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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Very slow start... what to do?
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Old 10-27-2010, 07:20 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frodo View Post
So, coming from a beer background, aerating during fermentation is BAD. It causes oxidation. So mead is different in that respect? Oxidation ok during fermentation?
There is a big difference. For Beer, aeration after pitching is generally not a good thing, though in the case of high gravity batches and barley wines, a little aeration will help them get done completely as well.

Meads aren't full of hops and don't suffer damage from oxidation nearly as rapidly. They even tend to be less prone to oxidative damage than wines. So aeration during active fermentation won't cause harm. Even after fermentation is finished, meads tend to be much less oxidation prone, but it can be done (speaking from first-hand experience), so it is best to prevent exposure to air/oxygen by careful racking, and keeping containers topped up.

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Old 10-27-2010, 07:42 PM   #22
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That's definitely good to know! Thanks much.


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Old 10-27-2010, 07:50 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by MedsenFey View Post
Even after fermentation is finished, meads tend to be much less oxidation prone, but it can be done (speaking from first-hand experience), so it is best to prevent exposure to air/oxygen by careful racking, and keeping containers topped up.

Medsen
You are right about that, MedsenFey. A couple of years back I did a Hibiscus Mead that started out a beautiful ruby red, but after oxidation the ruby turned into a golden liquid. Tastes wonderful, but just not what I or my guests are expecting.
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:12 PM   #24
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Well I checked the brix again last night... it stalled out immediately; brix has only dropped from 26 to 24. I aerated by shaking the carboy again. Probably will be repitching tonight with rehydrated (with GoFerm too) 71b-1122 unless I hear something which will change my mind...
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:37 PM   #25
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One of the most common causes for this sort of problem is an extreme drop in the pH (usually to a level below 3.0). If you can check the pH, and find that it is low, correcting the pH may allow the yeast to get going again with pitching more. If it is not the pH, then pitching another yeast is probably a good idea.

71B is not a yeast that is particularly good at restarts, but given that your ABV is still quite low, it may be possible. I'd suggest acclimating the yeast to the must per hightest's instruction on the sticky at the top of the mead section, as that will improve the odds of success. Keep in mind that if the pH is really low, the 71B will likely be stalled too, and at that point you either need to correct pH or try a yeast that can tolerate harsh conditions better (like Uvaferm 43 or EC-1118).

Endeavor to persevere!

Medsen
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:48 PM   #26
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I can probably pick up some pH strips for that range - if it's below 3.0, I add CaCO3 a.k.a. chalk?

For that process, do I add something like 1/2 tsp, shake carboy, test pH, if still below 3.0 repeat? Is 3.0 my target pH or should I bring it up to more like 3.5 for example?

And then do I still need to repitch some yeast due to the Steinberg being dead, or are they just dormant and will wake up once the pH is higher?

Thanks of all the help!
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:26 PM   #27
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I like potassium bicarbonate better than calcium carbonate, the potassium helps the yeast offset the effects of the low pH. It is also easier to dissolve into solution.

1/2 tsp is a reasonable start as the goal is to go up slowly without overshoot. There really is no hurry as spoilage organisms are a non-issue with a pH that's below 3.0. I'd aim to get the pH above 3.2 (usually I try for about 3.4). When you mix in the carbonates (especially the calcium which can take a while to dissolve) it can take a few hours to equilibrate completely, so once you get up to 3.2 you may want to leave it alone for a couple of hours then come back an check before you add more.

Usually, correcting the pH will allow the yeast that are in there already to get going again and you don't have to pitch more in most cases.

Medsen
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:56 PM   #28
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Status update:

On Nov 3, I tested the pH and it was 3.4.

Since it had stalled and I was feeling pretty desperate to get it going, I pulled about 1/4 gallon out of the fermenter, put it in a blender with 1/2 tsp KHCO3 to aerate it (and making a mess on the counter in the process). I put this back in the fermenter, shook it up a bit, grabbed another 1/4 gallon and put that in the blender for a bit to aerate it even more. Then finally I started seeing just a few bubbles coming out of the airlock, and it's been like that for the past week. Just checked the brix again and it's at 19.8, SG (calc) is 1.063. So it's apparently coming along, finally.

I know I asked this before, but is this typical, or at least not wholly unusual, for a mead to go this slowly? Should I keep de-gassing it or aerating it? I haven't shaken or swirled the carboy too much for about a week, but once in a while I'll give it a little swirl and gas comes out of solution. I also need to do another nutrient addition I image, Si?

Thanks for the help! I'm feeling much better about this mead now. On the other hand I made an English Barley Wine on Sunday and it's already down to SG 1.026 close to it's expected FG and the tiny sample I took tasted delicious already - so that's helping keep my spirits up.
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Old 12-18-2010, 01:53 AM   #29
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Another status update. She's at 1.009 and has been starting to clear over the last week or so. 92% attenuation. Not transparent and looks like lemonade. Drinking the sample right now, and it's kinda harsh but tastes a bit like mead! Thanks for the help. Should I expect it to clear completely?
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:13 AM   #30
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Yes, it'll clear on it's own in time, crystal clear. Mead takes a while & the Steinberg strain ferments low & slow. Just give it more time. Regards, GF.


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