Newb questions, did I kill my yeast?

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turtlescales

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Thanks to all of you for your advice and past posts, this site has been an invaluable resource to me as a newbie to the hobby.

I started a raspberry melomel on Friday, using 71B. I had put a campden tablet into the must the day before (decided to do 10oz of berries now and possibly another 10 during secondary) and waited 24 hours before pitching the yeast. There hasn't been any activity in the airlock, though we did aerate the must yesterday. Not sure if I should be concerned or not, started another batch of mead last night with K1V-1116 and already this morning less than 12 hours later it is bubbling away. I used goferm with each rehydration.

If I did kill the yeast, my LHBS won't be open again until Tuesday. I'm concerned about the must going bad before then. I don't have any more 71B, just a packet of Red Star Champagne yeast and another of the K1V-1116. I can't tell if I am being a jumpy mead n00b or what, any advice is as always appreciated. :confused:
 

biochemedic

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First of all, I think the procedure of using the campden for 24 hrs is completely unnecessary. A good portion of brewers yeast will overwhelm any possible contamination on the berries.
What is the size of your batch...
How long exactly has it been at this point since you pitched?
Did you rehydrate the yeast or just direct pitch?
Check your airlock, sometimes it can be loose or otherwise some leak that might make it seem as if there's no activity.
If all else fails, check a gravity reading and compare it with your OG...that's the only sure way to tell if you're starting to ferment.
Also, you might want to consider checking your pH...with the acidity of the fruit, it could be affecting the yeast getting started...
 
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turtlescales

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Pitched it Saturday night, rehydrated with goferm. Single gallon batch, and realized last minute I had no efficient way to get some must out for an SG sample and didn't take one. :/
 
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turtlescales

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pH is about 4, perhaps a touch higher. My pH strips don't have a great scale on the package, wasn't paying attention when I bought them. SG is 1.2 I think, probably taking that wrong.

Questions... is the pH to high? How would I reduce it if it is, and with the raspberries in the must at what point do I consider it a loss due to spoilage?
 

cgenebrewer

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so far I dont see anything that you did to kill the yeast. How many lbs of honey did you use?
what temp did you rehydrate at? When you used campden, did you cover it with a cloth to allow the gasses to escape?

the lag phase might just be taking long for some reason.

I wouldnt worry yet
 
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turtlescales

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3.5 pounds of clover honey, rehydrated at about 103. I didn't realize I was supposed to cover it with a cloth, I left it corked for that. :/ I did shake the jug pretty good before I added the yeast and let the cap open for it to aerate some. Fingers crossed it starts showing some signs of life by morning.
 

cgenebrewer

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I think the issue could be the gravity. You said its at 4.0 pH, but how did you test that? was your instrument calibrated?

I am not sure, but perhaps because you didnt let the sulfites outgas, you "stunned" the yeast. Thay combined with the high gravity would mean a very slow to start fermentation
 
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turtlescales

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I just used basic pH test strips, the cheap ones that give a range that is broad enough to be nearly useless. I didn't realize which ones I grabbed at the time. Currently I don't have anything else more sophistic to use to check the pH. In the future if I use campden tablets I'll be sure to cover the jug or carboy with a cloth.

But... I just checked again, and looks like the real problem was impatience on my part. The airlock let out a single bubble... seems to be just a late bloomer. Thanks everyone, for the advice and reassurance. :p
 

cgenebrewer

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the most important lesson is even more important in mead making. Patience! haha

glad its chugging along.

if it stops bubbling dont worry, it may just not have started yet, and the bubble was from a change in atmospheric pressure.
 

fatbloke

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Seems like most mead failures result from over-thinking.
Plus some newer mead makers appear to be of the view that because the must is honey and water, it should ferment like hell straight away.

I'm suspecting that the OP's use of a campden tablet before fermentation, and then just stoppering the jug will have left enough residual sulphur to slow the lag phase enough that it just took some time to take off - It's something I did with a chenin blanc kit that had been bought to back sweeten with, and I'd opened it and didn't know if it was sulphited or not, so when I spotted mould strings in the grape juice, I just strained it, then added sulphite and managed to keep some in plastic bottles, the rest of it was mixed up according to the instructions to use it as a top off wine - the sulphite caused the EC-1118 that came with the kit to take nearly 3 weeks before I could see and measure any signs of fermentation occurring.

As I say, just a theory, but it's beside the point now as the OP's ferment seems to have started Ok now.......
 

MedsenFey

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Also, 71B can have a very looooooonnnnng lag phase if the temperature is low.
 
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