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kingmatt 02-26-2011 12:32 AM

Need Advice
I recently brewed my first mead (Northern Brewer's Traditional Sweet Mead) on 2/13.

My OG was 1.080 and my airlock was showing activity after about 8-10 hrs and the temp has remained in the 65-70 range the entire time.

Today I decided to take a hydrometer reading because my airlock activity was starting to slow down drastically and was surprised to find it was only at 1.050.

I was expecting it to be much closer to my target (1.010) at this point and am now worried my fermentation may be stuck.

I used 1 activator of Wyeast 4184 and my recipe called for 12lbs of wildflower honey and I staggered my nutrient additions as recommended in the sticky.

What do you mead experts think? Am I rushing things or should I start thinking about re-pitching?

Thanks in advance :mug:

mmadmikes1 02-26-2011 12:50 AM

I keep it warmer closer top 73/75. Just started doing this after 3 stuck fermentations in a row. I also started stirring daily for first 10 days. Some people use air stones

fatbloke 02-26-2011 08:47 AM

Try the warmth thing that mmadmikes1 suggests, maybe also a little nutrient and have you been aerating it ? If not give it a stir....

You mention an SG of 1.080 and a target of 1.010 ? well, the sweet mead yeast you mention actually has a tolerance of 11.5 % ABV, whereas the 70 point drop you've alluded to equates to 9.5 % ABV, so if the ferment was managed perfectly, you could still get it to ferment pretty dry.

That sweet mead yeast does seem to be really finicky, though because it says "mead" in the title a lot of people presume "its the one for me......" It seems (having tried it and read of a lot of other peoples issues with it), that it's a PITA. It seems that it does need a starter made from it as well, because despite the marketing blurb, it does need very careful looking after....

S'up to you.



p.s. Oh and if you did decide to use a different yeast to repitch, I'd say to use K1V-1116. Get it refermenting with that and then add some more honey, another couple of pounds.......

kingmatt 02-26-2011 12:22 PM

Thanks for the advice guys! I will bump up my temp to around 75 and see if that gets things jumping.

I haven't been aerating either...I guess I am looking at it from a beer brewers perspective where that is a big no-no after fermentation begins, so I will give that a try as well.

If all else fails, I will try re-pitching. Fatbloke, you recommended adding more honey in if I re-pitch, is that just because of the yeast you recommend or because my recipe in general is too low?

Like I said, it was a kit from NorthernBrewer so I didn't really have a choice on what yeast to use, if I were to do it again I definitely wouldn't go with the 4184...

kingmatt 02-28-2011 11:49 PM

OK, so I up'd the temp and swirled my carboy but it didn't do much in terms of rev'ing up my fermentation.

I consulted my LHBS and talked with a guy who does a lot of meads. He suggested that I pitch a champagne yeast to kick start my fermentation (he recommended EC118) and then when I got to my desired FG, to hit it with Potassium Sorbate to stop fermentation. He also said that I could just let it ferment out and backsweeten at the end.

I am looking for a semi-sweet mead around 10-12% ABV so do you think I should just add the Potassium Sorbate when I get down to around 1.010 or .97?

I also picked up some Potassium Metabisulphite at his request to use when I transfer to my secondary for aging...

mmadmikes1 03-01-2011 09:32 PM

sulfites and sorbate will not stop fermentation. just stress it a lot. Thinking it will will get you bottle bombs

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