Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Possible stuck fermentation or other issue(s)
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-05-2009, 03:18 PM   #1
robsauce
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 41
Default Possible stuck fermentation or other issue(s)

Firstly I'd like to give a big shout out and THANK YOU to hightest as you are a wealth of knowledge and have put a lot of effort into creating and posting the FAQ (its perfect). Sorry that this is a bit of a novel but I'm trying to include as much info as possible.

Back story: Had some mead from a local brewery and loved it - decided to try making my own as I've been brewing beer for a while now and figured it could be a good time. At the time I didn't really want to put much effort into it (I'm now regretting it) and came across the JOAM recipe/thread - read through it and decided it was too easy not to try. I pretty much followed the recipe to a T other than deciding to omit the bread yeast (I thought to myself: why use bread yeast when I can buy something better/meant for alcohol) and use a yeast recommended by the lady at the brew shop I frequent. At the time I didn't really pay attention to what type of yeast it was (stupid me) but it was Red Star brand.

Process: I whipped up 2 batches, one with the regular recipe and the other I substituted about 25-30 blackberries for the raisins and orange. I ended up using about 1.5kg (3.3lbs of honey) per batch along with 3.5L of water. I warmed up the water on the stove in order to help dissolve the honey and added it to the 4L water jug followed by adding all other ingredients. I let it come to room temp (about 70F) shook the piss out of it then pitched the yeast after rehydrating it as per the yeast package instructions (basically just dissolved it in warm water for 15mins) and slapped an airlock on the jugs. I did take a OG reading but being the stupid person I am I didn't pay attention to the exact number but it was somewhere around 1.11

Issues: Since then they've been sitting for 6 days in my house which fluctuates in temp but is generally around 68-69ish. There is some visible signs of fermentation but compared to what I'm used to with beer its extremely low. As far as the airlock is concerned each batch is letting a bubble through the airlock at about 1 ever 20s. I decided to take a reading yesterday and it seems as though neither of them have really changed. I did end up sampling the mead/must that I used for the reading and it tasted like delicious syrup and didn't display any off/bad flavours which I think is a good sign. Also, I didn't notice a very strong yeasty flavour which I would have expected.

Over the course of the week while my must has supposedly been fermenting I've taken more interest into Mead and ended up reading through the FAQ's and the newbie guide on gotmead.com and have since wished I had read them first before proceeding with the JOAM.

In using the calculator (as best as I can figure out) with 3.3lbs of honey and 14.8 cups of water my OG should be around 1.097 (right around what my 1.11 reading that I took before pitching the yeast was). It has been 6 days since I pitched the yeast and neither batch has changed as per the reading I took last night. Is it possible my fermentation is stuck, or maybe my yeast died? Or is this just a relatively slow recipe/process. I know mead takes time and patience which I'm completely willing to give but I guess I'm just worried that I screwed up somewhere along the way and don't want to still have aged syrup in 2 months. Does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts?

Thanks in advance,

Rob



robsauce is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2009, 05:00 PM   #2
hightest
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Bridgeton, NJ
Posts: 434
Liked 18 Times on 7 Posts

Default

Rob - Thank you for the kind words.

That being said, let me preface my comments by stating that I have never made any of the JAO recipes (nor do I ever intend to) so I have absolutly no experience with those recipes.

Yet (IIRC), the process of making a JAO recipe contradicts many of the tenets written in the Mead FAQs. As such reading them first may not have helped - perhaps, but I'm not sure.

What you're describing is characteristic of a nutrient starved, or low pH, must. I would like to think your yeast substitution did not cause this problem. However, the use of blackberries instead of raisins may have contributed a factor.

As you may know honey (by itself) provides little in the way of nutrients for yeast health. One way of suplementing this nutrient deficit is the use of raisins, fruit juice, etc. Blackberries do not have the same sugar level as do raisins, hence the yeast may be running out of the essential nutrients they require - result sluggish fermentation...


hightest is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2009, 05:39 PM   #3
robsauce
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 41
Default

Thanks for the quick response!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hightest View Post
That being said, let me preface my comments by stating that I have never made any of the JAO recipes (nor do I ever intend to) so I have absolutly no experience with those recipes.

Yet (IIRC), the process of making a JAO recipe contradicts many of the tenets written in the Mead FAQs. As such reading them first may not have helped - perhaps, but I'm not sure.
Had I read the FAQ before attempting the JAOM I probably would have realized exactly that and decided 100% against making it for those reasons alone(bold text).

Quote:
Originally Posted by hightest View Post
What you're describing is characteristic of a nutrient starved, or low pH, must. I would like to think your yeast substitution did not cause this problem. However, the use of blackberries instead of raisins may have contributed a factor.

As you may know honey (by itself) provides little in the way of nutrients for yeast health. One way of suplementing this nutrient deficit is the use of raisins, fruit juice, etc. Blackberries do not have the same sugar level as do raisins, hence the yeast may be running out of the essential nutrients they require - result sluggish fermentation...
I figured as much. I'm regretting making the JOAM now but at the time all the other recipes seemed way too complicated for what I wanted to try (after reading the FAQ's, its really not all that complicated at all though...) What are the chances that my yeast has died? Or are they just sitting there in my jug with nothing to grow off of? Is there any way to save these 2 batches as I'm guessing letting them sit how they are is probably not going to get me anywhere? I read through your Stuck Fermentation document which sounds like it could work but I'm guessing thats designed for a 5gallon batch. Do you think my best option to save these 2 batches is to attempt to scale this down to the equivalent of 2 gallons - do its thing and then split the starter in half and add it to each batch respectively?

