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Aqualab
11-08-2012, 02:33 PM
I have a question about oxygenating during fermentation. I have read on here about multiple oxygen infusions during the fermentation process. Do you just do it say every two or three days or do you wait for the blow off tube's discharge to slow down considerably and then inject air - then repeat the process when it has slowed again, etc....? I use pure O2 from a mini disposable tank through a diffuser/stone. I just hate the idea of opening up the fermenter's hatch exposing the must to inject the O2. Also, do you do a vigorous injection - get it really foaming or a more subtle injection for a longer period of time?

Thanks

fatbloke
11-08-2012, 03:55 PM
Worrying about opening the fermenter is a little paranoid........

After all, you only need to open it long enough to allow the aeration process to happen. Some do this once a day (me), others twice, some even 3 times a day, but only for the time it takes to move fro the starting gravity to the 1/3rd sugar break.

The rest of the ferment time, there is positive pressure within the fermenter which prevents the ingress of airbourne nasties....

In any case, the main point is to get some air/O2 in to help the yeast development, but a side effect of stirring, is to mix up any particulates, which creates nucleation points so the dissolved CO2 (as carbonic acid) attaches and passes out of the batch as bubbles. It also, by removing the CO2/carbonic acid helps reduce the pH swings.

So, while the use of pure O2 is impractical here (cost and accessibility), I couldn't say how long you should add O2 with the stone, though is have thought that if you stirred it for q couple of minutes to remove the CO2, then bubbled the O2 for a couple of minutes, down too the 1/3rd sugar break, you should be fine.......

The usual hygiene practices should be observed for anything that you put into the must, so you don't introduce any spoilage organisms by accident. If something gets in by airbourne means, then "C'est la vie". It happens, but it hasn't happened to me yet....... in about 7 years of mead making.......

Chevette Girl
11-08-2012, 04:40 PM
I've never had anything get into a must in primary either, and I think I'm over 300 gallons now? If there's any time to be paranoid, it's while the mead is aging in secondary, that's the only time I've had problems myself.

Aqualab
11-15-2012, 03:22 PM
Guidance please. I just checked the SG - 1.039, pH - 4.04. Tastes and smells great - rediculously sweet obviously with slight fiz and cloudy like a weizen. Fermenter is located in the basement, typical ambient room temp varies between 64 - 68 degrees unless I am down there watching TV at night and have the heater on set at 70 F. Won't impact the must in that short period of time.

Started batch on 11/4 - 8-gals of spring water, 30 lbs of clover honey and 4tsp of Fermaid-K. 3 packets of K1V1116 yeast. Starting SG -1.091

So I am past the 1/3 break, stopped the oxygenating last Friday. Blow off is still bubbling but at a very reduced rate - agonizingly slow.

How should I proceed? Just leave it and check SG in another couple of weeks. When would I add the clarifier? Any additional Fermaid?

Thanks

Chevette Girl
11-15-2012, 04:28 PM
The fizz, cloudiness and airlock activity likely indicate that it's still going... If it were my batch, I would give it a gentle swirl (no splashing, leave the airlock on) every day or two until the SG stops dropping and the airlock ceases activity. Then let it settle out for a day and rack it, then if you're in a hurry you can add clarifiers but most batches will drop pretty clear within a few months. Some take longer, some drop crystal clear right after racking, you never know with a given batch. I wouldn't give it Fermaid-K at this point unless it looks like it's going to stick (that yeast should take this batch all the way dry if the SG was taken with all the honey dissolved).

And you may find you want to stabilize it and backsweeten a bit, you might want to do that before you add clarifiers as adding honey later on can sometimes cause a haze.

Aqualab
11-15-2012, 05:14 PM
Thanks Chevette Girl. I'm going to keep the must in the conical and just open the bottom valve to remove the sludge (hopefully). I'll try the swirl method a couple of times also. Still on the fence as far as the clarifier goes. I did intend to backsweeten prior to bottling and utilize the additional honey to also carbonate in the bottle (champaign bottles with plastic corks and wires).

