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-   -   Mead Wont Frement (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/mead-wont-frement-385065/)

durfro 01-27-2013 07:25 PM

Mead Wont Frement
Before we start, a big thank you to anyone that reads the following novel. I have been making mead for a couple of years now and I am just about at my wits end with this mead.
I am having trouble getting this mead to ferment. It seems to have gotten stuck and even after re-pitching twice and racking I canít seem to get it restarted.

Mead Recipe (12/6/12):

1. 18 lbs Wildflower Honey (I have used this honey a number of times with good results)
2. 3 packs Lavin 71B-1122 (15g, not rehydrated)
3. 2 teaspoons LD Carlson Yeast Energizer
4. 4 Tablespoons LD Carlson Yeast Nutrient
5. 1.5 teaspoons LD Carlson Pectic Enzyme (Black Currant wine base going in later)
6. Water up to 4 gallons (Kroger Spring water, used many times before)

OG: 1.127

I use the no heat method. I warm the honey in the sink using hot tap water to make it easier to get out of the jars, stir, and pitch. I didnít take a pH reading at the time of the first pitch.

The mead was placed in my chilly basement (~70 degrees F) with a blow off tube. I noted the blow off tube because this fact makes it hard to track how fast the fermentation is working. While I was away for Christmas it likely got below 60 F (~57 degrees F) in my basement and the fermentation seemed to stop. Since this is below the recommended temperature range for 71B I moved the mead up stairs, a put a heating belt on it, and a bubbler (1/2/13). The temp of the mead was increased to the mid-70s, but it did not restart. At this point the gravity was still 1.088.

I decided to re-pitch with a yeast starter (1/10/13):

1. 0.75 lbs Wildflower Honey (same as before)
2. 3 packs Lavin 71B-1122 (15g, rehydrated)
3. 2 teaspoons LD Carlson Yeast Energizer
4. 4 Tablespoons LD Carlson Yeast Nutrient
5. Ĺ gallon (Kroger Spring water)

Starter was given a 24 hour head start and lots of oxygen.

Ten days after the re-pitch (1/23/13) the gravity had not changed and the pH was ~4.4 (the strips are hard to read). After consulting Schrammís book I decided to rack the mead in case the issue was stratification. Racking the mead seemed to have no effect. I tasted the mead at this point and noted no off favors or aromas. I through two more tablespoons of yeast nutrient at some point in there as well.

I decided to re-pitch a second time but this time using champagne yeast (1/24/13):

1. 3 packs Red Star Pasteur Champagne (15g rehydrated)
2. 2 Tablespoons LD Carlson Yeast Nutrient
3. Ĺ LD Carlson Yeast Energizer

After 4 days the fermentation doesnít seem to have re-started. The mead is at 75-77 degrees and the pH is the same (~4.4).
The only thing I can think to try at this point is try to bring the pH down closer to 3.7. But I have never heard of high pH being an issue. Could high pH be the issue? Is there anything else that I should try? Different yeast?

I have also checked that my hydrometer reads 1.000 when placed in water.

Nastynate65 01-27-2013 07:49 PM

I'm no expert on meads; I've never had one stuck before on fermentation. However, I've been told if I ever had gotten stuck (usually at semi-sweet levels like SG = 1.010) to add potassium metabisulfite to 1 cup of the mead and slowly stir it back into the vessel. I think it was 2.5 tsp. for a 5 gallon batch. Or just, 5 campden tablets. After 2 days, re-hydrate EC-1118. I notice you've used Lalvin 71B-1122; my brew store sells both typically. EC-1118 is a beast from what I've seen, often used for dry meads and recommended for stuck fermentations.

The metabisulfite will or should halt any current reproduction of any active yeast and bacteria in the mead. EC-1118 has a very wide temperature range (and when I first used it, I don't know what the pH of my mead was, but I had ~14 lbs. of honey + 6-7 tsp. of citric/tartaric/malic acid combination). I'd say consider it at least, but I'm at a loss as to why the Red Star Pasteur Champagne did not restart the fermentation (EC-1118 is also a champagne yeast). From my experience so far though; I've never had to add more than 1 pack of yeast to a anything less than a 6 gal. recipe.

