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Old 11-17-2008, 04:34 PM   #1
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Default Deliberately Surpassing Yeast Alcohol Tolerance

Has anyone experimented with this? Nobody talks about it. Couldn't you just do the math and figure how much sugar to add to a batch where the yeast had a tolerance of say, 15% but there is still sugar remaining once the alcohol level was achieved and the yeast dies off? i don't think there would be a way to carb, save for forcefully carbing, but then you don't have to use campden tabs to bitchup your yeast in order to sweeten before bottling because the sugar is still there.

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Old 11-17-2008, 05:01 PM   #2
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This is a common approach to making a sweet mead. Alcohol tolerance isn't a precise number. Typically, you'll aim at the low-end, let the batch ferment out, then keep adding more fermentables a little at a time, until it stops fermenting. Then sweeten to taste.

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Old 11-17-2008, 05:03 PM   #3
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Yes, that's possible. Problem is, the yeast doesn't always die off when you expect it to. If your yeast is supposed to die at 10%, and it keeps going, you'll just have a higher ABV. If it slows way down, and you think it's stopped, and it hasn't, you've just bottled a set of bombs. They may not burst in a week, or even a month, but they may. So if you try this, remember a few things.
  1. Keep the bottles in the refrigerator.
  2. Drink quickly.
  3. Use 1L soda pop bottles. Plastic shrapnel is safer.
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Old 11-17-2008, 05:12 PM   #4
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I did a sparkling wine like this last year.
Fermented down to 1.010, Into PET bottles - left to ferment cool (yeast was EC-1118) around 12 celcius.
Had to keep an eye (a feel ) on the bottle pressure b/c if it got too intense I would release the caps. It worked quite well

**DANGER** - do not try this at home if you don't really know what you are doing you have to be very certain about where the yeast will stop. Obviously you can't do this with glass
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Old 11-17-2008, 05:42 PM   #5
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That can work, as the others said. The problem is that happy yeast sometimes exceed the expected tolerance. It doesn't really matter, though, as David_42 said, the incremental feeding will eventually overcomb the yeast's ability to ferment. The result will be a sweet cider.

The problem here is that, say your yeast is expected to poop out at 14%, but goes to nearly 18%. You'll have sweetened rocket fuel for about 2 years. After that, it should mellow out, though, and be good. This works better for meads, and wines, because they age longer and have a higher ABV. A cider at over 14% though would be terribly hot and unpleasant. It'd be a wine at that point, and take a couple of years to taste good.

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