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Blackrock612

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Hey all, looking for some recommendations. I made my first batch on and pitched the yeast on the 19th. It was 30 Brix. Now it is down to 21 but I was hoping it would end up semi sweet or even dry. It’s looking like it is going to be very sweet? Should I transfer to a secondary now and just let it do it’s thing for a while longer and hope it just is fermenting slowly? I checked the Brix over the last few days and it seems like it isn’t going down now at all.
 
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Blackrock612

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What yeast did you use, what's the temperature, and have you employed a nutrient regime?
Yeast was Narbonne- I did 10g rehydrated in goferm before pitching. Temps have been room temperature 60-70 F. I am using TOSNA 2.0 and made 4 additions of fermaid O. I’ve made lots of home brew but this is my first mead. I feel like this is the first time I’ve ever had trouble with a fermentation.
 

Maylar

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30 brix (1.129 sg) is a high starting point for 71B. It sounds like your protocol is ok, maybe it just stalled from the high sugar level. Maybe dilute that down some and pitch some K1V. If you've already done 4 additions you shouldn't add any more.
 
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Blackrock612

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30 brix (1.129 sg) is a high starting point for 71B. It sounds like your protocol is ok, maybe it just stalled from the high sugar level. Maybe dilute that down some and pitch some K1V. If you've already done 4 additions you shouldn't add any more.
Yeah I was wondering about dilution. It’s 3 gallons currently. Any suggestions on volume to add? Also, I’m not familiar with K1V. Is that another type of nutrient?
 

Robusto

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If you can keep it below 60°F then I would pitch some Ec1118 yeast on it. Ec1118 will definitely restart your fermentation and if kept cool will be very neutral and clean- its my go to yeast for any mead without fruit. K1v is another Lavin yeSt strain that is excellent for fruit meads, but also has a high alcohol tolerance, and can ferment clean if cool.
 
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Blackrock612

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I can move the fermenter to my basement where it’s in the 50s. Then you think pitch 2 packets of EC1118 but no more yeast nutrient? I’m not stirring it anymore since I’m afraid to after so long. What about the lees? You think I should rack it to get it off the sediment too?
 

Maylar

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Racking is probably a good idea. Rehydrate the yeast first, using GoFerm if you have any. Start the ferment warm (70 ish) and once it's in full swing move it to a cooler spot. I woiuldn't add any more nutrient unless you start getting sulfur farts smell. What you added should already be in there.
 
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Blackrock612

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Thanks for all the help. I pitched 10g of 1118 on Wednesday and it is fermenting again now. I did rack yesterday to get it off the lees as well. I’m putting the carboy in the basement so it stays cooler but I also have a finished out building that would be colder still. What temp range do I want to keep it at?
 

Robusto

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Lalvin says between 50°f and 86°f with optimal temp of 59° to 77°, so Maylar is spot on. I've fermented Ec1118 at 52-54° for years with no ill effects. I do this because is what my lager fermentation chamber is set for. Personally, I like the result of a ferment on the colder side, but I think it's just personal preference. For what its worth, as an experiment I fermented ec1118 at 45° and it turned out good. Slow but good.
 
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Blackrock612

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Wow I didn’t realize wine yeast could ferment at such low temps. I won’t worry about it getting too cold then. Very good to know thanks. You guys think I should try aerating/ degassing the must? At this point I pitched the yeast 20 days ago. It’s got plenty of co2 in it but can it get oxidized? I’ve never had anything go through a true secondary fermentation before. My inclination is to leave it alone now that it is racked and fermenting again (albeit kind of slowly). Thoughts?
 

Robusto

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If you have an active fermentation going on, then I wouldn't worry too much about oxidation unless you are doing something crazy. The Co2 blanket produced should keep most O2 out. During active fermentation, I de-gas twice a day, sometimes more, but I have my must in a carboy with a blow off tube in sanitizer. I leave it sealed up like that and violently swirl thd carboy in one direction then reverse direction. If there is a lot of Co2 bubbles from the blow off tube I repeat until there is very little. I prefer to get the Co2 out of solution because it can lower the Ph (aka make it more acidic) which can make the yeast unhappy.
I wouldn't worry too much about it going slow at the moment. Once that Ec1118 takes hold it should chew through all that sugar and probably take it dry.

