View Full Version : Yeast nonstart help needed

10-30-2012, 11:22 PM
Hi everyone, our family has been making wine for a long time but this is my first time on my own making cider and mead. I bought 5 different kinds of honey, 3lbs each. I added water to get up to 1 gallon each and about 1.090-1.095 SG, sulfated them all, then the next day rehydrated one packet of lalvin d47 (recommended by the brewshop guy) and pitched it equally between the 5 1gallon buckets with a tsp of super ferment nutrient/energizer each. Two days later and two of the batches seem to be going well, the third a bit slower, the fourth barely at all, and the fifth seems to be a nonstarter. I took a look inside and there are barely any bubbles or froth in any of them. I guess my question is, what should I expect to see with lalvin d47? I made 10 gallons of cider last week and the lallemand windsor ale yeast I used was almost bubbling over the next day. Also, could my issues be with contents, nutrients, ph, etc of the honey varieties themselves? Here are the varieties from most to least active:

Tulip poplar
Autumn olive

Anyway, any advice is greatly appreciated!

10-31-2012, 12:43 AM
UPDATE: I read in another post that visible signs of fermentation are misleading, so I took some gravity measurements. Here are the original, current, and difference. Are these typical or should I be worried?

Tulip poplar - 1.091 - 1.067 - .024
Clover - 1.095 - 1.080 - .015
Basswood - 1.095 - 1.080 - .015
Blackberry - 1.090 - 1.076 - .014
Autumn olive - 1.091 - 1.082 - .009

10-31-2012, 01:17 AM
If you look at the numbers, they're all dropping. Which suggests that they're all fermenting.

Hence I'd have thought its more of an issue with bucket seals, rather than with ferment problems.

Equally, you sulphited the batches, and while the sulphites would normally dissipate naturally, its possible that some didn't dissipate as much and some are lagging more than others. There's no need to sulphite a traditional batch.

Additionally, you opted to try a method that can be difficult i.e. split a single pack of yeast. Maybe in half, or even 3 ways, but 5 ? When the original pack was only about 5 grammes anyway ?

The practice that a pack makes up to 5 gallons means its usually just less hassle to use 1 pack in each one, or if budget really is that important, then its best to make a starter, say about a litre, then once that's going its easy to stir the yeast into suspension, then split it down.

Your biggest hazard will be to keep the ferment below 70F/21C as D47 is known to produce fusels with honey musts above that.....

10-31-2012, 10:54 AM
Thanks for the info. For some reason I was thinking that you wouldn't want to put too much yeast in, so I split the pack. I actually have 2 more in the fridge, would it make sense to throw those into the buckets at this point?

I've read different things regarding boiling, sulfating, or doing nothing, so I opted to sulfite since that's what I know from winemaking, and since boiling apparently hurts the taste. But it seems that the pros do nothing to their musts?

As a side note -- most of what I've learned about meads comes from the book The Compleat Meadmaker. Are there any other good resources out there (aside from this site of course)?

Chevette Girl
10-31-2012, 06:13 PM
I've been using Terry Garey's "Joy of Home Winemaking" as my main resource for years. But then, I started with winemaking, not meads, so if you use her recipes for melomels, just be aware not to use acid blend or lemon juice like you would for a wine. "Wild Wines" is another one that looked OK on my brief browse through it. I may pick it up at some point. But neither of them goes as in-depth as the Compleat Meadmaker when it comes to the science behind it all.