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DoomChain
11-18-2009, 10:09 PM
Hello all!
First I just wanted to say what a great website this is and what an immense resource it has been to this newbie.

Secondly, I am curious if 1/3 sugar break in 48 hours is uncommon. This is my first batch and I was expecting something more like 5-7 days. Today I went to aerate and took a SG reading just for the heck of it and sure enough, I am down to 1.080 from my starting SG of 1.120. It smells good and tastes good (not as sweet as yesterday) so I figure I'm on track. Since everything seems okay I added 5 tsp of Fermaid K. Is this very good, normal, or did I make an error somewhere? Here is my recipe.

15 lb blackberry brewcraft honey
2.5 gallons springwater
appx 1.5 gallons denver tapwater to 5 gal mark
10 g Lalvin 71b-1122 rehydrated on 12 g Go Ferm in 85ml of denver tap water @ 104* F
4 tsp of DAP before pitching at 74* F
O.G. reading of 1.120.

Aerated at 24 hours. Airlock blurbing more than once per second.

Thanks!

AToE
11-18-2009, 10:48 PM
2 days is about normal for me, I've had faster too... much much faster (1.100 to bone dry in 1.5 days).

wildoates
11-18-2009, 11:09 PM
Five teaspoons?

DoomChain
11-18-2009, 11:39 PM
Ow wow! I misread the label. Damnation! Oh well. I guess they'll be well fed.

wayneb
11-18-2009, 11:44 PM
Hey, DoomChain! Welcome to "Gotmead?"

It sounds to me like you have a screaming fast fermentation going there, which isn't necessarily a bad thing; I regularly see 15 to 20 gravity points drop per day when I properly manage the aeration and nutrient additions in my musts - but anything much faster than that can cause some yeast stress that may either result in off-flavor production or a premature stuck fermentation, so continue to watch it carefully.

You provided a good start to the nitrogen environment for your yeast early on, with that 4 tsp dose of DAP into 5 gallons of must. Typically I wait for signs of active fermentation before adding nutrients, but your approach is not bad, either. That's about 16 g of DAP. FYI, 2.5 g of DAP added to 5 gallons of must provides about 25 ppm of Yeast Assimilable Nitrogen (YAN), and musts need about 225 to 350 ppm (depending on the needs of your particular strain) to maintain yeast health. So with this DAP dose you've provided just over half (160 ppm) of the total nitrogen that your yeast will need.

With the 5 tsp addition of Fermaid-K at the 1/3 break, you added approximately 15 g of Fermaid. That provides about an additional 75 ppm of YAN, in both amino and ammonium forms. That looks pretty good to me. Since 71B is a relatively low nitrogen needing yeast, this is very likely to be enough nutrient to see the fermentation through to completion.

From what I can see, so far - so good! ;D

DoomChain
11-20-2009, 03:48 PM
Thanks for the thoughts and info. I guess I lucked out here. Next batch, I think I'll try a larger dose of diligence instead. :)

DoomChain
11-28-2009, 04:21 PM
Just an update. A few days ago I stopped seeing activity in the airlock and today I was finally able to check on it. SG of 1.012 down from 1.120 so I went ahead and racked to my secondary. Looks like I made it through just fine. Ahead of schedule even. Thanks for the advice Wayneb.

Fishbone
11-29-2009, 01:53 AM
Wow that's fast...I'm having the opposite problem right now - sluggish fermentation. It's been 8 days and I still haven't gotten to the 1/3 sugar break (it's at 1.099 right now). I've aerated religiously - twice a day with a lees stirrer. I used 21 pounds of blended honey in about 4.5 gallons of water and hit an SG of 1.135. I used 10 grams of D47 rehydrated in 12.5 grams of Go-Ferm in 200ml of 104 degree spring water. At the end of lag (about 8 hours) I added 6 grams of FermaidK and 6 grams of DAP. ph was 4.0. I even decided to cover the bucket with a sanitized cloth instead of using a lid and airlock (until 1/3 sugar break). Things never really took off on this batch. I thought that I was doing so many things right with this batch and that it would have gotten to the 1/3 a few days ago...never happened and I'm wondering what is going on. Bad yeast perhaps?

wayneb
11-29-2009, 05:47 PM
Oskaar should chime in on this one, since he's the expert in using D47 in relatively high starting gravities, but from my experience (only a couple of batches), it tends to move more slowly than other strains in high gravities, but it will eventually get there.

Medsen Fey
11-30-2009, 11:58 AM
It's been 8 days and I still haven't gotten to the 1/3 sugar break (it's at 1.099 right now). I've aerated religiously - twice a day with a lees stirrer. I used 21 pounds of blended honey in about 4.5 gallons of water and hit an SG of 1.135.

Your fermentation is a little on the slow side but 4-5 gravity points per day really isn't that bad. I'd like to know what is the temperature? and what is the current pH?

Fishbone
11-30-2009, 04:16 PM
We've been keeping the room temperature at a steady 71 degrees. ph is still 4.0. It's still a smidge off of the 1/3 sugar break (1.095), but I decided to add 3 grams of Fermaid-K and 3 grams of DAP anyways...maybe that will speed things along.

DoomChain
12-15-2009, 09:04 PM
Another Update for anyone tempted to use a fermaid k overdose. You will have an Extremly cloudy product. Twice now I've had to rack my mead off of a sediment cake that tastes just like fermaid smells. And it's still pretty cloudy. I'm hoping it won't affect the taste long term, but time will tell.

AToE
12-15-2009, 11:29 PM
FermaidK smells pretty much like yeast to my nose, since you're only a month into this (am I right about that?) then it's probably just the usual lees dropping, though there may be excessive yeast to begin with thanks to their heafty feeding!

DoomChain
12-16-2009, 10:46 PM
I suppose it could be. It looks different than the initial lees i racked off and is ultra-fine sediment, not to mention the mead was like muddy water. But I have never done this before. Is that a normal state? When I cold crashed the dregs it was drinkable, and not bad to boot.

AToE
12-17-2009, 03:07 AM
I find the lees dropped after primary fermentation (called "fine" rather than the "gross" lees dropped during and right after primary) are usually a finer looking sediment, and often form a pretty hard cake rather than the loose one I get in primary.

I wouldn't even begin to worry about the clarity of your mead at this point, and maybe slow down with the racking to cut back on your racking losses. Let it sit totally still for at least a couple weeks and you'll see some improvement, by a month from now it should be ready to be racked again.

With 71B you don't want to leave the mead on the lees for too long, but you've probably gotten rid of the bulk of it by now, and in a month (est) most of what's left will have dropped and you can rack off that, then it will really start tasting and looking better.

GNBrews
12-22-2009, 05:11 AM
That's normal, the yeast will settle out finer and finer as you rack. It makes sense, since when you rack off the intial lees which have flocculated, the only yeast remaining in suspension is yeast that's less prone to flocculation.

DoomChain
01-31-2010, 03:44 PM
Thanks for the reassurance. I racked again today and it's looking much better.