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Old 02-09-2010, 11:03 PM   #11
mrgoodcheese
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I would get a new yeast like D47 going in a starter, then pitch that. And when the SG gets to where you want it to be, stop the yeast by racking onto sulfite and sorbate.
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This is not a reliable way to stop a fermenting wine yeast. Sorbate and sulfite are very good a keep a fermentation that has stopped from restarting, but they are just not able to consistently stop an active fermentation unless you use them in high doses that will leave you with off flavors.

Texron, you can use a yeast to restart (preferably one good for restarts) and then stop it at the desired gravity by cold-crashing it - putting it in a fridge with the temp below 40F (with or without a dose of sulfite). That will put the yeast to sleep and you can let the mead clear. Then rack it onto sorbate and sulfite and you'll be able to keep it from starting to ferment again. If you have a fridge or cold place that you can do this with, it is an effective alternative.

Medsen
Medsen, obviously you have not tried what my suggestion was, or you would actually have the knowledge that tiny amounts of sulfite and sorbate will stop certain yeasts without off flavors. I wouldn't have posted my actual positive yeast stopping experience if the end results were negative. Think about it, man.

And you are "borrowing" from my original post in a different thread, concerning the use of cold crashing with sulfite and sorbate. It just wouldn't be needed with a weaker yeast like D47 and his current alcohol level. Just thought I'd point that out.

And dropping the last sentence of my quote doesn't help you either.
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...As long as you don't use a super strong yeast like Lalvin 1118, you can be control the ending sweetness consistently.
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Old 02-10-2010, 01:16 AM   #12
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I am not attempting to take anything you've stated out of context. I've never said that sorbate and sulfite will absolutely fail to stop a fermentation if used, only that you cannot count on it to do so reliably with any wine yeast. D47 is not a weak yeast - quite the contrary. And while EC-1118 does have a higher alcohol tolerance and can tolerate harsh fermentation conditions, it is not a super-yeast.

I believe you when you say you have racked onto sorbate and sulfite and had a fermentation stop. I have sometimes had a fermentation stop after simply racking (which can leave a lot of active yeast behind) without adding any sorbate and sulfite (a stuck fermentation). I hope you will also believe me when I tell you I have racked batches onto sorbate and sulfite (with D47 mind you) and watched them ferment on to dryness more than once.

The lack of success may in part depend on the fermentation conditions and how much of the sulfite gets bound (by sugars, gluconolactone and phenolic elements which vary between honey varieties). The pH may also be a factor - the lower it is, the more effective the sulfite will be. All I'm saying is that if you make a habit of trying to stop an active fermentation with any of the common wine yeast by racking onto sorbate and sulfite, you're probably going to have it fail often enough that you'll start looking for a better alternative.

If it works for you every time, then you just have the magic touch.

Medsen

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Old 02-10-2010, 03:52 AM   #13
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I am not attempting to take anything you've stated out of context. I've never said that sorbate and sulfite will absolutely fail to stop a fermentation if used, only that you cannot count on it to do so reliably with any wine yeast. D47 is not a weak yeast - quite the contrary. And while EC-1118 does have a higher alcohol tolerance and can tolerate harsh fermentation conditions, it is not a super-yeast.

I believe you when you say you have racked onto sorbate and sulfite and had a fermentation stop. I have sometimes had a fermentation stop after simply racking (which can leave a lot of active yeast behind) without adding any sorbate and sulfite (a stuck fermentation). I hope you will also believe me when I tell you I have racked batches onto sorbate and sulfite (with D47 mind you) and watched them ferment on to dryness more than once.

The lack of success may in part depend on the fermentation conditions and how much of the sulfite gets bound (by sugars, gluconolactone and phenolic elements which vary between honey varieties). The pH may also be a factor - the lower it is, the more effective the sulfite will be. All I'm saying is that if you make a habit of trying to stop an active fermentation with any of the common wine yeast by racking onto sorbate and sulfite, you're probably going to have it fail often enough that you'll start looking for a better alternative.

If it works for you every time, then you just have the magic touch.

