Strawberry Kiwi Melomel

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Bobbaugh3

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Started my adventure into mead back at the end of May. I primaried from May to June - added more must and fruit, refermentation kicked up, then secondaried from June to end of August. Racked my Strawberry Kiwi Melomel off of the lees about 15 days ago. Started at 26 Brix(OG: 1.110), after 3 months I was down to 11 Brix(FG: 1.003-Refractometer corrected reading) I used northern brewer to figure ABV and I’m at 13.53% after Refractometer correction.

I used Lalvin 71b-1122.

During my sampling when I racked multiple times - First rack was “hot”. Second rack was more mellow but still boozy. Third and last rack was still a bit boozy. I know age will prob help that. I didn’t use any nutrients, which is the newbie move I made, but will that really affect everything?

I split the batch into 2 so I could backsweetening one and leave the other alone to compare notes. Few questions about backsweetening.


1) can I use just potassium sorbate or do I need to use both potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfite to stabilize?


2) when backsweetening I should wait atleast 2 days after stabilizing?


3) would it be a good idea to sweeten with strawberry kiwi of some sort to get a pronounced flavor or honey and water, just honey?


4) how long after back sweetening should I bottle?

5) As of right now the two (1)Gallon carboys are sitting in my closet on a shelf, there is a good amount of headspace, should I be worried about that?

6) has anyone read the book “How to brew mead like a Viking?”

I know it’s a ton of questions - thanks for any help I get.
 

bkboiler

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1. potassium metabisulfite stops fermentation and potassium sorbate prevents it from restarting. you’ll need both if you’re going to stabilize and then bottle, especially backsweeten. some people will backsweeten with a sugar alcohol (e.g. xylitol), which is unfermentable. It adds sweetness, but not necessarily viscosity (read: body). I’m not a fan of sugar alcohols since they give me a stomachache.
2. A day is probably fine.
3. At this point your yeast may be hitting their alcohol tolerance limit, so you can probably stabilize and backsweeten with sucrose or dextrose. If you want to minimize your chance of renewed fermentation, you can use lactose, but it will change the body a good bit. Carbonating in the bottle at this point is tricky, many people prefer to cold crash, sweeten and keg-carb. I typically select a yeast that is “done” at the exact dryness (o.g. and attenuation) that i want, then i dont need to backsweeten, just batch carb and bottle. Without this planning ahead, bottling sweet sparkling mead is challenging (but not impossible). You have a great chance to backsweeten your mead if you like it still!
4. A day is probably fine, just observe to make sure fermentation didnt restart and check the gravity after you backsweetened and just before you bottle.
5. I’ll let some more experienced meadmakers answer this, but I personally would add a bit of water to bring the level up and maybe tone down some of the “hotness”. Your idea to backsweeten will likely help also, and maybe some additional body could help. As you said, it will likely get less “hot” with time.
6. Not yet!:cool:
 
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