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Old 02-16-2011, 01:28 AM   #1
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Default Another Thread about Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead Stuck Fermentation

This is my first mead and I was hoping for a very quick mead but it looks like I am going in for the long haul. I checked out the excel spreadsheet for gravity info and nutrient additions but I think my mead's OG is probably too low.

Wyeast large pack of sweet mead, smacked 4 hours early and swelled huge
8.8 lbs of Canada no.1 white unpasteurized honey
1/2 tsp acid blend (I know I shouldn't have added it now)
3/4 tsp no name yeast energizer (lbhs doesn't sell nutrient, so I think its a mix)
Water to fill up to about 21 litres
OG=1.056

I basically used some hot water to mix the acid blend and yeast nutrient inside the carboy, dumped the honey in and shook it 5 min, then added cold water and swirled the carboy for almost 10 min and took the sample. When it was about 25C I added the yeast, which was about 21C I guess.

It's been about 70 hours and no activity at all, I've started to swirl the carboy twice a day as I saw Malkore suggest, but doesn't seem to make a difference. Should I add some more yeast energizer? Maybe a cup of boiled LME?

I was hoping to make a sweet mead but looking at the excel chart it looks impossible based on the small amount of honey added. I'm not able to get to the store for a week, but I do have some ec-1118. Should I just give up on having a sweet mead and add the champagne yeast tonight?

Also, another question: if I add the ec-1118 and it ferments out in 2 weeks, can I then add a few campden tablets to the mead, wait one day, then backsweeten with a lb of buckwheat honey? I can't seem to figure out if I need another sorbate or something in addition to the campden to kill the yeast.

Thanks for your help, I'm really looking forward to joining the mead club!



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Old 02-16-2011, 02:24 AM   #2
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Take a gravity reading. I used the same strain just recently and it went along just fine. I wouldnt worry until you are 100% sure that it is not fermenting.



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Old 02-16-2011, 02:30 AM   #3
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I forgot to mention that I did today, roughly the same at 1.058. I guess some settling occurred or my additionally swirling mixed it better.

Maybe I should just add a tsp of yeast energizer tonight? The package says add 2.5 tsp and I only added 3/4 tsp...

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Old 02-16-2011, 02:21 PM   #4
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There's a good chance that your pH is the problem. If you can check it that may help. Adding yeast energizer (if it is one of the tan colored ones) will also raise the pH a little and that may help.

Since this essentially has no alcohol in it, you don't have to pitch EC-1118. You can pick pretty much any active dry yeast and should be fine. If you want a sweet batch, a yeast like 71B, or D47 may be good or even a nice ale yeast (1056 is very clean). Any of these will take it dry, and then you can stabilize and sweeten. These yeast will be easier to stabilize than EC-1118 which is very hardy and difficult to stop.

When it is finished and clear(ing) you'll need sorbate in addition to the Campden tablets to insure that the yeast stay dormant (it doesn't really kill them). Campden alone is unreliable.

Endeavor to persevere!
Medsen

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Old 02-17-2011, 06:16 AM   #5
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Thanks Medsen! I've done a lot of reading since pitching and I'm glad I had this problem as it forced me to look more carefully at some of the techniques and chemicals used.

Your advice to add more nutrient worked, I added a tsp (its more whitish powder), then swirled it many times since and it looks like its finally going to take off. Finally after 4 days of anticipation. Seems like there's no reason to spend $9 on liquid yeast when the d-47 and k1-1116 seem to do the trick.

I'm going to dump it into a large open bucket now so I can whip off the co2 with a spoon a few times a day instead of fooling around with the carboy.

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Old 02-17-2011, 06:26 AM   #6
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Was this a 5 gallon batch? Did you make a starter with the liquid yeast? Those could both cause the yeast to lag.

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Old 02-17-2011, 09:01 AM   #7
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No, it was a about a 5.7 US gallon batch, or almost 22 litres. I didnt make a starter as I was using the large size of smack pack that is supposed to be able to pitch right into the wort. The gravity was less than 1.060, so I thought go for it.

Should I have made a starter in this situation? I really think it was the lack of degassing and the small initial nutrient addition.

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Old 02-17-2011, 04:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HG_guy View Post
No, it was a about a 5.7 US gallon batch, or almost 22 litres. I didnt make a starter as I was using the large size of smack pack that is supposed to be able to pitch right into the wort. The gravity was less than 1.060, so I thought go for it.

Should I have made a starter in this situation? I really think it was the lack of degassing and the small initial nutrient addition.
Well, if it was beer I DEFINITELY would have made a starter. Those smack packs all say they are starter size, but really they have significantly less cells then dry yeast. Most people on here would recommend a starter - unless its less than 5 gallons or around 1.045 gravity. I'd suggest checking with Mr. Malty on your next batch.

http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

Also airlock bubbles aren't always a good indication of fermentation.
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electric_beer View Post
Well, if it was beer I DEFINITELY would have made a starter. Those smack packs all say they are starter size, but really they have significantly less cells then dry yeast. Most people on here would recommend a starter - unless its less than 5 gallons or around 1.045 gravity. I'd suggest checking with Mr. Malty on your next batch.

http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

Also airlock bubbles aren't always a good indication of fermentation.
The activator claims to have enough cells for 5 gallons. I would not make a starter but making one wont hurt either. I have used their yeast a couple times and had no issues. (other than starting at too low of a temp! but that is my fault)
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Old 02-22-2011, 04:09 AM   #10
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Well after checking 8 DAYS after pitching, the gravity had only moved from 1.056 to 1.044. I just didn't feel comfortable leaving it as is any longer, and it looked like additional 1/2 tsp additions of energizer and stirring twice a day wasn't having enough of an effect. So I pitched ec-1118 champagne yeast as that's all I have. I'm really surprised at this yeast and don't recommend it to anyone when you think that you could save $8 to get a dry yeast and have predictable fermentation.

I'll post again when drinking in 2 months.



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