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View Full Version : First Batch. S.G. concern



Wingnut
02-11-2012, 05:35 PM
Hello all,
I have been reading the posts here over the past few weeks. It's good to know the "helpful discussions" are happening here.
I received Mr. Schramm's book as a Christmas gift from my wife (ulterior motive?) I have my first batch in the carboy following the basic plan in the book and it was very active (understatement) for about 3 weeks. I just racked it off of the spent yeast. Smells and taste great, however the S.G. is still high 1.063 corrected. pH is 3.2. O.G. was 1.080 corrected. The fermentation process has dropped off to a low level but the S.G. number troubles me.
Is this a concern? Any comments are welcomed.
Regards,
Jim

triarchy
02-11-2012, 07:51 PM
Welcome to GotMead James. Something does not look quite right here. If you had a strong ferment for 3 weeks, you should be closer to 1.000, not 1.063 (assuming your start was really 1.080). How did you determine it was a stong fermentation, by airlock activity?

Can you post the full recipe or brewlog, specifically the amount of water and honey you used. Also include any nutrients and the yeast type if you can. Seems like a bit of a mystery to me.

fatbloke
02-12-2012, 05:04 AM
I'd also suggest that the OP re-register, but pick a username that isn't an email address that all the spambot crawlers will have a field day with......

Wingnut
02-12-2012, 01:16 PM
(If this posts twice I apologize. My son's furry bandit buddy decide to help me type, and I'm not sure what keys he "jumped on")

Thanks for the response from you both. I will change the e-mail thing out today.
Recipe as follows:
15-16 lbs. Blackberry Honey
4 gal water (boiled and cooled)
2 tsp. yeast nutrient (GoFem)*
1 tsp. yeast energizer (FemaidK)*
2 packets of the Lalvin 72b-122
*Local Homebrew Store folks recommended both for use.

Sterilized the holy heck out of everything with San Star. Pitched the yeast per instructions when the carboy was cool enough. Oxygenated 3-4 cups of the must in a blender with the GoFem and FemaidK. Added it after the yeast. Gave it a swirl and capped it with the airlock.
By the next afternoon it was rolling. You could hear it (literally hissing) and it looked like a pot on the stove on low heat rolling around. Airlock looked like a fish tank air stone. Stayed that way for a week or so then slowed down to an active 1-3 seconds between bubbles.
Dropped of significantly mid-week last week. Siphoned off into a second clean carboy on day 28. Quite a layer of sediment on the bottom. S.G Reading was 1.063 corrected at this point.
I have thought about the original S.G. reading. I actually took a picture of the gauge reading and I am wondering if I was reading it incorrectly. The picture is hard to see because my photo skills are as bad as my eyes. But it may have been higher than 1.080.

brian92fs
02-12-2012, 02:20 PM
A couple tips:
1) I don't think you mixed you must up enough. By my calcs, your OG should have been in the 1.100 - 1.110 range. The Mead Calculator on the left is a good resource for this.
2) It should like you might not have aerated it enough. This goes along with the first observation. Mixing and initial aeration tend to go happen together. You'll want to aggressively mix and aerate the entire batch. Not just a couple of cups. I usually run a less-stirring on an electric drill for 5 - 10 minutes. Sometimes more.
3) It helps to continue mixing an aerating every 12 - 24 hours up through the 1/3 break. After the 1/3 break, it still a good idea to mix/swirl it every day.
4) You might be a bit light on nutrient. I'd use DAP in addition to the Fermaid-K. However, you want to use it after the lag period up to the 1/3 break. Don't add it now to your batch. Just keep this in mind for your next batch.
5) Can you give more details on how you rehydrated the yeast.
6) I wouldn't have racked it off its lees yet. In the future, its best to wait until its done before racking it.

At a SG of 1.063. Its going to be VERY sweet. Probably too sweet for anyone. There's a few things you can try.
1) Determine if it is stuck. Check the gravity daily. It might just be slow, not stuck.
2) You didn't give any temp readings. Try to bring it up to 70F or so it its running cooler. It usually good to keep it below 70F, but when its slow or possibly stuck, a little heat can help.
3) Add 4.0 grams to 5.0 grams of yeast hulls and give it a stir. Keep checking the gravity daily to see if its dropping.
4) Check the pH if you can. It its dropped to low, this could be slowing it. I use potassium bicarbonate if I need to raise it. Usually 1 gram or two are a time and then recheck it.

That's all I can think of at the moment. Other may chime in with more suggestions. Good luck!

Wingnut
02-12-2012, 05:47 PM
Thanks for the response. I will touch on the point you brought up:
Mixing the must: I think we hit it pretty well. My son and I took turns mixing the honey in the warm water for about 20 min. But we can give her hell next time to be sure.
Aeration: Hopefully our stirring did the trick but maybe not. I blended the 2-3 cups as recommended but I can certainly do this extra activity as well now. I have a drill operated "aerator" I built.
pH Level: The pH was 3.6 at the initial now it is at 3.2. Now that I read this, it may be too low.
Temp: We have been able to maintain the temp between 65 and 72 Deg. F throughout the process.
Racking: I guess we thought it was done and didn't want to leave the yeast in too long if it was expired fearing it would affect the taste.
Sweet: You got that right brother.....If it was thicker I'd spread it on biscuits. HOWEVER, it's not much sweeter than some Late Harvest Ice Wines or Rieslings I have tasted. Just not my preferred sugar level.
Yeast Re-hydration: By the recommended instructions on the package. I'm not going to type all of the instructions out here. We just followed the pkg instructions. Being from a family of bread makers I kinda know how the yeast thing works. I have ruined a few bread batches...