Medsen
1118 is the only yeast that on multiple attempts was not stopped by racking onto sulfite and sorbate for the first time. I've been 100% successful stopping the following yeast types: D47, 1122, 1116, R2, Cotes de Blanc, D254, BA11, and T306. If I can get it to work every time, anyone else can also. And obviously racking off settled yeast helps, but I assume everyone knows that.
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Old 02-10-2010, 01:37 PM   #14
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Thanks guys. I appreciate your comments and advice.

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Old 02-12-2010, 01:34 PM   #15
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OK-I have been doing some thinking about this. Might be dangerous but here goes.

I am considering racking three gallons of this batch over to a three gallon carboy and then re-pitch yeast on the remaining two gallons. Hopefully I can ferment the two-gallon portion "dry" and then when re-combined lower the overall sweetnes of the batch-but not end up bone dry.

I checked my SG last night and it was still 1.043. Being it has been a week at this so I am convinced my fermentation is stuck. I am going to buy a PH Meter this weekend but I think I will need to re-pitch with another yeast. I have another batch-a Pyment-that is stuck at 1.030 so I am considering the same strategy for it if this works. Any thoughts?

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Old 02-12-2010, 03:04 PM   #16
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You have enough sugar still present in each batch, so to each I would add a bit more nutrient and energizer, repitch another yeast, then either let it go dry or stop the fermentation with sulfite and sorbate at your desired SG level.

Also, adjusting your temperature up slightly can help the fermentation be more active. If you're in the low or mid 60's, try bumping the temp up 5 degrees.

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Old 02-14-2010, 01:42 PM   #17
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Separating it and fermenting a portion dry is certainly a workable approach. It will also be educational - you may find the dry batch very much to your liking and you'll be able to compare the sweet and dry. Then you'll be able to test different blends with different gravities find the one that works best to leave you the sweetness you prefer.

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Old 03-02-2010, 02:20 AM   #18
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OK-I tried splitting the batch into two parts, I took three gallons and replaced one quart of juice with a quart of boiled and cooled spring water. That brought the SG down to 1.035. Then I re-pitched some rehydrated Lalvin 72b-1122 yeast. Virtually nothing happened.

I then bought a Ph Meter and checked it-the results was 3.6. So I added enough acid blend to bring it down to 2.8. I hoped for a re-start on the 1122 but still nothing happened.

I then pitched a pack of Montrachet and thought I had hit the mother lode. It started bubbling profusely after a few days and there was a brown scum that formed in the neck of the bottle for a couple days after that over the weekend. When I came home from work today it was still. I checked the SG and was dissapointed to find it had only dropped tw points to 1.033. I checked the Ph and it is still at 2.8. And through all this it has produced a bit of sediment.

Should I try another type of yeast? With all this yeast I have thrown in there will it end up tasting strange? Am I going to have to try brewing a bone-dry batch and blend it out? Or am I stuck with something that would only be good on ice cream?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am a bit frustrated at the moment.

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Old 03-02-2010, 03:00 AM   #19
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I'm sorry for your frustration, but I believe I can explain your problem.

1. 71-B is not a yeast to choose to restart a batch (nor is Montrachet). You need a yeast capable of starting in an alcoholic environment. If you look at hightest's instruction for a stuck fermentation, you'll see how to approach it. Using a yeast like Uvaferm 43, EC-1118 (Premier cuvee), or QA23 will be much better for restarting, and it works best if you acclimate the yeast to the must.

2. The pH of 3.6 is just about perfect for yeast. Yeast don't have to be in an acid environment, but they tolerate it better than most things that would spoil the mead. However, the yeast do not like to function at a pH below 3.0. When you added the extra acid, you virtually guaranteed that you will not be getting this batch to restart unless you adjust the pH back up.

I would use the other portion of the batch that you have not treated and get that to ferment dry. Read hightest's instructions (in the sticky at the top of the forum), acclimate a good yeast and don't reduce the pH from 3.6. Once you get that batch dry, you can try blending with the portion that you have acidified.

Endeavor to persevere!

Medsen

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Old 03-02-2010, 03:15 AM   #20
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Thanks Medsen. I guess I am in a big ole learning curve.

I added the acid blend on the recommendations of my LHBS. Oh well, onwards and onwards. I really need the three gallons dry to pull down the two gallons I haven't touched. Would it be to risky to try and take the three gallon batch back to 3.6 or would it be like a dog chasing its tail?

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