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Old 05-12-2010, 04:05 AM   #1
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Default Controlling FG: a filtering question

So we all know that hitting a target FG above completely freaking dry is difficult to do. Well, not difficult, but each option comes with its costs and benefits.

1. Yeast selection - some are more or less attenuative, and of course, there is the option to use beer yeasts. Granted, I've never tried this, and maybe others can chime in. Have you guys experienced any ale-like flavors?

2. Start with higher gravity - Will finish sweeter of course, and I've tried this. But what if you don't want to have a 14% abv mead? Some people (ie. guests) may want something less alcoholic.

3. Kill the yeast... kill it dead. Two ways to do this, neither of which I've tried. Theoretically, you could kill it before you reach terminal gravity, although I haven't read anyone ever trying to do this. Also, kill the yeast, then backsweeten, which is more popular. Any flavor effects of using sulfites, Cambden tablets, etc? What about its effects on aging?

4. Filtering, which leads to the point of this whole thread. Since I already own a filter, I plan on filtering all my meads at a certain point. Before you ask, I do it because I can. I've already filtered several meads with good success, but it's always after a few months. However, the big question: What are the effects on stopping fermentation (let's say at 1.015) via filtering on aging? Will the mead still age well, or is the yeast doing the conditioning?

I can already imagine that the yeast won't have a chance to clean up after themselves... but I've never tried it. Anyone one? Bueller?

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Old 05-12-2010, 02:06 PM   #2
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You can stop a fermentation with filtration, but you need to remove all the yeast. That sounds easier than it is. It requires more than the typical pad filters. Most of the filters you see are "nominal." That means they may filter out somewhere between 50-90% of the particles at a certain size. So even a nominal 0.5 micron filter may allow particle as big as 1 micron to pass through, and that is plenty big enough for yeast to get through. If enough yeast get through, fermentation will restart.

To get all the yeast you need to use "absolute" filters which will remove 99.9% of the particles. These are membrane filters, and if you use a pore size of 0.65 microns or smaller, you should be able to get all the yeast (assuming there is no problem with filter integrity). These filters usually cost quite a bit more ($80-100 for 10 inch cartridge filters). Filtering a cloudy mead can clog a filter fairly quickly, but you can usually run a 5 gallon batch through a 10 inch filter in one pass - but if you want to prefilter it, that helps.

A useful way to make it easier is to cold crash the mead in a fridge for a couple of weeks to drop as many of the yeast out of suspension as possible before the filtration.

I hope that helps.


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Old 05-12-2010, 04:35 PM   #3
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I have been looking at filters for this very purpose. I think it would work well as long as you are using absolute filters.

In the mean time, I will place it in the fridge to slow/stop fermentation, let it sit for a few days, rack, and then add K-meta and sorbate. It works well and is a good cheap solution until I can get a filter.
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:55 PM   #4
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I've made a lot of mead with Edme ale yeast, now sold by Fermentis as S-33. It stops at 14% ABV. it does require aging, and there's no ale 'off flavors/aromas' like juicy fruit, etc...provided you ferment as optimally as possible.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:21 PM   #5
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you left out one idea. add enough honey to hit your target alcohol. then once its done add some potassium sorbet (bad spelling) to prevent future fermentation. then add enough honey to hit your target FG. you where hopefully going to add the potassium anyway, right?

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