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Sorbate/sulfite backsweeten plan

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So today I finally received my pound of potassium sorbate in the mail and got to adding it to my large traditional batch with campden tablets as well to stabilize. I didn't take a final gravity reading but two weeks ago the gravity was .994 and had dropped from .996 in two days. Fermentation appeared to have stopped by now so I tossed in 1 1/2 tps Sorbate and 5 campden tablets to ~6 gallons of traditional O.B. that I plan to backsweeten up to the 1.002-1.006 range. First question, How long should I wait for the SO2 to dissipate? (I never sulfite) and second, will the sorbate be denatured if I dissolved it in pretty warm, almost hot, water? I plan to wait at least a few days, add my honey diluted with water to backsweeten, take a gravity reading, and wait a week or so to see if there's any drop? This will be my first ever backsweetening using chemicals and I'm a little dubious to say the least, taking into consideration the size of the batch.
 

Chevette Girl

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I'm pretty sure hot water won't denature the potassium sorbate, otherwise if we discovered that our apple cider had sorbate in it, we could just heat it, and I'm pretty sure that doesn't work.

From what I've read here, if you sulphite and sorbate at the same time it's fine, or if you give the sulphites a couple hours to do their thing before sorbating.

And you can either wait or not, before adding the honey. Myself, I'd want to add the honey when the sulphites are still active so that they kill anything I might be introduicing along with the honey.
 

akueck

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Jun 26, 2006
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Sorbate isn't a protein so you can't denature it. You can destroy it by heat, but I don't think you'll have any liquid left after that. ;)

I wouldn't personally wait more than 12 hours between the sulfite and sorbate additions (in that order), so the sulfites are still working. If you are going to wait a long time (say, months) before sweetening, I would consider a "booster" dose of sulfite at that time. Probably not necessary, but I tend toward the paranoid. Otherwise, good to go!
 

theEnvoy

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Oct 25, 2012
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Is it normal (or acceptable) to see foam/bubbles in the mead 24 hours after sorbating/sulfiting? Blackberry mead, SG=1.012 (will be blended), Montrachet yeast (fermenting actively when sorbates/sufites were introduced).
 

Medsen Fey

Fuselier since 2007
Premium Patron
It is very common to see an active fermentation continue after adding Sorbate/Sulfite. They won't reliably stop an active fermentation. They are better for preventing a fermentation from restarting once it has already stopped. This is why folks cold-crash - it stops the yeast and makes them dormant, and after treatment with stabilizers, when the yeast warm up they won't reactivate.

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Chevette Girl

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I also have noticed a bit of airlock activity on a finished, still batch for a few days after I add sorbate and sulphites, I think maybe it's the SO2 gas being released because the wines I've noticed it with certainly didn't ferment any further.
 
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