Semi-sweet Still Mead Questions

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Lucky137

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Hey guys and gals,

I have my first mead in secondary, been aging for about two months now. I was planning on sparkling it, but after seeing others' difficulties and trying my first commercial still semi-sweet mead last night, I decided to do differently! But now I have questions.

I have no experience with wine making or killing yeast in any way, and I've been getting conflicting information: To make it still, do I add potassium sorbate? potassium metabisulfate? Both? And how much? I'm planning on back-sweetening, so I need those little yeasties completely dead.

On that note, how much should I use to back-sweeten? The mead I had recently was similar in sweetness to a young riesling, which I'd like to emulate. Any guidance here? Is there a good place to start, an amount per gallon that I should try and add to?

Thanks for all the help!
 

fatbloke

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Hey guys and gals,

I have my first mead in secondary, been aging for about two months now. I was planning on sparkling it, but after seeing others' difficulties and trying my first commercial still semi-sweet mead last night, I decided to do differently! But now I have questions.

I have no experience with wine making or killing yeast in any way, and I've been getting conflicting information: To make it still, do I add potassium sorbate? potassium metabisulfate? Both? And how much? I'm planning on back-sweetening, so I need those little yeasties completely dead.

On that note, how much should I use to back-sweeten? The mead I had recently was similar in sweetness to a young riesling, which I'd like to emulate. Any guidance here? Is there a good place to start, an amount per gallon that I should try and add to?

Thanks for all the help!
To "stabilise" a finished ferment, you'd normally use both sulphite and sorbate. Neither will actually "kill" the yeast, the sulphite stuns the yeast, while the sorbate stops it reproducing. Then you'd normally clear it by racking it off the sediment into a different container and give it more time to clear naturally. Of course, you can use finings as well if you want it cleared quicker.

What are you intending to back sweeten with ? If you're thinking of honey, then I would encourage you to take a gravity ready while the batch is still cloudy (but finished fermenting of course), hit it with sorbate and sulphite, then mix in small amounts of honey, stirring gently to mix it in, but take a reading after each small addition. I usually back sweeten to about 1.010 and if I'm using sugar or something else, then I wait until it's already been cleared, but if using honey, I will back sweeten after stabilising and before it's cleared because honey can often cause a protein haze, and it's a PITA to have taken the time to clear it, only to have it haze and have to clear it again.

Some excellent reading can be found here.

Hope that helps some.....
 
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