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Old 11-29-2008, 03:11 AM   #1
Kauai_Kahuna
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Default Somebody slap me.

In the spirit of go big or stay home I tried another epic mead, the first in many years due to time limitations, but I get inspired here.

On 200811122 I started up a OG batch coming in at around 1.123, added nutrients, and a handful of blended raisins and pitched some Pasteur Champagne.

So three days later I gently rocked the bucket and got a very satisfying stream of bubbles. OK so far.
Today, three days later I decide to do a little feeding and caring. Sanitized, took out a sample and it clocked in at 1.100, heated up to a boil, threw in the 1 tsp nutrient and 1 tsp energizer. Cooled, pitched back in.

Thought everything was great until my sub-consensus started messing with me, I went back and realized that what I thought was energizer, was really Potassium Sorbate, DAM....


So, I'm just going to chill for the next week, take a measurement and see if I just really screwed up. I am hoping that because the input was only 1 tsp the yeast will not be killed off.

My question for the esteemed mead makers here, what steps should I take if it does stall?

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Old 11-29-2008, 03:42 AM   #2
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It won't stall. Slow a little maybe-but it won't stall. It'll be ok. RDWHAHB.

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Old 11-29-2008, 03:53 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summersolstice View Post
RDWHAHB.
Coming from a grand master.
Thank you.
I tend not to panic, but I also usually do not make bonehead mistakes like this. (I need new glasses to be able to read the super-small print on these products).
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Old 11-29-2008, 03:56 AM   #4
hightest
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An interesting dilemma. A little rough math suggests that you added enough sorbate to attain a concentration of ~175ppm (assuming a 5 gallon batch). BTW, the suggested sorbate addition rate ranges 150-200 ppm.

The good news is you have two factors in your favor - you added no KMETA, and the yeast population would appear to be more viable than if you added the sorbate days later.

The bad news is that I would expect the sorbate to adversely affect the existing population such that the fermentation rate slows (I doubt it will stop).

I see two options available at present. One, do nothing and use the mistake as an experiment to see just how the added sorbate affects the fermentation. Or, you can prepare a 1L starter to help offset the effect of the sorbate.

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Old 11-29-2008, 04:05 AM   #5
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hightest - Thank you also.
I think a good starter using the same yeast will be the answer if the yeast do not pick back up after a week, or do you think I should wait longer?
Another "wild idea" would be to move to open fermentation with paper towels held down by rubber bands and stir to mix things up to give the yeast the upper hand.
Now I need to stop checking back for tonight and RDWHAHB, and another, etc.

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Old 11-29-2008, 11:44 AM   #6
hightest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kauai_Kahuna View Post
hightest - Thank you also.
I think a good starter using the same yeast will be the answer if the yeast do not pick back up after a week, or do you think I should wait longer?
You're welcome. A week sounds fine, and you might consider adding the missing DAP now - assuming it wasn't added after you discovered the "Oops".

For the starter, I'd make it with the same yeast (10-15g, rehydrated w/ Go-Ferm) in a 1.080-1.090 honey must about 3-4 days before you intend to add it.

FWIW, when I add nurtrients I never treat the must (or water) that I use in any way. I do observe normal sanitary precautions.
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Old 11-30-2008, 07:35 AM   #7
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I stirred the must twice yesterday raised the temp up to 70F, and was still getting a few bubbles here and there, today I took a sample and it is down to 1.076, so roughly a 25 point drop in one day. I added my last nutrient addition, gently stirred to degass and put it in the fridge reset for 66F.
Looks like I dodged the bullet on that one, and yet another lesson learned. Thanks all for you help.

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Old 11-30-2008, 01:58 PM   #8
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Perhaps I should have explained my comments a bit more. A couple of years ago I had a melomel that was nearly finished fermenting - about 1.005 or so. I was in a hurry and actively attempted to stop the fermentation and backsweeten. I added Kmeta and sorbate in the proper amounts and backsweetned and the fermentation did not stop but instead chugged along at a very slow pace for another 2-3 months before finally fermenting dry. I thought I'd ruined it but it turned out ok in the end. Lesson learned. Don't try to stop an active fermentation with sorbate and K-meta. I doesn't work.

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Old 12-01-2008, 01:09 AM   #9
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summersolstice - I was thinking along the same lines, I just did not want the primary to be in an ale pale in my fridge for quite a few months, takes up too much space and messes with my beer making. I was really surprised by the dramatic decrease in SG in 24+ hours, I had gotten too busy to do the proper feeding and caring. It just goes to show how resilient yeast are.
I think once it gets down to around 1.020 to 1.010 I'll be moving it to a 5 gal carboy (secondary primary).
Yes I will gently stir to get a good amount of yeast suspended, etc.
Now just to figure out if I want to lightly spice this and with what.

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Conditioning: Mead, Cider, braggot, Belgium Wheat.
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Old 12-08-2008, 07:49 AM   #10
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I am tempted to change the title to - IS my mead ruined?

OK, I'm starting to get a little fixated here, and its a mead and not a hot woman, this is just sooo wrong in so many ways.

The only time the SG moves is if I de-gas, and do some feeding and caring, but I have just reached the mid point that I understand is the max time to quit messing with it.
From my log.
OG: 1.123
20081128 SG: 1.080, added 1 teaspoon nutrient, gently stirred to degas. Dropped temp to 66F.
20081206 SG: 1.080, Still the same added DAP, nutrient, stirred. Big mistake on lowering temp. Time to pay attention, and stop messing around.
20081207 Morning, Stirred again 72F, getting 1 bubble every 3 seconds. Took out of fridge.
20081207 Afternoon, 74F Stirred, SG: 1.060, Added DAP, nutrient, 2 cups water.
Midway point, no more additions. The yeast stands alone. 1.123 - 1.060 * 131 = 8.253 ABV.

So, is it truly time to let the yeast do their thing and stop trying to be the big brother and help them along?

Five hours later I am still getting active fermentation, around 1 bubble every 3 seconds or less, but the SG does not move unless I do an intervention.

I am happy I have gotten to the half mark in two weeks, and I know I could have done better with proper feeding and caring on the right schedule, but I blame it on too much homebrew and mental exhaustion.

I'm generally looking at the over process, should I go back to doing stepped up additions of honey if my target is over 12%? If only because I really do not have the time to do proper feeding and caring every 3-6 hours in making a batch.

Once again thanks to the mead makers for teaching me to make Thor's lighting and Athena's tears. (My two "stolen" brand names).

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In Primary: Belgium Chimay clones.
In Secondary: Braggot, pale ale, end of the world white.
Conditioning: Mead, Cider, braggot, Belgium Wheat.
On Tap: Clones, Chimay Blue, Red, Porter, malted cider.
Bottles: Far, far, too many to list.

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