TheBrewingMedic 01-27-2013 08:01 PM

Hmm, quite a dilemma, seems like you have all the bases covered...

-plenty of yeast from the start

-plenty of nutrients, possibly more than neccesary now

-Maybe could use a little more oxygen but the racking should have assisted with that

-the pH is a little high but generally the yeast can handle up to 4.6 without too much issue, probably would want to degass often though

-Minor temperature fluctuations but you corrected that

you could try a tiny bit of an acid blend to bring the pH down a hair, like 1/8 tsp or less could get you down to the 3.6 range.

you could also try adding a little citrus to see how that effects the pH, just be cautious, adding is easy, taking away not much.

saramc 01-27-2013 08:55 PM

Potential issues:
Far too much yeast nutrient on board, even at staggered interval... dose should be 1 tsp/gallon but you used 10 Tablespoons--six times recommended dose? This could be the pH culprit, I could be wrong.

Did you rack off the old yeast or just keep adding new?

Arpolis 01-28-2013 01:09 AM

I think all the basics are there and you should be able to get this started with a little TLC. If I were you I would try a stepped starter.

2 cups water
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp yeast nutrient
1 package of Lalvin K1-V1116 or ec-1118

Sprinkle the yeast on top of the starter and do not mix in. Wait two hours and there should be noticeable signs of fermentation. Add in 1/2 cup of must and wait two hours. The yeast should still be rolling so add in another 1/2 cup and wait two hours. Repeat that process of adding 1/2 cup must and waiting two hours for a minimum of 4 must additions & 10 full hours have passed. If you can stay awake long enough you can continue the process further and you should basically ease the yeast into the same conditions as they would meet in the must. Usually after the 10 hours you can pitch that and it should take off full force within 48 hours.

BerserkerPaul 02-12-2013 02:30 PM

My Mead Fermentation Issue
Greetings all,

Here is the run down of my Sack Sweet Mead: 9Feb13, mixed 10lbs Clover honey into 1gal water & 0.5gal apple juice from juiced granny smith green apples (12.44 lbs worth), topped up to 3gal with water, added 0.75 tsp fermaid, and Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead liquid yeast smack pack (no yeast starter).
OG: 1.160
It's 12Feb13 and I haven't seen a single bubble in the airlock. From reading some of the other posts on this subject I'm thinking my yeast may be overwhelmed with the high gravity and/or my yeast nutrient (fermaid) isn't sufficient.
Thoughts, comments, suggestions are much appreciated!

2nd: Artisanal Dry Mead, Baltic Porter

Arpolis 02-13-2013 12:15 AM

Yea an OG of 1.160 is huge. You are talking potential ABV of over 20%. Wyeast sweet mead yeast is also a pita and is natorious for being hard to start and easy to stall. It normally requires twice the nutrients staggered over the first 1/3 of the ferment to be successful.

I would go pick up some Lalvin K1-v1116 yeast and do a stepped starter.

2 cups water
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp nutrients

Sprinkle the yeast on top and cover with paper towel and rubber band. Let this sit two hours then add 1/2 cup of your must and wait two hours. Repeat that 3 more times. After the 10 hour ordeal then pitch the yeast.

Good luck.

BerserkerPaul 02-14-2013 01:28 AM


Ok, that jives with some research i've been doing on how to fix this batch, thank you very much. Now, should i rack the must off whatever is at the bottom of carboy?


Arpolis 02-14-2013 02:16 AM

Is the stuff a yeast cake or sediment from the apple juice? If it looks like a yeast cake then sure rack but otherwise I would leave that alone.

BerserkerPaul 02-14-2013 06:40 PM

Well now today there's a kreusen! The material at the bottom resembles a yeast cake. But now that there's signs of activity what should i do now?

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