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Old 02-06-2010, 10:05 PM   #1
badmajon
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Default Just started my first real attempt at mead... pH question.

Hi all,

I just started up my first attempt at mead with proper yeast (Ken Schramm's Ginger Mead http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/what-gets-ready-fast-155685/index2.html) and it registered it between 3.5 and 4 on the pH scale.

My last attempt, which was the orange mead with bread yeast that is pretty famous, ended up with a stuck fermentation given that after 5 weeks it was only 5% abv and was (guessing stuck ferm since my chart doesn't go that low) probably about 2.5 pH.

Not sure why the pH is going down so low, I guess this honey I am using (cheap Sue Bee) has a low pH.

Is this range (3.5-4) healthy for the yeast (Red Star Premier Cuvee) and if not, what can I do to bring it up? Would some simple baking soda do the trick?

Thanks!

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Old 02-07-2010, 12:26 AM   #2
MedsenFey
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A pH of 3.5-4.0 is perfect for yeast.

Honey in general has low buffering capacity and when yeast start producing and excreting organic acids, the pH tends to drop precipitously. When it gets down below 3.0 the yeast can stall. Batches with a lot of fruit/juice tend to have more buffering capacity and the pH won't drop as much.

I typically wouldn't use baking soda. It will bring up the pH, but it can leave you with a salty flavor (though a small amount certainly won't).

This thread explains my preferences.

I hope you get a great result.

Medsen

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Old 02-07-2010, 12:57 AM   #3
KenSchramm
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I would not count on that mead being ready fast using Red Star PC. That yeast is very different strain, quite alcohol tolerant, and will leave you with something that needs to age for quite some time. It should end up drinkable, but will not be as sweet, and will be a little cranky coming out of the secondary. If you are looking for something quick, stick with 71B-1122.

If you do the staggered nutrient additions, though, this one should blast right through. I have made many batches of this, and have not had one peter out on me. By 3-4 weeks you should be done. And potassium bicarb is the route if you need to adjust pH, but from what it sounds like, you should be fine.

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Old 02-07-2010, 01:57 AM   #4
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Hi Medsfen & Ken thanks for replying to the thread,

Ken: I intend to follow the schedule on your ginger mead recipe, is that what you'd reccomend (I think at 24, 48, 72 hrs), or should I alter it given I'm using Red Star PC?

I tried to get that lavlin stuff, but unfortunately I couldn't find it at a place that had all the other stuff I wanted to get, and decided to order off one place and save on shipping and substituted the RSPC for it.

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Old 02-07-2010, 01:12 PM   #5
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Yeah, at pitch, then 24, 48 and 72 hrs.

The importance of yeast strain selection can't be overestimated in terms of having your mead match your intended finished profile. There are some substitutions you can make that will have minimal or negligible impacts on your finished mead, like sources of spring water or brands of micro-nutrients. Yeast selection, on the other hand, is not one of them. If you are hoping for a medium sweet mead, you may want to add another 3-4 lbs of honey. PC (AKA: EC-1118 and formerly Prise de Mousse) will make that one alcoholic beast. Spending the extra time or shipping costs can be worth it with regard to yeast selection. In so many ways in mead making, patience will be rewarded.

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