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ark_fireman
10-11-2007, 09:59 AM
Hello everyone! I'm new to both the forum and mead so please be patient with me.

I recently started making my own wine and decided I would also make a batch of mead. I chose the "Apple Pie Mead" recipe from the site as my first attempt and followed directions to a T. My yeast was pitched on Sunday evening and now its Thursday and I have no bubbling through my airlock nor do I have any action in my fermenter. What should i do next? Wait? Stir? Add more yeast? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, John

ehanuise
10-11-2007, 10:07 AM
Could you please post some specifics ;)
(intial SG, must temperature when pitching, PH, room temperature, ...)

The more info you post, the better replies you'll get. 8)

Oskaar
10-11-2007, 10:12 AM
Hey AF welcome to Got Mead!

Please post your exact recipe, process and specific yeast name.

Cheers,

Oskaar

ark_fireman
10-11-2007, 01:45 PM
Sorry for the lack of info, heres the recipe=

Ingredients
At a glance
Mead
Melomel
Makes 5 gallons
12 lbs Honey
2 Gallons Unfiltered Apple Cider (pasteurized!)
3 Cinnamon Sticks
5 Cloves
2 Nutmeg "Buttons", grated
4 Tbs Acid Blend (approx)
Yeast Energizer
Wyeast Dry Mead YeastMethods/steps
I've been wanting to share a recipe for a batch I'm enjoying now that is fantastic (and leaves your senses reeling). The spices are subtle, so don't be afraid to add more.
--------------------------
Boil honey in 2 1/2 gallons water for 30 minutes; skim scum as it rises.

Add all spices and yeast energizer in final 5 minutes; cover and let steep for 15 minutes.

Add must to cider in fermenter.

Test for acid and add acid blend as desired.

Pitch a big, healthy starter of yeast.

Rack in 2 weeks, again in another 4 weeks, again in another 4 weeks.

Bottle when crystal clear and prime at your own risk.


I followed that exactly except I used 2 gallons of water instead of 2 1/2 because I was scared of "foam-over" I figured I would just top it off after the initial fermetation had slowed. My OG was 1.115 and hasnt moved and the room temp has stayed in the mid 70's. I used Lavlin ec-1118 yeast made up in a starter. As far as the PH, i honestly have no idea. Thanks again!!!

ehanuise
10-11-2007, 05:24 PM
My guess would be that the acid was unneeded, and you ended up with a mix too acidic for the yeasts to work normally.
However I could be totally wong on this, so by all means wait advice from someone with more experience ;D

If this is the case it PH can be brought to higher levels using basics (sodium bicarbonate comes to mind but there are more suitables basics that should be used) or by adding more water (SG will drop, but water has PH 7 so overall PH will moe towards neutral)

OG 1.115 shouldn't be as 'heavy' as to block yeast work.

I see you used Wyeast dry mead, did you follow the smackpack instructions ? Was it well inflated before you opened it and pitched the yeast ?

ark_fireman
10-11-2007, 06:20 PM
I see you used Wyeast dry mead, did you follow the smackpack instructions ? Was it well inflated before you opened it and pitched the yeast ?


Sorry, that was a copy/paste of the recipe. I actually used EC-1118 hydrated in a starter

ehanuise
10-12-2007, 05:33 AM
OK. Never used it, but there's quite a lot of references about it, so a forum search on 'EC-1118 stuck' might help ;-)

Oskaar
10-12-2007, 06:17 AM
Hey AF,

The acid up front is the number one suspect at this point in my estimation.

