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Proton
10-23-2007, 01:17 AM
Hi there,

I am a newbee and just started my first cyser must this weekend. After two days, I don't see any bubble in the air lock. After reading some posting at this forum, I realize I didn't do much measurement. So, I can only discribe my must by senses.

I juiced 2.5 gallons of juice from apples in my backyard on Saturday. So I know for sure there is no agents that would inhibit fermentation.

I treated the juice with 3 campden tablets over night. I crushed the tablets but forgot to predesolve the powder. So, I saw some bigger pieces still floating at the surface of the juice on Sunday when I pitched the yeast.

Sunday morning. I boiled about half a gallon of filtered tap water. Turn off the heat and poured in 3 pounds of honey from famers market, unheated and unfiltered. Stirred until completely desolved. When the honey water cooled down to a temperature that was warm to the touch, I poured it into the juice. Before pouring, I also scouped up as many campden tablet pieces in the juice as possible and desolved them in the honey. So, I have a total of 3 gallon of must.

Next, I desolved a pack of yeast--Lalvin ICV-D47--into some warm water. After 15 min, there were some bubbles. I pitched it into the must. Stirred vigorously for about a minute or two. Sealed the fermentation bucket and put it in the garage. (The reason I used a bucket is I hate to wash the gunk out of the narrow necked carboy.)

Today, following the intruction on the package, I desolved quarter of a tea spoon yeast nutrient into some hot water and pitched in. (Ok, the hot water is not part of the instruction. I just don't want to conteminate the must, so use hot water.) When I opened the bucket, I saw a layer of yellow gunk on top of the must. It sure smelled very yeasty. I stirred vigorously for another minute after I pitched the nutrient.

How does all this look to you seasoned mead makers? Why is there not bubble coming through the air lock? Is that because the bucket is leaking or it that because there is no fermentation? How do I tell when the fermentation is done if I can't time the bubble comming through the air lock?

I'll pitch in another quarter of tea spoon of yeast nutrient two days from now. I'll monitor the must and report back.

liff
10-23-2007, 03:58 AM
Not fermentation is my guess.

If there were 'chunks' of campden tablets, there is still undissolved sulphite, and that would kill/impare the yeast.

I would get those chunks out of the fermenter, stir the snot out of the must, wait 24 to 36 hours, and pitch more yeast. And I would use the K-meta powder, it is almost already dissolved.

Let us know what you do and how it turns out.

JephSullivan
10-23-2007, 12:51 PM
You are correct that a bucket that's not sealed all the way could be why you're not seeing any bubbles in the airlock. The best way to be sure that it's fermenting is to use a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity. Measure the specific gravity today, and then measure it again in a few days. If the reading is lower after a few days (the hydrometer floats lower in the liquid) then you know it is fermenting. Just make sure to carefully sanitize everything that touches the must when you're taking your sample!

If it's not actually fermenting, I agree with liff that the undissolved campden tablets may be your problem, but it shouldn't be a problem to repitch new yeast when they're fully dissolved and you let it sit for 24 hours. I know some experienced hard cider makers who do exactly what you have done here with the tablets (instead of pasteurizing the must), and they make really great cider.

One other thing to consider is: what is the temperature in your garage? If it's to hot or too cold, it could negatively affect the fermentation. According to Lalvin's yeast strain web page (http://www.lalvinyeast.com/strains.asp#), D47 yeast "tolerates fermentation temperatures ranging from 15 to 20C (59 to 68F)".

By the way, I think it's awesome that you're able to make cyser using your own apples. It's often difficult to find fresh pressed apple juice that's not been pasteurized or treated with preservatives, so you're sitting on a real gold mine there. How did you juice your apples? Do you have your own press?

Proton
10-23-2007, 01:58 PM
Thanks for your feedback.

Liff, what is K-meta powder? Is it another kind of agent for chemical pasturization?

JephSullivan, I'll go get the equipement for measurement. Yeah, the apples are my inspiration for making cyser. I don't really have a good method for juicing them. the downside of not having pestiside is that quite a few of the apples got bugs in them. I sectioned the apples and put them in a Juiceman Jr.. But the pulp was still very wet, so some juice was wasted. Now I know why people get juice out using a press. I am not sure I want to own a press for a once a year event though. It was a lot of work. I hope the result justify the work.

Oskaar
10-23-2007, 02:03 PM
Another option is to go with a yeast that is known for resistance to and ability to metabolize sulfites during fermentation. EC-1118 springs to mind. This specific yeast strain (Pris de Mousse) does extrememly well in sulfited musts, and is also a high producer of SO2 and H2S if not dosed properly with nutrient. I think for now, measuring with the hydrometer is sound advise, but, I would do that a couple times a day to see what your movement is and graph it. If that doesn't show a sharp downward trend. Get some Lalvin EC-1118 or Red Star Premier Cuvee (both are the same strain, but are slightly different variants) rehydate per manufacturer's spec, atemperate as necessary and inoculate the must.

K-meta powder is the powdered form of Potassium Metabisulfite, which is what you most likely used in powdered form. The tablets are also available as Sodium Metabisulfite.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

Rhianni
10-23-2007, 05:41 PM
Yeast in apple juice should be going crazy and you shouldnt be needing to add nutrient (though it wont hurt).

Although you started with a natural juice without preservatives the 3 campden tablets for 3 gallons of must basically is whats doing it. Thats more of a dosage some use after fermentation is complete. The poor yeasts are trying they just arent getting far :( You can try another yeast like Oskaar mentions. You could also try increasing the overall volume of your liquid to dilute the amount of campden tablets in the must but thats a lot of work.

