View Full Version : sluggish fermentation...question about adding yeast hulls

06-20-2010, 04:17 PM
i've got a 6 gallon traditional batch going, but its been stuck around 1.020 for the past 3-4 days at least. thinking about boiling some yeast and adding it to the must. does it matter if you use the same type of yeast thats already in the must for this? ive got another packet of 71b, and i've also got some flieshman's bread yeast. i was thinking around 1 gram per gallon, does this sound right? also, do i want to stir the hulls in or just dump the mixture in my fermenter?

Chevette Girl
06-20-2010, 04:37 PM
I'm not sure about the amount but since you're killing the yeast before you add it, it shouldn't matter what kind you use. The only time I've done this was with bread yeast and nobody waved red flags on my brewlog about not doing that... I think I used a teaspoon of bread yeast per gallon and microwaved it at medium with a few ounces of water till it boiled, repeated this a couple of times.

06-20-2010, 05:45 PM
Before you go adding yeast hulls, could you post details of the batch and any readings you have taken? If you know why it's stuck, you stand a better chance of fixing it. Yeast hulls do not cure everything. ;)

06-20-2010, 06:55 PM
18# orange blossom honey
2 packets lalvin 71b
yeast energizer/nutrient
1 cup green tea
water to 6 gallons
initial gravity 1.100
aerated daily until 1.070
started on 5/28, last gravity reading I have recorded was on 6/7 and it was at 1.032. since then i've just been taking readings to check on progress, but its been around 1.020 for a while now. its still bubbling a bit when i take the lid off, albeit very slowly.

06-20-2010, 09:07 PM
How much nutrient/energizer did you use? When did you add it? What temperature it is at? Has the temperature changed at all during fermentation? Do you know the pH? Any notable smells or sights?

06-21-2010, 01:29 AM
around 3 tsp of each i think, forgot to mark down how much i put in exactly but the containers both say to use 1/2 tsp per gallon. i just mixed it all into some water and added it to the must before pitching the yeast. the temp has been pretty constant-around 65-70 degrees id guess. no weird sights/smells

06-21-2010, 08:46 AM
If I were a betting man, I would put my money on low pH. Don't suppose you have a way to test it?

Some options would include:

--addition of potassium carbonate at 1 gram to the gallon, or failing that, potassium bicarbonate, or failing _that_, calcium carbonate. The venerable Hightest http://home.comcast.net/~mzapx1/FAQ/PotCarbonate.pdf advocates potassium carbonate as a standard part of meadmaking; it almost certainly wouldn't hurt anything.

--if you decide you like it a little sweeter than you had planned, stabilize, clear and bottle. Dessert mead: hooray!

--as a last resort, send in the Marines, aka Lalvin EC-1118 champagne yeast. But that's a radical step, even if it works, and it will really change the nature of your mead.

Good luck--everyone gets a stuck ferment once in a while.

Medsen Fey
06-21-2010, 09:09 AM
You can try the boiled yeast. When dosing true yeast hulls, the typical dose is 0.5 to 1 gram per gallon. With boiled yeast there is more than just the hulls so you probably need at least 1 gram per gallon.

I would strongly encourage you to check the pH as this is a likely source of problems in a traditional mead.

06-22-2010, 05:33 PM
no luck with the yeast hulls. are there any common ingredients i can add to raise the ph? don't have a brewing supply shop nearby...

06-22-2010, 11:02 PM
Carbonates are typically used to raise the pH. You can get those in potassium, calcium, and sodium flavors, which personally I would use in that order. Sodium bicarbonate is also known as baking soda. The only downside to using it is that it adds sodium, which you taste as salty. In very small amounts you won't notice it.

Impossible to say how much you'd need to add without knowing where you're starting, but if I had to throw a dart into a wall I'd aim for 0.5 g/gallon.