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Olaf
08-22-2009, 11:38 PM
I recently started 2 identical batches, one on 7/15 and one on 8/7. 12# wildflower honey, no heat 5 gallons, nutrient and energizer. Both started at 1.090. I used kv-116 on both, the 7/15 batch stopped at 1.050 (8/5) so I added 10g of ec-1118. Two weeks later I took a gravity reading on both.

The question:
The 7/15 batch measures 1.030 and the 8/7 batch measures 1.003, can I do anything to fix the 7/15 batch? Do I need to?

Thanks,
O

Kee
08-23-2009, 12:53 AM
Welcome to GotMean?!

You can fiddle with it and get the gravity down a little more, but I wouldn't worry about it. One batch will just be a touch sweeter. You might even like it.

akueck
08-23-2009, 02:41 AM
Greetings Olaf.

Can you give us some more details about your process? Did you aerate the mead at all? When and how often? What kind of nutrient did you use, how much, and when? Do you have a means of measuring the pH of your mead?

There could be several things going on which might be causing your mead to have stalled. K1V should be able to take a 1.090 must completely dry. Once we know why it stopped, we can (probably) help you get it going again.

Olaf
08-23-2009, 12:18 PM
Thanks guys.
Some additional info...
I used the only nutrient and energizer available locally, thought it must be OK (both from a company called brewcraft), both 1/4 tsp. Used prior to pitching during aeration (stirred it with a spoon). When I took the first gravity reading (after fermentation started) there seemed to be a lot of dissolved co2, so I really really aerated it, added more nutrient/energizer and a starter of the ec1118 (as suggested by my local store). I do not have a way to check pH.

Thanks,
O

akueck
08-24-2009, 12:38 PM
Thanks for the additional info. I have another request though (sorry!). Could you organize it into a step-by-step kind of flow? Something like:

5/7/09 Prepared must
6 lbs honey
water to 3 gallons
OG 1.090
K1V yeast, 5 g rehydrated with GoFerm

5/8 SG 1.085 added 1/4 tsp nutrient, aerated
5/9 SG 1.060 added 1/4 tsp nutrient, aerated
etc, etc

Just so it is very easy for us to figure out exactly when (in clock time and fermentation time) you did what. As many gravity readings as you have are also helpful.

If you feel like doing something active, adding a small amount (0.5-1 g/gallon or so) of yeast hulls (aka ghost yeast) and giving a gentle stir (no aerating) shouldn't hurt. The yeast hulls can bind toxins which might be bugging your yeast. pH might be an issue but it's impossible to say for sure without measuring it. If you had some potassium or calcium carbonate, about 1/2 g per gallon would be safe to add. This amount won't change the pH by a lot, but might help anyway.

Olaf
08-24-2009, 06:02 PM
In reviewing my notes...
7/7
Prepared must by mixing 12# wildflower honey into 4.5 gallons of tap water.
Stirred to aerate (added nutrient and energizer).
Measured Gravity=1.090
added 10 grams k1v-1116.
(7.5 gallon bucket)
7/25
measured gravity=1.050
moved to glass carboy added 5g more yeast(dry)
8/5
measured gravity=1.050 (looked fizzy)
Homebrew store advised aeration and addition of 10g starter ec1118 to get things moving.
made and added starter after stirring and sloshing until fizz was gone added more energizer(1/4tsp).
8/20
no airlock activity, starting to clear
measured gravity=1.030

Thanks,
O

wayneb
08-24-2009, 06:39 PM
Thanks for the extra detail, Olaf!

I guess I'd have to ask the following question: How identical is identical, in this case? Since you used the same ingredients in both batches, and you had one ferment virtually to dryness yet the other stuck at a relatively high 1.050, there has to be something different between the two. If it isn't in the ingredients, then it must be in the process. As other folks have indicated here, K1V is a pretty bullet-proof strain of yeast that should have easily taken this must to dryness. Then, you pitched EC-1118 to try to re-start, and that didn't work either. Assuming that there was no appreciable difference in pH between the two batches (and if your ingredients were truly identical between the two batches, we'll assume that is true for the time being), then what did you do differently between these two? Did you mix in a different way? Did you use a different sanitizer on your equipment? How do you sanitize your equipment? Do you rinse after sanitizing? Did you try an addition of potassium carbonate or bicarbonate per Aaron's suggestion? Did you try the yeast hulls?

While you're mulling those over, let me ask some more about your EC-1118 re-pitch. Did you rehydrate the yeast per Lallemand's directions? Did you in fact make a starter, adding some of the partially fermented must to the rehydrated yeast, in several small amounts over an extended period of time, to acclimate that yeast to its new slightly alcoholic environment?

Inquiring minds want to know.... ;D

Olaf
08-24-2009, 08:25 PM
You bring up a great point! More on that in a minute...

I did in fact make a starter with the ec-1118, and over the span of 24ish hours I added 1 cup of existing must at a time, and the starter continued to go absolutely bonkers.
Everything as far as ingredients and process was as identical as humanly possible, a lot of it is getting to be second nature as I make tons (really way too much) of beer. That being said I did think of a huge difference, during the first two weeks of the life of that batch, it was over 100 degrees inside the house! AC is pretty uncommon in the northwest as we have about 1 day a year that the temp is above 90 degrees outside (not this year). Could it be that simple? I drew a sample yesterday and nothing has changed, most likely since I did not do anything, but I did put the sample in the fridge. It cleared pretty nice and is tasty, perhaps a touch sweet. Should I just get it clear and bottle? I hear that the perceived sweetness increases with time.

Thanks,
O

wayneb
08-25-2009, 11:22 AM
It could indeed be that simple. With inside temps above 100F, your yeast could have succumbed to the heat. All yeast strains have a recommended temperature range. That of K1V-1116 is 59 to 86F, based on manufacturer information.

Killing the yeast outright is probably better than having it struggle through at those temperatures, BTW. Large amounts of fusels and other off-flavored compounds are typical byproducts of a hot fermentation, and yours was really hot. :eek:

It may be that your second pitch did not take hold because re-starting fermentations where the must has more than a few % ethanol by volume can be a dicey affair. Let me recommend that you read the Lallemand recommended approach to re-starting stuck fermentations: http://www.lallemandwine.us/pdf/overcoming_stuck_fermentation.pdf

That may be more than you wanted to know, and you don't need to use the "Pro Restart" products in order to be successful, but the gradual acclimation of your starter to the must through several carefully spaced additions is the only thing that works consistently for me. You didn't say in your note how many additions you made over that 24 hr period.

Even then, it is important to realize that some fermentations just don't get going again no matter what you do.

Or, you could just stabilize this sweet batch with metabisulfite and sorbate and bottle it as-is, or alternately you could blend it with a drier batch to achieve the final sweetness that you're after.

If you do attempt another restart, I'd suggest that you either invest in some pH strips or a meter, and check pH before proceeding. If the pH is too low, nothing that you try will work.

Olaf
08-25-2009, 04:01 PM
Thanks for everything! I will ponder my situation a while longer. Perhaps the best thing to do is make a bunch more mead!!

Olaf

skunkboy
08-25-2009, 06:23 PM
That is always a good choice... ;-)