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TheSchultMeister
10-26-2010, 01:34 PM
So i've brewed a few batches of beer before and this is my first mead. I picked up a gallon of fresh apple cider (no preservatives, no nothing) from a local apple farm and decided to make a cyser (1Gal). I heated a half gallon of the cider to 160 and added about 3lbs of honey as well as a small amount of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Left it for a few minutes and then I moved it to a my carboy and added another 1/4 gallon of the cider. I shook it like crazy and then added White Labs Sweet mead yeast(WLP720). I used a whole vile even though I'm only making one gallon. My OG was around 1.14. Fermentation temp might have been a little low- maybe down to 60 but probably more around 65.
Here's the problem, I pitched the yeast last night at 11pm last night and they didnt do a thing as of 8:30 this morning. Any ideas? Is my OG too high and should I add some water? I only let my yeast sit for about an hour out of the fridge rather than the 3 it recommends on the package before I ptiched it. Would this have caused the inactivity? Should I try champagne yeast or just get another of White Labs Sweet Mead? I am also using a 5 gal carboy. Is that too big? I didn't think that would matter.

AToE
10-26-2010, 02:20 PM
Well, there are lots of things that might be causing a problem, but don't start worrying yet. Overnight is not at all unheard of for a lag period, I've have several fermentations where the ferment didn't start until a full day or two after pitch. It's scary, but it does happen.

Chevette Girl
10-27-2010, 01:09 AM
Welcome aboard!

No, a 5 gal carboy isn't too big for the primary fermentation of a 1 gallon batch, but after a week or two (once the SG drops close to 1.000) you'll want to rack it to a 1-gallon carboy otherwise you might have problems with oxidation.

If it's still not doing anything after another day, you might want to use another vial of yeast and make a starter with it, that's a fairly high starting gravity and your original batch of yeast might be battling osmotic shock while it's trying to establish itself. Don't worry too much with this one until at least another day or two have passed, at that gravity your must will probably take a long time to go bad if the yeast doesn't take hold...

You can search the forum for how to do a starter "properly" with the vials of yeast (I usually use dry yeast) but what works for me is start by mixing the yeast with a quarter-cup of water and a quarter-cup of must, let it get working for an hour or two, then add a half-cup of must to it, and keep doubling the volume by adding must every couple hours until you've got a litre or so of starter, then pour the works in...

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

akueck
10-27-2010, 01:42 AM
1.14 is quite a high OG. I would suggest some heavy, heavy aeration to get the yeast going. Also some nutrients might be a good idea, or a very very good idea. I would keep it cool (mid 60s) to minimize the stress. Though you'll get better yeast growth at higher temps, you'll get fewer off-flavors at lower temps.

Chances are good this mead will be sweet at the end. You could probably drop the SG down to 1.12 and still wind up sweet with this particular yeast. Even if it does go dry with a lower OG, it will be a much easier fermentation to manage and you can always backsweeten.

fatbloke
10-27-2010, 01:51 AM
So i've brewed a few batches of beer before and this is my first mead. I picked up a gallon of fresh apple cider (no preservatives, no nothing) from a local apple farm and decided to make a cyser (1Gal). I heated a half gallon of the cider to 160 and added about 3lbs of honey as well as a small amount of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Left it for a few minutes and then I moved it to a my carboy and added another 1/4 gallon of the cider. I shook it like crazy and then added White Labs Sweet mead yeast(WLP720). I used a whole vile even though I'm only making one gallon. My OG was around 1.14. Fermentation temp might have been a little low- maybe down to 60 but probably more around 65.
Here's the problem, I pitched the yeast last night at 11pm last night and they didnt do a thing as of 8:30 this morning. Any ideas? Is my OG too high and should I add some water? I only let my yeast sit for about an hour out of the fridge rather than the 3 it recommends on the package before I ptiched it. Would this have caused the inactivity? Should I try champagne yeast or just get another of White Labs Sweet Mead? I am also using a 5 gal carboy. Is that too big? I didn't think that would matter.
As per what the others have said......

But I'll also add, that I really don't like those "sweet mead" liquid yeasts. They've proved themselves to be finicky little beasts to use, and I'm guessing that with a starting gravity or 1.140, may have suffered osmotic shock.......

That level of sugar needs something with larger cojones....... Something like K1V-1116 or similar.....

Taking the aforementioned 1.140 and presuming dry at 1.000 then the 140 drop is a likely 19% + ABV. The sweet mead liquid yeasts have a tolerance of about 11% ABV hence there'd be a huge amount of residual sugar.

