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sweetening a batch

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I

irishoneme

Guest
Guest
my last batch has come out crystal clear and by most standards perfect. My only question about it is if there is a way to possibly sweeten it a tad. out of curosity, I mixed this batch with a sweet mead and the result was great. Now I would like to possibly sweeten it slightly before bottling.
 

David Baldwin

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Registered Member
Jun 29, 2004
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Grand Rapids, MI
You'll need to stabilize it with potassium sorbate and maybe potassium metabisulphite.

That should keep fermentation from restarting when you add additional sugars. You might also consider sweetening with non fermentable sweetener like Splenda.
 

Dan McFeeley

Lifetime Patron
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Oct 10, 2003
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Yeah, it's difficult to converse on this without knowing the recipe, starting gravity, finishing gravity, and what the gravity of the final blend was. Also, the time factor is important. Stabilization with potassium sorbate is a well known technique but time is just as effective. I use back sweetening regularly but have never used potassium sorbate. Time, bulk aging, and then racking off the lees seems to work well for me.

This is a method that takes lots of patience. Let the carboy sit for a good long time, crystal clear, with a nice dusting of lees on the bottom. Add a little diluted honey, let it sit some more.
 
I

irishoneme

Guest
Guest
the issue of gravity is a bit of a problem as we have just recently bought our hydrometer.. the recipe as follows:
10lbs light honey
1/2 Gallon maple syrup
1/4 tsp irish moss
4tsp acid blend
5tsp yeast nutrient
LV... ? forgot the yeast #
It fermented for a month and a half and has been racked twice since. it is crystal clear with the taste of a dry chardonnay
 

Oskaar

Got Mead Partner
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Dec 26, 2004
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So . . . what size batch we talkin here? How much water? What kind of yeast?

The yeast is kind of the pivotal ingredient. Going forward you may consider making it a priority to find out as much about the yeast you're using as possible and try to match it to the kind of honey you're using. Honey is the other pivotal ingredient and matching your yeast to your honey is pretty important.

My comments are for a five gallon batch, if you made a different size all bets are off.

OK, 4 tsp acid blend up front, 5 tsp nutrient up front, Irish Moss up front. So you boiled this batch?

That's a lot of acid up front so that will take some time to age out.

Too much nutrient up front, 2 tsp is fine. I generally start with DAP at the beginning, move to Fermaid K at about 2 - 3 days in.

The Irish Moss is what helped to clear it.

Oskaar
 
I

irishoneme

Guest
Guest
thanks Oskaar,
that is for a five gallon batch... sorry i ommited that bit. since starting this particular batch, we have started a mead log book to make sure things like the yeast do not slip away. at the time, we purchaced an assortment of yeasts to try and find one that worked the best for us. it was one of those things that you think you will remember, but a month or so down the road things get a bit blurry. we did not boil the batch, but heated to help get rid of nasties. i have heard mixed reviews on boiling. next time i'll go a bit lighter on the acid and nutrient.... especially when using maple syrup in the mix.
 

toolboxdiver

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Registered Member
Apr 3, 2005
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irishoneme said:
thanks Oskaar,
that is for a five gallon batch... sorry i ommited that bit. since starting this particular batch, we have started a mead log book to make sure things like the yeast do not slip away. at the time, we purchaced an assortment of yeasts to try and find one that worked the best for us. it was one of those things that you think you will remember, but a month or so down the road things get a bit blurry. we did not boil the batch, but heated to help get rid of nasties. i have heard mixed reviews on boiling. next time i'll go a bit lighter on the acid and nutrient.... especially when using maple syrup in the mix.

Sounds good Irish, I have a batch of Maple mead going now as well. I used a gallon of maple syrup and 5 pounds of honey and I'm going to feed it to max out the yeast with maple syrup. Good luck with your Maple Mead.
 

Oskaar

Got Mead Partner
Administrator
Dec 26, 2004
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No problem.

OK Here's some things to consider.

Heating/boiling/pasteurizing destroys protiens, enzymes and flavor aromas that really (in my opinion) add to the overall character of your mead. The yeasties like these compounds that are found in the honey, and will use them when they are available if not boiled/heated/pasteurized out.

If you have an assortment of yeasts you should spend some time reading about each one of them, specifically you should find out the temperature range, the alcohol tolerance, and the specific nutrient needs for each yeast. Some have high nitrogen needs and will produce a lot of SO2 and H2S if there is not an adequate supply of nitrogen available.

Bear in mind that each of these yeasts will need supplemental dosages of nitrogen, be it in yeast nutrient mixtures from your LHBS or from other sources such as dried raisins, dates, cherries, etc. Also bear in mind that dried fruit will add color and flavors to your mead, and some claim they can tell if powdered nutrient has been added to your mead as well. The difference is that you can accurately measure how much nitrogen you're adding to your must with the powdered nutrient, and you cannot with raisins, etc. I use both methods and I like the end product with both.

I don't add acid until my mead has gone through primary and secondary. It's really not needed up front and can be added before bottling. The acid to to add balance to the flavor, and bring some polish to very sweet meads.

Your 5 gallon batch OG was probably somewhere around 1.100 - 1.110 (25 - 26 brix) plus or minus a few gravity points in either direction. So your PABV is in the neighborhood of about 14 - 15% or so. If you used a yeast that has a higher alcohol tolerance than 15% it will ferment your must to dryness. So if you were looking for a sweet or semi-sweet mead, and used a yeast with an alcohol level of higher than fifteen you'll need to backsweeten to bring it up to your desired sweetness level.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar
 
I

irishoneme

Guest
Guest
it definately does help, Oskaar.. much thanks again.
and for Toolboxdiver.. good luck with your maple!
 
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