OK, here are some questions for you to help figure this out:

-Did you actually add the 4 Tsp of Acid blend or did you add to taste as per the recipe?
-Did you rehydrate the EC-1118 first with Go-Ferm before you pitched it into the starter?
-What was the starter you used to re-hydrate the EC-1118? (i.e. honey/water, apple juice, orange juice, sugar water, etc.)
-Did you check the label on your apple juice and look for any preservatives like Sorbate, Sorbic Acid, Potassium Sorbate etc? This is really REALLY important!
-What was the temp of the starter?
-Did you add any nutrient to the starter? (i.e. DAP, Fermaid K, Superfood, etc.?)
-What was the temp of the must when you pitched the yeast?
-Did you aerate the must before and after pitching the yeast?
-Are you aerating daily?
-Have you added additional nutrient to the must since pitching the yeast? If so, what kind and how much?
-What does the must smell like, look like, taste like at this point? Is it really tart?
-Do you have some pH test strips or a pH meter? If neither it's a good idea to get test strips since they're cheaper than a pH meter for the short haul.

I know, it's a lot of questios but these are all relevant so please answer them as completely as you can because that will help us help you. Fear not, we can still save your batch if it hasn't taken off yet.

Cheers,

Oskaar

wayneb
10-12-2007, 10:56 AM
Hey, Oskaar -- his quoted recipe says 4 Tbs, as in tablespoons, of acid blend.

John, if you actually added that much acid blend at the start, we may indeed have found your problem. So, if you have to head out to a Homebrew Store to pick up some pH strips per Oskaar's suggestion, I also recommend that you pick up a bottle of potassium carbonate (or potassium bicarb - they both work well as buffers), because you'll have to neutralize that added acid before any yeast will take up residence in your must. As a general rule, yeasts like pH ranging from 3.4 to 4.0. That is fairly acidic, but mead musts can drop well below 3.0 if no buffering agents are present, just from the actions of the yeast (producing CO2, which when dissolved in water is carbonic acid).

For your future meads, don't add ANY acid blend (regardless if the recipe calls for it or not) until fermentation is over. Mead musts drop pH precipitously as fermentation proceeds, since there's little to no buffering agents in honey. Adding any acid only compounds that problem.

Oskaar
10-12-2007, 12:00 PM
Hey, Oskaar -- his quoted recipe says 4 Tbs, as in tablespoons, of acid blend.

John, if you actually added that much acid blend at the start, we may indeed have found your problem. So, if you have to head out to a Homebrew Store to pick up some pH strips per Oskaar's suggestion, I also recommend that you pick up a bottle of potassium carbonate (or potassium bicarb - they both work well as buffers), because you'll have to neutralize that added acid before any yeast will take up residence in your must. As a general rule, yeasts like pH ranging from 3.4 to 4.0. That is fairly acidic, but mead musts can drop well below 3.0 if no buffering agents are present, just from the actions of the yeast (producing CO2, which when dissolved in water is carbonic acid).

For your future meads, don't add ANY acid blend (regardless if the recipe calls for it or not) until fermentation is over. Mead musts drop pH precipitously as fermentation proceeds, since there's little to no buffering agents in honey. Adding any acid only compounds that problem.


I'm going to pull that recipe down and Leonora is in the process of scraping recipes from the site so we can affix a label of Got Mead Approved, or Untested so that potential meadsters will know they're flying without a net if they try one that isn't Got Mead Approved.

I can't imagine that the recipe as it sits was great, and I think that the description of "...it leaves your senses reeling" was probably right on the money, but in a not so good way. Also, after boiling it there's no wonder that it didn't take off fast since all the oxygen was pretty much boiled out.

Cheers,

Oskaar

ehanuise
10-12-2007, 05:49 PM
Might even be a good idea to split up the recipes in subforums - approved and untested.
Wayneb I screwed up, indeed, Potassium bicarb. is better than sodium bicarbonate :sad10:

ark_fireman
10-12-2007, 07:08 PM
Thank you all for your replies!!

