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insnekamkze86
01-29-2012, 12:34 AM
hello there i have a weird situation i was trying to make a 2 gallon batch of mead. i used 4 pounds of honey and 2 gallons of cider with a lalvin d-47 yeast strain and super ferment nutrient. Batch was started on jan 21st at 1am, when i took the first reading it said 1.120 which i pitched the yeast at what i believed was 60 degrees but was probably hotter; was using a candy thermometer. About 3 days went by and there was not sign of fermentation by the airlock and was worried and asked another forum and they said that the yeast is slow and to wait, i did still no activity but took another reading and it was now showing 1.114 but still no signs of fermentation.

So this time i believed that the yeast was dead and went and bought lalvin EC-1118 strain and more super ferment. The first strain i didnt re hydrate at all and the new one i did and pitched it at 68 degrees with another teaspoon of the nutrient and have still been waiting for fermentation and no sign still. I took another reading and its showing now 1.112. Theres about 2 inches of sediment on the bottom and theres a ring on top like theres been fermentation but still no sign at the airlock. I shook the whole carboy up and once it had settled there was some carbonation but not much, like a thin line of head on a beer. After using my calculator that would be a abv of .87 percent almost no fermentation so something went wrong and dont know what it is can someone please help me out thx.

P,S, the honey was red bamboo and clover honey, one pound clover three red bamboo and the cider label reads 100% apple juice pasteurized; ingredients are apples, malic acid, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate.
I thought i grabbed a cider with just apples and vitamin c but guess i didnt read the label as good till everything was pitched.

Soyala_Amaya
01-29-2012, 12:47 AM
Um...I'm confused. All those hydrometer readings you're posting...that's signs of fermentation. No, really, it is. I promise. Your airlock is lying to you. The hydrometer wins, always. Your fermentation was fine, you didn't need to pitch the 1118, only aerate it as necessary and smile happily.

Every ferment is different, every bucket seal is different. The airlock doesn't always bubble, but it's fermenting fine. Sometimes it bubbles LIKE crazy, but it's fermenting slower than a snail in molasses. Don't watch the airlock, the airlock does not show fermentation, just releasing CO2. Read your hydrometer, as long as the numbers are dropping, you have fermentation.

Really, this is a beg to the moderators, can we PLEASE change the newbee guide and eliminate all mentions of watching the airlock? And STRESS the hydrometer?

insnekamkze86
01-29-2012, 12:57 AM
okay thank you i have been told that before about the airlock but have forgotten about it. its just taking forever for the batch to completely ferment. i made a full 6 gallon sweet mead before and it was half way done fermenting by a week. I have been aerating it by shaking the whole carboy i just thought it was stuck again. You are right the readings do show fermentation its just extremely slow and panicked. at this rate how long do you think it will take to be fully fermented? I ask because im trying to have it ready for my road trip to az in march have a feeling it wont be now since of the very slow fermentation Thx you for your response sounds like im over reacting towards the batch.

mmclean
01-29-2012, 01:02 AM
The yeast may be having a hard tine with the potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate. You are making progress. Just keep watching your hydrometer and don't worry about the airlock.

If you stop seeing a drop in S.G., then you can worry.

The EC-1118 may be enough to see it through.

mmclean
01-29-2012, 01:11 AM
Ready by March? What year?

Should be good and ready March 2013.

You may get a JAO (a quick mead recipe) ready by then, if your not to picky about what you drink. ;D

fatbloke
01-29-2012, 01:53 AM
The yeast may be having a hard tine with the potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate. You are making progress. Just keep watching your hydrometer and don't worry about the airlock.

If you stop seeing a drop in S.G., then you can worry.

The EC-1118 may be enough to see it through.
+1 on that.
If it was just sulphites, then you can normally just aerate and leave it for the sulphite to dissipate, but sorbate and benzoate are gonna make it hard if not impossible for the yeast to do their thing.......

Lawpaw
01-29-2012, 11:45 AM
I fermented Mt. Dew once, so it is possible. Aerate like crazy, use a starter, not just rehydration. Sorbate is much less effective against and active fermentation.

insnekamkze86
01-29-2012, 12:16 PM
Lol march this yr is what i was hoping for is there anything i can do to help the yeast besides wait and hope it finally gets there? i not really picky when it comes to mead next time i know to get a cider that doesnt have those ingredients in it. you find out these thing the hard way lol. ive only been shaking up the batch in the carboy with the airlock on. this might sound dump but aerating is mixing it wilth the airlock off to get air into the batch correct?

mmclean
01-29-2012, 01:01 PM
Maybe the best way for you is to drop an air stone hooked up to an aquarium pump. Let it run for 3-5 min.

