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Old 08-03-2010, 05:55 AM   #1
Ledbetter
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Default I think my fermentation is stuck

Hello everyone, I will go ahead and inform you all that this is my first batch of mead I have attempted. I have brewed many different types of beers before but I got a wild hair up the backside and thought I'd give this a try. Now I must admit I was probably a bit cocky with the procedure and just thought to myself "Hey its just like brewing Beer" but not quite as I have found out. Ofcourse it seems this whole process has been jinxed right from the get go or maybe its just a lack of preparation.

I suppose the trouble all began when I ordered my liquid yeast online and assumed it would arrive nice and chilled ready to be tossed in the fridge to wait till brew day. Now that I look back I should have ordered dry yeast and this wouldn't have been a problem but living in florida and when the package ends up sitting in my mail box for hours pretty much means the yeast is knocking on heaven's door by the time I am able to rescue from its hell. Now I did a little research and I do emphasize "little" when it came to making mead but I figured it was the same as making any wine or beer for that matter but I didn't realize that yeast needed a little extra shot when it came to making mead. Well to make a long story short, I made the batch 2 days ago, added 15 lbs. of honey to 3 gallons of water, about 3 lemons (I just let them steep while brewing), 1 1/2 tbsp. of cinnamon, and about 3 cups of strong green tea and an extra gallon of water added in the fermenter. I chilled it to about 70 degrees, pitched the yeast and I really haven't seen any indication of fermenting. I think it could be for a number of reasons: dead yeast, low nutrients, lack of experience, but I have bought a few packets of a dry yeast which is suppose to act as a good reviving strain for stuck fermentations, and a yeast energizer which hopefully should be here withing the next day or two.

Now I guess my question is whether I should continue on with my original plan to salvage this patch which is to bring the mixture back to a boil killing off any bacteria strains that may have decided to take root, add a non-perservative grape juice to hopefully balance out the nutrients, chill it back down, add the new yeast and hope for the best. But I will be honest and say it has been about 2 1/2 years since I brewed my last batch of beer so I'm a bit rusty and could really use some expert advice on how to bring this batch of mead back from the brink of death.

any advice, tips, and even insults are welcome

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Old 08-03-2010, 07:22 AM   #2
smn
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I have no experience using liquid yeast, but from your description it sounds like the yeast has been pasteurized in the mail. With those ingredients you should be able to see something in two days, unless the starting yeast colony was extremely small. I don't think this case can be called a stuck fermentation but more like a didn't start at all-fermentation.

I definitely wouldn't boil the must. Just add some nutrient, stir, re-hydrate a packet (or two if you want to play safe) of yeast for 15 minutes in a glass of warm water, pitch and stir well. You should be fine.

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Old 08-03-2010, 01:43 PM   #3
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Did the smack pack swell up normally?

It is very possible that the yeast you pitched had low viable counts. If so, it would take a couple of days to get through lag phase. With mead musts you may not see much in the way of foam, and if you have any leaks, there may be no bubbling of an airlock.

Do you see any visible tiny bubbling on the surface? Does it fizz when stirred? These would indicate activity, and of course, checking the gravity will confirm that it is dropping if the yeast are going.

If you don't see any activity, aerate the snot out of it as the yeast will need oxygen to have maximal growth and cell division at this point. It may also be worthwhile to check the pH if you can - sometimes adding lemon juice can drop it too low. If that doesn't work, you'll need to pitch some new yeast. You don't have to pasteurize the must unless you just want to do so for giggles. The new yeast will be able to establish themselves and dominate the fermentation.

Which dry yeast did you order?

Medsen

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Old 08-03-2010, 03:51 PM   #4
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Thanks for the timely responses. I took a peek today and I may have been just overly concerned about it, there seems to be a whole multitude of bubbles more then yesterday and a slight accumulation of foam on the top of the must. It could be that due to the heat of delivery the yeast just had to go through that lag phase before it could get started. I'll still probably stir in a couple of cups of grape juice just to play it safe and use yeast nutrients from now on.

The dry yeast I ordered was Lalvin K1V-1116 Wine Yeast. It seemed to be a hardier strain of yeast that could tolerate high temperatures, and was said to be excellent at restarting stuck fermentations. But it looks like I may not need it for this batch after all.

Thanks again for the advice!!

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Old 08-03-2010, 04:17 PM   #5
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Be sure and aerate well to get the yeast biomass up to a level to finish the job.

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