How to Backsweeten Mead and Cider

Backsweetening is a commonly used process in cider and cider production to sweeten the finished product of a fermented beverage just prior to packaging. This is a useful technique to have in your arsenal as grasslands and spiders are very common for fermenting dry bones, especially if they have a lower alcohol content. However, the process is not as simple as adding sugar to create flavor, the job of yeast is to convert sugar into alcohol and CO2, a sacred process known as fermentation. Yeast is very efficient and will continue to ferment until the fermentable sugar runs out, the beer crosses the yeast alcohol tolerance threshold, and/or the brewer stops using the yeast (whether intentionally or accidentally) ). This means that, if you are simply adding sugar to sweeten a cider or cider, chances are the yeast will start where they left off and ferment those added sugars, making decreased sweetness and increased ABV. This is where the reverse sugar reduction comes in, in simple terms, the reverse sugar reduction takes two steps: pause the fermentation and add the sugar. The following steps from Ken Schramm’s The Compleat Meadmaker can be used to make sweet, non-carbonated wine or cider:

How to Backsweet

  • Add 1/2 teaspoon potassium sorbate per gallon of cider/crude and stir well to pause fermentation. Potassium sorbate does not kill yeast, but prevents them from converting sugars into carbon dioxide and alcohol.
  • After at least 24 hours, additional sugar (usually honey) can be added to the pasture without the risk of fermentation.
  • The desired sweetness will depend on your personal preference. Add the sugar* of your choice in small amounts, stir well, then test until desired sweetness is achieved.
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    * Honey is commonly used in pasture and apple juice concentrates for spiders, but check out the other sugar options available for something different!

    Carbonation and residual sweetness

    Things get a little more complicated if you want to drink sugary and carbonated cider or cider, especially if you’re bottled. The Keg system uses a CO2 tank to force the carbonated liquid to the desired level without requiring the service of the yeast in any way. This is good because the ‘step 1’ of the reverse sugar softening process above effectively eliminates the yeast’s ability to ferment. Bottle conditioning is the process that allows yeast in a sealed bottle to ferment small amounts of sugar to produce CO2 which will dissolve into solution and induce carbonation. This means that the yeast cannot be stopped (as in ‘step 1’ of the process above), and in most cases the sugar added to sweeten the beer or cider will be fully fermented. entirely by yeast. If this happens in a sealed bottle, the pressure from fermenting all the added sugar can lead to carbonation and bottle bombs. master. It involves fermenting some wine or cider in a plastic bottle so you can squeeze the bottle and gauge the progress of the carbonation. Once it’s at the target level, heating the bottles in a basin of hot water will stop the yeast from fermenting. At first, the results may vary, but you will understand it after a few tries. cider or cider from the barrel. Since the carbonation is added aggressively from the CO2 tank, the yeast does not need to be active. It’s the best of both worlds.

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