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huesmann
06-16-2012, 11:44 AM
Mixed up a bochet on 4/7/12 using 18.5 lb honey boiled and simmered on the stove for several hours, plus water to 5 gal. Added 5g FermaidK. Aerated. Used GoFerm with 1 packet K1V-1116 yeast. OG was 1.130, came down to 1.068 and stuck there. Re-aerated and repitched using 1 packet EC-1118, plus nutrient and energizer, but I don't see any activity. Will recheck SG, but it seems stuck. Thoughts? Repitch again with larger volume of yeast?

wayneb
06-16-2012, 12:25 PM
Well, one of two things has happened. Either it is truly stuck, or you carmelized enough of the sugars in the honey when you heated it that all the fermentables may actually be gone, and the SG is actually at its final finishing point.

Since you've already added more nutrient and energizer (I'd advise not doing that next time, until you're absolutely certain that it is stuck and not just finished), let's hope that there are still some fermentables in there - otherwise you've got a finished bochet that will have some metallic and chemical "overtones" from the nutrients. Instead of just pitching more yeast, you'll need to make an acclimated starter. You will find lots of descriptions of how to restart a stuck mead in earlier posts (which you can find using the search tool - just search on the terms stuck mead or acclimated starter and lots of good info pops up) but the basic approach is to rehydrate a naturally very robust yeast strain (EC-1118 is a good one, as is Uvaferm-43), then add small amounts of the stuck must, over several increments, in order to build up a starter that is ready to tackle that fairly yeast-toxic brew. You can try this with some more 1118 if you have it available.

Here's one way to accomplish what you want to do. Rehydrate as normal - use GoFerm if you have some. Then after about 15 minutes of rehydration, add about a half cup of the stuck must, mix vigorously (to aerate), and put the result under an airlock until you see signs of fermentation. Then add about a cup of the stuck must to that mix and wait again until you see fermentation re-start. Then add about two cups of the stuck must, and wait again. Do this until you have a fairly significant volume of the must in your starter (I'd say a half gallon or so - about 3 to 4 additions) and then pitch that whole amount back into the main batch of must. With luck, you'll get something going in there again. Hopefully it will ferment out enough that the new yeast will use up all that nutrient that you added earlier.

Good luck - restarting stuck fermentations is always a little touchy, but if you're careful about it, it succeeds most times unless the ethanol concentration is up near the tolerance of your yeast.

huesmann
06-16-2012, 01:20 PM
Thanks for the advice. I assume that if I try the restaring via starter method and it doesn't start back up, that the SG is indeed at its finishing point, and my options are to stick with an 8.5% hydromel (hydrobochet?), or fortify it using some kind of spirits? Or is possible to add plain honey at that point and get some more conversion?

fatbloke
06-16-2012, 01:37 PM
Have you thought of checking the pH ? Because if its dropped too low, it might have caused the sticking.....

huesmann
06-17-2012, 06:58 PM
Unfortunately I don't have a way of measuring the pH. :(

TAKeyser
06-17-2012, 08:24 PM
You can pick up test strips at most any home brew shop for about $3. Just make sure you get the ones for wine and not the beer ones.

Low PH is kind of a common problem so it's a good idea to pick some up.

huesmann
07-21-2012, 09:49 AM
Getting back to this...

Picked up a pH tester. It gave me a reading around 3.75, which appears on the low end of the acceptable range, but still within spec. Would it be a good idea to raise the pH slightly (before trying Wayne's starter idea), and how would I go about doing that?

Riverat
07-21-2012, 10:56 AM
That PH is fine as it is. Don't let get too close to 3 though, above 3.2 or .3

Chevette Girl
07-22-2012, 11:12 AM
Getting back to this...

Picked up a pH tester. It gave me a reading around 3.75, which appears on the low end of the acceptable range, but still within spec. Would it be a good idea to raise the pH slightly (before trying Wayne's starter idea), and how would I go about doing that?


I wouldn't bother raising the pH at this point, I think you're fine down to about 3.4 or so ... I would try an acclimated starter to see if there is still something fermentable for yeast to eat though, if the starter won't start, you're done and the only way to get it to go any further would be to add more honey (and if you do this I would definitely recommend an acclimated starter, again).

speedreader
07-22-2012, 09:19 PM
The "for several hours" part of your original post makes me think that wayneb might be on to something when he suggested you carmelized some of the fermentables out.

I've done two bochets (much smaller... a 1 gal and a 2 gal batch) and both stopped fermentation well short of what I would have expected had the honey not been boiled. The one I boiled longer (and I think it was < 90 minutes) stopped at 1.048.

So your ferment might just be done. How long did you actually boil/simmer the honey for?