Alcohol Tolerance?
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  1. #1
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    Default Alcohol Tolerance?

    Discussion of this being taken from the De-gassing thread.....

    I know that yeast strains are tested by the various labs/manufacturers, who then publish their result. But is this really gospel?

    Are these "real world" tests i.e.... do they actually brew beverages? Do they run tests with various ingredients, temperatures, nutrient additions and other techniques used by brewers? What is the rate of mutation/adaptation of yeast?

    I have done some basic brewing in the past, and just recently taken up again. Lots of things changed in the years between.

    I appreciate any/all thoughts anyone wants to share, and hope this doesn't end up as an argument starter.........

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    This came about because of the BOMM recipes which claim that if yeast is properly fed under the optimum conditions that could keep going past their tolerance.

    I have no idea if this is true or not but here's the source;
    see the recipes tab; one month BOMM and experiments tab; yeast selection;

    https://www.denardbrewing.com

    I have two BOMMs brewing right now, they took off faster than any mead I have seen. It at 66 deg so it not a temperature accelerated speed. I really don't want a rocket fuel or an overly alcohol mead, which it's not suppose to be. time will tell.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    I've read thru his site. Makes one think.

    Lets say I have a yeast I love for hard cider, but its listed tolerance is 10% ABV. Based on Denards results and theories, is could be possible to turn out a mead of 12-13% ABV, just by tweeking technique. That could mean adding some different yeast character to future meads.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    K2CO3, three step feeding DAP and fermaid K, degassing.

    Those are the BOMM variables you can try tweaking.

    I might also try WYeast 1388 for your cider.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    1388 can make a good mead "off the shelf" so to say. My wandering mind however is thinking about the possibilities of extending "non traditional" yeasts into mead making. Like pushing a Belgian Strong or Saisson type up into the more "traditional" wine yeast territory of 14-16%. By doing so a person could add a new set of esther complexity not necessarily inherent is the more commonly used wine yeasts.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    Sacked Mead is nothing new The technique of sacking has been around for a long time. And is basically what is described in the link. Yeast alcohol tollerances are researched by the manufacture of the yeast. yeasts are developed for certain purposes. some may be for alcohol volume targets, some may have been developed to set a specific fermentation rate to ensure a good nose is left. While others may be crafted with other goals in mind. When a developer determines the alcohol tolerance they also determine through numerous samplings the variation, In other words a yeast with an alcohol tolerance of 14% with Low Variation will always quit very close to it's tolerances Under a normal ferment. this does not account for sacking, and even sacking has its limits.

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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    Quote Originally Posted by ducatidom View Post
    I've read thru his site. Makes one think.
    Precisely, that is what I did! I thought about it and though about it and realized doing it would be a logical approach. I was skeptical because I was taught how to do things a certain way and this was not how I was taught. So, I ran several one gallon test batches and found that it did indeed work. Now for me that was awesome because I have always preferred higher alcohol sweet desert drinks over dry! So now I follow the BOMM method with all my mead making and have improved my mead overall. I am happy and was eager to share. I hope those of you that are willing to try this have as happy an ending as I did. Here is something else to read that might be of interest. http://meadist.com/making-mead/great...ith-ale-yeast/
    Last edited by ColoradoRaptor; 01-18-2017 at 08:20 PM. Reason: added link.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    Thanks Tenbears.

    In the BOMM recipes what exactly makes it "sacking"? K2CO3, degassing, step feeding or all three? The reason I ask, I am pondering ways to reduce the FG 16% and bring it closer to 12-14% with out staving or stressing the yeast. Could I just reduce the last step feeding by maybe half or skip it all together then cold crash and stabilize?

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    Well I guess what I'm really on about is can a higher tolerance Ale yeast make a good mead?

    I know a Short Mead could be made as they are lower ABV, But.....has anyone sacked an Ale yeast up to normal mead ABV? Would the differing characteristics of an Ale yeast be worth the extra effort?

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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    Thanks Tenbears.

    In the BOMM recipes what exactly makes it "sacking"? K2CO3, degassing, step feeding or all three? The reason I ask, I am pondering ways to reduce the FG 16% and bring it closer to 12-14% with out staving or stressing the yeast. Could I just reduce the last step feeding by maybe half or skip it all together then cold crash and stabilize?
    Sacking is using larger quantities of honey having a high starting gravity. It also requires more attention and nutrients or there is risk of a stall. The BOMM is nothing more than the method and yeast used by Dr. Denard. His first name is Bray so you get Brays One Month Mead. And to clarify, you can start with a very high gravity and the yeast won't die so long as you give them proper nutrients! I have started a many sack meads with a gravity between 1.140 and 1.175 using 1388. The yeast is slow to take off but take off they do! I also buffer with the K2CO3 because once they get going they are like little roman legions decimating the sugars available and that can drop PH quickly stalling the fermentation!
    Last edited by ColoradoRaptor; 01-19-2017 at 10:47 PM. Reason: Clarification

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    Quote Originally Posted by ducatidom View Post
    Well I guess what I'm really on about is can a higher tolerance Ale yeast make a good mead?
    Read the article in the link I posted above, it's about making mead with Ale yeast!

