View Full Version : is it stuck for too long?

03-05-2009, 08:49 AM
Hello, all!

My fermentation seems to be stuck. Not only that, I'm concerned I've waited too long to try and rescue it. Before I say anything else:

Here's the recipe:

6 quarts raw local honey
3 1/2 gallons water
4 packets Lavlin ICV D-47
8 teaspoons yeast nutrient
8 teaspoons acid blend

I used the non cook method, sanitizing all parts and my area. Aerated during mixing with my cordless drill.

I used 4 packets of yeast because I saw a recipe for 1 gallon, and it called for 1 packet.

It's been 2 days and it's bubbling at about 3 bubbles a second.

I have a 5 gallon glass carboy sitting ina 15 gallon #2 washtub filled with water and an aquarium thermometer in it to keep the mixture at around 75 degrees. Also, since the water had been blown from the airlock initially, Iremoved the airlock and immediately and carefully sanitized the area and inserted a clean airlock with water in it and it hasn't blown out, but it is bubling at about 3 bubbles per second.

Okay, only now it's been about 4 days since any bubbles. I've looked through the forums but there are so many different recipes for the stuff I'm not sure which would be right for mine.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you!

Medsen Fey
03-05-2009, 11:16 AM
Hi T-bone,

Are you stuck, or is it finished? It sounds like it was going pretty strong to clear the airlock.

Can you give us your starting gravity and the current gravity?
Do you have a way to check pH?

Airlock activity is notoriously unreliable for gauging the progress of a fermentation - even in carboys.

Just some thought on your batch; your recipe looks a bit heavy handed with the nutrients. Also your fermentation temp is too high for ICV-D47 - at 75F temp you will produce more fusel alcohols that will give a burning alcohol sensation. It performs best below 70F. Keep in mind that adding acid at the beginning increases the chances of stuck fermentations - it is better added when the yeast are done. While no harm is done by pitching 4 packets of yeast, one would be enough - they aren't very expensive but every penny helps.


03-06-2009, 08:48 AM
Thank you for your response, Medsen Fey!

Well, I received some pH test strips in the mail as well as a hydrometer. I didn;t get a starting gravity or pH, though.

Guess I'll have to sterilize a brand new turkey baster in order to retreive some mead for a test.

Should I put it in a tall glass? Or siphon out enough to fill a large measuring cup to test all this?

03-06-2009, 08:55 AM
T-Bone, before I got the cylander for my hydrometer I just used the plastic tube it came. A little tight but with swirling you can get a good reading. A wine theif is a wonderful option for this, take a sample, and as long as the hydrometer is also sanitized you can put it right back in. I have a few gallon batches going, this allows less loss with the sample, less testing too.

03-07-2009, 03:08 AM
Arg. Please don't put your sample back into your main carboy. Drink it or toss it.

Don't risk contaminating your entire batch to save 1/4 cup of must.

No matter how well you sanitize there is alway a chance of infection.

Sounds like you've had a rollicking great fermentation. As long as you keep the yeast stirred up (without aeration, just swirl gently), you won't be in any trouble from the D-47. It's very forgiving.

What will cause taste problems eventually is to leave your must on the lees (the dormant yeast cake on the bottom of the carboy) for an extended amount of time without agitating the yeast. If I can't get to racking due to schedule, I make sure to stir every couple of days to keep things from getting too settled. Then when I am pretty sure I am going to be able to rack, I stop stirring for a week and rack.


03-07-2009, 09:24 AM
ndbrewlady, great advice to use the tube the hydrometer came in.

Ithink I failed to tell everyone, though, that i started this batch on Feb 14th. It couldn;t possibly be done fermenting, could it?

Should I rack it and add anything? What do y'all think? Leonora, ndbrewlady...Medsen?

03-07-2009, 11:22 AM

I just pulled a little out to test the gravity and pH.

1.001 (no alcohol) and the pH is 3.2.

Man, it smells god awful. Sort of like taking a bite out of a tomato that's past it's prime, but stronger.

Ugh. Maybe the carboy was infected with bacteria? I can't imagine I got anything dirty as it (all hardware the must would touch) was all sitting in bleach water before I used it. The carboy is all I can figure as it was the only thing not brand new. I didn't see any residue from past fermentations in or on it and it had no odor whatsoever.

Anyone use the plastic water bottles from water companies?

03-07-2009, 12:31 PM
You are done, not sure about the smell. Bleach is not the best of sanitizers as it has to really be well rinsed. There are lots of products you can buy out there to sanitize with that do not require rinsing.

My mom has used the plastic water bottles to brew with. I don't want to try it as I am not sure that flavor will not come from one batch to another.
As far as putting the sample back, I never did that until the wine thief. Twas in the insturctions (http://www.fermtech.ca/) that it is the purpose of it. Talked to another local brewer and he does the same. Sanitize the hydro and the winethief well, take a sample, get your reading.

Medsen Fey
03-07-2009, 02:33 PM
1.001 (no alcohol) and the pH is 3.2.

Man, it smells god awful. Sort of like taking a bite out of a tomato that's past it's prime, but stronger.

It looks like your batch is close to being done.

While it is common for new meads to be somewhat harsh and unpleasant to drink, I suspect what you are finding are the results of fermenting with ICV-D47 at 75F. It produces a load of larger alcohol molecules (fusel alcohols) at that temp. Those higher alcohols give mead a burning-hot, rot-gut character and may give some strong medicinal odors as well. It ain't pretty.

The good news is that those harsh aromas and flavors will gradually fade over time (a long time unfortunately). I have a batch done at that temp that is getting better - I've only been waiting two years. :BangHead:

My suggestion is to rack it, let it clear, and rack it again then put it away and forget about it for a year.

Meanwhile, you can start another batch with good temperature control and a few other modifications, and you can have a nice drinkable mead much sooner.

Endeavor to persevere!