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Old 10-30-2012, 12:18 AM   #1
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Default Fermentation never started?

I tried to make Raspberry Melomel (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f80/rasp...tition-183027/) last night and am having issues.

I followed the recipe almost exactly. I used a whole package of D47, and started it in a bit of warm water as per the directions on the package. I also used 1.25t of a yeast nutrient because that's what the package directions said.

I shook the hell out of it, mixed it quite well, put on an air lock and waited.

It's been 24 hours and there hasn't been a single bubble coming out the air lock.

What did I do wrong? What can I do to save it?

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Old 10-30-2012, 12:28 AM   #2
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It's probably ok. You can try to stir up the mead a bit, to give it some oxygen, and see if you release some c02 bubbles.

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Old 10-30-2012, 12:34 AM   #3
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Thanks, I will give it a shake

Here is a picture of its current situation

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Old 10-30-2012, 01:28 AM   #4
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I have noticed that the room temp has an effect on starting fermentation. My first batch started slow at 75*, yet my second batches started right up at about 80*...

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Old 10-30-2012, 02:07 AM   #5
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Its probably ok. Some times things just take an extra day or two to get rolling.

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Old 10-30-2012, 02:16 AM   #6
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What's going on with that bottom 2 inches ? is that undissolved honey ?

If so your yeast may not be taking off because it has experienced osmotic shock. If the honey is sitting at the bottom then the bottom few inches of must will have a very high SG and will draw fluid out of the yeast cells through osmosis. The suspended yeast will be ok but any that fell to the bottom is probably toast.

If my eyes are just playing tricks on me then don't worry, but if that's honey at the bottom then I'd say you need to get it stirred in better. You might need to toss some more D47 in there to make up for any yeast that may have died off, or you could just aerate and oxygenate heavily for several days to build up a healthy colony again.

I wouldn't worry if it doesn't start right away, or even if it doesn't start after a few days. Mead is pretty sterile and it should keep well enough until you get the fermentation underway.

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Old 10-30-2012, 02:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dendion View Post
I have noticed that the room temp has an effect on starting fermentation. My first batch started slow at 75*, yet my second batches started right up at about 80*...
Ok, I moved it to a lightly warmer area. I had read that D47 isn't recommended above 70F so I tried to keep it cool


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Originally Posted by Illuveatar View Post
What's going on with that bottom 2 inches ? is that undissolved honey ?

If so your yeast may not be taking off because it has experienced osmotic shock. If the honey is sitting at the bottom then the bottom few inches of must will have a very high SG and will draw fluid out of the yeast cells through osmosis. The suspended yeast will be ok but any that fell to the bottom is probably toast.

If my eyes are just playing tricks on me then don't worry, but if that's honey at the bottom then I'd say you need to get it stirred in better. You might need to toss some more D47 in there to make up for any yeast that may have died off, or you could just aerate and oxygenate heavily for several days to build up a healthy colony again.

I wouldn't worry if it doesn't start right away, or even if it doesn't start after a few days. Mead is pretty sterile and it should keep well enough until you get the fermentation underway.
Correct, that is honey. I followed the recipe without much though, which may have been a big mistake. I read in the thread though that another person did the same and was told that it would work out in the end.

Overnight nearly all the yeast fell to the bottom, so I guess it's pretty dead. Will dead yeast affect the end taste?

Regarding aeration and oxygenation, I'm lost. If I dumped it into a sterile 5 gallon carboy and shook the hell out of it would that suffice? Or do you guys have compressed gas cylinders for aeration?

Thank you all for your help, I am quite disappointed with how this turned out.
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:04 AM   #8
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I should have said degas instead of aerate and oxygenate, that was sort of redundant. Degassing is just stirring the mix a bit to get the extra CO2 out of suspension, I always do this before doing anything else to the mead because if you start messing with mead when it is full of CO2 you could end up with a sticky eruption in the middle of your kitchen, basement ect.

I usually start fermentation in a large stock pot covered with cheese cloth, then I can just stir it up every day for the first week or so. If you dumped 3 gallons into a 5 gallon carboy that would probably work too. Most folks like to add oxygen to the mixture until 1/3 of the sugars have been consumed, this helps the yeast to multiply. Some guys use the same aerators as are used in fish tanks to add a bit of O2 to the mix. It's not absolutely necessary but it helps build a strong yeast colony to prevent stuck fermentation.

The dead yeast won't cause any harm, the living yeast will use their hulls as food. Dead D47 will undergo autolysis (the yeasts natural enzymes will begin to digest the cell) after a while which will impart a citrus flavor to the mead so even if they just sit on the bottom it won't be a big deal. Be warned though, D47 is the only yeast I'm aware of that actually adds good flavors during autolysis. If you use other yeasts especially 71B-1122 you should rack off the lees after a couple months.

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Old 10-30-2012, 03:14 AM   #9
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If you've got a free 5 gallon carboy I would definitely suggest you use that for this batch in the beginning. When active fermentation does start it will probably foam up for the first few days pushing raspberries up into your airlock and creating a mess (I've had it happen numerous times). You won't have that problem if you start it off in a larger container. Or in the future you can fill it up to the bottom of the "shoulder" of the jug and after the initial rapid fermentation is done in a week or so, add the remaining water to the neck of the carboy.

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Old 10-30-2012, 03:36 AM   #10
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Thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate it. The thought of just dumping all this down the drain and starting over wasn't pleasant.

Ok, so I will transfer this to the 5 gal and try my best to mix it. Once I have given it a good shake, should I just dump another package of yeast on top and leave it? Or does it need to be shaken again to mix it in properly. Add more nutrient or just leave it be?

I also read on another site about using an air pump to get oxygen in there, is that recommended as long as everything is sanitary?

One last thing, can I shake it too much? Can you over aerate?

Thanks again for the help

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