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View Full Version : Sack Mead has stalled.....need help



CrimsonMead
10-05-2006, 08:02 PM
Hey everyone,

About 6 weeks ago I made a 1 gallon batch of sack mead with an OG of 1.180. I used Premier Cuvee yeast. The gravity is now 1.094 which only brings it to 11.3% abv. I dont think it has quit but it hasnt done much at all for the last 3 weeks. Only went from 1.097 to 1.094 in 3 weeks.

What can I do to get the fermentation going again? I left room in the 1 gallon jug so I could add more honey. But the yeast should eat up a lot more than they have. The Premier Cuvee is tolerant to 18-20% I think. I would like to see this mead reach 20% abv.

Thanks in advance!

WRATHWILDE
10-06-2006, 12:29 AM
To Answer Your specific batch related Questions we need the following...

What was the Original Recipe?
What type of yeast did you use, and was it within the expiration date?
How did you rehydrate the yeast?
What was the Temperature of the must when you pitched the yeast?
Did you use city tap water, well water (treated?), or bottled water
Exactly what steps did you take while making the batch?
Did you aerate/oxygenate the must during the first 3 days?
Did you use any nutrients?
What was your airlock activity like?
What is the temperature of the room you ferment in, did the room temp ever climb above 80 (f)?
Did you sanitize ALL of your equipment just before making the batch?

For other tips see my
NewBee Guide Here. (http://www.gotmead.com/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,103/topic,3495.0)

Cheers,
Wrathwilde

CrimsonMead
10-06-2006, 01:14 AM
Original Recipe:

-4 lbs Raw Clover Honey
-Water bringing the total volume to just over 3 quarts.
-Did not heat the must. Used no heat method outlined in The Compleat Meadmaker.
-Yeast is Red Star Premier Cuvee (Prise de Mousse), yeast was within the expiration date, followed instructions in The Compleat Meadmaker for hydration.
-Water is good well water. PH is 8 and PPM is 130.
-Oxygenated the must after adding the nutrients and yeast by shaking.
-Used 1 White Labs Servomyces capsule and 1/2TSP of yeast nutrient and energizer
-Airlock activity is a bubble every 1 1/2 minutes
-Temp that its fermenting at is a constant 72-73 degrees F.
-Everything was sanitized with Star San.
-PH today was 4


All I can think of that has gone wrong is that maybe I started out by making it too heavy of a must? There are bubbles on the surface of the mead. So the yeast is doing something, its just very slow.

Should it of gone lower than .003 on the gravity in 3 weeks if its a healthy fermentation?

Thanks again.

WRATHWILDE
10-06-2006, 02:34 AM
Except for the ultra high gravity it looks like you did Almost everything right. Your nutrient addition is on the high side, but should be OK. Your pH is good. I'd have to agree with your assessment - excessive sugars stressing your yeast. If you only shook the jug during the initial addition of nutrients and yeast... your yeast could also have been stressed by lack of oxygen. The two stresses combined could be the reason for your sluggish performance. In future I would recommend getting a 2.5 gallon bucket for starting your 1 gallon batches in, this way you can stir and oxygenate up a storm during the first 3-4 days. Shaking a mostly full 1 gallon jug is a very poor way of supplying oxygen to the yeast.

You might try making a starter with a cup or two of pure apple juice in a new gallon jug, let that go for a day while shaking the life out of it 3 or 4 times over a 24 hour period, then siphon the original batch in, you might also want to add a couple of cups of water first... so that when you transfer it' so you're not over stressing the starter.

Hope that Helps,
Wrathwilde

Oskaar
10-06-2006, 03:12 AM
Another option (for the lazy meadmaker like me) is to just rehydrate some K1 in GoFerm and toss it on top of your batch, or atemperate it in steps into your batch. Personally, in a situation like this I would rehydrate and inoculate your must, the stir it in well. I've done this with wine several times when I've hit about 10 brix and the K1 has taken off very nicely. I actually got this idea from Scott Labs in my conversations with them about cultivated yeasts from the vineyard stalling out and leaving too much RS when there is a high brix grape must (26+)due to long hang time or excessive heat overmaturing the fruit.

Based on your current gravity of 1.094 (22 brix or so) and current ABV estimate of about 12-13%, I dont' see why this wouldn't work for your mead as well. Rehydrate your K1 in GoFerm as per spec, then inoculate and mix in well, taking care not to purposefully aerate. K1 should have no problem establishing itself and working you down to it's ABV tolerance, or maybe a bit further if it's really chugging away.

Cheers,

Oskaar

WRATHWILDE
10-06-2006, 03:50 AM
Oskaar... the Lazy Meadmaker ???

Wrathwilde

CrimsonMead
10-06-2006, 12:06 PM
Thanks Wrathwilde and Oskaar, excellent advice.

I'll give the K1 and GoFerm thing a try.

seeGarzz
10-06-2006, 02:10 PM
CrimsonMead,

In the past I have used an incremental addition method for getting high alcohol wines and meads. It takes more attention than a standard fermentation but seems to work for me. I make the must up to about 1.090-1.100, something easy for the yeast to attack. I pitch more yeast than usual, 15 to 20g, rehydrated in GoFerm or similiar product. Add yeast nutrient/DAP initially and aerate the heck out of the must. I add the yeast mixture and monitor the fermentation. When the fermentation really starts to get going and has built up a huge yeast colony (usually within 36 to 48hrs) I start adding more honey to the must. Somewhere around a 1/2 to 3/4 lbs per day. I aerate when I add the honey and every other day I add some yeast nutrient like FermaidK. After the first three days of adding honey I take a daily gravity reading to make sure the yeast is still consuming the honey. At this point you choose when to stop feeding it, then let the primary finish off. Sounds like a lot of work but is pretty straightforward after a couple of days. Lets you get up close and personal with your mead!

seeGarzz

CrimsonMead
10-06-2006, 05:56 PM
CrimsonMead,

In the past I have used an incremental addition method for getting high alcohol wines and meads. It takes more attention than a standard fermentation but seems to work for me. I make the must up to about 1.090-1.100, something easy for the yeast to attack. I pitch more yeast than usual, 15 to 20g, rehydrated in GoFerm or similiar product. Add yeast nutrient/DAP initially and aerate the heck out of the must. I add the yeast mixture and monitor the fermentation. When the fermentation really starts to get going and has built up a huge yeast colony (usually within 36 to 48hrs) I start adding more honey to the must. Somewhere around a 1/2 to 3/4 lbs per day. I aerate when I add the honey and every other day I add some yeast nutrient like FermaidK. After the first three days of adding honey I take a daily gravity reading to make sure the yeast is still consuming the honey. At this point you choose when to stop feeding it, then let the primary finish off. Sounds like a lot of work but is pretty straightforward after a couple of days. Lets you get up close and personal with your mead!

seeGarzz


Thanks seeGarzz, I'll have to try that.

insanity
10-07-2006, 01:10 AM
The only variation I was going to add to Oscaar's post was to do a starter first. But for that small a volume, the bcomplete batch is your starter.

Cheers!