The ideal way is to fill the carboy 3/4 full, shake like heck for 5 minute, then fill to top.

Myself, I prefer to ferment in an open bucket, mix with a lees stirer and transfer to a carboy after 1/3 break.

A note on ageing:

A perfect ferment may take 6-9 months to settle into it's flavors and aromas. A less than perfect ferment may take 12-18+ to even be drinkable.

fatbloke
01-29-2012, 01:39 PM
I do a slightly different "cheat" for aeration. I wash out a liquidiser with hot water, then spray it with sanitiser, then I just take a pint or so of must and blitz the hell out of it, before returning it to the batch......

Which seems to work for me!

insnekamkze86
01-29-2012, 07:43 PM
I was thinking about siphoning it into the pan I was using to mix everything then aerate it with a mixing spoon then transfer it back to the carboy but wasn't sure if that would work or not. The batch is in a 6 gallon carboy so its not filled to the top

Chevette Girl
01-30-2012, 01:02 AM
Aerate like crazy, use a starter, not just rehydration. Sorbate is much less effective against and active fermentation.

+1 on using a starter. (and of course, +1 to trust your hydrometer, not your airlock, it IS going, but slowly, most likely because of the sorbate)


I tried a couple of times to ferment a frozen raspberry cocktail and only realized the second time I threw it out after it barely got 1/3 of the way through the sugar that it had potassium sorbate in it. That said, I have also topped off a batch with sorbated apple cider and it finished completely. What sorbate does, as I understand, is makes it hard for the yeast to replicate, so if you want this batch to ferment all the way, you may have to make a good volume of starter, maybe a full 2 litre pop bottle full for 2 gallons, so there are a LOT of active yeast cells, I'd rehydrate and then keep doubling the volume with apple juice (maybe get a can of pasteurized apple juice or frozen apple juice concentrate, NOT the sorbated must) and aerate it well every hour or two, and let it eat most of the sugar so the yeasties can get the best headstart possible, then pitch it in when the starter's SG is getting close to 1.010 (but I wouldn't let it go below 1.000 just in case the yeast starts to shut down and go dormant again once it's out of food) ... And you might have to repitch like this a couple of times to get the job all the way done because your yeasties will not be able to replace themselves as they die off.

Fatbloke's trick with his liquidizer (that's a blender in North American :D) is a good one, siphoning it into another container and splashing it around with a spoon works too, I've siphoned into a 1-gal water jug and shook the heck out of it, if you can do it without hurting yourself or breaking anything, shaking 2 gallons in a 6 gallon carboy with the stopper removed can do it too, you just have to find that fine balance between getting it to splash around and not having it slosh out of the carboy.

insnekamkze86
01-30-2012, 01:29 PM
Chevette Thx for the tip its hard spinning 2 gallons in a 6 gallon carboy it tires my forearms quickly lol I think im going to siphon it into another container and aerate it for a bit then transfer it back over if that does not wk then I will try repitching new yeast with pure juice without the sorbate question on the super ferment nutrient I've already added like 3 or 4 teaspoons in should I add it again when i repitch new yeast or leave that alone?

Chevette Girl
01-30-2012, 02:28 PM
I'd leave the nutrients alone, you've probably got enough in there already. What's left in your must will be eaten by your starter. Maybe if you have to repeat the starter procedure again AFTER this, another teaspoon...

Your current fermentation is probably going to be slow for a while and then peter out to no change in SG... when it does that, restart it... lather, rinse, repeat...

