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Old 11-23-2010, 01:12 AM   #1
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Default Ruh roh! Too hot?!

So, I took my first stab at making mead about a month ago...even found a local apiary and got some good honey at a decent price. Recipe is as follows:

10lbs Orange Blossom Honey
5lbs Clover Honey
Safale-04
4.5G Water

Here's my problem: I took a hydrometer reading and it seems that the ABV is around 3.7% after one month. Now, I know that it takes longer for the yeast to convert the sugar, but my GFGF and I were reviewing our notes and noticed that we pitched the yeast while the temp was around 95F. After checking the fermentation temp, it looks like it needs to be below 75F. I have two questions: (a) did I kill the yeast and thereby ruin the mead? I mean, obviously there is some conversion going on in there...but, is it too slow? And, my follow up question (b): if the fermenter is at 66F, which is within the yeast's happy range, is it out of the question to add more?

Thanks!

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Old 11-23-2010, 01:14 AM   #2
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You should be able to repitch. At 95, you probably killed 'em...

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Old 11-23-2010, 01:55 AM   #3
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No, they should be fine. 95 degrees won't kill them, and if the SG is changing at all, that means they've reproduced and are fermenting.

Ignore that potential alcohol scale- that's how much potential alcohol is LEFT, not how much is in there. Which means that the mead has fermented.

Check the specific gravity on the hydrometer. And then let us know what is now, and where it started. You can tell us the potential alcohol that it started at, if that's what you wrote down.

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Old 11-23-2010, 10:21 AM   #4
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yeah, something sounds funny with your reading...you should have way more than 3.7% ABV after a month...frankly you should be finished...with that amount of honey and that yeast, you should have at least 10% ABV.

Had you been seeing any activity over the past month?

What does it taste like?

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Old 11-23-2010, 01:03 PM   #5
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The gravity started at 1.098 (which is 1.102 corrected for 95F); last night it was 1.074 at 66F.

At first, I saw bubbles coming up, but I haven't really seen them since (they were kind of in this suspended state at the top I was assuming due to the thickness). It tastes VERY sweet...when I smell it, it almost has a grape-juice smell...tasting was very sweet and the alcohol was undetectable.

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Old 11-23-2010, 02:45 PM   #6
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It looks like your batch is stuck.

Did you give the yeast any nutrients? Did you make any other additions (acid blend, lemon juice, etc.)?

Are you able to check the pH? Do you have any other yeast available?

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Old 11-23-2010, 05:27 PM   #7
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I didn't give the yeast any nutrients or make any additions (only what I listed). I might be able to test the pH, but not readily. But, I can get my hands on some of the yeast pretty easily...theres a LHBS a few miles from my apartment. Is throwing in some new yeast the fix?

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Old 11-23-2010, 05:51 PM   #8
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Well, to start with, you could add some nutrients - Fermaid K, about 5 tsp would be a reasonable 1st step. Then aerate it well, and if possible, move it to some place a bit warmer (70-75 F) to help the yeast get going. The Fermaid K will usually raise the pH some, so that may help if that's the problem.

If that doesn't get it perking, then you need to check the pH using pH strips (get the correct range 3.0 to 4.0) or a meter. A pH less than 3.0 can really impair yeast and if you find that's the case, you can adjust it up using potassium bicarbonate (preferred) or calcium carbonate which should be available at the LHBS.

While you are there, you may want to pick up some yeast that are good for restarts. In a fermentation where alcohol is already building up, throwing in more yeast often just results in them being stunned senseless by the harsh conditions. There are some yeast that are better at handling the stress, and these are good for restarts. Uvaferm 43 is the best, but EC-1118 or Premier Cuvee would also be good choice. If you follow the instruction hightest provides in the FAQ sticky at the top of the forum, you'll find them under the advanced concepts "Restarting a stuck fermentation" your odds of success will be higher.

Though it may take a bit of effort, you'll be able to get it done.

Endeavor to persevere!

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Old 11-26-2010, 10:36 PM   #9
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Alright - well, I added 5t to the must and aerated Wednesday night. There is definitely some activity now...and not the thick, slow bubbling that I noticed after the first week, but closer to a slower cider.

I picked up some yeast (though I found a mead yeast as most of the ones mentioned weren't available). So, now my question is: do I add the yeast now or let the nutrients coax the conversation along for a little while longer?

Cheers!

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Old 11-26-2010, 11:42 PM   #10
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No need to add yeast if the yeast in the batch are working. They have to reproduce first, and then ferment. So, if fermentation is happening, more yeast aren't needed.

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