Quantcast

Should i back sweeten with........

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

FortuneMead

Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
My mead is ready for bottling and needs something sweet. I made a 5 gal batch of ginger mead with a vanilla chai black tea for a better mouthfeel and aroma. I'm a month in and my mead has a ginger bite to it and its dry. I used 1118 champagne yeast with 12 lbs of honey and 3 lbs of ginger sliced and pulped. I'm new to brewing as this is my first batch and i'm not trying to mess this up. I've added my yeast stabilizers to stop fermentation earlier today and racked it off the sediment to a new carboy. My O.G was 1.088 and my F.G. was 0.996 with a ABV of 12.3%. I know back sweetening will bring me down to a ABV of around 11%, i tested with two test bottles worth. I have been told to not waste my good raw blackberry honey for back sweetening, just to use priming sugar instead. I'm not sure what to do, i want the taste of the honey in my mead but if it wont make a difference then i should save the honey for my next batch (probably going to try cyser for my wife). The question is do i back sweeten with 2 lbs of raw blackberry honey or priming sugar? Also thought about boiling down my 3 lbs of blackberries in the freezer and extracting the juice for a natural flavoring with added sugars. I think my issue is too many options. I want my first batch to be a success so i have a excuse to keep brewing more!
 

RPh_Guy

Bringing Sour Back
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 26, 2017
Messages
9,213
Reaction score
7,558
Location
Cleveland
I've added my yeast stabilizers to stop fermentation earlier today and racked it off the sediment to a new carboy.
What "stabilizers"? How much? And did you add them before or after racking?
I have been told to not waste my good raw blackberry honey for back sweetening,
Honey used for backsweetening retains more flavor than fermented honey. Therefore it's absolutely not "wasted" by using it for backsweetening -- quite the opposite.
I think my issue is too many options.
Well, here's another option:
Bottle a portion with just sugar, a portion with honey, and a portion with fruit juice. :)

Cheers
 

SKBugs

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 24, 2018
Messages
183
Reaction score
52
Location
Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
If this is your first batch what are you comparing it to? Is your base mead going to be ginger with chai tea that has been stabilized and then backsweetened?
It’s all good really, but just start with getting a traditional mead right first, so you can understand the relationship between the honey, water, yeast etc. 1118 will literally strip every flavor until it’s bone dry. That’s fine if you want to carbonate it to act like a champagne, but not great for bringing the initial flavors to the fore.
My advice is to have a quick read of this forum and listen to the guys and gals who have been around for a while. They know there way around this stuff.
Now, that being said, given a year, you probably will have an awesome mead - well done.
 
OP
FortuneMead

FortuneMead

Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
I used 2 tsp's of Potassium sorbate and 3 crushed campden tablets after i racked. Today I will be racking into my bottling vessel, this should help leave behind dormant yeast that settles in the bottom?
Will my mead taste like i added honey or will it incorporate it's flavor into the ginger flavor? I have "sampled" a lot of mead from the few local meaderies(Black heath meadery being the one who inspired me to start brewing). I'm basing my mead off of talking to the meaderies and the 2 home brew shops in my area. The do's and don't on having a good flavor and not over sweetening. I know i used the wrong yeast for what i wanted but it was recommended to me. I will go with a 71b yeast next, i heard it does well with fruity meads and has a lower abv(12-14%).
Today is bottling day, i will split my batch in half to do both honey and sugar. I'm aging in 1L flip-top bottles because i'm limited on space and carboys. I'm going with a apple, pear and lavender cider, my wife loves cider so i'm compromising from batch to batch. If i do the cider right, we should be drinking it before the mead is ready. Thanks for all the great information and ideas, i will update with the results of this batch.
 
OP
FortuneMead

FortuneMead

Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
I was planning on doing the 1 lb. test for sweetness. My batch is around 4.25 gal after racking. I was told EC-1118 was a good beginner yeast. I didnt know the abv could go so high.
 

Blacksmith1

Captain Cheap
Joined
Nov 30, 2018
Messages
1,495
Reaction score
480
Location
Volusia county
I had an early batch go to almost 20% with 1118. Great for when you have no responsibilities at all, not so good if you have to cook, feed the dogs, etc. Pretty much any yeast will give you a drinkable product. It's what they do or don't add to your flavors that should make your decision.
 

Raptor99

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2020
Messages
45
Reaction score
22
Honey used for backsweetening retains more flavor than fermented honey. Therefore it's absolutely not "wasted" by using it for backsweetening -- quite the opposite.
This sounds like a good idea. If I backsweeten with honey, will that make my mead cloudy? Do I need to bulk age it for a while after stabilization and backsweetening to let it clear?
 

Maylar

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
4,283
Reaction score
1,566
Location
New Haven County
This sounds like a good idea. If I backsweeten with honey, will that make my mead cloudy? Do I need to bulk age it for a while after stabilization and backsweetening to let it clear?
Yes, back sweetening will leave a honey haze. I usually use Super Kleer to fine it afterward. Filtering works too.
 
Top