Beginner question(s)

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JuliusHS

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I'm a beginner mead maker in Iceland, just on my second batch. My first try was sort of a trial by fire as I decided to learn from mistakes rather than get dizzy from an overload of differing information out there. Alas I am here looking for some tips.

For my second try I'm doing pretty much the same as the first, using a gallon carboy with your standard bubbler airlock and using lalvin ec-1118 yeast (the only thing I can get my hands on where I'm at), but different type of honey this time around. Now this time I got an OG reading, unlike my rookie mistake first time. With an OG of 1.110, which I thought might be a bit high but thought the 1118 could handle it, and 7 days in it's almost stopped bubbling and has a 1.090 reading now. I realise it's quite soon in the process to be worrying, but my first batch had much more activity.

So here's my question: Should I feed it more sugars or should I add more yeast? It's pretty sweet as it is so I'm leaning towards the yeast being the issue.

Bonus question: Is it ever too late to add solids such as raisins and orange peel?

I'm hoping to create something that is somewhere between 7-11% alcohol and has a bubbly semi sweet texture. If anyone has tips or recipes towards that, I'd be greatful for the help.

Happy brewing!
 

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Joeywhat

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Just forget that it exists for a week or two and check again. Airlock activity is not a good indicator of good fermentation.
 

Kyzaboy89

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If your yeast has stalled, adding sugars is the last thing you want to do as the yeast isn't consuming what sugars are in there. You need to restart or jump your yeast, either adding more that's been started or adding nutrients and oxygen if the yeast are stressed. Waiting can work but anything can happen with that, a day or a month before anything gets going.

EC-1118 will go to 18% alcohol so up front you want the amount of honey that, when it's all fermented dry, will give you the correct starting gravity. Starting at 1.110 shouldn't even be close to an issue for 1118 yeast and it will take that down to 1.0 or better.

As for solids you can do whatever you want to try, at the beginning, after fermentation has been started or in secondary. How much of what flavors are you wanting and how much are you willing to experiment? Most people do additional flavors in secondary after fermentation has finished, personally certain fruit in primary is what I prefer while soft flavors I will add in secondary. Others can advise on when to add specific ingredients and the more you want to know the more input you're likely to get back.

Good luck and keep us posted on what's happening.
 

dvi

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Bubbling is a bad indicator of fermentation. That said, only moving 0.02 gravity points in a week is extremely slow for EC-1118 and indicates the yeast are stressed. If you haven't added nutrients to the mead, I would do so now to help it along. Don't do the full amount that TOSNA would call for if you want this one to end sweet (because EC will ferment dry otherwise), but a gram or two of DAP will get this moving and help prevent the likelihood of off-flavors developing. That or you can add in all the nutes needed to let this ferment dry, then stabilize and backsweeten.
 
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