Chevette Girl
11-15-2012, 05:21 PM
I did intend to backsweeten prior to bottling and utilize the additional honey to also carbonate in the bottle (champaign bottles with plastic corks and wires).

Sweetening + priming to carbonate = bottle bombs because the yeast will eat ALL of the additional sugar, they won't politely stop once they've eaten just the priming sugar. And if you stabilize, the yeast won't be alive to eat the priming sugar.

There's been a lot of discussion on how to combine sweet + sparkling, safely... and there are a few creative ways to avoid force-carbonating a stabilized and sweetened mead, but they're all a bit labour-intensive or involve sweetening with non-fermentable sweeteners.

Aqualab
11-18-2012, 10:07 AM
The action from the blow off tube had steadily slowed down the past couple of day and since collecting a sample to measure SG it has ceased bubbling all together. Stuck fermentation? SG is 1.039. I tried gently swirling the fermenter without splashing/sloshing as Chevette Girl suggested, no change. Does it need a jump start or just let it do its thing and check SG next weekend again? Room temp is around 68 degrees.

No off-gassing through the blow off tube means no fermentation is taking place, correct? Assuming there are no leaks anywhere (seals are tight).

Thanks

Aqualab
12-10-2012, 05:49 PM
Antsy newbie here. I checked the SG today and it is still hovering around 1.030. No blow off action. I think it is too sweet. Lost its fizz. Quite cloudy - yeast/etc. still in suspension. I am concerned that the yeast I selected may not take it any further and it will be too sweet. Can I pitch a diff yeast to take it drier? Isn't a SG of 1.030 still rather high or is that the expected outcome when using K1V1116 yeast?

YogiBearMead726
12-10-2012, 06:28 PM
If your OG was 1.091, K1V should have no issue taking it dry. Couple of questions/suggestions.

Did you rehydrate the yeast or simply dump it into primary? Proper rehydration helps to ensure healthy, robust fermentations.

Have you checked the pH recently? If it's under 3.0, you may want to adjust it back up to around 3.4. Traditionals don't have much buffeting capability on their own, so pH dips are frequent issues.

I would also recommend swirling all the lees back into suspension, not just a gentle swirl. Getting all of the yeast back into the must can help them ferment a bit quicker since they need to physically run into the sugar molecules in order to utilize them.

You could also try boiling some bread yeast and tossing it in for added nutrients. I typically use more than 4 tsp of Fermaid K for batches half this size, but YMMV.

The biggest thing is don't panic and dump the batch. In all likelihood, it can be salvaged. Patience is key with mead making. :)

Aqualab
12-10-2012, 11:19 PM
Original yeast was hydrated according to packet (3). pH is 4.3. I have swirled, sloshed and even airated aggressively using O2 bottle with stone. Ambient temp in basement is mid 60's. Added additional honey - approx 5 lbs to attempt kick start. Added two packets of Lalvin EC-1118 - hydrated with additional Fermaid K to try and take it lower. That caused immediate off gassing which lasted maybe 5 minutes and then nothing again.

YogiBearMead726
12-11-2012, 01:22 AM
Original yeast was hydrated according to packet (3). pH is 4.3.

Well that sounds all well and good.


I have swirled, sloshed and even airated aggressively using O2 bottle with stone.

More O2 isn't quite what is needed at this point. Since the yeast enters into more of an anaerobic stage after the 1/2 sugar break, the yeast doesn't need more oxygen. As for swirling and sloshing, the goal is to get the lees back into suspension without introducing an excess of oxygen into the must (like swirling a carboy to make a vortex while leaving the airlock in place).


Added additional honey - approx 5 lbs to attempt kick start.

Again, the yeast probably doesn't need more sugar when it's still trying to ferment what was in the original must.


Added two packets of Lalvin EC-1118 - hydrated with additional Fermaid K to try and take it lower. That caused immediate off gassing which lasted maybe 5 minutes and then nothing again.

When rehydrating, you will have better success using something like Go-Ferm, since it contains no DAP (which Fermaid K does). DAP added before the lag phase isn't ideal for yeast.