-Did you actually add the 4 Tsp of Acid blend or did you add to taste as per the recipe? I did add 4 tsps of acid blend, not the 4 tablespoons specified
-Did you rehydrate the EC-1118 first with Go-Ferm before you pitched it into the starter? No, i just hydrated it into water prior to adding it to the starter mix
-What was the starter you used to re-hydrate the EC-1118? (i.e. honey/water, apple juice, orange juice, sugar water, etc.) Sugar water
-Did you check the label on your apple juice and look for any preservatives like Sorbate, Sorbic Acid, Potassium Sorbate etc? This is really REALLY important! N/A
-What was the temp of the starter? approx 75 degrees
-Did you add any nutrient to the starter? (i.e. DAP, Fermaid K, Superfood, etc.?) Yes, just Carlson Yeast nutrient w/ some energizer
-What was the temp of the must when you pitched the yeast? 75ish
-Did you aerate the must before and after pitching the yeast? Only before :o
-Are you aerating daily? Was waiting on some signs of fermetation
-Have you added additional nutrient to the must since pitching the yeast? If so, what kind and how much? No
-What does the must smell like, look like, taste like at this point? Is it really tart? Not at all, it has a nice sweet taste... Like apple pie and honey
-Do you have some pH test strips or a pH meter? If neither it's a good idea to get test strips since they're cheaper than a pH meter for the short haul. Getting some in the morning


So bright and early in the morning i'll be going after some Ph test strips, Potassium bicarb and maybe new yeast. What would be your recommendations on what kind and how much for 5 gallons? Once again, thank you all for your patience and advice, John

ehanuise
10-12-2007, 07:21 PM
"-Are you aerating daily? Was waiting on some signs of fermetation"

Actually, oxygen helps yeasts to reproduce. When you pitch the yeast, there's first a reproduction phase (where oxygen is more than welcome) and only then does fermentation start. So do not hesitate to stir, splash and swirl (using properly sanitized tools, of course).

For the acid it's good you used teaspoons instead of tablespoons. next time you'll know better and use none :icon_study:

"-Did you rehydrate the EC-1118 first with Go-Ferm before you pitched it into the starter? No, i just hydrated it into water prior to adding it to the starter mix"
for how long did you rehydrate them before pitching ?
Was the starter bubbling or foaming ? sparkling ?

"-Did you check the label on your apple juice and look for any preservatives like Sorbate, Sorbic Acid, Potassium Sorbate etc? This is really REALLY important! N/A"
You mean there was none (ie 'bio' or 'natural' juice) or that there was no info about it on the labels ?

ark_fireman
10-12-2007, 08:29 PM
"-Did you rehydrate the EC-1118 first with Go-Ferm before you pitched it into the starter? No, i just hydrated it into water prior to adding it to the starter mix"
for how long did you rehydrate them before pitching ? I let it sit overnight
Was the starter bubbling or foaming ? sparkling ? It would foam when shaken but not much aside from that

"-Did you check the label on your apple juice and look for any preservatives like Sorbate, Sorbic Acid, Potassium Sorbate etc? This is really REALLY important! N/A"
You mean there was none (ie 'bio' or 'natural' juice) or that there was no info about it on the labels ? Sorry, i misread that the first time. I looked at the label before purchasing and all it said was pasturized, nothing about additives/preservitives at all


[/quote]

Johnnybladers
10-12-2007, 08:57 PM
"overnight" seems like a very long time for yeast to be rehydrated in plain water. Might the yeast have died without nutrient or sugar in that timeframe? I believe lallemand recommends 15 minutes in reydration(with goferm) prior to pitch.

ark_fireman
10-12-2007, 09:00 PM
"overnight" seems like a very long time for yeast to be rehydrated in plain water. Might the yeast have died without nutrient or sugar in that timeframe? I believe lallemand recommends 15 minutes in reydration(with goferm) prior to pitch.


That was in the starter with sugar and nutrients

Oskaar
10-13-2007, 06:17 AM
AF,

You need to get out of the habit of using sugar and nutrients as a starter. it isn't a great environment for your newly reydrated yeasts. You are better going with a honey water mixture that is similar in content and gravity to the must you're trying to restart. You can also use apple juice as a starter, but it will alter the flavor of your end product.

Cheers,

Oskaar

JayH
10-13-2007, 12:27 PM
Proper rehydration is critical to a good fermentation.

