View Full Version : Started out with a bang, but ...

Eh! Steve
02-07-2007, 08:43 PM
??? So it seems as though I have a stuck fermentation problem. I've searched through lots of other posts, but I'm still not sure what is wrong. I was hoping that someone might be able to offer me some insights?

Here are some of my particulars (this is my second mead batch):
15# honey + 5 gallons spring water (totals 6+ gallons)
Some herbs included, such as ginger and tea, but no chunks left in must (brewed a tea, strained, and added to original must)
3 tbsp yeast nutrient
1 packet ec-1118 yeast

Actually I started with 12# honey and an O.G. of 1.066. Decided after about 24 hrs of fermentation that it was not enough honey. New S.G. of 1.080, actual O.G. may be a little higher as some sugars have already been turned to alcohol (fermentation was going well after about 8 hours). New honey addition did not appear to effect fermentation.

Fermentation fast and furious for a while. Fermentation slowed over time, as expected, but by about 2 weeks had nearly stopped (bubbles seen in airlock were at least 5 minutes apart).

PH - 3.8
SG - 1.026

Measured PH with litmus, closest colorer appeared to set PH at about 3.8 (right on target as far as I've read). Ph problems were my first suspicion, but now doesn't appear to be the problem. SG (and taste) indicate a lot of residual sugars. Alcohol content should not be very high at all, certainly not too high for ec-1118.

Brought home another packet of yeast, hydrated, intended to pitch with new nutrient. Unfortunately I then realized I was out of nutrient, but I pitched the yeast anyway since it was rehydrated. 24 hours later I removed a couple of cups of must, boiled slightly, disolved 2 additional tablespoons of yeast nutrient, cooled, and readded to must.

Against my better judgement I gave the must a good stir both when pitching new yeast and when adding nutrient, with a slotted spoon. I know that I don't normally want to introduce oxygen at this stage but I thought that it might be necessary to restart fermentation.

OK, so that was a long story, but the short ending is that I still have no sign of new fermentation. If anyone can think of any other possible causes for my fermentation problem, I would really appreciate it. Any ideas?


Eh! Steve
02-11-2007, 12:19 PM
If there are no suggestions, then let me try asking a different question. I have something that I am thinking about trying and would like to know if you think that it is a good idea or not. Although the pH is at a normal level ( ~3.8 ), I am thinking that it might ferment faster if it were more alkaline. Is this true? I was considering adding some calcium carbonate. Can I add this directly or should a boil a little of the must and dissolve it in there first? Any thoughts would be appreciated.


02-11-2007, 02:15 PM
Hey eh steve,
Most of us were at meadfest and will be coming back in a few days and you will get more answers I am sure.

I have no idea about the alkaline question.
Did you heat/boil/or no heat the honey?

Eh! Steve
02-11-2007, 03:52 PM
Thank you very much for the reply. I brought some of the water up to the boiling point and then cut off the heat. I dissolved the honey and nutrients in the hot water. I did not boil the honey, nor did I skim off the top.

02-11-2007, 06:19 PM
im pretty sure the PH wont affect the speed of the fermentation unless it gets to low, then the yeast will just give up. i think 3.3 is about the lowest you can go without killin off ur yeast.

Eh! Steve
02-12-2007, 01:10 PM
I can't explain it, but it seems to be fermenting again. I did not add the calcium carbonate. In fact, I haven't done anything to it in about a week. But, I checked it today and saw bubbles at the airlock about every 20-25 seconds. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will continue. Thanks for the feedback.