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Lavlin 71B ABV > 17 ?

vanoob

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 23, 2007
59
0
0
This wasn't a mead, but it has me worried about some of the meads I started and where they will wind up. (apologies for the verbose nature of my writing , but I obsess over every little detail being important, guess my son got his PDD honest)

I'm beginning wine (fruit) and mead making. Currently have put 9 batches up in the last month using Cote des Blancs and 71B as my yeasts because I am aiming for semi to sweet on most of my current batches.

So the culprit is a 1 gallon blueberry wine that I put together with: 2.75# blueberries, 4 medium bananas, and sugar for a OG=1110 (but should be a good bit of sugar in the fruit as well). I added acid, pectic enzyme, and tannin along with 1 tsp nutrient (generic yeast hulls with urea from the LHBS). After a couple days, I got a sulfur smell and worried so I hit it with .75tsp nutrient and stirred the wee out of it. On day 5, I added 1/2 cup sugar that should approximate an OG: 1132/17.4%.

Today is day 7 and no bubbles from the primary... So I took a reading, FG: 0.992 :eek: 71B went to at least 17.4 and probably > 18 since all that banana and blueberry had only been mashed and let sit for a few hours in the must while it cooled. It tastes promising with nice flavors coming through the yeastiness, rocket fuel for sure but that should pass.

I have 5 batches using Cote des Blancs and they are nicely sweet and pretty much all done. All started much lower than this monster. I am really worried about my 4 71B batches going dry on me now and I really wanted them a little sweet. The following two I had real high hopes for, but want them a little sweet : cyser started at 1132 (I'm just anal like that :) ) using some awesome fresh cider and local honey from the "pumpkin patch" this year, and a Joe's Ancient Orange where my only deviation was using 71B instead of bread yeast.

Am I screwed and have to sorbate and back-sweeten? Not the end of the world, but not what I wanted.

The thing that really amazes me about the Cote des Blancs is that even though they all read > 12% ABV and are all < 1 month old you can't even tell there is much alcohol in them. My strawberry melomel started on 10/6 with CdB and is frickn' awesome and hasn't even fully cleared yet.
 

akueck

Certified Mead Mentor
Certified Mead Mentor
Jun 26, 2006
4,958
10
0
Ithaca, NY
The listed alcohol tolerances are just guidelines, so you can get +/- a few % depending on the must and the health of the yeast (if you provide adequate nutrients etc).

If you want to keep the yeast from getting too happy, you could try pitching less (5g is more than you need for 1 gallon anyway), lowering the temperature a few degrees, and possibly using less nutrient. Don't beat the snot out of the poor little guys, but if you give them slightly harsher conditions they shouldn't outperform expectations quite as much. Also avoid step-feeding (adding more sugar later in fermenation), which tends to boost alcohol tolerance.
 

Rhianni

NewBee
Registered Member
Nov 13, 2006
292
1
0
45
I agree that the alcohol levels are guidelines. They can be pushed to go further or they can stop early.
Do a search for cold crashing (think thats the term people use). You can put the finished primary into a fridge or get it cold so the yeast drop to the bottom and become dormant. Or if you are wanting to use sorbate then do it a little early before you run out of sweetness.
 

vanoob

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 23, 2007
59
0
0
Thanks guys! I guess I wasn't expecting 4% without "trying". But it does look like I went pretty far to make the yeast happy even if inadvertently. I'm hoping the meads will be less conducive to keeping the yeasties happy. But since they are gallons, cold crashing should be easy and will likely be needed on the cyser.
 

Pewter_of_Deodar

NewBee
Registered Member
Sep 23, 2004
1,867
0
0
64
Cedar Rapids, IA
Something to consider is whether the fruit are absorbing more alcohol than the sugar in them contributes. Putting the fruit in a very fine mesh steeping bag allows me to wring the liquid out at the end. Maybe some of your alcohol is ending up in the fruit in the lees? ? ?
 

vanoob

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 23, 2007
59
0
0
Been using a straining bag for sure to hold all my fruit while in primary. I still get lots of sediment squeezed out though... Have to work on my racking skills.


For what it's worth, my cyser that started at 1.132 using 71B is now on day 10 and read 1.012. The sweetness seems perfect, so she is in the fridge to cold crash. That should be over 16% ABV? Not much heat for that ABV.

The Cote des Blancs is proving itself to be much better at predictably dying.