View Full Version : Problem with first large batch

08-11-2010, 07:05 PM
This past Saturday I pitched my first large batch. So far I have had 3 1 gallon batches, all came out quite well. I got my hands on some sourwood honey, and looking at several plain, simple recipes came up with the following:

9 lb Sourwood honey
2.5 gallon spring water
1 pkt Lalvin D47
3 tsp yeast nutrient (generic version from my local home brew store)

I brought 1 gallon of the water almost to a boil, and added all the honey, and mixed well. I transferred the must to a fermentation bucket, and stirred in the nutrient. Added the previously re-hydrated yeast, and stirred the heck out of it. OG was 1.100. I have stirred every day since. My problem is that there seems to be no activity whatsoever with the yeast. There were bubbles on top of the must Sunday and Monday, but as of this morning no bubbles, and no activity at all during the entire time in the airlock. The must smells yeast-y and alcohol-y - if that makes sense. It just does not have any movement. My gut is telling me that I used too little yeast, and should have used 2 pkts. The recipe I was working from as a reference was for 6 gallons, and since i was only making 3 gallons, I cut the yeast quantity in half.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated, as the thought of tossing all that honey is heartbreaking.


Medsen Fey
08-11-2010, 07:39 PM
Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated, as the thought of tossing all that honey is heartbreaking.

Perish the thought!

What temperature was the must when you pitched those yeast? If it was too high it could kill the yeast?

One packet of D47 is normally plenty even for a 5-gallon batch.

Does it bubble and foam when you stir it?
Can you please check the gravity now to see if it is dropping - other signs of fermentation can be misleading?
What temp are you maintaining now?

You should be able to get this batch on track

And Welcome to GotMead Lisa!

08-11-2010, 08:18 PM
I am embarassed to say I do not have a thermometer, so I did not get the must temp at the time I pitched the yeast. (I see yet another trip to the home brew store in my future) It was not hot by the time I pitched the yeast, closer to room temp.

And yes, it does bubble and foam when I stir it up. I just took the SG and it's at 1.090. It's in my dining room, at 75 degrees.

I do have another packet of D47, ready to go should I need it.

Chevette Girl
08-11-2010, 10:14 PM
If it bubbles and foams, you're good. Additionally, you said it smells yeasty and alcohol-y, double-good.

The yeast will breed until there's enough of them, starting with too few viable yeast just makes it take that much longer while they're breeding up to their optimum population instead of making alcohol.

08-11-2010, 10:47 PM
Your SG is dropping, so something is fermenting in there - chances are if you toss in that second packet it won't do much other than maybe feed the yeast currently thriving.;)

Medsen Fey
08-12-2010, 09:42 AM
If your specific gravity is dropping, the yeast are active. They need aeration daily until the gravity gets down to about 1.065.

75 F is too high of a temp for D47; it will produce mead that tastes like paint thinner due to fusel alcohols. If you can put it some place a few degrees cooler, like 72 F or below (ideally, below 70 F), you'll get results that won't take so long to age. Sitting it in a tub with a couple of inches of water with a t-shirt over the carboy to wick the water up can be enough to cool it a few degrees.

08-12-2010, 11:37 AM
Either your bucket lid isn't sealed right, or your airlock has a crack or pinhole in it! It sounds like it is doing right. There is not always a lot of "foaming" while left alone.

When you stir it, does it foam a lot like CO2 is coming out of suspension? That is another hint that somethign is going on.

Adding that other yeast packet won't hurt anything. D-47 is quite cheap too. It might not help either if you just have an air leak to begin with.

I use one D-47 package with 5-6 gallons. The liquid yeasts are the ones that may need more than 1.

If it is slow, then I would bet your initial temp was too high and the yeast were killed or stressed.

What does it taste like? Sour? If not sour, you are OK. If it is, then maybe something else is fermenting it.