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Old 04-13-2014, 09:00 PM   #1
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Default mead noob question

This is my first mead. I started it up 3 weeks ago and the OG was 1.090. Ingredients were 12 pounds of orange blossom and 4 gallons of spring water. Room temperature was 75F. No boil. Added recommended dose of yeast energizer. Oxygenated using a stone/filter/aquarium pump.

Two days into fermentation, it dropped to 1.087. At that time I oxygenated it again (using an aquarium type pump and stone), and added a 1 tbs more yeast energizer. yeast was WLP720. Room temp was maintained at 75 for two weeks.

Every other day or so, I would gently rock the carboy to degass.

Today, I measured SG again and see just 1.080.

I never saw more than a few yeast islands on top of the must during fermentation.. there still are a few. Room temperature is currently about 65F, but I didn't see any sort of change in bubble rate. Currently it bubbles very slowly. Maybe once every 2 minutes.


I know there are FAQ's on restarting fermentation, and I did read them. I'm hoping to get some info specific to my need. Any ideas of how to get this restarted or if it is too late?

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Old 04-13-2014, 11:51 PM   #2
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Sounds like a low pitch rate combined with the infamous sweet mead yeast not really liking the traditional mean environment.

I would probably pitch another TBS of energizer in the batch and mix it up well. Check it in about 5 days and see if the gravity has changed. If not then make a starter with another yeast.

A favorite of mine has been Lalvin 71b-1112. But yet Wyeast 1388 - Belgian Strong Ale has quickly become a favorite among many mead makers. If using the 71b the take 1 cup of water and mix in 1/2 tsp of energizer and sprinkle the yeast on top. After about 20-30 minutes add 1/2 cup of your mead from the carboy. Wait another 30 minutes to an hour and if it looks active add another 1/2 cup of the mead. Repeat the process till you have about 3 cups volume. Pitch that into the mead and it should be fine. It will ferment dry within a couple weeks and then you can stabilize and back sweeten as desired.

If using the smack pack then prepare by smacking the pack per directions and wait 2 hours. Then follow the directions just like the dry package.

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Old 04-14-2014, 02:17 PM   #3
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Thank you for the advice.

I added a tablespoon of the energizer, aireated for about 15 minutes, then cranked up the heat to 80.

I'll give Lalvin 71b-1112 a try if this doesn't get going.

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Old 04-14-2014, 03:21 PM   #4
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Sounds like a plan. Liquid yeasts just seem to have slow starts in my experiences unless you do a low gravity starter. So instead of putting the vile directly into primary you mix like a 1 liter or minimum 2 cup starter of must similar to your brew but with a gravity closer to 1.030 or lower. And using like a 1/2 tsp of energizer, go-ferm, or boiled bread yeast and raisins as a nutrient source to really get the yeast kicking. Then after a couple hours you can pitch that.

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Old 04-14-2014, 03:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arpolis View Post
Sounds like a plan. Liquid yeasts just seem to have slow starts in my experiences unless you do a low gravity starter. So instead of putting the vile directly into primary you mix like a 1 liter or minimum 2 cup starter of must similar to your brew but with a gravity closer to 1.030 or lower. And using like a 1/2 tsp of energizer, go-ferm, or boiled bread yeast and raisins as a nutrient source to really get the yeast kicking. Then after a couple hours you can pitch that.
Excellent. Yeah, this was a direct pitch from the vial. I never do that with the beer I brew, but i was taking the advice of a successful meadmaker... she must have left out some information or I didn't listen.

I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 04-20-2014, 11:32 PM   #6
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1 week later, it dropped just 10 points. I went ahead and followed Arpolis' instructions for 71b-1112 with the exception of making only a 2 1/2 cup starter instead of 3 cups (didn't have a big enough container available). Not too happy that I'll have to back sweeten, but if it ferments, I'll be satisfied. Beats losing the whole batch!

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Old 04-21-2014, 12:36 AM   #7
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Did it drop an additional 10 points? Or just still 10 points lower from start? Whichever best of luck.

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Old 04-21-2014, 01:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Did it drop an additional 10 points? Or just still 10 points lower from start? Whichever best of luck.
10 additional points, and that took a lot of effort. I kept the heat at 80F for five days.

Looks like it might be moving now though with the new yeast.
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Old 04-21-2014, 02:05 AM   #9
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Great to hear it is moving well with the new yeast. 71b makes a good mead so I am sure you will be good with it.

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Old 05-18-2014, 08:11 PM   #10
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Today it's 1.052. I just sprinkled on some EC-1118 without hydrating it. If it doesn't move anymore, I'm just going to dump this batch. This is ridiculous. I'm done with mead

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