View Full Version : Prolonged fermentation

02-26-2011, 05:30 PM
So I did a cold-process mead, 2 batches of 3 gallons each, one with wildflower honey and one with orange blossom honey, both raw.

So I had 9lbs honey, 2.4 gallons water, 3 grams Fermaid K and 6 grams Lalvin 71b-1112.

So there was no heating involved, didn't sanitize with a Campden, just added water to the honey to dissolve it by stirring vigorously and added the Fermaid K and the Lalvin 71b-1112 at the same time.

SG for Wildflower Honey: 1.11@60 deg F
SG for Orangeblossom Honey: 1.11 @ 60 deg F

After two days I checked on the mead and noticed that there was no active fermentation occuring. I checked the troubleshooting section of "The Compleat Meadmaker" and figured that the yeast I used could not tolerate the high sugar content. He suggested to add water to the mixture or repitch with a yeast with a higher alcohol tolerance, so I repitched with EC-1118 after the 4th day from my initial pitching. When I repitched the yeast there was a loud sizzle and the wildflower honey even foamed. A week later I racked into 1 gallon containers and the wildflower honey had a SG of 1.07 and the orange blossom had a SG of 1.10.

Now it's been in the secondary since Feb 3rd and is slowly still going... there are many bubbles traveling up the side of the glass and the airlock is bubbling once every minute or so... The temperature has been kinda low, around 54-60 deg F.

Any thoughts?

In hindsight, I probably should not have racked so soon after re-pitching the yeast, but I was set to go on a prolonged trip and did not want to let it go for a few weeks in the primary.

Also, I apologize for all of my questions. This was only my 2nd fermentation and the first one didn't turn out too good I'm learning!


02-26-2011, 05:49 PM
Hi yurtbrewer,

Welcome to GOTMEAD?

I would recommend reading the Newbee Guide, found in the toolbar to your left, for more up to date information on Meadcrafting.

If your fermentation slows to much, you can try to warm it up a bit to keep it going to the end. About 68 F is a nice place for your yeast to do their work.

EC-1118 should take it all the way dry.

02-26-2011, 05:52 PM
BTW, do you really brew in a yurt. That would be so cool. :cool:

02-26-2011, 06:13 PM
Yes, I do :-D
I'm going to go the aquarium-heater-in-a-water-bucket route to warm it up... I'm having good luck with that on a wine I'm fermenting right now and was waiting to figure out what to do with the mead...

Should be able to try that next week and see what happens.

02-26-2011, 06:30 PM
Sounds like a good idea. Please keep us posted.

I would love to see pics of the brew yurt.

02-26-2011, 09:43 PM
I'd also recommend a good stir to add some oxygen in there. Another dose of FermaidK would be not a bad idea too.

Medsen Fey
02-27-2011, 01:44 PM
The gravity you started with was fine for 71B, but at 60F, 71B can have a long lag phase. I expect it would have fermented okay if it been given time.

The EC-1118 will take over and kill the 71B (which is sensitive to the killer toxin produced by EC-1118 ), so the EC-118 will finish the fermentation and will likely take it dry if it gets enough nutrient.

1 gram per gallon of Fermaid K is a very small amount and it needs more.

At 55-60F, you will have a slow fermentation but that isn't a bad thing.

And Welcome to GotMead!

02-27-2011, 10:06 PM
At 55-60F, you will have a slow fermentation but that isn't a bad thing.

Very true. The meads I just made with K1V (a pretty robust strain) took 3 weeks to ferment at 55F, even with a step to 65 for a few days at the end. But they're already very clear and smell great (now at 4 weeks). If you have to pick a temperature extreme, go colder.