast has a 14% tolerance, and you decide to bottle it somewhere around 13% - (these are generic figures because I don't do math) you would (again in theory) carb up while it eats that 1% remaining.

However, 14% yeasts have been known to hit 15, 16 or even 17%. There's no automatic shut off point where the yeast knows exactly when to die. It's a living organism that "generally" dies off at 14%...but how many times have you seen a good hearty 14% yeast poop out at 12%??? Plenty of times. They die early, they stay alive longer than they should, and sometimes they die where they're supposed to.

Some people tempt fate and survive, but its certainly not something that anyone should recommend to others.
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Old 03-03-2010, 03:47 AM   #19
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Default Dry ice?

I was buying dry ice recently and noticed that the dry ice manufacturer had included a "recipe" for homemade soda. It entailed putting some small quantity of dry ice into a bottle (PET for their case), adding flavored sugar water, and capping. Voila - sparkling fizzy drink. That got me thinking - can you sorbate a mead, bottle it with some dry ice and carbonate it that way? Has anyonw tried this? You'd need a scale, of course, but seems like this could work.
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:28 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jezter6 View Post
If there's ANY yeast left to carb, then there's yeast left to make bottle bombs.

The yeast don't magically stop at an exact point. There's a science to it, and yeast is quite unpredictable.

If there's residual sugars (sweetness) and yeast available to carb - then there's the potential for bombs.

In theory, you may be correct. IE: if a yeast has a 14% tolerance, and you decide to bottle it somewhere around 13% - (these are generic figures because I don't do math) you would (again in theory) carb up while it eats that 1% remaining.

However, 14% yeasts have been known to hit 15, 16 or even 17%. There's no automatic shut off point where the yeast knows exactly when to die. It's a living organism that "generally" dies off at 14%...but how many times have you seen a good hearty 14% yeast poop out at 12%??? Plenty of times. They die early, they stay alive longer than they should, and sometimes they die where they're supposed to.

Some people tempt fate and survive, but its certainly not something that anyone should recommend to others.
I'm sorry, but you're assuming that a yeast in a sweet mead environment is done fermenting when it hits its a hypothetical max alcohol tolerance or when ALL of the yeast has flocced out. I just don't think that's correct. First of all, alcohol tolerance (using a wine yeast, no less) is rarely what makes yeast crap out. It's almost always lack of readily available fermentables and nutrients. Second, honey is full of all sorts of complex sugars that the yeast is not able to ferment. Not all flavors that you perceive as sweetness are generated by compounds that yeast are able to ferment.


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