I recently had to add nearly 2 litres of water to 4 litres of elderberry/honey must, as it had been at about 1.165 or so, with just the elderberry juice and honey - even then, the must still was at 1.130 so I've used Red Star Montrachet on it (don't know much about it but that was at the suggestion of a wine/mead making friend - Oh and I'd run out of K1V-1116). The Montrachet was rehydrated with GoFerm, it's been 36 hours since the end of the lag phase and addition of FermaidK and DAP, so it's been aerated twice (once daily).

Still, it's early days with TheSchultMeister's batch, though I'd be thinking of both, dilution of must and getting something like K1V (or even 71B given that it's got the apple juice in it) ready......

regards

fatbloke

TheSchultMeister
10-28-2010, 01:41 AM
you guys are great. Thanks for the help. So i'm about 48 hours from pitch and I seem to be getting a little bit of fermentation. I get some bubbles thru my airlock perhaps every 10 minutes, so it's definetly moving slow. I moved it to a warmer place in my house as i think the temp was bit low. I'm also thinking about adding some additional water per fatblokes suggestion. I have a 1 gal glass jug I was planning on doing my secondary in so I was trying to keep my batch down under one gallon. I should still have some room to add a bite more water.

Is it okay to add water at this point and if I do, am I good to shake it like crazy? Should I boil to make sure there is no bacteria?

If my fermentation continues to be slow- bubbles every 10 minutes or so- should I still think about adding more yeast?

thanks again
Schultmeister

Medsen Fey
10-28-2010, 09:23 AM
I recently had to add nearly 2 litres of water to 4 litres of elderberry/honey must, as it had been at about 1.165 or so, with just the elderberry juice and honey - even then, the must still was at 1.130 so I've used Red Star Montrachet on it
fatbloke

Montrachet typically does not do well with starting gravity this high. It tends to stall. Generally I try to keep it under 1.110. I hope you don't run into trouble.


So i'm about 48 hours from pitch and I seem to be getting a little bit of fermentation. I get some bubbles thru my airlock perhaps every 10 minutes, so it's definitely moving slow. I moved it to a warmer place in my house as i think the temp was bit low. I'm also thinking about adding some additional water per fatblokes suggestion.

You can add more water if you want, and you don't need to boil it. Your starting gravity is a bit high, and the sweet mead yeast can be finicky. You should open it and aerate it well, and adding some yeast energizer would be a good idea if you have not done so already.

The bubble rate of an airlock is a poor way to monitor fermentation. You need to monitor the gravity to know how it is proceeding.

Medsen

TheSchultMeister
10-28-2010, 05:51 PM
I checked my gravity this morning and it was unchanged 1.138-.140. So I added another 750ml of water and it brought my gravity down to 1.116. Hopefully this will work better.

If nothing happens by tomorrow morning, I'll try adding some more yeast and nutrient. I guess I'll skip the sweet mead yeast and try something different.

I didn't think I would need a starter as I'm only doing a 1 gal batch. Should I go ahead and do one?

Thanks again for all of your help.

akueck
10-28-2010, 07:44 PM
If you want to use a liquid yeast culture (like the vials or packs), I'd suggest a starter. Not so much to build up the cell count, since you've only got one gallon, more to make sure the yeast are there and kicking (viability of liquid cultures drops off quickly after packaging).

For dry yeast, rehydrating them per package directions should be enough.

11x
10-28-2010, 09:40 PM
maby i missed it but what was the tempature of the must when you pitched the yeast? if it was still 160 than might that be the problem?

TheSchultMeister
10-29-2010, 06:07 PM
The temp was around 70 so I don't think that was the issue. It looks like it was the gravity. I checked it this morning after adding the water and there seems to be a thin layer of Krausen on top. Thanks for all your help.

TheSchultMeister
11-02-2010, 12:41 AM
Things seem to be moving a long and now I have another question. When the fermentation finally began(3days ago), the krausen (is that what its called with mead?) looked like i expected, brown and gunky. Today, I checked it and there were some very white, tiny bubbles that seem to be taking over. There is a very noticable distinction between the brown typical krausen and these white bubbles that resembles the bubbles in 7up. I tried to post a picture but it says my max storage is 500 bytes. I guess i need to be a member? If that's not the case let me know.

is this normal? Is mead krausen very different than beer krausen?

Chevette Girl
11-02-2010, 02:41 PM
I've never seen a beer krausen but if you're getting bubbles in amidst the brown gook, it's probably some of the carbon dioxide that your yeast is producing.

akueck
11-02-2010, 04:22 PM
The krausen in beer is largely formed by proteins, which mead has little of. Many meads form no krausen at all, some with lots of bee bits etc will form one briefly. Nothing to worry about, the little bubbles are good. :)