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Old 06-04-2010, 10:11 PM   #1
MountainMonk
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Default Too sweet!

Hey guys; quick question. My mead has been turning out to be 11%ish alch and is entirely too sweet. My theory was that I was putting too much yeast in "I was using a full pack for a gallon /oops" but if you have any other insights as to why this might have happened lemme know the common causes. As far as "stuck fermentations" go I didnt have a problem with those, on the contrary they seemed to bubble more than my other batches for longer! sooo lemme know what you think.

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Old 06-04-2010, 10:28 PM   #2
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I can't see how overpitching would lead to a high final gravity. It's common to use a whole yeast packet for 1 gallon batches.

We really need to see your recipe, including OG and FG to help.

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Old 06-04-2010, 10:30 PM   #3
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The amount of yeast used is not an issue, and using more yeast than is absolutely necessary generally doesn't cause too much in the way of problems. What determines the amount of sweetness is the potential alcohol level (starting gravity) of your must and the alcohol tolerance level of the yeast. If the yeast pooped out before reaching their alcohol tolerance then you are indeed stuck. Having a very long, struggling fermentation means the yeast were stressed, and that could produce a stuck fermentation.

If you will provide the details of your recipe including the gravity numbers, ingredients, nutrients, yeast strain, temperature and such, folks here will be able to figure out where your mead is at present, and point you to some steps you can take.

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Old 06-05-2010, 01:51 PM   #4
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What is the current gravity? An 11% mead should ferment down to 0.995 or less and be dry. Maybe it isn't done, as the last 10 points can take months.

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Old 06-16-2010, 01:55 AM   #5
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Default Sorry for lateness!

12/18/09 OG. was 1.078, Pot alch-10%
12 lb clover honey-Lalvin EC 1118
Thoroughly sanitized equipment.
3 gals of water in carboy "didnt have fermenter at time" then warmed honey pitched it and yeast.
Oxygenated the must then airlocked "didnt know about yeast energizer or nutrient"

racked-2/13/10
SG-1.024, Pot alch-3.5%
racked-4/22/10
FG 1.010, Pot alch-1.3% "Taste test was bitey and bitter"
Test was probably due to too much sitting on the lees and of course it hadnt cleared. This was before I read your forums. Please give me all the info you can! Ive learned alot from reading your forums but I dont want to miss anything so Ill let you guys hammer it out!

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Old 06-16-2010, 03:14 AM   #6
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I just started in meads myself (not having done any other homebrew), and my first batches used minimal amounts of nutrient, no degassing, no additional oxygenating, nothing. They took forever to ferment. I started 2 1-gal batches that way. Then i read a lot more on this forum, as well as Ken Schramm's book, and a few of the articles referenced in some of the mead forums.

3rd & 4th batch: I added nutrients each of the 1,2,3rd day, and oxygenated. HUGE improvement in terms of fermentation speed (and I didn't even degass...) Anyhow, needless to say I will be using different strategies going forward, considering how much better the fermentation is when it's quick (more drinkable earlier, fewer odd flavors)

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Old 06-16-2010, 03:17 AM   #7
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Something's not right.

12# of honey + 3 gallons of water != 1.078

More like something around 1.106 or so?

Chances are your gravity readings were bad, honey not properly mixed.

That said, you're now looking at close to 13%.

EC1118 should take it a bit dryer though...

You said you racked 4/22 at 1.010, what's it at now that it's June? Still stuck at 1.010?

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Old 06-16-2010, 04:37 AM   #8
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Good point - I think I used 8lbs in that much water...

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Old 06-16-2010, 05:43 PM   #9
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Yes, 2 pounds per gallon would get you to that starting gravity.

Your mead is stuck. At that starting gravity, that yeast strain would take it dry. You are currently at about 9% ABV, and the yeast can easily get to 18%. It is stuck because it didn't get enough nutrient/energizer, and low pH could also be a factor. Under those conditions, you would get a very long slow fermentation that could continue for months. Worse yet, if you bottle it, you may get bottle bombs unless you stabilize it with sorbate/sulfite in combination (or get it to finish).

There are some things you can do to try and coax the yeast to finish. One is to move it to a warmer spot. If you've kept this in a basement or someplace less than 70F, move it to a nice warm 75-80F area and see if it perks up.

Secondly, you can add yeast hulls, 1 gram per gallon.
Third, check the pH. If it is 3.1 or lower, add enough potassium bicarbonate to get it up to 3.5 (it will probably take 1 tsp per gallon or more).
Fourth, add some yeast energizer (Fermaid K if possible) about 2 grams per gallon.

If none of those things work, then it is time to add a starter that has been acclimated. Your can read how in hightest's sticky at the top of this forum - the instructions for restarting a stuck fermentation. The good news, is that it should be fairly easy to get a 9% ABV mead with a relatively low gravity restarted.

Endeavor to persevere!

Medsen

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Old 06-17-2010, 07:21 PM   #10
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Yeah its still stuck near 1.010, its just stuck lol. I have the energizer but I havent checked the price of a tool for measuring ph. What would I be looking for?
Also are yeast hulls the same as "yeast nutrient"?
The only difference in taste is that the yeasty bite has decreased "after racking of course", but its still a bit weak for my tastes.

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