2

It's basic knowledge that alcoholic beverages are made by letting the yeast eat sugar and poop out alcoholic and carbon-dioxide, in a process known as fermentation. And since sugar only means sucrose, glucose, maltose and similar organic chemicals, it is a no-brainer that artificial sweeteners won't work.

This is why I had an idea. Since I'm an amateur who lacks professional brewing equipment, I cannot always be certain that the yeast is really dead after I pasteurize my wines. So adding sugar post-fermentation to the wine isn't very smart, since if I botched the pasteurization and failed to kill the yeast, I may trigger fermentation again. So I thought - why not add artificial sweeteners PRIOR to fermentation (in addition to the normal sugar, off course)? If the artificial sweetener is unfermentable, it'll work, right?

The sweetener I had in mind was Süssina's artificial sweetener, whose chemical composition is:

  • Maltodextrin
  • Sodium saccharinate
  • Sodium cyclamate
  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Monosodium citrate

The question is, will adding all this to the wine prior to fermentation prevent/hijack fermentation? After all, all this sodium... But what about adding it post-fermentation? Are these chemicals unfermentable?

6

Generally speaking "nothing happens" to artificial sweeteners in the initial wine fermentation (eg the first month). I have fermented various beverages with artificial sweeteners and in general the fermentation proceeded as per normal. I have not noticed any real reduction (or increase) in fermentation due to added sweeteners.

It can also be said that over time (many months or years) the sensation of "sweetness" produced by most artificial sweeteners can subside or perhaps merge with the underlying flavours of the wine. For example a batch of white sparkling wine I made with some sour grapes and glucose and Stevia produced a small but noticeable "saccharine" taste in the first six months after bottling. But at the one year stage it had nicely merged into the flavour of the wine. This gradual change in taste can make it difficult to judge how much sweetener to initially add. I usually "add less" than more until I have established a working receipe.

One can add lactose (a simple sugar that is not fermented by Saccharomyces) instead of "artificial" sweeteners. Stevia extract is a modern development which in small amounts gives a hint of sweetness and is "organic".

I have not used the product suggested above. I note it contains maltodextrin which is a commonly available but mild sweetener usually found in beer wort and adds "body" to the drink. Bicarbonate and citrate are alkali and acid buffering agents and can be rejected as not so useful in wine fermentations. The main sweeteners are the saccharine and the cyclamate. Both of these have had "negative health reports" in the past but are still in use in various countries.

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