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JohnS
02-16-2012, 01:03 PM
I have a JAO thats stuck.

I tried to keep it as close to the origanal reciepe as possible. In fact I have made 4 patches similtaniously, but my clover is stuck.

These are the steps that I have taken to unstick it.

first, I tried pitching, (nuked and fried) bread yeast, then adding nutrition, and energizer.

After that did not work I made a starter with K1V adding and increasing must additions at 20 minutes, 1 hour, and then overnight, all to no avial.

Now it has been recomended to use UVAferm and its really hardcore I guess, but I dont know what else to do.

I have also checked the ph. last month (the JAO is about 2 months old) it was a bit high at about 4.4 or 4.6. I have added some calcium carbonate and then it droped to about 3.2. Then having added a splash of lemon juice it brought it up to about 3.6. Last night it was back up to about 4.4. I dont understand why the PH has risen so much when nothing in particular has been done and I am sure that there must be bacteria or bad yeast culture in this batch.

The next step I will take is rack off the lees so as to separate the must from the lees, repitch with the UVAferm using a starter with goferm, and hope for the best.

Now, I am thinking that the reason its stuck has to do with the one gallon plastic water jug, Maybe its not as sterile as I had thought.

My questions are these. Why would the PH go up? Could I have a poor quality jug that allows bacteria or air to get in? Most importantly is how do I get this patch unstuck??

YogiBearMead726
02-16-2012, 02:27 PM
My questions are these. Why would the PH go up? Could I have a poor quality jug that allows bacteria or air to get in? Most importantly is how do I get this patch unstuck??

The pH went up, most likely because you added calcium carbonate, which is alkaline (hence makes the pH more alkaline). It can sometimes take some time for the pH effect to appear in testing after treatment, which is probably what happened in your case.

I doubt the jug is a huge issue. Granted, plastic can harbor bacteria if scratched or not properly cared for, but using a water jug probably didn't introduce bacteria.

What exactly makes you think this batch is stuck? Is it incredibly, sickly sweet? Can you take a hydrometer reading? What temperature is it fermenting/sitting at? And most importantly, what exactly was your recipe? You say you tried to stick to the recipe as closely as possible...so what exactly did you do differently?

JohnS
02-16-2012, 02:46 PM
The only thing I did differently was added a few extra cloves since the ones in the cabinet were old.

Ph now is about 3.6 or so. I have added lemon juice for a second time. I am hoping it will stay stable now.

I know its stuck because the OG was about 1.36 and the SG now is 1.080 and it sweeter then the other batches I have started at the same time.

I am thinking if I cant get it unstuck then I will most likely drink it as it is. I just would really like to unstuck it.

Also, every time I shake the jug, there is a foaming reaction that follows. Maybe the yeast is not dead, but only dormant.

Sure would like advise or comments on this one.

Chevette Girl
02-16-2012, 02:51 PM
I have also checked the ph. last month (the JAO is about 2 months old) it was a bit high at about 4.4 or 4.6. I have added some calcium carbonate and then it droped to about 3.2. Then having added a splash of lemon juice it brought it up to about 3.6. Last night it was back up to about 4.4. I dont understand why the PH has risen so much when nothing in particular has been done and I am sure that there must be bacteria or bad yeast culture in this batch.

My questions are these. Why would the PH go up? Could I have a poor quality jug that allows bacteria or air to get in? Most importantly is how do I get this patch unstuck??

This strikes me as odd, if you added lemon juice the pH should have dropped, as acid has lower pH. Are you using a tester or the strips?

The only reasons I could see for the pH rising on you when nothing's been happening is if trapped carbon dioxide escaped from the must while it was having its little quiet time (carbon dioxide dissociates in water to make acidic compounds which drop your pH, might be why you get foaming when you shake the jug). Or if the calcium carbonate (which should have raised it, not dropped it) wasn't been fully dissolved and took a few days to do its thing.

If you're concerned about bacteria, it's safe to hit it with a campden tablet 24 hours before you try your next repitch attempt...

JohnS
02-16-2012, 04:33 PM
I have the PH strips. They are not the most accurate, but for this its ok.

I added the calcium carbonate about 10 days or 2 weeks ago and have been shaking almost everyday.


Its a real mystery to me. I will move it to another plastic jug and try to repitch with UVAferm and maybe that will do something.

JohnS
02-16-2012, 06:52 PM
The starter is separating. The lees and the must is clearly visible. After pitching it in the batch the UVA is falling to the bottom.

I really cant understand what is killing the yeast. I hope it does not do this in the future.

Actually, a friend that has much more experience in fermenting says that it sometimes happens. He is into brewing beer. Beer is different from mead, but the fermenting process is similar.

I guess its just one of those things that happens. If I know what happened, I would learn from my mistake and be careful not to replete it.

YogiBearMead726
02-16-2012, 07:26 PM
Just to clarify, the original gravity was 1.136, not 1.36, right?

Again, what temperature is this batch at? Cold temps can prevent active fermentation.

Then again, it could just be done. You could always blend this with a drier JAO, or fortify with hard alcohol similar to making a Port style of wine.

JohnS
02-16-2012, 07:42 PM
yea, sorry about the typo. The OG was 1.136.

At first it was in my bedroom which was kept at about 70 degrees f, along with my other one gallon batches. After I notice it was in trouble I put it in the warmest place in the house. On top of the refrigerator in the kitchen is where it stands now, and has stood for the last few weeks or so.

