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Old 03-25-2013, 02:33 PM   #1
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Default "Dragon Horn Melomel" - Fermentation Stuck

Hey guys,

In another thread, I posted some info on this new melomel I made, but I'm having issues with it. There was never a vigorous fermentation period within 72 hours, or much fermentation at all for that matter. The most intense it ever got was 1 bubble per 12 seconds. At this time, it's at about 1 bubble per 25 seconds.

I used a WYeast Accelerator Pack, which swelled within an hour of smacking, so I'm assuming the yeast was healthy.

The fruit was still partially frozen when I added it to the carboy, which might be a problem. It would have dropped the temperature of the must until it thawed, but I'm not sure if this would kill the yeast.

Haven't had a chance to check the pH since I don't have strips or anything right now.

Here's the recipe:

"Dragon Horn Melomel"

-Dragonfruit
-Horn Melon
-15 lbs. clover honey
-4 gallons distilled water
-Frozen Raspberries
-Blueberry Fruit Juice

OG = 1.105 (unadjusted, @72 degrees)

This fruit is sort of exotic and I've never used either Dragonfruit or Horn Melon before. I'm worried that they may have dropped the pH too low for the yeast to work at its full potential.

Any other ideas or suggestions as to what I should check, or what may have caused this?

img_1051.jpg   img_9699.jpg  
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:58 PM   #2
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My advice...if you are able to move this to a food grade bucket with lid just covering, or a clean/sanitized towel, do so. This will allow yeast access to the oxygen they need and allow you access for better cap management, stir twice daily until you are back to carboy, under airlock. If no bucket, remove airlock and replace when OG drops by at least 50%, though I use primary bucket and wait until 66% SG decrease, same advice on stirring.
You may have been better off using double the amount of yeast since higher gravity and a cold start. Consider adding some nutrient--check out staggered nutrient addition. I would not rely upon counting bubbles in your airlock, not every yeast is a big bubbler...and bubbles do not indicate what is going on, but your hydrometer will. Definitely check pH if you can. In the future use spring water, distilled is stripped bare. Overall, sounds like a tasty mead. Which yeast did you use specifically?

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Old 03-25-2013, 03:56 PM   #3
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Yeah dose it with nutrient and energizer then shake the crap out of it.

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Old 03-25-2013, 04:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saramc View Post
My advice...if you are able to move this to a food grade bucket with lid just covering, or a clean/sanitized towel, do so. This will allow yeast access to the oxygen they need and allow you access for better cap management, stir twice daily until you are back to carboy, under airlock. If no bucket, remove airlock and replace when OG drops by at least 50%, though I use primary bucket and wait until 66% SG decrease, same advice on stirring.
You may have been better off using double the amount of yeast since higher gravity and a cold start. Consider adding some nutrient--check out staggered nutrient addition. I would not rely upon counting bubbles in your airlock, not every yeast is a big bubbler...and bubbles do not indicate what is going on, but your hydrometer will. Definitely check pH if you can. In the future use spring water, distilled is stripped bare. Overall, sounds like a tasty mead. Which yeast did you use specifically?
'

I used WYeast "Sweet Mead" (4184). Prior to making this mead, I made a blackberry mead with the same yeast, and had really vigorous ferm within 24 hours that lasted about 2 days. I'm going to siphon a sample into my graduated cyl tonight and take a hydrometer reading. I'll post that reading tonight to see what other advice you guys may have. I won't be able to pick up pH strips, nutrients, or more yeast until the end of the week. I'm bogged down with accounting exams this week.

In the event that the pH has dropped too low, or the must was too cold when I added the yeast, would this harm the yeast enough that it would ruin this brew? Would it hurt to just add more yeast right away, or should I wait and try nutrients first? And what specific nutrients might I look into?

Thanks again for your help.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:11 PM   #5
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You should try putting a picture of the khaleesi by the carboy. Her dragon fruit are at their most powerful when they are close to her. LMAO!

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Old 03-25-2013, 04:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinCider View Post
You should try putting a picture of the khaleesi by the carboy. Her dragon fruit are at their most powerful when they are close to her. LMAO!

HAHAHA!! Not a bad suggestion.

Maybe yelling "Dracarys" at the carboy will fire things up a bit.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:40 PM   #7
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My guess would be ... Maybe some kind of natural sulfites in the fruits you used? I haven't done any research on Dragon or horn fruits... But Lingonberries (That tasty juice you may have seen at IKEA) have natural sulfites or some kind of ites, that if you use them in primary, you're asking for a stuck batch. I'd look into that, as well as shaking the beans out of it daily!

I've also seen lots of issues with the "Mead" yeasts from that brand.

Edit: I hate auto correct

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Old 03-25-2013, 06:46 PM   #8
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If must was too cold and/or pH out of whack, along with TA, then the yeast could have stressed. Plus, the high gravity alone stresses them.

I would check the SG first. Then I would purchase yeast energizer along with yeast nutrient, it is called just that, the labels will tell you what to do (but seriously read up on SNA- staggered nutrient additions). You will use the nutrient & energizer in the future. And be prepared to pitch that 2nd yeast.

If the 4184 ferments to toxicity it should die off around 11% ACV, and with your OG of 1.105@72F you actually have potential for 14%. Do you have any issues fermenting this dry if you get into a stall?

Dragonfruit and horned melons do not have the fermenting issue that befalls lingonberry, which can happen to all fruits from the genus Vaccinium, or so I have read.

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Old 03-26-2013, 12:11 AM   #9
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Just took a hydro reading.

SG reads 1.074 (@ 72 degrees).

I started at 1.105 (@ 72 degrees) on March 16th, so we're 9 days in.

I was aiming for a FG of 1.012-1.020.

So, some fermentation has obviously taken place, I just didn't see that vigorous bubbling that would indicate a healthy start. Is there a reason for concern, or will I need to take another hydro reading to really tell?

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Old 03-26-2013, 12:15 AM   #10
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I would get nutrients on board and let it ride

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