Perhaps someone with some more experience can provide some additional guidance.

fatbloke
12-11-2012, 05:06 AM
and adding EC-1118 isn't likely to help, as the K1-V1116 is already established and the "K" indicates the killer factor so it's likely still the dominant yeast (and goes to 18% anyway).

I'd just leave it be for the moment and see how it goes. It could easily be that it's now fermenting very slowly as the ambient temp is lower. Just sanitise your hydrometer and drop it in every couple of days to see how much, if at all, it's moving.

Medsen Fey
12-11-2012, 09:55 AM
Am I understanding correctly that you gave it only 4 tsp of Fermaid K? If so your yeast are starved. If this batch is about 10 gallons, you dosed it about 0.4 g/ L which is about 40 ppm YAN. While K1V isn't a nutrient hog, it would operate better with about 4-5X that amount of nitrogen. At this point, the DAP in Fermaid K won't be easily assimilated. You'll better better off adding Fermaid O or some boiled yeast (or even GoFerm), and you're going to need a lot. For Fermaid O you'll probably need at least 8 grams per gallon.

Endeavor to persevere!

Medsen

Aqualab
12-12-2012, 09:08 AM
Thanks everybody for the suggestions. I guess I will order 80 grams of Fermaid O and add - should I expect to see an active blow off tube again? Will pH be impacted?

Medsen Fey
12-12-2012, 12:57 PM
It will tend to raise pH. By the way, the pH of 4.3 sounds odd. Typically traditional meads drop their pH lower due to lack of buffering capacity. Was that reading taken with a properly calibrated meter?

When your ferment gets going, you'll probably see some bubbling.

Intheswamp
12-12-2012, 01:21 PM
It will tend to raise pH. By the way, the pH of 4.3 sounds odd. Typically traditional meads drop their pH lower due to lack of buffering capacity. Was that reading taken with a properly calibrated meter?



My traditional also ended up with an apparent high pH.

Aqualab, what type of stone are you / did you use with the oxygen? The reason I ask is that I used a <$2 chinese-made air "stone" from Wallyworld to help aerate my traditional with a simple aquarium pump. Ionly have pH strips to test with, but each time I tested the pH was in a range of 3.6-4.0...the last pH test I made was after the stone was removed and it was sitting more towards 4.0. During the fermentation the pH never moved down. I'm wondering if the material the stone was made of might have buffered or raised the pH...the mead appears to have fermented good and will be racked over to secondary in the next week or so. It's a thought, I guess. Was your stone an aquarium stone or a metal one?

Ed

Aqualab
12-14-2012, 02:07 PM
Tested using a quality Milwaukee pH meter so would imagine my reading was fairly accurate. 2-part calibration prior.

Stone is SS - aeration kit purchased online at a home brewing site - stone, tubing and reg for Benzomatic O2 cans.

Aqualab
12-22-2012, 04:29 PM
Added the recommended 80g of Fermaid O to my must a little over a week ago and have still not seen any change to my "stuck" fermentation - no blow-off tube action, SG is still 1.039 and pH is 4.40. More time? Suggestions.

Medsen Fey
12-22-2012, 04:48 PM
Next step would be to warm it up to 72-74 F and see if that perks them up. If not, it is time for a repitch with acclimated starter- I'd use Uvaferm 43 if possible, or EC-1118, or QA23.

Aqualab
12-22-2012, 05:33 PM
Thanks Medsen - my finished basement area temp is around 60 F or so when not in use in the winter so I just moved the fermenter near the gas heater and started to heat the area.

My previous SG was 1.039 = last week, but when checked today it was 1.045?????? Would the Fermaid O addition cause the SG to actually go up? Made sure to spin the hydrometer and remove the air bubbles before taking any SG readings, so feel pretty confident of my readings.

Aqualab
12-23-2012, 09:43 AM
After moving the fermenter adjacent to the basement's wall heater and upping the thermostat last night I woke up to action in the blow off!

As far as the SG reading going higher................ I had forgotten that I had added additional honey to the must a few weeks back. I guess it took some time for that to register although I am quite sure the previous SG reading of 1.039 was a week after I added the honey. So not sure why the sudden .006 bump in SG?