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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    Thanks Tenbears.

    In the BOMM recipes what exactly makes it "sacking"? K2CO3, degassing, step feeding or all three? The reason I ask, I am pondering ways to reduce the FG 16% and bring it closer to 12-14% with out staving or stressing the yeast. Could I just reduce the last step feeding by maybe half or skip it all together then cold crash and stabilize?
    Sacking is a method of enticing a given yeast to stay (Alive) (Just a term the yeast goes dormant and actually does not die) beyond it's normal tolerances. This is achieved by adding small amounts of sugar to the must in steps adding the sugar which is done along with nutrients, causes some displacement of CO2 and sort of invigorates the yeast which stimulates further fermentation. Simply starting with a high SG will cause the yeast to die (again Just a term) when it reaches it's alcohol tolerances. Some cultures call a sacked mead any mead with an alcohol greater that 14% But most Masers Know that the way to increase alcohol is by stepping in, the sugar. so the term sacking has come to refer to that process.
    If you wish to finish a mead with 14% alcohol there are two ways to do so.
    The first is to start with a SG of 1.095 and ferment to dryness. When fermentation is done it will have 14% ABV. If one desires a sweet mead. then when clear one can add honey to taste. Potassium Sorbate is added at a rate of 1/2 tsp per gallon to prevent further fermentation. The beauty of this is the added honey retains more of the honey flavor within the mead
    The second is to select a yeast that has an alcohol tolerance of the desired ABV. Say 14%. Red Star's Cote de Blanc has such a tolerance. if one likes a mead with around 30 SG points then they would start with a SG of 1.125 when the alcohol reached 1.030 the yeast would die leaving 30 SG points. when using this method look at the yeast tolerances for temperature range keep the ambient at or slightly below the minimum. remember the ferment will create some heat holding it to the minimum. doing so retains more of the honeys characteristics.
    Last edited by Tenbears; 01-20-2017 at 04:56 AM. Reason: Typo

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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    OK, so it looks like some people have taken the leap and made some good meads without the "traditional" wine yeasts. That is good news to me, as I like to add some spin to things when I can. Also seems like a much more "labor" intensive process, needing sacking and SNA to get the final ABV into the 14% range. So at present I will stick to my Cote de Blanc and hone my basic cyser/mead making. As I progress and have more free time I will branch out to some of the other yeasts and see what I can make with them!

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    You can easily get the ABV up to 21% without Sacking Simply use a yeast that has an alcohol tolerance of your desired level For example Lalvin K1-V1116 and Lalvin EC-1118 go to 18% Red Star Flor Sherry can go to 20% Wyeast Dry Mead and Zinfandel go to 18% And Wyeast Eau de Vie goes to 21%.

    Simply set your SG to far enough above the Amount required for the Tolerances to leave the desired Residual sugar If you do not leave enough for your taste You can always back sweeten, Or ferment to dryness and back sweeten.
    Last edited by Tenbears; 01-22-2017 at 09:44 PM. Reason: Typo Or the darm auto correct???

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    You can easily get the ABV up to 21% without Sacking Simply use a yeast that has an alcohol tolerance of your desired level For example Lalvin K1-V1116 and Lalvin EC-1118 go to 18% Red Star Flor Sherry can go to 20% Wyeast Dry Mead and Zinfandel go to 18% And Wyeast Eau de Vie goes to 21%.

    Simply set your SG to far enough above the Amount required for the Tolerances to leave the desired Residual sugar If you do not leave enough for your taste You can always back sweeten, Or ferment to dryness and back sweeten.
    I think it is well established that the wine and champaigne yeasts can and do make great mead. My interest is in using other available yeasts. Yeast flavor profiles can vary quite a bit between the "normal" wine type, ale yeasts, even lagering yeasts. Most of the beer yeasts would only be good for a Short Mead(low ABV), but it seems like some could be pushed along to make a Traditional(mid ABV).

    I am the type of person who likes to reach my goal, but not necessarily by walking the common path. Sometimes it works, sometimes it is a great adventure with good results, and sometimes ya just have to start over......
    Last edited by ducatidom; 01-23-2017 at 06:30 AM. Reason: clarify a statement

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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    High ABV and flavor profile are as a rule generally not considered within the same mead. Many beer yeast utilize a fast somewhat hot ferment which can destroy the subtle nuances of the honey profile. I do however use some beer and ale yeasts if ferments where I am looking for specific profiles as they seem to develop those flavors well. Let me say this though, I used several bear and ale yeast for that reason years ago resulting in so great meads, However every one I have sent to competition got one thing hit constantly, Thin thready legs! Small point category but enough to forestall medaling. They may do better today in the right competition, because so many of the younger guys and gals today seem to accept small flaws if their is something of great merit to make the mead favorable.

