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Old 06-07-2011, 08:05 PM   #1
BrewerJosh
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Default Adding nutrients after racking

I started this mead back in July of 2010 using a recipe I found in a cheap discount bin book.

Water to 4.5L
1.5kg honey
1 tsp acid blend
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 packet champagne yeast (EC-1118 I think)

SG: 1.118

This was before I found home brew talk and have since learned differently about when to add acid blend, how to add nutrient and better yeasts to use.

The issue I'm asking about today is that it cleared around the beginning of the year so at the start of April I took a gravity reading (1.026) and racked it off the lees and topped up with around 750ml of water. The mega medical smell it had in the fall was almost gone so I figured that I would just bulk age it for another six months/year and that would be that. But it seems that topping off with water unstuck the fermentation and the yeast has taken off again! Being EC-1118 it will probably take it to under 1.000.
I've been wondering of late if it would be a good idea to add some more nutrients to it? I have read here that the medical smell was probably caused by stressed yeast and would like to prevent it from coming back if possible.
I have DAP and Fermaid K available to use.

Thanks!

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Old 06-07-2011, 09:22 PM   #2
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At this stage of fermentation, neither DAP nor Fermaid K (which contains a lot of DAP) will be very useful. Late in the fermentation, yeast cannot take up DAP and use it so it will be left for spoilage organisms. The yeast can still assimilate amino acids, so using some autolyzed yeast (like Fermaid O, or even some GoFerm or some home made boiled yeast) could be used. The question is do you really want to add anything? Personally, I'd be inclined to add nothing and just let it finish on its own, but you certainly can add some non-DAP nutrient without harming anything.

What you are seeing is not uncommon. EC-1118 and other high-ABV yeast can restart one or two years later when things warm up (or when whatever it is that triggers yeast happens). This is why it is unwise to bottle a mead like yours that is stuck without the yeast having reach their ABV tolerance unless you stabilize. You were smart not to bottle it. When it is done, if the gravity is still above 1.000, you should stabilize it before it is bottled.

Medicinal smells may be caused by yeast stress, and especially by high temperature fermentation and if you were fermenting in July, that may be why it occurred.

Endeavor to persevere!

Medsen

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Old 06-07-2011, 11:42 PM   #3
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I see no evidence of renewed fermentation, because you've posted nothign about the gravity dropping further (aside from the top off water diluting things a little).

Remember, the airlock venting CO2 has nothing to do with fermentation. The airlock vents gas. Period.
Gases vent for a variety of reasons, only ONE of which is fermentation.

I suspect the warmer weather is pushing co2 out of solution...nothing more.

and either way, Medsen is right that nutrients aren't helpful becuase the yeast isn't in that phase of its life cycle anymore. its not interested in nutrients, nitrogen or oxygen.

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Old 06-08-2011, 04:47 PM   #4
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OK so no more nutrients, I'm glad that I asked as I may have put some in otherwise.

The temps should have been consistent, when I first started this it was in the room with the furnace cranking out A/C. And then it was moved into a closet when it came time to turn on the heat. So it would have started out at 18-21C room temp and then 20-22C in the closet. I'm hoping that this is good enough as that I don't think that it's possible to find a cooler place to store it in.

And it's started bubbling again as well as getting cloudy and tossing lees, I figured that was enough signs for renewed fermentation. I'll look into taking a gravity reading, though it's always seemed like a waste to take too many with gallon batches.

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Old 06-08-2011, 04:52 PM   #5
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If you keep everything sanitised theres no reason you can't put the sample back into the fermentor.

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Old 06-10-2011, 02:23 AM   #6
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With the yeast nutrient you added last year, I'm surprised the EC1118 didn't chew that 1.118 down to 1.000 in about 7 days.

If your fermentation was stuck, which it was, if your gravity reading was correct in April, then it should be no surprise that racking and warming the mead restarted the process.

I bet one American Cent to one Canadian Cent that you'll smell sulphur in 12 hours.

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