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Old 04-07-2011, 06:19 PM   #1
kicknbrew
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Default Another EC-1118 thread...third batch, no bubbles!

Okay, I'm on my second batch of mead. I started out small, and did a 1/2 gallon ferment w Lavlin 1118. After a week, I had ZERO activity, so I added another packet (I know, two packets for .5 gallon! Crazy, right?).

This barely did anything, so I messed with it. I racked it to another growler, and lo-and-behold, it jumpstarted the ferment and I got no foam but a great deal of bubbling... almost effervescent.

Then I did a 5 gallon batch, same thing, but I let it go and forgot about it. It creeeeeeeped to a good FG over the course of a month.

Now I'm on batch 3, a 1gal batch with some honey I had that had JUST started to ferment on its own. I made my must 5 days ago, and .... NADA. Nothing. Zero activity.

Is this all characteristic of -1118? Am I doing something really wrong?

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Old 04-07-2011, 06:46 PM   #2
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Did you oxygenate and add nutrients? Both are needed for a good fermentation.

What temp are you fermenting at?

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Old 04-07-2011, 06:58 PM   #3
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Depending on the OG of your must, you probably need to feed the yeast, aerate the must (and degass it once it goes active) and treat it right... Temperatures could be a factor too... Although EC-1118 has a pretty wide thermal range where It's happy...

In the batches of mead that I made, using EC-1118, they were post lag in 1-3 days. Of course, I did aerate/oxygenate the must, and give it nutrient to help it along.

If you just pitch the yeast and think it's going to ferment like beer yeast will, you'll start becoming frustrated. Also, a month isn't an abnormal amount of time for a batch of mead to hit it's FG. Well, if you don't do anything with it that is. I have two carboys of traditional mead that continue to creep towards lower SG numbers. I started them on November 24, 2010... My OG was rather high though, so I'm not all that surprised. The batches where my OG was more moderate, finished sooner.

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Old 04-07-2011, 07:43 PM   #4
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kickn,
If you'll post up the details of your recipe and process folks may be able to zero in on the problem.

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Old 04-07-2011, 07:44 PM   #5
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I have too agree that aeriating and adding nutrients / energizer or both is a must for 1118. I use nutrient and energizer with every batch (and each yeast type). Also, I would highly suggest you hydrate the yeast for at least 30 minutes before you pitch (I add a wee bit of honey and luke warm water. The yest go crazy before I pitch) almost every batch I start is going strong within 5 hours.

Best fo luck.

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Old 04-07-2011, 07:59 PM   #6
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EC-1118 has never let me down, and I usually get vigorous fermentation within 6 hours.

If you treat it well, EC-1118 will not let you down. I suspect you either got a bad batch (out of date, or maybe it wasn't stored properly), or there is something in your technique causing these issues.

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Old 04-07-2011, 08:21 PM   #7
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I won't lie, my technique with mead is a little... rustic.

For this batch, since there was some fermentation happening in the home-hived honey, I lightly boiled the must for around three minutes. I didn't want to overdo it, but wanted to stop anything un-wanted from joining the controlled ferment. I used about 4# to 1.5 gallons.

I then funneled my must into a 1 gal and .5 gal sanitized jar (hoping the drop was enough to oxygenate it), added 1 sliced up (sanitized on the outside) orange to the 1 gal jar, pitched the yeast dry, gave it a shake, and locked it up.

My OG was around 1.1.

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Old 04-07-2011, 08:32 PM   #8
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I think it's a combination, at least in this batch, of things...

1. The acid from the orange isn't helping.
2. Pitching the yeast in dry.
3. Not giving the must any additional nutrients.

The OG shouldn't be really harsh on the yeast, if it was pitched in rehydrated. Going in dry is like, well, going IN dry... Sure, eventually it works well, but you're going to have some discomfort up front.

Just for giggles, maybe next time you get wild fermentation, let it ride and see what you get...

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Old 04-07-2011, 08:39 PM   #9
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And has the gravity dropped at all? Sometimes the airlock does not bubble as there can be a crack/leak. You may not see much krausen (foaming) like beer so it can be active even when it looks quiet, though you usually will see small bubble on the surface. For dry pitching you can see a lag phase of 48 hours so how long has it been? If the gravity has not dropped any in 48 hours then something is wrong.

How hot was the must when you added the yeast? could they have been cooked?

Did you look at the expiration date of the yeast on the packet? Sometimes they can sit around for a long time in the brew shop (though even then they usually work - especially EC-1118).

What temp are you maintaining? - if it is 50 F, it'll take forever to start.

Dry pitching usually works, but it definitely gives a much longer lag time than when you rehydrate the yeast properly. If you will take the yeast and rehydrate them in 104F water for 20 minutes, they will work better. If you use Go Ferm (available on-line in many places like midwest supply) the yeast will be even faster to go to work. Once the yeast are rehydrated if you don't see them foaming already, you can add a little of your must and let it start bubbling so that you have proof that the yeast are active.

Even EC-1118 needs some nutrients and needs to have to the bottle/jug opened to allow some air in to grow properly. However, you should see some activity before you need to add any, so something is creating a problem other than lack of nutrients if you aren't even seeing the yeast get out of lag phase and start having some activity. It isn't the orange - that won't create a problem - in fact yeast thrive in OJ.

Medsen

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Old 04-07-2011, 10:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kicknbrew View Post
Is this all characteristic of -1118? Am I doing something really wrong?
Well, I don't see one mention of a gravity reading, just 'bubbles'.

So, yeah I have the feeling you are only gauging 'fermentation' on 'bubbles'.
All bubbles mean are that the CO2 is going through the airlock and not some other leak in the system.

If you add yeast and it starts foaming right away, its been fermenting this whole time and your yeast addition simply added nucleation sites for the CO2 to shoot out of solution.

A gravity reading is the ONLY way to test fermentation activity.
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