Proton
10-29-2007, 11:52 PM
How does "Yeast in apple juice should be going crazy..." mean? I am a first timer. Need some description on what I should see, hear, smelt and taste.

Ok, I got the EC-1118 yeast and the hydrometer this weekend. Yesterday, hydrated the yeast as instructed. I observed, this time, there was a big buff of foam, which the last package of yeast I used didn't form. I wonder whether the last pack of yeast was old. The SG measured at about 1.050. (Too bad, I didn't do a OG measurement.) Temperature is around 60F.

I checked the airlock a few times. Still no air bubble.

Today. Checked air lock again. Still no bubble. Measured the liquid with hydrometer again, still at 1.050. How quickly should the number drop? How often should I measure? How often should I areate the must? (I stir everytime I open the bucket for measurement.)

Thanks for all the feedbacks.

akueck
10-30-2007, 01:18 AM
Apple juice usually makes for some very active fermentations, thus the yeast go crazy. I make cider occasionally and it will ferment from 1.060 to 1.000 or less in as few as 3-4 days with no prodding.

Foaming when rehydrating doesn't mean a whole lot. Emulsifiers are added to the dried yeast and I think that's what causes the foam. The rehydrated yeast pretty much just sinks to the bottom without fanfare.

How did you introduce the new yeast? Did you just rehydrate and dump it in? The best way is to rehydrate, then mix an equal volume of must into the yeast every few hours to get them used to the environment. Then you can pitch the yeast in without risk of shocking them in the high-alcohol high-sulfite must (which will kill a lot of them). So the amount of time it takes for the new yeast to get going depends on how many safely made the trip into your mead. :)

Rhianni
10-30-2007, 08:28 AM
How does "Yeast in apple juice should be going crazy..." mean? I am a first timer. Need some description on what I should see, hear, smelt and taste.

Ok, I got the EC-1118 yeast and the hydrometer this weekend. Yesterday, hydrated the yeast as instructed. I observed, this time, there was a big buff of foam, which the last package of yeast I used didn't form. I wonder whether the last pack of yeast was old. The SG measured at about 1.050. (Too bad, I didn't do a OG measurement.) Temperature is around 60F.

I checked the airlock a few times. Still no air bubble.

Today. Checked air lock again. Still no bubble. Measured the liquid with hydrometer again, still at 1.050. How quickly should the number drop? How often should I measure? How often should I areate the must? (I stir everytime I open the bucket for measurement.)

Thanks for all the feedbacks.


Sorry about that Proton....
Yeast LOVES apple juice. It will react and ferment strong and fast and you can get a layer of foam that covers the entire surface an inch or more thick.

If you have tried 2 different strains of yeast, especially EC-1118, and nothing is happening I am afraid there isnt much more to be done without knowing exactly what you did.
Generally you can aerate the must for the first couple days. I measure once a week but you can measure as often as you like.

Proton
10-30-2007, 01:42 PM
No problem, Rhianni.

Thanks, Akueck, your respond is very helpful. It is good to see other people's numbers and compare them with my own.

1.060 to 1 in 3-4 days, forming, my must is not doing any of that. Bad news! I did just rehydrate the yeast and dump it in. But, with EC-1118 being able to survive in sulfited liquid and SG measured at 1.050. There shouldn't be alcohol or sulfite to kill the yeast, right?

I think I'll quit checking for bubbles. I have 3 gallon in a 6 gallon bucket. If the bucket is leaking air, there may not be enough pressure built up to see bubbles. I'll just check the hydrometer from now on.

About the yeast, I bought it at a store. They store it in a refrigerator. But between the store and home, the package is not refrigerated. When I get home, I stick it in the refrigerator until use. The way I rehydrate: put some lukewarm water in glass, get the yeast out from the fridge, dump the content in and let sit for 15 min. Then dump the liquid in the fermentation bucket. Does this process in any way contribute to the yeast not working?

I don't want to give up just yet. Is there any thing you can think of I should try?

Proton
10-30-2007, 02:44 PM
I browsed this forum and read postings regarding fermentation. I can think of a few things that could hamper my fermentation:

1. I didn't test the water temperature with a thermometer when I hydrate the yeast. Just feel the temperature with my hand.
2. I just dumped the re-hydrated yeast into the must, as opposed to add some cool must into the yeast first. Now, I get it. The temperature difference could harm the yeast.
3. The location, where I placed the fermentation bucket, could be too cool. I put it in the garage. The temperature there range 55 to 65F.

I'll move the bucket inside and see if it helps.

My question: if my must still doesn't ferment, can I add a new pack of yeast for the third time?

liff
10-31-2007, 12:35 AM
I think you will need to use another packet of yeast either way. Rehydrate and acclimatize the rehydrated yeast to the must over a few hours as recommended and I think that by now it should work.

Proton
10-31-2007, 02:39 PM
It is fermenting! I took a measurement last night. SG is at 1.040. Had I done everything correctly, the fermentation would have been more robust.

Thanks guys! This site is amazing! Chemistry is not my favorite subject, but a tasty wine at the end is a big carrot. I don't think I would go ahead to make my first batch if I didn't find this site. It is packed full with info. The newbee's guide was very informative. But sometimes, I find the content to be overwhelming. I wish the Yeast Chapter could delineate the important parameters that would affect fermentation strength. The attached pdf is a bit too technical. So, I use this forum to troubleshoot. Oskaar's posting on fermentation is very helpful. After making mistakes left and right, now, I go back and read the Yeast Chapter, and I keep saying in my head "now I know why this has to be done this way!" I guess trial and error is the way to learn.

ehanuise
10-31-2007, 02:59 PM
put a dab of glue, silicone or whatever to seal the bucket's O-ring around the airlock and you'll have bubbles :)