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MondayHopscotch
01-20-2011, 03:41 PM
I've been surfing these forums for a bit here and have been able to find almost all the answers i've been seeking previously. However, I didn't see much that helped with what I've been trying:

I ran into what I believe to be a stuck ferment. I want to use what I already have to get it going again if possible. My idea was just a bit of yeast energizer and a box with a lamp (not for light, but for warmth) to warm things back up (cold was a guess as to why it slowed so badly) Is there anything wrong with making this attempt?

akueck
01-20-2011, 04:05 PM
Hi and Welcome!

Heat and nutrients might help. If you can give us more details about the batch, we should be able to offer more pointed suggestions.

MondayHopscotch
01-20-2011, 04:36 PM
-3 pounds ambrosia brand honey (wasn't shooting for anything super fancy with this batch as i'm still figuring out what i'm doing)
-water to make 1 gallon-ish

I started the batch on Dec 29 and it had a S.G. of 1.120

I checked it on january 9th and it had dropped to 1.086
Then it just seemed to stop. I couldn't see any bubbles any more nor could I see any 'churning'. Bubbling slowed to once every minute or so.

I checked again yesterday (Jan 19th) and the SG was at 1.080.

So it definitely slowed down significantly. I'm new to brewing so I don't know how the timeline of a good ferment should go, but this seems a bit odd/slow to me.

mccann51
01-20-2011, 04:54 PM
Did you add any nutrients initially? Without nutrients, a ferment can slow down quite a bit, but is not necessarily stuck.

As Akueck said, nutrients and warmth probably wouldn't hurt. What is the temp now?

EDIT: also, if you do use the lamp, be sure to wrap the fermenter so as to not promote oxidation.

MondayHopscotch
01-20-2011, 04:56 PM
I'm in the process of getting a thermometer... haha. The one I was using over winter break is my buddy's so it is still about 75 miles away from me. Our house fluctuates so my guess would be mid 60's, possibly as high as 68 as a rough guess.

I'm planning on buying one of those adhesive thermometers today, would you all recommend those? (if you've used them)

YogiBearMead726
01-20-2011, 05:04 PM
One other important question; what yeast and how much of it did you use? Also, did you add any nutrients yet?

MondayHopscotch
01-20-2011, 05:07 PM
I haven't been able to find my nutrients since I brought some stuff with me down to my hometown in mid-december.

So no... I have not added nutrients, only energizer (because I could find that one).

I used 1 pack of Lalvin 71B-1122

akueck
01-20-2011, 05:40 PM
I would say give it more nutrients and a good aerating stir/splash. If it is in the low 60s, you could warm it up to the high 60s. Personally I would stay below 72 F.

If that still doesn't help, half a gram of potassium carbonate might move the pH up a little if that is your issue.

MondayHopscotch
01-20-2011, 05:43 PM
is it safe to assume calcium carbonate would make a good substitute for the K2CO3? Other than the slight solubility and taste differences? My local brew shop only carries the calcium variety.

Why do you recommend staying under 72F?

YogiBearMead726
01-20-2011, 06:24 PM
This particular strain starts throwing out some fusel compounds above 72F (generally), hence wanting to stay around the upper 60's.

This is just from what I've read though...I have yet to use 71B because it's hard enough staying below 75F here, and I just don't want to deal with the chance of a rocket fuel smelling batch.

akueck
01-20-2011, 07:28 PM
Calcium carbonate is fine. It will dissolve slower, so it is not as good for mix-and-check pH adjustment. But if you are going to toss a little in and wait a few days to see if it worked, calcium is fine.

MondayHopscotch
01-20-2011, 10:02 PM
thanks for the help and the timely responses! (this isn't intended as sarcasm)

how long should i wait to determine if the energizer and nutrients fixed the problem before giving the carbonate a try? tomorrow?

akueck
01-21-2011, 01:56 AM
Tomorrow is probably good. You could add a small amount of carbonate now and not hurt it as well, if you want to hedge your bets.

MondayHopscotch
01-21-2011, 02:33 PM
Yeah, here we are 12+ hours later and activity is still and a brutal crawl. I'll swing by and pick up some carbonate and see if that works.

I'll be back to cry about this some more if that doesnt work :)

fatbloke
01-22-2011, 04:16 AM
Well I've just read through the thread and am confused as hell!

If the mead isn't fermenting i.e. it's not dropping gravity points or at least very, very slowly, then fine it's either slow or stuck.

If the gravity is moving but slowly, then it's not stuck.

If you've used 71B that's fine it's a good yeast, but if it's proving slow, but still fermenting - and you haven't used any nutrient, then it's probable that the yeast just needs a little nourishing (and probably some aeration).

For nutrients, if you can't find some that you bought, then check the kitchen/bathroom cabinets, because if have you vitamin B supplements, you can crush and add that.

Or, if the nearest HBS is too far, then you can just put a teaspoon or 2 of bread yeast in 100 mls of water and boil it. Let it simmer, reducing down the water content to when it becomes slightly syrupy, then let it cool. Then add it to the batch and stir the hell out of the batch.

Or, you can even (if you have it in the house) add a teaspoon of Marmite (http://www.marmite.com/) or similar yeast extract. Then stir the hell out of the batch.

Once the yeast has been nourished in some way, that should get any active yeast up and running. Oh and after adding whatever you use for nutrient and aerating the hell out of the batch, I'd get it under airlock because from your numbers of 1.120 start and taking 1.000 as finished the current 1.080 (or so) is about the 1/3rd sugar break so ideal time for a final nutrient and aeration addition (if you were using the staggered nutrient addition method of course).

regards

fatbloke

p.s. I have no idea why you're on about "carbonates". Or are you alluding to having a low pH ? or something like that ???

mccann51
01-22-2011, 12:33 PM
For nutrients, if you can't find some that you bought, then check the kitchen/bathroom cabinets, because if have you vitamin B supplements, you can crush and add that.


You can actually add B-vitamins as nutrient? How much approximately would you add per gallon?

akueck
01-22-2011, 02:12 PM
B vitamins are a component of most yeast "energizers" and combo nutrients (like Fermaid K). Yeast in fact is probably the best source for these. I haven't heard of anyone using a pill, but you could probably do it.

MondayHopscotch
01-22-2011, 06:31 PM
fatbloke -- Yeah, I had added energizer and nutrient and it hadn't picked up, So I was thinking that low pH was my problem (hence the carbonates to raise it)

It's been almost 24 hours since my last adding of anything and it's still moving slower than a frozen snail.

I'll give it another day or two at least before I think any more on what to do.

fatbloke
01-22-2011, 07:30 PM
fatbloke -- Yeah, I had added energizer and nutrient and it hadn't picked up, So I was thinking that low pH was my problem (hence the carbonates to raise it)

It's been almost 24 hours since my last adding of anything and it's still moving slower than a frozen snail.

I'll give it another day or two at least before I think any more on what to do.
Yes, low pH is another possible reason, equally as is low temperature i.e. the lalvin list states 15 to 30 degrees C for 71B so it might be worth seeing if it's got a little cool.

Worry about pH if it's below 3.2 but meads are a PITA anyway as they can swing quite wildly pH-wise.......

Good luck with it

regards

fatbloke

MondayHopscotch
01-22-2011, 07:56 PM
well i've added about all I'm willing to in order to stimulate the yeast. I have also stabilized the temperature right at 69 degrees and it should stay there no problem.

Only time will tell now.

Thanks again for all the quick answers!