If rehydration is done incorrectly the yeast cells will lose compounds through the cell walls that are necessary to insure a healthy yeast culture. Without a healthy yeast culture to start, your fermentation will not be able to initiate a rapid fermentation.

To prepare yeast for fermentation do the following:

1. The yeast must be at room temperature before you begin the rehydration.
2. Rehydrate in clean tap water, no distilled or deionized water. The water hardness should be between 200 & 500 ppm.
3. Use water between 95° and 105°. Read the back of the pack for the optimum temperature for your specific yeast. If no temperature is recommended I rehydrate at 100° - 102°.
4. Weigh-out Go-Ferm®. 6.25 Grams for a 5 Gram package of yeast. The ration should be 1.25 to 1 Go-Ferm® to yeast.
5. Stir Go-Ferm® in 83 grams of water (approximately 3 oz) @ 110° The ratio should 13.3 to 1 Water to Go-Ferm®
6. When temperatures drop to 104° gently stir in yeast. I place the measuring cup I use in a large bowl of warm water to keep the temperature from dropping during the 1st minutes of rehydration. If you rehydrate in cooler water, you will lose much of your yeast. By the time you get to 60° you will have lost 60% of the available yeast cells.
7. After 15-20 minutes attemperate the yeast mixture to the temperature of the must. “The attemperation can take place over a very brief period by adding, in increments, a small amount of the cooler wort (must) to the rehydrated yeast.”
8. If you must wait longer than 30 minutes before pitching your yeast, add a small amount (approx ¼ tsp) of sugar, cover with plastic wrap and set aside. At this point if it has to sit for longer than a couple of hours, I place about 1-2 cups of must in the bottom of my Erlenmeyer flask, pitch the yeast and add an airlock.

Note: This information came from the Lallemand US web site, Lallemand Main web site and posts by Dr. Clayton Cone of Lallemand at Recs.Crafts.Brewing.


Cheers
Jay

ehanuise
10-13-2007, 07:54 PM
You can also use apple juice as a starter, but it will alter the flavor of your end product.

Indeed!
I've been using apple juice for the starter in the 4 (false) twins, and even though it was only a 2Lt applejuice for a 30 Lt batch, I have been surprised by the very present apple smell from all batches during the first weeks of fermentation.
It's still way too early to tell how much this'll show in the finished, aged mead, however.
(I hope it'll show somehow - that smell was sooo nice 8) )

Lifthatiron
08-08-2008, 03:12 AM
My guess would be that the acid was unneeded, and you ended up with a mix too acidic for the yeasts to work normally.
However I could be totally wong on this, so by all means wait advice from someone with more experience ;D

If this is the case it PH can be brought to higher levels using basics (sodium bicarbonate comes to mind but there are more suitables basics that should be used) or by adding more water (SG will drop, but water has PH 7 so overall PH will moe towards neutral)

OG 1.115 shouldn't be as 'heavy' as to block yeast work.

I see you used Wyeast dry mead, did you follow the smackpack instructions ? Was it well inflated before you opened it and pitched the yeast ?

I would use watering it down as a last resort. Although water is supposed to have a PH of 7 most tap water is more or less than that by atleast 1 or 2 PH's depending on where you live. Unless you have talked to your city water chemist, or recieved a water report on what minerals are in the water such as magnesium, calcium, nitrates, and salt (numerous minerals add to the fermentability of the mead, and if in the wrong proportions can stall a fermentation) along with the PH then I wouldnt add anything but distilled water to water down your mead. Again water down your mead as a LAST resort. A simple solution would be to make a yeast starter with the same yeast you used in the first pitching and re pitch it. Could you have pitched the yeast at too high of a temperature consequently killing it? I think youll figure it out with all the good answers on this page. Good luck

Oskaar
08-08-2008, 03:36 AM
Lift,

Remember to be aware of the date of the post you are responding to, generally we like to PM the poster or start up a new thread when the last post is over six months old.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Lifthatiron
08-10-2008, 04:47 AM
Lol, sorry about that, i didnt even see the date. Ill make sure to check the dates more often. thanks oskaar