Hello! Long time mead maker, recent brewer. For my introduction to brewing, I thought I'd just jump straight into the fire. I teamed up with a friend who has been brewing beer for some 30 years. The Grand Experiemnt (TGE) was to create a Russian Imperial Stout based braggot. Grabbed a recipe off of here, which turned out to be /fabulous/ (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f68/russ...winner-238807/
We took that recipe, and added a butt load of honey to it. As part of the experiment, the plan was to use multiple yeast strains to maximize the blending of the two styles (beer and mead). Also, to minimize stress on the yeasts, we had planned to step feed. The ultimate goal was to end up with something around 22% ABV. So it went something like this:
Phase 1: RIS base recipe, plus a bit of honey. Fermented from 1.075 to 1.02 using WLP002. Used Go-Ferm, DAP, and Fermaid-K to maximize yeast happiness.
Phase 2: Rack off WLP002. Add equal parts buckwheat and clover honey to bring the specific gravity back up to 1.075. Pitched Lalvin D47. Fermented from 1.073 to 1.016. Used Go-Ferm, DAP, and Fermaid-K to maximize yeast happiness.
Phase 3: Rack off D47. Add equal parts buckwheat and clover honey to bring specific gravity up to 1.090. Pitch WLP099. Used Go-Ferm, DAP, and Fermaid-K to maximize yeast happiness.
Phase 1 and 2 went spectacularly. Just as planned, the TGE was starting to move from the realm of "mad scientist ideas" to "really good things we repeat". Phase 3 has been an utter failure.
I've pitched WLP099 twice now, with absolutely no result. The first was just a Go-Ferm bath, then toss it in. Nothing. Second time, I did a Go-Ferm bath, plus a starter culture (a couple of cups of wort at 1.050, plus some DAP and FK). Starter culture was going gang buster, so much so that it frightened the cat. That seemed to be a good sign, so I pitched it in the TGE. *splash* was the last sound I heard from the yeast, 5 days ago.
The ambient in my ferment room is about 67, if it matters.
So any suggestions on how to proceed, as well as what went wrong? I'd like to figure out a way to finish this thing off, even if the product is a little less than stellar for all the multiple yeast drops in Phase 3.
My next idea is to move the TGE upstairs to a warmer climate, somewhere around 72. I could take it another level up and probably get it to an ambient of 75. Stir, kick the yeast back up, see if just being a bit warmer doesn't wake them up a bit.
If that doesn't work, I figured I'd try pitching Wyeast "Eau de Vie" at the warmer temperature, see if it will take. Same as before, Go-Ferm, Dap, FK, a starter culture, etc.
Thanks for your help. I still think this has a lot of potential, if I can just work the bugs out.