i have posted this question on other forums but haven't really gotten a good answer.

If I am attempting to create a sweet mead and want to avoid backsweetening (lots of additional tweaking) or killing fermentation at a certain point (lots of putting my hands in the fermenter, as a beer brewer something I'm not super comfortable with yet). Can I use a lower alcohol tolerance yeast?

Based on my calculated OG (this may change) I'm looking at 1.122. This is capable of fermenting up to around 15.6% abv. I'd like to stop it around 14-15%. If I use a yeast with a tolerance of 14% (Lalvin 71B or d47), this should leave a significant amount of sugars in the mead by the time the yeast gives out, right? Sugar left means sweet, and the luscious mouthfeel I am looking for.

So what would the impact on the yeast do? Fusel alcohols? Off flavors?

Trying to fumble through this and most of the reading I've found (compleat meadmaker, wild about wines, and the gotmead forum) doesn't do really cover intentionally using a lower tolerance yeast.

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can pitch a low alcohol yeast and it will stop fermenting when it reaches it's alcohol tolerance, leaving your mead sweet due to the residual sugars.

You do need to consider that the exact ABV at which the yeast stops working is variable and may not match exactly what is on the package. If necessary, you could add more sugar or honey after fermentation is halted if it still isn't sweet enough.

Due to the added stress on the yeast, there may be an increase in unwanted substances such as fusel alcohols, however the sweetness should be more than enough to mask any unpleasant taste.

  • Fantastic, thank you! That's exactly what I wanted to know.
    – Matthew
    Commented Aug 1, 2012 at 16:49

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