Thanks for this, Sir. It's a good, comprehensive summary of what I've been reading up on SO2 as well. After your previous post, and before I read this post of yours, I actually did add a small dose of sulfite again. I hate flying blind like this, but I can't and won't spend money on equipment now, so I'm just erring on the safe side here. I added another small dose just to boost the levels a bit, and I'll probably add some more after clarifying/fining, as I believe the gelatin will strip a ton of the free SO2 from the mead. I'll keep the container sealed and cool after fining to avoid O2 exposure as much as possible.
On the mead itself, still just copying my notes:
2019/08/09: Gravity check. 0.997. Fermentation is complete. Taste test reveals a very clean, fruity mead with a strong white wine character. Alcohol is there, but not hot at all. No off flavours or bad qualities. Dry, obviously, but clean and refreshing on the tongue. Nose is hard to detect for now, but I’m getting a pretty clean, fresh, fruity scent. Not tropical fruit like mango or guava, but more like white grapes with a slightly soury-yeasty scent in the background. Not negative, as expected. Good stuff. Will be drinkable sooner than previous batch for sure.
2019/08/10: Cold crashed. Set fermentation chamber to 2°C.
2019/08/13: Racked off lees. Unfined the mead in the fermenter is already very, very clear. Very happy with how clear it turned just from cold crashing. Racked 23l into a sanitized container and added 2.4g Potassium Metabisulfite. Degassed and moved back to fridge at 2°C.
2019/08/14: Added 4.9g Potassium Sorbate. Used the higher end of the spectrum to cater for not knowing the pH of the mead.
2019/08/15: Upon realizing that degassing will take significantly longer if the mead is cold, I removed it from the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature. Shook the bottle and burped off the gas every time I went past it. Eventually the burped gas got less and less, so I’m hoping I’m close to still now.
2019/08/17: Gave a second dose (0.8g) of Potassium Metabisulfite. I was worried about free SO2 levels so I fed another small dose.
2019/08/18: Added 1.05kg of honey to backsweeten. According to calculations this should hit in the 1.009~1.011 mark up from 0.997. I did a quick taste test and it seems I might be on the money here. The sweetness is not detectable, but it just breaks the coarse dryness from the brut mead beforehand. I am fairly sure my SO2 levels are OK, since I can’t detect any SO2 in the quick sample I had, and I was looking for it. As a final note - this mead is great. It’s not entirely drinkable just yet, I still want to fine/clarify it, but there are absolutely no off flavours and it’s really, really clean. Clarity is already improving a lot, but since the addition of the backsweetening honey it’s clouded up a little bit again, as was expected. I love this, it’s fantastic.
Tasting notes so far are: Light golden colour. Still cloudy and not clear. On the nose is white wine notes, slightly sour-ish from the CO2, not in a bad way. This is the same light sour note that hits on taste. Because of the added honey, the taste is significantly more pleasant. Harsh dryness is gone and the mead is now smoothed out a lot. Getting fresh honey, floral and slightly fruity notes as well. Finishes as a crisp, fresh, lightly fruity taste. It’s good.