Potassium sorbate for backsweetening BEERS

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madscientistbrewNq

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Hey fellas, I'm a science nerd and historically have seen that most additions of fruits, etc will mostly ferment out. I noticed in a BYO edition that they mentioned the use of gelatin (fining out some of the yeast) followed by potassium sorbate to decrease the likelihood of cell counts fermenting out the addition of maple syrup. I just wanted to find out if anyone has used potassium sorbate to essentially backsweeten an imperial stout or scotch ale when something like honey or maple were being added. Honestly this technique begs the question of why not use said product(s) for ensuring adequate fruit presence. Now, I will be first to admit I'm not sure I understand the true rationale of using just potassium sorbate versus potassium sorbate plus potassium metabisulfate other than not adding sulfites to your beer due to some individual intolerances to said compound.

BTW, I do keg plus have a blichmann beer gun so I'm not concerned with cell counts assisting in the carbonation of corn sugar in a bottle.

So anyone tried either just using potassium sorbate and/or the combination of potassium sorbate plus potassium metabisulfate in beer not wine, ciders or mead ;)

If you have did you notice any changes in flavor, etc... I suspect not but I'm staring at this bag of sorbistat K and thinking you better not impact the quality of this 9.5 % maple bourbon breakfast stout I'm trying to achieve.

Thanks again
 

dmtaylor

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Metabisulfite kills bacteria and wild yeast, and acts as a preservative for very long term aging (years). You probably don't need any of that, that's why it's not mentioned.

Sorbate inhibits yeast's ability to replicate. It won't kill them but it prevents budding. So, in a beer, it might slow down the fermentation and/or natural carbonation process slightly. I have not tried sorbate in a beer, however, I doubt you will notice much effect at all. I don't believe it will work very well to preserve sweetness in a beer like it will for wine or cider. But, it also wouldn't hurt to try it if you want to run an experiment with it.

Maple syrup has an extremely mild flavor. Seriously, I tell you, if you want maple flavor in a beer, there are probably only two real ways to do that: If you like the fake Mrs. Butterworth flavor, then add a spice called fenugreek, that's what they use. If you want more realistic maple flavor, then seek out a natural maple flavor extract and use the extract.

Seriously... maple syrup is too mild a flavor to pick it up in the final beer, and only serves to jack up alcohol as it is fully fermentable. And I fear this is true regardless of whether there is sorbate in the beer.
 
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madscientistbrewNq

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Just to update in case anyone looks at some point. I fined the beer, placed in a barrel for a bit over a week, and then transfered to a keg. I added the potassium sorbate ate and let it sit 02 purged for 2 days. I then added a pasteurized volume of cold pressed coffee with 8 Oz of maple syrup. After 1 week I attempted to purge to see if there was any 02 being produced. None appeared to be the case... I then kegged at 1.8 volumes of C02. Turned out well...
 

CatsCradle

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Just to update in case anyone looks at some point. I fined the beer, placed in a barrel for a bit over a week, and then transfered to a keg. I added the potassium sorbate ate and let it sit 02 purged for 2 days. I then added a pasteurized volume of cold pressed coffee with 8 Oz of maple syrup. After 1 week I attempted to purge to see if there was any 02 being produced. None appeared to be the case... I then kegged at 1.8 volumes of C02. Turned out well...
So how was the sweetness? Did it work? was there a noticeable maple flavor?
 

Rob2010SS

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I can say that I also tried this with a maple pecan brown ale I did a year ago. I kegged the beer on top of 125mL of maple syrup, potassium sorbate and a campden tablet. I then bottled from the keg. The maple came through very well and the bottles never refermented (I still have 2 bottles of this actually). Must have worked a little... I believe @dmtaylor you were the one who told me about that method.
 
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madscientistbrewNq

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So how was the sweetness? Did it work? was there a noticeable maple flavor?
Hey sorry I just saw this.... Worked perfectly... I went too far with the maple... Probably would have went 6 oz next time. It really didn't ferment out at all after the potassium sorbate and finings. I predict I prevented any refermentation from any suspending yeast! I didn't win the competition with this beer but had a Homebrew club ask me to do a barrel stout beer with them on a 50 gallon barrel and it was well received. Just a touch too sweet
 
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