    "I am the type of person who likes to reach my goal, but not necessarily by walking the common path. Sometimes it works, sometimes it is a great adventure with good results, and sometimes ya just have to start over...... " I think all Masers are to a degree. Even after 50+ years of mead making I still look for new and different ways to produce interesting and flavorful meads even if I have to sacrifice a bit of one facet to get those results.

    Good Luck And enjoy the journey!

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    High ABV and flavor profile are as a rule generally not considered within the same mead. Many beer yeast utilize a fast somewhat hot ferment which can destroy the subtle nuances of the honey profile. I do however use some beer and ale yeasts if ferments where I am looking for specific profiles as they seem to develop those flavors well. Let me say this though, I used several bear and ale yeast for that reason years ago resulting in so great meads, However every one I have sent to competition got one thing hit constantly, Thin thready legs! Small point category but enough to forestall medaling. They may do better today in the right competition, because so many of the younger guys and gals today seem to accept small flaws if their is something of great merit to make the mead favorable.

    "I am the type of person who likes to reach my goal, but not necessarily by walking the common path. Sometimes it works, sometimes it is a great adventure with good results, and sometimes ya just have to start over...... " I think all Masers are to a degree. Even after 50+ years of mead making I still look for new and different ways to produce interesting and flavorful meads even if I have to sacrifice a bit of one facet to get those results.

    Good Luck And enjoy the journey!
    Being new to mead this is mostly a mental exercise at this point. But eventually I hope to be making more complex fermentations.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    Sacking is a method of enticing a given yeast to stay (Alive) (Just a term the yeast goes dormant and actually does not die) beyond it's normal tolerances.
    This is not the definition of a Sacked mead, this is just made up and misinformation! I would like to see the source that is being quoted here because I have never read it. Everything I have read defines a Sacked mead like this; Sack – that’s the name of a stronger mead, usually sweet, made with more honey than is typically used. The finished product contains a higher-than-average ethanol concentration (meads at or above 14% ABV are generally considered to be of sack strength). It often retains a high specific gravity and elevated levels of sweetness, although dry sack meads, with no residual sweetness, can also be produced. According to one theory, the name derives from the fortified dessert wine, sherry, that was once called “sack” in England. Another theory is that the term is a phonetic reduction of “sake” the name of the well-known Japanese beverage. Dr. Denard has shown you can sack a mead by step feeding honey as well. Prove this or retract it.....
    Last edited by ColoradoRaptor; 02-02-2017 at 08:51 PM. Reason: typo

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    Quote Originally Posted by ColoradoRaptor View Post
    This is not the definition of a Sacked mead, this is just made up and misinformation! Dr. Denard has shown you can sack a mead by step feeding honey as well. Prove this or retract it.....
    As usual you are spewing off things you once again do not understand what you are talking about. Listen! Sach or SAC is a high alcohol mead, Sacking is the technique used to get it there. This Statement "Dr. Denard has shown you can sack a mead by step feeding honey as well" This would be one of the methods I was referring to! As unless one uses a yeast that has a high alcohol tolerance the yeast will Die before it reaches the high alcohol. Now tell me this Why does someone come to a beekeeping site simply to spew poor mead making techniques in a sub category that only has a few members. Funny how you started off when you came here saying you made mead by starting wit SG of 1.175 to 1.250 added 13% alcohol tolerance yeast and away we go. Then when I called you on it and stated it could not be done without sacking and even then could not achieve the ABV you were proclaiming. Now you have all of a sudden become a sac expert.
    I am a beekeeper who also happens to make mead! I offer my experiences with my fellow beekeepers so they can get started in making mead. I do so with sound advice and time tested techniques in a manner that makes success very attainable. I do not offer them complicated, or questionable methods that will surly result in problems for beginners. With all the sites dedicated to wine and mead making exclusively. Why is it You who does not appear to be a beekeeper as you have never posted in any bee related forums here on BEE source. join a Bee forum and go to a sub category to promote poor mead making and half baked ideology? I mean ain't this a rather small pond for a big fish such as yourself.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Alcohol Tolerance?

    So it is painfully obvious you guys disagree on stuff, lol.

    Point of the thread was to explore the use of alternative yeasts(strong ale,saisson, other non-wine yeasts), and so far the concensus is yes. The yes includes a fair bit of extra work and more advanced technique, so not as noob friendly.

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