I'm not sure what effect the aeration will have because when I last experimented with sorbated juice, my standard procedures didn't include a lot of aeration, but do please let us know if that perks it up! If you can stand to, try aerating it a couple of times a day.

insnekamkze86
01-30-2012, 03:59 PM
I got done siphoning it and sweating it then racked back into the carboy then took another reading its now showing 1.110 so its increasing but slowly I might take another reading tomorrow to see if its the same or has decrrased again. I never used starter w yeast always just sprinkled it on or rehyrdated it and never had problem with that way till now but never ran into sorbate either lol.
Question the starting gravity reading was 1.120 how low will the hyrodmeter get once its finished? I know that might be a vague question but was curious if that could be answered.
I was thinking about going two days before doing another siphon then take a reading, it looks like its getting clearer each passing day but the readings still keep going down too.

mmclean
01-30-2012, 04:07 PM
Do you mean, if the mead went totaly dry? It would be around .98.

BTW, how does that bamboo honey taste?

insnekamkze86
01-30-2012, 04:57 PM
Sorry if i got my refrences wrong. mmclean red bamboo honey is great very sweet n thick and dark looking w a hint of red to round it off. I say it be a med to full body honey will make a great mead if it ever fully ferments out. I got it at a renaissance festival in pa the company is based out of new alexandria pa it was 20 bux for 3 pounds.
I did another reading bc i thought my reading was off and it was its reading 1.100 not 1.110 so its up to 2.5 abv instead of 1.19 better but still to low sorry about the mess up

Chevette Girl
01-30-2012, 07:51 PM
If it looks like it's getting clearer, swirl the carboy to get the yeast floating around again, you want them to keep working, and not lie about lazily at the bottom of the carboy :)

It will probably crawl along slowly for a few weeks if not months... It might be worth the pack of yeast and the can of apple juice just to get it moving :p

insnekamkze86
01-31-2012, 01:16 PM
okay thank you the yeast has been setting at the bottom of the carboy i have been shaking it up because its getting clearer and clearer now since the last few days. i am going to aerate it one more time and take another reading then i thing i will pitch the other yeast packet w apple juice without the sorbate to help the batch out.

insnekamkze86
01-31-2012, 10:12 PM
tomorrow im going to pitch another thing of yeast with new apple juice i took another reading and both clear and with batch stirred up again it read 1.102 so im not getting anywhere. only thing is theres going to be 15 grams of yeast in the carboy after the third packet of yeast. I dont know if that matters or not.

I have a gallon glass jug i was curious when i pitch the yeast should i fill the jug most way with water rehyrating yeast or should i mixed the juice in there as well? i dont want to mess it up because after the third packet of yeast dont work i might pitch the whole batch. Thanks again for the help

insnekamkze86
02-03-2012, 11:48 PM
I pitched the last packet of yeast along with apple juice w no sorbate today I will take a reading tomorrow to see if there is any difference now the batch is 3 gallons of juice to 4 lbs of honey. Question how will that effect the reading on the hydrometer? Sg was 1.120 its now 1.102 since theres another gallon of juice how am I suppose to know what the reaing is meaning for alcohol sorry if that seem like a dumb question

Chevette Girl
02-04-2012, 01:58 AM
It's not a dumb question... it does drop your SG without adding alcohol to the process because you diluted it... a ballpark estimation of your actual alcohol level wherever this finishes would be to take the amount of alcohol it produced before you diluted it (initial SG to SG when you diluted it with the apple juice starter) say it made 4% and then add that to the amount of alcohol it makes from now till it stops, (SG when you diluted it to SG it finally stops at), say it makes 10%, estimate it at 14%.

This won't be entirely accurate and there's a more accurate way to calculate it that involves more math I'm too lazy to do, but then I don't know precisely how accurate it is to calculate alcohol content from change in SG anyway (I don't think we account for the ethanol produced, which will bring the specific gravity down because it's got a lower gravity than water)...

insnekamkze86
02-04-2012, 03:16 PM
Thx for the response I was never good at math. I took another reading its now showing 0.92 after the extra gallon of juice. it reached a abv of 2.22 percent when it was the original batch and sg reading which was 1.120 final reading before it was diluted was 1.102, now its diluted with a reading of 0.92 all i know is i be confused on the acrual abv it will create and also now isnt a wild guess as when it w actually be done fermenting from the reading.

So is it fare to say that the new reading is the sg and when it stopped to add that abv with the abv it had after adding the new juice n yeast?

Chevette Girl
02-05-2012, 07:13 PM
Yeah, pretty much. Pretend you're dealing with a new batch starting at 1.092 that already has 2.22% alcohol... when it finishes, take that SG and use it with 1.092 to determine the new amount of alcohol produced, then add it to the 2.22% you knew was already there.