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Old 02-08-2010, 02:31 PM   #1
Texron
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Default Sweet Mead Yeast Question

I started a standard mead a month ago using White Labs Sweet Mead Yeast. I used an 15 pounds of an Indonesian Floral Honey and water to five gallons. My starting gravity was 1.110. I don't have any way to check the Ph but I added 2 1/2 teaspon Ferment K at the start and another same amount when the fermentation was very active. I was expecting the mead to finish sweet, but having never used this yeast before have no idea what the finishing gravity should be. Its now at 1.043 and doesn't seem as if it is going to go any further.It actually tastes pretty good as it is but I would like it just a bit dryer.

Does this finishing gravity sound right? If not, any suggestions?


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Old 02-08-2010, 02:45 PM   #2
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It sounds stuck. You are at about 9% ABV and if this is the Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast it should be able to go to 11-12%. It is notoriously finicky. What temp are you keeping it?

I'd find a way to check the pH (borrow from someone) as that may be your problem, and if corrected, the yeast may be able to go a bit further.

If not, your choices are to enjoy it sweet, or make a dry batch to blend with it, or to try to pitch another yeast.

Medsen

Edit - I see it is the White lab strain. The alcohol tolerance is even higher (but it is also finicky). This means you are indeed stuck.



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Old 02-08-2010, 02:50 PM   #3
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Yes - as I've mentioned before, I've seen more "what happened to my fermentation?" threads in this forum involving liquid Sweet Mead Yeast than I could care to count. I'd repitch with a proven and reliable dry yeast. IMO 1.043 is far, far too sweet to even think about drinking.
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Old 02-08-2010, 03:12 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick replies. What yeast would you recommend? Also, I want it to be about a medium sweetness and was hoping for something about 1.020. Does that sound right?
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:02 PM   #5
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1.020 would be at the very, very high end for a sweet mead and to me, that much sweetness is cloying but everyone's tastes are different.
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:07 PM   #6
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The yeast that are good for restarts (that can start functioning in 9% ABV - a very hostile place) tend to be high alcohol tolerance strains like EC-1118, UvaFerm 43, and the like. If you get one of them going, they will probably take it dry.

You might be better off to blend with a dry batch so you can adjust the level of sweetness to get it where you like.
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:15 PM   #7
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Blending sounds like the best alternative to get it where I want it. Might have a better chance at exercising some control that way. Do you think a gallon batch would be enough to tone it down?
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:13 PM   #8
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I did a few math calculations and it seems a little of the 1.043 goes a long, long way. I am thinking I could make a three gallon batch-and I think I have enough honey left to do so. If I could ferment it down to a 0.990 final gravity and blend two gallons of the 1.043 I should have something like a 1.016 for the blend.

Then I would have a whole lot left over for "back-sweetening" future batches.

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Old 02-09-2010, 10:27 PM   #9
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I would get a new yeast like D47 going in a starter, then pitch that. And when the SG gets to where you want it to be, stop the yeast by racking onto sulfite and sorbate. As long as you don't use a super strong yeast like Lalvin 1118, you can be control the ending sweetness consistently.
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Old 02-09-2010, 11:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrgoodcheese View Post
I would get a new yeast like D47 going in a starter, then pitch that. And when the SG gets to where you want it to be, stop the yeast by racking onto sulfite and sorbate.
This is not a reliable way to stop a fermenting wine yeast. Sorbate and sulfite are very good a keep a fermentation that has stopped from restarting, but they are just not able to consistently stop an active fermentation unless you use them in high doses that will leave you with off flavors.

Texron, you can use a yeast to restart (preferably one good for restarts) and then stop it at the desired gravity by cold-crashing it - putting it in a fridge with the temp below 40F (with or without a dose of sulfite). That will put the yeast to sleep and you can let the mead clear. Then rack it onto sorbate and sulfite and you'll be able to keep it from starting to ferment again. If you have a fridge or cold place that you can do this with, it is an effective alternative.

Medsen


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