View Full Version : newbie slow fermentation

05-29-2008, 10:11 PM
On Saturday May 17 I mixed:

19lbs (1.5gal) orange blossom honey
4gal water
2tsp yeast nutrient
one package wyeast sweet mead yeast

Sanitized all equipment. I heated up a couple of gallons of the water almost to boiling, but never took a temperature. Poured this into my 8gal plasitc primary fermenter. Poured in all the honey and stirred vigorously, but did not pay attention to how long. Heated up more water to get all the honey out of the honey jugs, and shook it up. Poured that into the fermenter. Stirred vigorously to make sure all the honey is dissolved. Poured in the rest of the water to a total of 5.5gal of must. Stirred vigorously and added yeast nutrient, stirred again. The yeast was a smack pack and was in date. I smacked the pack a couple of hours earlier. By the time I was ready for the yeast, the pack was nice and swollen. Poured in the yeast, stirred again. Put on lid with airlock.

Must temperature was 70F. Original gravity = 1.130

Monday May 26 - Still in primary fermenter. Must temperature 70F. Gravity 1.086. Ambient temperature 75F.

Thursday May 29 - still in primary fermenter. Must temperature 70F. Gravity 1.080. Ambient temperature 75F.

I was expecting around 15%abv sweet mead. Mead tastes sweet, smells sweet. Lots of gas in the mead like champagne. I seem to have a very slow fermentation. Or is the fermentation speed ok? Should I rack to secondary soon?

Medsen Fey
05-29-2008, 10:38 PM
Welcome to GotMead? rdpugh!

I am sorry to hear your fermentation is sluggish. That Wyeast Sweet Mead strain is notorious for stalling and being difficult. Sometimes you wind up needing to pitch another yeast - but that is difficult, and hopefully it won't come to that. The first thing I would suggest is to check the pH if you can -this yeast seems very sensitive and if the pH is below 3.4, you will want to add some potassium bicarbonate or calcium carbonate to bring the pH up to 3.6-4.0.

I would also consider adding yeast hulls, 1 gram/gallon as this can help. Adding a dose of yeast energizer that contains Magnesium, vitamins, and yeast hulls may also help.

It is a good idea to aerate mead daily for the first 2-3 days to make sure the yeast are the strongest possible. It might not help much here, but I think I would try aerating it vigorously. I would not rack it at present, though that would be one way to aerate it well. I would also let the temp of the must come up to 75F.

Hopefully some of these steps will help get it going. If not you will need to do a search for "restarting a stuck fermentation."

Endeavor to persevere!


05-30-2008, 02:44 PM
Personally I think your problem was not enough yeast at the start. The Wyeast smack packs are meant to be stepped up before pitching, even into something like a 1.060 beer. To build up enough yeast in your mead now, you should try adding some nutrients and aerating. Don't rack right now either.

So: find some nutrients like FermaidK and add 1g/gallon. Stir vigorously to aerate once or twice a day for two days. Then check your gravity and see how it's coming along and report back to us.

Good luck!

06-01-2008, 08:02 AM
I have to chime in on the nutrient additions as the yeast strain has already been covered.

I was of the camp to use natural nutrients, ie raisins and I have to say that with nutrient additions the fermentation is very fast!!

The last batch I did was DAP 24 hours after pitching, then 1.25g/gal Fermaid K at 1/3 and 2/3 sugar break. I highly suggest that you use nutrients and check the gravity daily and the fermentation will be done in about a week.