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Old 02-06-2009, 01:32 AM   #11
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Going back to the #2 post; I would've thought something like the addition of potassium carbonate would come to light here as a means of increasing a low pH and getting things going
Reasonable or not?
It would if I had some assurance that low pH was a reasonable possibility. However, seeing as this is a JAO type recipe, I'm not so sure that is the issue, and rather that use a 'shotgun' approach I opted for what seemed the more likely problem - even though I've no experience with JAO recipes.
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Old 02-07-2009, 05:23 AM   #12
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Well maybe I was a bit to hasty to post about my supposed problem. I went ahead and made up a half batch of the starter (3cups of liquid total) which after only 5 hours has just as much foam and head on it as there is liquid in my 1.5L jar (with airlock of course). I'm scared to go to bed only to wake up in the morning to find it has exploded.

But, some potentially good news, at the same time of making the starter I took a SG reading of the 2 batches. The blackberry batch is currently sitting at 1.094 and the orange batch is at 1.091 which is a definite change from the 1.1 - 1.11 that they started at.

I'm wondering if I will need that the starter at all...or maybe I just need a small amount?

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Old 02-07-2009, 12:19 PM   #13
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Well maybe I was a bit to hasty to post about my supposed problem... The blackberry batch is currently sitting at 1.094 and the orange batch is at 1.091 which is a definite change from the 1.1 - 1.11 that they started at.
I wouldn't beat yourself up too much. After 6+ days, I would expect a new mead's SG to be much lower than what you have reported.

Besides the example fermentation charts in the FAQ, my present batch started at 1.123, and after 4 days it dropped 76 points to 1.047 and is still actively fermenting. Ambient area temp is 65°F.

What you described in your initial post was not a healthy fermentation. IMO, your cause for concern was valid.
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Old 02-09-2009, 06:40 PM   #14
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I've got a very similar issue. I made a basic mead, 1 gallon w/ 3 lbs of honey. I couldn't find Go-Ferm so I just rehydrated champagne yeast in warm water and then pitched. I did all this on 1/18. OG of 1.115. I checked yesterday and its only down to 1.050. I did the initial nutrient addition and got the expected foaming. Since then the SG has been dropping very slowly. I've been regularly rousting the yeast by spinning the bottle and I'm still a long way from finishing. I'm right at the second nutrient addition but I expected to be much farther 3 weeks into fermentation. Would increasing the size of the nutrient addition help?

Thanks

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Old 02-09-2009, 07:38 PM   #15
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I've got a very similar issue. I made a basic mead, 1 gallon w/ 3 lbs of honey. I couldn't find Go-Ferm so I just rehydrated champagne yeast in warm water and then pitched.
That should not be a problem, depending upon how you determined "warm" - should be less than 104°F. Also the temperature difference between the yeast and must should be <10°F.
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I did all this on 1/18. OG of 1.115. I checked yesterday and its only down to 1.050.
What is the area temp?

What type of nutrients did you use? Did you verify the yeast was not past its "best used by" date?
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:05 PM   #16
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That should not be a problem, depending upon how you determined "warm" - should be less than 104°F. Also the temperature difference between the yeast and must should be <10°F.What is the area temp?
I cooled the boiled water that I rehydrated the yeast in to lukewarm, but I didn't use a thermometer. The yeast pitch temp and must temp were close, I let the must cool before adding the yeast.

Initially it was in a closet in the low 60s but when the weather changed I moved it and now its 68-70. Its been at this temp for about 2 weeks.

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What type of nutrients did you use? Did you verify the yeast was not past its "best used by" date?
I used a generic granulated "yeast nutrient" as well as a fine powder that contained DAP. As for the yeast I honestly didn't check the date.

Another couple questions, is aeration as important in wines/meads as it is in beer? I know boiling wort releases most of the oxygen so you have to reincorporate air. At the same time since it doesn't contain hops it shouldn't be as affected by light, correct?

Thx for the help
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:26 PM   #17
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It is quite difficult to point to any particular item as a likely problem source - especially when there are so many parameters that are not specifically known. Yours could be a low yeast population for reasons unknown, low must pH, inadequate YAN resulting from generic "nutrient" use, etc.

Regarding aeration, it is helpful, but not essential when the must OG is <1.130.

Increasing the amount of nutrient later in the fermentation process is not necessarily a good thing either. The SNA amounts are designed to be added at certain points in the yeast life cycle - most of it before the 50% sugar break. Your must has past that point at over 66%.

By example, let me share how your must should be acting with the parameters from a batch I started on 2/2/09: Traditional mead, OG 1.123, with 3g KHCO3, R2 yeast, properly rehydrated. After 6 days (amb. temp 65°F), the SG is 1.027 - a drop of 96+ points, and it's still going. No aeration other than the mixing action during SNAs.

The process I use works well and I do not shortcut any step. I measure everything, pay attention to detail, and I never use nutrients other than Fermaid-K (years ago I used Superfood), Go-Ferm, & DAP.

I didn't provide that example to make you feel bad. Instead, to illustrate that a proven process works successully time & time again (well at least for over 15 years...)

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Old 02-10-2009, 01:25 AM   #18
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It is quite difficult to point to any particular item as a likely problem source - especially when there are so many parameters that are not specifically known. Yours could be a low yeast population for reasons unknown, low must pH, inadequate YAN resulting from generic "nutrient" use, etc.

Regarding aeration, it is helpful, but not essential when the must OG is <1.130.

Increasing the amount of nutrient later in the fermentation process is not necessarily a good thing either. The SNA amounts are designed to be added at certain points in the yeast life cycle - most of it before the 50% sugar break. Your must has past that point at over 66%.

By example, let me share how your must should be acting with the parameters from a batch I started on 2/2/09: Traditional mead, OG 1.123, with 3g KHCO3, R2 yeast, properly rehydrated. After 6 days (amb. temp 65°F), the SG is 1.027 - a drop of 96+ points, and it's still going. No aeration other than the mixing action during SNAs.

The process I use works well and I do not shortcut any step. I measure everything, pay attention to detail, and I never use nutrients other than Fermaid-K (years ago I used Superfood), Go-Ferm, & DAP.

I didn't provide that example to make you feel bad. Instead, to illustrate that a proven process works successully time & time again (well at least for over 15 years...)
No offense taken and I would have used more specific additives if my LHBS supplied them. Since this was only a 1 gallon batch I'm not out anything but the 3 lbs of honey. (That's why I did such a small batch in the first place) Do you think it'd be worthwhile to create a starter and try to restart this one?
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:10 AM   #19
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No offense taken and I would have used more specific additives if my LHBS supplied them. Since this was only a 1 gallon batch I'm not out anything but the 3 lbs of honey. (That's why I did such a small batch in the first place) Do you think it'd be worthwhile to create a starter and try to restart this one?
Are you sure it has stopped fermenting? Have SG readings over the past 3-4 days been relatively constant?

If so, then using a starter may be the best choice.
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