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Old 05-09-2010, 02:27 AM   #1
InertiaticESP
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Default HELP! mead not taking off?

A week a go I made a 5 gallon batch of mead with the very traditional ingredients (wildflower honey, water, Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast and yeast nutrient). I created a starter in a growler 24 hours before and it was very active. It had at least a 1 inch layer of foam at the top. I mixed the ingredients and pitched the starter the next day. I had a few bubbles in the airlock at the beginning but not many... and to this day there are no bubbles coming out of the airlock. There are a lot of very small bubbles on the inside of the airlock but no movement. Should I be worried? It is in a 6 gallon white bucket. Is it perhaps not 100% airtight around the edges? Is the yeast not taking off and/or dead? Are there not enough nutrients to get the yeast going (raisins, etc) ?

I plan on keeping it in the primary for 1 month before racking into separate 3 gal and two 1 gal glass carboys (w/three different recipes).

Should I do anything like add yeast, yeast nutrient (or yeast energizer) or both? Or should I leave it alone? The lack of bubbles is the only thing that's worrying me.

(i know you're going to say take a hydrometer reading... i am going to do so tomorrow morning.. what should it read after 1 week if the starting G is around 1.130?)

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Old 05-09-2010, 04:25 AM   #2
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From what I have read honey can sometimes be hard to ferment so nutrient and/or energizer would be my suggestion if that doesn't work then re-pitch the yeast. Others with more experience can offer much more than I can so I may be off but that is my first thought.

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Old 05-09-2010, 08:12 AM   #3
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Do you know what temperature your must was when you pitched your yeast?

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Old 05-09-2010, 10:43 AM   #4
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Well with an OG of 1.130, the PA is 17.66% ABV @ a FG of 1.000. 71-B has an alcohol toxicity of 14% ABV, so with this yeast, it'll never reach 1.000. So even if your fermentation isn't stuck, you're going to end up with an extremely sweet mead. I guess it really depends on how accurate your OG of "around 1.130" is & how sweet you like your mead. !st thing to do is take a hydrometer reading. Trust your hydrometer, not your airlock. You may need to take another hydrometer reading or 2 about a week apart to determine what's going on. A little energizer might be just the thing as it usually contains DAP (diammonium phosphate) & this provides nitrogen for the yeast. You can also get just the DAP if you like. See what your hydrometer tells you & go from there. Regards, GF.

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Old 05-09-2010, 01:36 PM   #5
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The lead suspect for me would be the seal on the bucket, but that's a guess based on not enough info. The details of the recipe would be very helpful. How much and what type of nutrient?

I don't know about anyone else here, but I for one am ready to see the terms "Yeast nutrient" and "yeast energizer" removed from the lexicon. When we say X quantity "DAP" or "urea" or "Fermaid K," at least we know how much of what we are dealing with. This is definitely not a knock on InertiaticESP - I just wish the supply industry would take those terms off of products so we could move to more accuracy and specificity in recipe formulations and discussions like this. And yes, I am guilty myself. On the list of "stuff I'll change" if there is ever another edition of the book.

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Old 05-09-2010, 05:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by KenSchramm View Post
I don't know about anyone else here, but I for one am ready to see the terms "Yeast nutrient" and "yeast energizer" removed from the lexicon. When we say X quantity "DAP" or "urea" or "Fermaid K," at least we know how much of what we are dealing with. This is definitely not a knock on InertiaticESP - I just wish the supply industry would take those terms off of products so we could move to more accuracy and specificity in recipe formulations and discussions like this. And yes, I am guilty myself. On the list of "stuff I'll change" if there is ever another edition of the book.
agreed. And Ken, I think you do a great job in your book describing what nutrient and energizer actually mean, and how it's not consistent among the brand names. I know your recipe sections just use "nutrient" and "energizer", but I think it's thoroughly explained in the fermentation chapter.
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Old 05-09-2010, 06:21 PM   #7
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To answer Rainyn's question:

Around room temperature, 72F. The water was room temp and I warmed the honey by placing the bucket in a large pot on the stove at the lowest setting (1) so it would pour easier but then waited until it settled at room temperature to pitch the yeast.

gratus fermentatio:

The hydrometer reading today (8 days into it) is 1.052. My goal is to have a sweet tasting mead. Should I add some yeast energizer? Do you suggest a type? Is it okay to add energizer a week plus after?

Ken Schramm:

I completely agree. The definition of "yeast nutrient" is extremely vague. So much so that the type I used didn't list the ingredients other than 'Wyeast Beer Nutrient Blend' http://www.rebelbrewer.com/shoppingc...52d-1.5oz.html

" Description: A blend of vitamins, minerals, inorganic nitrogen, organic nitrogen, zinc, phosphates and other trace elements that will benefit yeast growth and complete fermentation. Additional nutrients are most valuable during yeast propagation and sluggish or stuck fermentations. Supplementing with nutrients will reduce lag time, improve viability and provide consistent attenuation rates. "

AND THANK YOU TO THE USERS OF THIS FORUM..THIS IS BY FAR THE BEST SITE I HAVE EVER SEEN ON HOME BREWING EVER. I'M RELATIVELY NEW, BUT APPRECIATE THE HELP FROM THE COMMUNITY. THANKS!!!

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Old 05-09-2010, 06:31 PM   #8
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Recipe -->

Starter (in growler for 24 hours)
1 pint of honey
2 cups of water
1 package of Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast
1 pinch of yeast nutient (Wyeast Beer Nutrient Blend)

Next day, 5 GAL
15 lbs of Oregon wildflower honey (minus pint for starter)
4 gallons of springwater
2 tsp of yeast nutirent

The plan is to rack into a 3 gal carboy (mead) and two 1 gal carboys (maybe a raspberry melomel and a cinnamon raisin...i will read recipes on the board for secondary!)

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Old 05-10-2010, 12:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InertiaticESP View Post
gratus fermentatio:

The hydrometer reading today (8 days into it) is 1.052. My goal is to have a sweet tasting mead. Should I add some yeast energizer? Do you suggest a type? Is it okay to add energizer a week plus after?
Well if your OG & current SG are correct, you've got 10.66% ABV right now. Sounds like the yeast is chugging away to me. I think Ken nailed it with the lid being the culprit. As far as adding more nutrient/energizer, it's your call. I mean you've only got about 4% ABV to go before the yeast reaches it's toxicity level.

With staggered nutrient additions (SNA) it's possible to push the yeast beyond it's listed tolerance, but I've also had yeast peter out short of the listed tolerance level, in spite of added nutrients. If you want to learn more about SNA, read hightest's sticky at the top of this forum. I'd just wait & let the yeast do their thing.

I gotta say though, if Ken Schramm gives you advice on mead making, listen to him. He really did write the book on meadmaking, I have his book on my shelf. Regards, GF.
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Old 05-14-2010, 03:13 AM   #10
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You've obviously had activity going and should be close to your target soon. Just let it go and see where it finishes. I wouldn't add more nutrient now.

Don't be propping me up too much. I'm just one voice, and there are many, many mead makers I bow to. I just wrote some stuff down.

KDS

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