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JJMEAD
06-25-2007, 03:14 PM
Ok I am getting worried. It has been about 20 hours since I have pitched my yeast and not a single bubble. This is my first attempt at brewing anything. I didn't have a thermometer so I let the yeast sit in hot tap water for ten minutes prior to pitching. The mead was about room temperature. I know I am an idiot and should have waited an extra day to just buy a thermometer but I let my add get the best of me. If I killed my yeast before they even had a chance is it possible to pitch more yeast after a day or two later? Also when exactly should I put in yeast nutrient? During the boil or with the yeast? Please help I am panicing and starting to think I have to start all over.

wayneb
06-25-2007, 05:26 PM
Don't Panic! ;)

Remember to carry your towel.

Now, on to meadmaking! Yes, without knowing the temperature of the rehydration water you may indeed have killed your yeast when you added it to the water. No worries; you can rehydrate and pitch some more - get and use a good thermometer. That, along with a hydrometer, are essential tools for proper meadmaking. HOWEVER, please also tell us all that you did, step by step, with note of the ingredients and quantities of anything that you used, so we can have a more complete picture of what may have happened.

BTW - although some folks boil honey for mead, it really isn't necessary. And I make it a point to never, ever, boil yeast nutrients. They are formulated to be dissolved in must temperature water and to be added directly to the must, either just before or shortly after yeast pitching.

You may want to have a complete look at all the posts in the NewBees section here; you'll pick up a lot of other pointers.

JJMEAD
06-25-2007, 06:33 PM
ok here was the recipe.
15lbs light honey
1 tbsp gypsum
4 tsp acid blend
1/4 oz yeast nutrient
1/4 tspirish moss powder
1 oz dried champagne yeast

I boiled the honey, gypsum, acid blend, yeast nutrient, and 1 and a half gallons spring water. Poured the must into a sanitized 6 gallon carboy and added more water to make 5 gallons. I let it sit until I though it was about room temp.(now i think i might have rushed it) and then pitched the yeast after I rehydrated it in HOT tap water for about ten minutes. Then I put my air lock on and stuck it in the basement. The yeast nutrient im sure did nothing because I boiled it with the must :icon_scratch:. I will pick up some more yeast tomorrow if I can still pitch it two days later.

wayneb
06-25-2007, 08:25 PM
Ahhh -- the olde fashioned meade recipe; formulated by beer brewers about 25 years ago because they had nothing else to base a recipe on! Well, based on this, there may be some things other than cooked yeast to blame for your failure to start a vigorous fermentation. First, mead musts are inherently low pH (rather acidic), so the addition of acid blend, orange juice, or any other acidic adjunct will likely stress out the yeast and will usually significantly slow fermentation. You ideally want a must pH in between 3.5 and 4.0, as this is acidic enough to prevent many spoilage organisms from taking a foothold, but still in the range where yeast thrive. Lower than about 3.4, yeast start to get stressed. Lower than 3.2, and many strains of yeast will fail to start fermenting. This especially could be your problem if you mixed up your must with water that is on the acid side fof neutral to begin with. If you can afford one, get a pH meter and check the pH of your must. If you can't afford the meter yet, then I'd suggest taking about 5 grams of potassium carbonate or potassium bicarbonate and dissolving that in a little water, then pitching that into your must. It will act as a buffer, and slightly raise the pH, counteracting any negative influence of the acid blend. BTW - acid blend does have some use in mead, but it is best added only after fermentation has completed, to adjust the flavor of the end product. Following close behind acid blend as something not to use in mead must is irish moss. It is a fining agent, principally used in beer brewing to latch onto plant proteins and to drag them out of suspension, reducing the amount of haze left in finished beer. Since you are not fermenting a grain beverage, you don't have any of these plant proteins to worry about and you don't need irish moss added at the boil. Third on my list of things you don't need to do for mead, is the addition of gypsum. Its principle function is to -- oh, oh -- acidify beer wort, to again provide a good pH range for yeast while shutting down spoilage organisms. But this is mead must, and we're acid enough already. Again, the dose of potassium carbonate ought to cure the problem of a too low pH, so you really should get some and try it, even if you can't measure the pH of your current brew.

So, there are the things I'd check and do first, before even pitching a new pack of yeast. Don't worry too much about the fact that you boiled your nutrients -- they lost potency in the process but you can always add a little more. If the pH balance fixes your problem, you'll see fermentation start within 24-48 hrs of the addition. If not, then I'd pitch a new pack of rehydrated yeast, and I'm sure you'll see some activity soon!

JJMEAD
06-28-2007, 02:40 PM
Thanks for the help. I changed the ph like you said and also re pitched my yeast. I bought a thermometer and tested how hot the tap water got that I soaked the original yeast in and it was 125 degrees! I never thought it would have been that hot so I definitly killed the yeast before it even had a chance. The guy at the store advised me to use the white labs liquid sweet mead yeast. I am getting great action now! Although after pitching I read on this forum that it shouldn't be used if the sg is greater than 1.050 and mine was 1.100. Oh well I am going to go through the motions and see what happens. Its bubbling now and thats all the matters to me at this point for my first attempt at brewing anything! I am getting more equipment so I am actually going to try another batch this weekend. Now I know what NOT to do LOL!

wayneb
06-28-2007, 04:41 PM
EXCELLENT! You're on your way. BTW, the advice you'll find here is far better than that you'll get from most Local Homebrew Shops. Not their fault - they just get far more business from beer brewers and they tend to carry meadmaking products only as a sideline. So, your first batch will finish sweet -- no worries! It will still undoubtedly taste good, and if you want a drier product you can always blend it with the results from future batches. ENJOY!!

Oskaar
06-28-2007, 08:23 PM
Nothing to really add here, just felt like typing! LOL

Seriously, Wayne has given you some good advice. One other thing to check is your water source. I don't know geographically where you are, but chlorine content and chloramine are considerations to examine in your tap water supply.

Another factor to consider is that the pH of the water if you've boiled or heated your must, and especially if you're using a steel pot. The minerals tend to adhere to the sides of the container as you boil the water down.

I don't know where you are located geographically, but you need to be cognizant of the nitrate levels in your water supply if you are in a rural area. Nitrate does not evaporate the way chlorine does, boiling, freezing, or letting water stand does not reduce the nitrate level. In fact, boiling water for more than 10 minutes can make the nitrate more concentrated. Boiling water in an aluminum pan may also convert nitrate to nitrite.

Anyhow, just some additional considerations.

Cheers,

Oskaar