Maybe, I will have to blend it with another batch. I have a blueberry maple going at the moment that should finish dry. That, or save it for a dry batch in the future.

wayneb
02-16-2012, 07:53 PM
Well, if I had to guess, I'd think that your JAO batch stopped short of where you wanted it to finish because you voided Joe's warranty. ;D

Here's why I think so... Given the usual JAO recipe where 3-1/2 lbs of honey is used in a 1 US gallon batch of must, you'll end up with a starting gravity in the neighborhood of 1.120 to 1.125 (depending on the water content of your honey before it is mixed into the must). Your OG, at 1.136, is significantly higher than that, and for bread yeast at least, that high of an OG is a pretty stressful environment. Once the bread yeast pooped out, at a finish of 1.080 with about an 8% ABV in the mix, getting a re-start yeast to actually take off and ferment more is quite challenging, requiring careful management of the starter to acclimate it to the rather alcoholic environment with several incremental additions of the stuck must, etc. It isn't as simple as mixing up a Uvaferm starter and pitching it in.

So, your mead is probably done where it is. Yup - mixing with something drier is probably your best bet at this point.

JohnS
02-17-2012, 03:36 PM
ok I made a mistake. the OG was 1.140. Yea, i guess it was a bit high, but thats what it came out to. Would the alteration posted on the bottom have an effect on the fermentation process? I am now thinking that the yeast ate all the sugars and when I added the additional honey it was too much for the yeast to handle. What do you think?


Wayneb, mentioned that its not so easy to restart a stuck batch. Please explain it to me. I really would like to learn, so as to avoid these problems in the future. I did add twice as much must to the starter with the K1V starting with 1 ounce up to 4 oz, with still not luck, With my latest attempt using goferm I added 125 percent of go germ to 1 ounce of water (110F), stirred to get the clumps out, then pitch the UVA at 105, let stand for 20 minutes. added 2 ounces of must, and let stand for 2 hours, before pitching. Which process would be best, or is there another way to restart a stuck fermentation?


From the JAO thread. the post was 1059 and 1064 retrospectively.

"Well the experiment begins. Using gallon water jugs I am using clover, blueberry, and orange blossom, and wildflower. I kind like the earthiness of the wild flower. I wanted to try a cranberry blossom, but none was available at the store. I did make one mistake in the clover batch........that was I forgot to put all of the clover into it. I mistakenly left out 2 lbs of clover out of the batch......... I did take A SG reading and it came in about 1.140. I if it finish close to 1` then I figure the ABV should come in about 17 percent. Is this stuff really that strong? Of course the clover will come in less then half of that. Now I just wait for the fragrance of fermentation to start. Oh well, live and learn...."

One good thing about this batch is that I was really impressed with the taste of the OB. Also, because I made it a trial run, I can honestly say that I am glad that I did not make it a 5 gallon batch, as I have four 5 gallon batches aging out at the moment.

Because I was so impressed with the orange JAO, I am now thinking about making a 5 gallon batch of it in the near future, This time a bit more drier.

YogiBearMead726
02-17-2012, 05:22 PM
The main issues with restarting a stuck batch like this are relatively high alcohol content (compared to none), and relatively high sugar content.

You're basically throwing yeast into a very toxic environment. Alcohol is toxic to them, and high sugar content puts osmotic stress on the yeast. If you had pitched the restarting yeast before the bread yeast got so far along, you might have had better luck.

As for giving the starter the best possible chance, you have to slowly acclimate them to their new environment little by little until there is a sizable colony. Basically, if you just rehydrate them and add a little must before pitching, they haven't developed well enough to cope with the stress of the batch you're pitching into.

Hope that helps.

wayneb
02-18-2012, 12:00 AM
Yes, what Yogi said, only more so. ;D What I mean by that is in order to maximize your chances for success in restarting, it is important to make several (more than one or two) small additions of the stuck must to the rehydrated yeast, waiting for yeast activity to show itself in between each addition. The more slowly you can transition the re-start yeast to the new ethanol and sugar rich environment, the less stress they will be under, and the better your chances for restarting the main batch. If you haven't already searched the forum using terms like stuck fermentation and restart fermentation, I would recommend that, since over the past couple of years we've had several good threads on the subject. Another resource I recommend to folks is Hightest's Honey Haven website and blog. He has been making mead for years, and is another one of the pioneers in adapting the scientific knowledge about fermentation learned from the winemaking industry to the process of meadmaking. Here's a link to his site, http://home.comcast.net/~mzapx1/ and you should read the Restarting a Stuck Fermentation page for more information.

Also, sometimes, despite everything that you do, a stuck ferment just won't restart. It is challenging under most circumstances, and often problematic at best, but it is a technique that every meadmaker should try at some time during their learning process.

cabeasle
02-18-2012, 11:07 AM
Well blah... I am just now reading this post after trying to restart my own must last night, and apparently, I did it wrong. OG went from about 16% potential to 10% potential ABV, so the must is sitting at around 6% for the moment, two weeks after I started it up.

I just added some nutrient/energizer, pitched a new rehydrated yeast, and aerated a bit. I did not make an acclimated starter, and it looks like the must is still sitting inactive and dead this morning.

Is it too much to add yet "another" package of yeast, this time acclimating it better, or has this been enough trauma already and it's time to dump it/mark this semi-mead for other uses?

YogiBearMead726
02-18-2012, 12:52 PM
You should be fine making an acclimated starter. Some extra dead yeast will just provide, if anything, extra mouthfeel, extra nutrients, and extra fining capacity. :)