Also, in just siphoning/thieving a small amount of must out for an OG rating all the fruit, spices, etc. would often clog my siphon tube and make it extremely difficult. After tasting my sample, both batches had quite a nice spice and fruit flavour already. Do you think it would it work to simply pour the must out through a strainer to remove the fruit and proceed with the stuck fermentation plan?

Or should I just leave it be and hope for the best??

robsauce is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2009, 06:37 PM   #4
robsauce
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 41
Default

I decided to think ahead and call around to the handful of LHB's in my city and disappointingly 5/6 of them had no idea what I was talking about when I asked if they carried Go-Ferm, Superfood or Fermaid-K. 2 of them said they carried a generic yeast nutrient/energizer and when asked for additional details both checked the bottles and confirmed it was DAP.

The only luck I had was with 1 brewery that has Wyeast Nutrient Blend available (Wyeast Laboratories. Brewer's Choice™ Wyeast Nutrient Blend). I know most people on this board are big supporters of Superfood, Fermaid-K etc. but it seems that those options are out of the question at this time.

Thoughts?
robsauce is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2009, 07:48 PM   #5
gratus fermentatio
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
 
gratus fermentatio's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Montana
Posts: 10,813
Liked 1851 Times on 1063 Posts
Likes Given: 4552

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by robsauce View Post
I decided to think ahead and call around to the handful of LHB's in my city and disappointingly 5/6 of them had no idea what I was talking about when I asked if they carried Go-Ferm, Superfood or Fermaid-K. 2 of them said they carried a generic yeast nutrient/energizer and when asked for additional details both checked the bottles and confirmed it was DAP.

The only luck I had was with 1 brewery that has Wyeast Nutrient Blend available (Wyeast Laboratories. Brewer's Choice™ Wyeast Nutrient Blend). I know most people on this board are big supporters of Superfood, Fermaid-K etc. but it seems that those options are out of the question at this time.

Thoughts?
Then go with the generic stuff, it should work well enough; I've used generic yeast energizer/yeast nutrient/DAP with no problems at all. Some are formulated better than others & some use ingredients that you may not want to use, urea as a source of DAP for instance, but they're better than nothing. Regards, GF.
gratus fermentatio is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2009, 07:52 PM   #6
hightest
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Bridgeton, NJ
Posts: 434
Liked 18 Times on 7 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by robsauce View Post
...Had I read the FAQ before attempting the JAOM I probably would have realized exactly that and decided 100% against making it for those reasons alone(bold text).
I was trying to be tactful, as there is a brewing faction that thrives on that recipe. Alas, I'm not one of them...
hightest is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2009, 08:02 PM   #7
hightest
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Bridgeton, NJ
Posts: 434
Liked 18 Times on 7 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by robsauce View Post
The only luck I had was with 1 brewery that has Wyeast Nutrient Blend available. I know most people on this board are big supporters of Superfood, Fermaid-K etc. but it seems that those options are out of the question at this time. Thoughts?
In this case, go with what you have available, but ensure you also get some DAP in there.

Lastly, just to be clear. It's not so much that I dislike those other brands. What I have a problem with is their reluctance to assure me that they do not use urea (it's cheaper to use than the "good" stuff), and they refuse to say how much YAN their product provides per unit weight added.

I've asked, they remain silent. Consequently, I use (and promote) products that have nothing to hide and readily disclose that information.

I have the same problem as others in that no LHBS stores stock what I want. So I get my nutrients from Austin Homebrew (TX).
hightest is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2009, 08:58 PM   #8
robsauce
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 41
Default

Thanks for all the advice.

I think my plan is to purchase the Wyeast nutrients along with some DAP and simply use the Wyeast nutrients in place of Superfood in your stuck fermentation instructions. I'm assuming your Stuck fermentation instructions are designed for 5 gallons. Seeing as I only have 2 gallons (2 x 1gallon) would it make sense to cut the measurements in half(for easy of numbers) and then once the starter is fermented/active add half to each respective batch? For clarification, I would end up only using:
1 package of yeast (rehydrated)
3 cups of water
1/8 tsp of each nutrient and DAP
40mL of honey

I guess the only issue I'll have is I have 2 different batches going so adding must from only one would leave me with significantly less end product...Maybe I'll alternate using each? LOL...this is turning out to be a pretty ghetto home brew attempt

robsauce is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2009, 09:30 PM   #9
hightest
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Bridgeton, NJ
Posts: 434
Liked 18 Times on 7 Posts

Default

Yes, the SNA FAQ is based on 5-gallon batch. The Mead calculator spreadsheet automatically adjusts the amounts based on the recipe batch size.
hightest is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2009, 01:15 AM   #10
petes
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Northland, New Zealand
Posts: 95
Default

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?


petes is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Stuck fermentation issue ReverseApacheMaster Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 2 11-06-2009 09:13 PM
fermentation issue yoavoren Fermentation & Yeast 6 09-13-2009 04:36 PM
Fermentation issue BrewMonsterHead Fermentation & Yeast 3 09-01-2009 03:36 AM
wee heavy fermentation issue TrannyRock Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 9 04-09-2009 11:33 PM
Stuck Fermentation - I Know... Not another Stuck Fermentation Thread :( Jewrican General Techniques 23 04-07-2009 12:53 AM


Forum Jump

Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS