PDA

View Full Version : No signs of fermentation, should I worry?



Shahivann
03-11-2011, 07:31 PM
I don't want to sound lika a paranoid newbie, but...
I made a batch of mead last night, trying to follow the recipe as accurately as I could with regards to temperatures, yeast pitching etc. Now the mead has been in the carboy for about twentyfour hours, and I can't detect any signs of fermenting. There is a little bit of foaming, but no sounds/signs of bubbling and no airlock activity. Is this normal?

chams
03-11-2011, 07:51 PM
It can be. The metheglyn I just started took 3 days before I measured a drop in S.G.
It's at 14C though...
If there are signs, ie. foam, it's probably just starting slowly.
What kind of mead is it?
Where is the recipe/method you used?

mccann51
03-11-2011, 09:08 PM
I don't want to sound lika a paranoid newbie, but...
I made a batch of mead last night, trying to follow the recipe as accurately as I could with regards to temperatures, yeast pitching etc. Now the mead has been in the carboy for about twentyfour hours, and I can't detect any signs of fermenting. There is a little bit of foaming, but no sounds/signs of bubbling and no airlock activity. Is this normal?

Yes, this is not uncommon. At 72 hours, if there is still no activity, then it is time to start being concerned.

wayneb
03-13-2011, 02:00 AM
It will help us to answer your question more accurately if you could provide us with the detailed recipe and the process that you followed up until the time that you pitched your yeast. Some yeast strains can be slow to start - but if you tell us which one you used, we can determine pretty quickly if you have one of those, or not.

Chevette Girl
03-13-2011, 02:54 AM
You did say a little bit of foaming, which probably just means it's taking its sweet time, my last metheglyn took a couple days to get active.

Shahivann
03-13-2011, 07:15 AM
Thanks for the replies. I can now report that the mead is happily fermenting, with generous foaming and a lot of air lock activity. It just took a bit of time (about forty hours)!

MountainPitcher
03-13-2011, 07:33 PM
This is my first mead and it is apparently stuck.

I started by purchasing a wine kit and supplies, including a bucket for primary, a carboy for secondary etc.; and various and sundry yeasts, nutrients, additives and an instruction booklet which I've followed to the letter for a dry mead. Must is in a 3 gallon bucket and shows absolutely no signs of fermentation, aside from a very faint alcohol smell when I removed the lid. Let me back up and tell you why I removed the lid.

The must was prepared and pitched two weeks ago this past Thursday and since then I've checked the airlock religiously for signs. Never happened at all ever. I read some instruction on various websites of different people's techniques and figured it was just being slow. I learned that mead ferments notoriously slow. But the instruction booklet that came with my kit (it has a section on mead) had told me the primary would take two weeks. This past Thursday, I started to get worried. I let it go till today (now Sunday) and decided it wasn't just my own impatience. Something's wrong.

My kit did not come with ph strips or hydrometer or anything like that so I don't know how to test it. I figure temperature may have something to do with it. My yeast might be asleep, as it has been cold. So I moved it to a warmer room (only slightly warmer) and I had read someplace where yeast needs oxygen so I removed the lid. The temp in this room where the primary was setting does not get below 65 degrees, so temp may not be the issue. I'm hoping airing it out with a towel over the top of the bucket will do the trick.

I started with 6 lbs. of clover honey...pasturized it slowly on the stovetop in a gallon of spring water. I watched the temp painstakingly. it never went over 180 F. I cooled it down in a cold sink to below 80 F before I combined it with 2 gallons of spring water in the sanitized primary bucket. I did everything "right" according to what I could tell. Added 2 teaspoons of acid blend, 2 tablespoons of nutrient,1 teaspoon of grape tannin, and pitched the yeast dry like my instructions said. I didn't add the 3 crushed campden tablets the recipe called for because it doesn't mention using them until the first racking, which (as we know) hasn't happened yet.

Any suggestions?

chams
03-13-2011, 09:48 PM
You may want to start your own thread, but to answer you here, I'm not sure you needed any acid blend. The honey is pretty acidic anyway.
The mead I just started was slow because the pH was too low (too acid). In had to add calcium carbonate to raise the pH, and it took off.
Try to check the pH and sugar level if you can.

Chevette Girl
03-13-2011, 10:06 PM
Welcome to the addiction, MountainPitcher. If you're getting a faint smell of alcohol, it's possible that your must is fermenting but that your bucket doesn't seal properly. I've got one that's never bubbled once no matter how active a fermentation was going on. This is why the more reading you do around here, the more you will hear "don't trust airlock activity, trust your hydrometer"... it's probably the most important tool for a winemaker/meadmaker, and I can't believe you found a kit that doesn't include one!

And removing the lid if fermentation isn't complete isn't a bad thing, if you didn't aerate your must before you started, your yeast might be a bit oxygen-starved too.

And for the record, I have added acid blend to a mead and had it work out OK, it really does depend on the honey.

In short, suggestions:
1) get a hydrometer and see what it says. If it says something above 1.060, it's not gone very far, if it's getting closer to 1.000, it's done its thing and is out of sugar to eat, and your bucket isn't airtight.
2) If the SG is still relatively high, try aerating it if that wasn't on the list of instructions. Sanitize a spoon and spash it around for a couple of minutes a couple of times.
3) see if you can find pH test strips in the range from 3-5 or so, if not, well, a bit of calcium carbonate wouldn't hurt, and if that makes things pick up, well, you know that was the problem!

MountainPitcher
03-14-2011, 12:39 AM
Calcium carbonate? You mean a ROCK? lol

I checked and none was supplied in my kit...so I'm looking for a supply online right now. Also found a hydrometer.pH strips should be relatively easy to find around town here. I'll check back and let you all know how this goes.

Chevette Girl
03-14-2011, 01:06 AM
Not just any rock, but an alkaline one that sort of dissolves in water... if you're ordering online anyway, see if you can get potassium carbonate, it dissolves easier....

Tiwas
03-14-2011, 03:22 AM
Don't know what it's like over there, but I found that pH strips cost a fraction of the wine making shops if I buy it in a pharmacy.

Chevette Girl
03-14-2011, 09:44 AM
I don't know what it's like in the 'States but a year or two after I asked for them and finally broke down and got a pH meter, my best-stocked LHBS is finally carrying them. They suggested the health food store, who didn't stock them in the convenient location, just the masty downtown one where I'd have to fight traffic and pay for parking... Apparently you can also find the right range at some aquarium shops as some fish do like it that acidic, but I never thought to check the pharmacy...

MountainPitcher
03-14-2011, 04:11 PM
Will potassium Chloride work?

Medsen Fey
03-14-2011, 04:23 PM
Will potassium Chloride work?

No.
Potassium bicarbonate, potassium carbonate, and calcium carbonate (chalk) are the most commonly used agents that will work to raise pH. Before I used them, I would measure the pH to see if they are needed.

jimbobplaysbass
03-14-2011, 06:10 PM
i brewed my first big batch of mead 3 days ago

15lbs honey
4gal apple cider
1pkt d-47

2tblspns of nutriant/energizer

my must was 100 degress when i pitched the yeast

sg - 1.137
brix - 32

its at a constant 66 for the past 3 days with no airlock action, just some small bubbles on the top...did i totally mess this batch up by pitching the yeast when the must was to hot or should i just stir it around a little?

can i add more yeast?

Medsen Fey
03-14-2011, 06:14 PM
Aerate and check the gravity.

Chevette Girl
03-15-2011, 11:20 PM
And welcome aboard!

Little bubbles sounds promising, and let's all repeat after me, "trust your hydrometer, not your airlock"... ;D

You may find that giving it a stir/swirl might cause some of the bubbles to come out of solution and make the airlock do something, but your must probably needs some oxygen anyway, as Medsen suggests. 1.137 is a little on the high side, the yeast might have gone into osmotic shock if you pitched them dry and they might be taking their time to recover... If you aerate and check the SG and still nothing, try hydrating the yeast in 1/4 cup of water at the very least, and if you want to be sure about it, try an acclimated starter (do a search on the terms "yeast starter", "acclimated starter" or "stuck ferment", there are a lot of mentions of this).

MountainPitcher
03-26-2011, 04:01 PM
Calcium carbonate? You mean a ROCK? lol

I checked and none was supplied in my kit...so I'm looking for a supply online right now. Also found a hydrometer.pH strips should be relatively easy to find around town here. I'll check back and let you all know how this goes.

Okay...UPDATE: Hydrometer and test strips in hand, I'm now able to better judge what's going on with this first must. Removed the bucket lid and the smell of alcohol nearly knocked my wife and I back against the wall. lol (YaY)...pH strip reads that it's at slightly below 6 which might be way too acidic. Haven't taken Hydrometer reading yet because there's a conversion/correction chart for temperature and it's confusing the heck out of me every time I read it...so I have to now wait til my wife comes back. I'll be back in a bit with another update. Thank you all for helping...

wildoates
03-26-2011, 05:32 PM
Are you certain the pH is 6? that's actually not very acidic at all, as neutral is 7.:confused:

MountainPitcher
03-26-2011, 07:05 PM
Are you certain the pH is 6? that's actually not very acidic at all, as neutral is 7.:confused:

Yes. It's acually more like 5 or directly between the 4 and the 6 which I assume is still 5...lol

The SG we now have...it's nearly 1...I mean it might be a smidge different like 1.02 or 1.06; but so close to 1 I could shave with it. We tasted, and I like what I'm getting. I think I'll rack it. What I tasted had a slight aftertaste of pears...nice...

MountainPitcher
03-26-2011, 07:09 PM
...and I know now where I messed up. I feel like a dummy. I'm not even gonna tell you all why my airlock showed no activity. I'll leave it to your imagination; but it has something to do with what did not get added to the airlock. I'm not blonde. Promise. Remember, this is my first baby...lol

wildoates
03-26-2011, 07:32 PM
Don't feel bad, I just put together two batches of what will be lambic today and totally forgot to check the temp of the water and Gro-ferm before tossing the yeast in; it was probably too cool, oh, well. :)

Chevette Girl
03-27-2011, 02:51 AM
...and I know now where I messed up. I feel like a dummy. I'm not even gonna tell you all why my airlock showed no activity. I'll leave it to your imagination; but it has something to do with what did not get added to the airlock. I'm not blonde. Promise. Remember, this is my first baby...lol

LOL, we all do dumb things from time to time, blonde is recessive :)

Don't sweat too much about the temperature corrections for your hydrometer, if you take the SG measurement at roughly the same temperature (ie, room temp), the difference between the two should be accurate since a temperature correction would add or subtract the same amount from both values. It's really the change in SG that we're interested in anyway :) You can try playing with tap water, if you let it acclimatize to room temperature it should be 1.000 or fairly close. Add a bit of hot water, it'll be different, add a bit of ice water, it'll be different the other way... just don't expose your hydrometer to sudden temperature changes.

Oh, and with pH, a higher number is less acidic than a lower number, yeast can tolerate somewhere down to 3.2 or so before it's too acidic for them.

MountainPitcher
03-27-2011, 02:51 AM
Okay...First rack is finished. Dang...I wish I could suck the syphon hose...lol Getting it to work on gravity alone takes some skill. I'll be lettin that rubber hose sit out in the sun a bit this summer. The curly thing gets on my nerves.

Have the mead sitting in a closet...I'm told for 30 to 45 days; but as long as it sat before first racking, I don't know if it should go that long.

Thanx everybody!