If you are new to mead, go to youtube and look up the Gotmead channel. There are some awesome podcasts. I'm really enjoying the "modern mead" series. Lost of helpful info!
 
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Blackrock612

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Hey all. So I repitched with 10g of EC-1118 on 1/6/21. The mead does appear to be fermenting if you really look closely and tastes "spritzy" and smells like CO2, but it has been at 18 brix for the last 4 weeks. At this point I'm at a loss for what to do. It has been in my basement which ranges probably 55-65 degrees. The mead is lower in alcohol and way sweeter than I would like. I haven't diluted so it is still 3 gallons. What should I do? Can I get the ABV up and the sweetness down somehow? Should I be stirring it (I haven't been, I was afraid of oxidation since it has been almost 2 months since I made this batch), maybe the CO2 is too high? Certainly the alcohol isn't high enough to be limiting the 1118 (various calculators online put it around 7-8%). I haven't tested the ph although I don't know if I need to? What is wrong here?
 
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Blackrock612

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Maybe if I took my 6.5 gal bucket, put a bunch of fruit in there, another 5 lbs of honey or so, poured the 3 gallons of mead in there, and topped up with a gallon or two of water and repitched some 1118 things would turn out? I wonder if I’d need to add more nutrients? Is this crazy?
 
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Toxxyc

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I think you should dilute it 50/50 with water and see where it takes you. You completely overshot your starting gravity for a first mead. I typically don't recommend people try to make meads over 10% ABV to start off with and you shot for almost double that. I'd water it down, get the fermentation done and then work from there.

Remember higher sugar concentration puts stress on the yeast, and as fermentation continues and the ABV increases and the pH drops, that stress just gets more and more. I would really dilute that mead down to half, or at the very least 60/40 with water to give the yeast some breathing space. Don't add more nutrients, you're past 1/3rd and it won't make much of a difference. Then just let it finish, and see what you end up with. With mead luckily you can "fix" it at the end in most cases. If it's too watery, you can add fruit or more honey. If it's too tannic you can fix that with oaking. You can improve it with acid blends, etc.
 
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Blackrock612

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I think you should dilute it 50/50 with water and see where it takes you. You completely overshot your starting gravity for a first mead. I typically don't recommend people try to make meads over 10% ABV to start off with and you shot for almost double that. I'd water it down, get the fermentation done and then work from there.

Remember higher sugar concentration puts stress on the yeast, and as fermentation continues and the ABV increases and the pH drops, that stress just gets more and more. I would really dilute that mead down to half, or at the very least 60/40 with water to give the yeast some breathing space. Don't add more nutrients, you're past 1/3rd and it won't make much of a difference. Then just let it finish, and see what you end up with. With mead luckily you can "fix" it at the end in most cases. If it's too watery, you can add fruit or more honey. If it's too tannic you can fix that with oaking. You can improve it with acid blends, etc.
I know what you mean about the high OG but I based the ratios on the compleat meadmakers starting recipe ratios adjusted for 3 gallons instead of 5 and I used batchbuildr meadmakr to calculate my TOSNA additions so even though it was my first batch it didn’t seem like I was doing anything too crazy. I mean I didn’t just pour some random amount of honey into a carboy and wonder why it didn’t work or anything. That being said it also doesn’t explain what went wrong which is what I really want to know since people do ferment high ABV meads... i will add some water though to your point and see if that gets things going again. Thanks!
 

Toxxyc

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Honestly, I don't know what went wrong. It's hard to say without a full recipe and process documented step by step. Even if we had that info, it would still be hard. Yeast is a living thing, and predicting it's ways or determining why it did what is sometimes really hard, if not impossible. All I can say is how I would fix it. Definitely not the best way, I can almost guarantee you, but that's what I'd do, because I tend to get uneasy when fermentations that's supposed to take a week or two start creeping into months.
 
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