Sooo, having said all of that I am going to:
Aerate the must.
Adjust the pH level
add some yeast hulls
Wait
OK here we go.
Thanks for the input. We will have this back on track in no time...

Regards
Jim

Chevette Girl
02-12-2012, 06:59 PM
Hey Wingnut! Welcome to the forum!

I think the lads have you pretty well taken care of, just make sure when you're stirring to aerate that there's some splashing going on, if all you're doing is mixing the bottom of the carboy, it's not going to have a very good oxygen transfer rate. And your pH may well be the culprit.

Wingnut
02-12-2012, 09:21 PM
Hey Wingnut! Welcome to the forum!

I think the lads have you pretty well taken care of, just make sure when you're stirring to aerate that there's some splashing going on, if all you're doing is mixing the bottom of the carboy, it's not going to have a very good oxygen transfer rate. And your pH may well be the culprit.
Thank You Ma'am.
We will see if all the advice can get this batch back on track.

I have added the Potassium Bicarbonate and aerated the heck out of it. I'm going to let it settle and check the pH tomorrow.

Any difference in the Potassium Bicarbonate and the Potassium Carbonate? The young lady at the HB store was less that helpful in that regard.

brian92fs
02-12-2012, 10:39 PM
Any difference in the Potassium Bicarbonate and the Potassium Carbonate? The young lady at the HB store was less that helpful in that regard.

I use potassium bicarbonate. But that's just because its what's readily available at my LHBS.

Chevette Girl
02-13-2012, 02:54 PM
My gut response would be that one's more effective per weight than the other because of the extra carbonate ion, but if you add, wait, measure, add again, rather than do the math to figure out precisely how much you need, it doesn't matter that much.

Wingnut
02-14-2012, 08:53 AM
OK, well after the see saw process of adjusting the pH to about 3.6 and vigorous aeration the fermentation process was non-existent.
So I re-pitched with a yeast of higher alcohol tolerance and the associated nutrients.
This morning the patient seems to be breathing on her own. Cross your fingers.
Jim
Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk

Wingnut
02-15-2012, 12:54 PM
Well again I have to thank you all for the comments and advice.
Looks like my little project is back on track.
The pH is holding at 3.6. The S.G. is dropping or has dropped to 1.050 as of last night. and it is bubbling away happily.
After adding the Potassium Bicarbonate (too much in fact by accident) and then correcting back down to a usable level I thought I had ruined the whole batch. It looked grim. After adding the PB and the corrective dose of acid and giving it a big stir, the silly thing just started foaming and out the top it came. After that it was silent. A couple of days silent..So in with a new yeast batch and lo and behold we are back in business. I will do a check again on Saturday of the pH and the S.G.
Thank You all again and I will keep you posted if you like.

Jim

Chevette Girl
02-15-2012, 03:36 PM
After adding the PB and the corrective dose of acid and giving it a big stir, the silly thing just started foaming and out the top it came.


That shouldn't be too surprising, if you've ever seen the vinegar and baking soda volcano trick? You just did yours in your mead. :)

Wingnut
02-15-2012, 06:01 PM
That shouldn't be too surprising, if you've ever seen the vinegar and baking soda volcano trick? You just did yours in your mead. :)



AAhhh! That makes sense. It was impressive, and sticky.:eek: We (my son and I) were laughing like fools as we sopped it up.

Wingnut
02-26-2012, 08:27 PM
A couple tips:
1) I don't think you mixed you must up enough. By my calcs, your OG should have been in the 1.100 - 1.110 range. The Mead Calculator on the left is a good resource for this.
2) It should like you might not have aerated it enough. This goes along with the first observation. Mixing and initial aeration tend to go happen together. You'll want to aggressively mix and aerate the entire batch. Not just a couple of cups. I usually run a less-stirring on an electric drill for 5 - 10 minutes. Sometimes more.
3) It helps to continue mixing an aerating every 12 - 24 hours up through the 1/3 break. After the 1/3 break, it still a good idea to mix/swirl it every day.
4) You might be a bit light on nutrient. I'd use DAP in addition to the Fermaid-K. However, you want to use it after the lag period up to the 1/3 break. Don't add it now to your batch. Just keep this in mind for your next batch.
5) Can you give more details on how you rehydrated the yeast.
6) I wouldn't have racked it off its lees yet. In the future, its best to wait until its done before racking it.

At a SG of 1.063. Its going to be VERY sweet. Probably too sweet for anyone. There's a few things you can try.
1) Determine if it is stuck. Check the gravity daily. It might just be slow, not stuck.
2) You didn't give any temp readings. Try to bring it up to 70F or so it its running cooler. It usually good to keep it below 70F, but when its slow or possibly stuck, a little heat can help.
3) Add 4.0 grams to 5.0 grams of yeast hulls and give it a stir. Keep checking the gravity daily to see if its dropping.
4) Check the pH if you can. It its dropped to low, this could be slowing it. I use potassium bicarbonate if I need to raise it. Usually 1 gram or two are a time and then recheck it.

That's all I can think of at the moment. Other may chime in with more suggestions. Good luck!

Thanks to all who gave the great advice.
Just checked the S.G. and it has dropped to 1.013 corrected. The pH is holding at 3.6 or so. and it taste pretty good. It really has lost quite a bit of the sweetness. I believe it will be ready to move on to a new carboy in a few days. We will check it again Wednesday. Gotta do some more reading. Thank you all again who posted.
Regards,
Jim