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View Full Version : Think someone goofed, Fermentation won't start.



Stilgar
01-16-2013, 03:40 PM
So the GF found a recipe she wanted to try for a 5gal batch of plain mead. She picked up the equipment from our lhbs and I picked up a gallon of honey(meadowfoam) She followed the recipe as written which had some steps I believe she misread and now has resulted in an inactive fermentation.

1gal honey
lalvin ec 1118
DAP and Fermaid K
4gal apple juice


The recipe as it was written and she followed said to initially add 1tsp dap and 1/2tsp ferm k, then 24 hours later feed 1/2 dap 1/4 ferm k and one last feeding at 72hrs of the same measurement. This was written in the middle of the recipe so I think she took it to mean for three days prior to pitching yeast, give the must a nutrient energizer bath and then pitch the yeast at the 72hour mark. She did this and 2 days later(this morning) no airlock activity at all, and OG hasn't changed from it's original 1.130.

I don't know if this would add to it or not but she was unable as well to get the lid to the new brewing bucket to seal so it sat atop the must with a few books atop it. With some force I was able to lock it on this morning for her. So my question is what can we do to try and get this going. She called another lhbs and they suggested using another packet of the same yeast as well as the nutrient IF the gravity reading remained unchanged. This seem wise?

Also I'd like to state I am in no way throwing her under the bus but simply saying I think she misread the feeding schedule on the recipe. I say this as a man familiar with redhead temper and someone that by now imagines to know better.

Here's the recipe
http://emptysamurai.deviantart.com/art/Honningbrew-mead-recipe-281711080

triarchy
01-16-2013, 04:09 PM
So she added 2t DAP and 1t Fermaid K before pitching the yeast? No big deal really if that is what happened. I think you would normally wait until after the lag was over to add the DAP/Fermaid K but I doubt it makes much difference.

The first thing that came to mind was the apple juice might have preservative in in. That would be bad. Any sulfite or sorbate listed in the ingredients?

If you heated your honey/juice (which you shouldnt do) maybe the must was too hot and it killed the yeast?

Robusto
01-16-2013, 04:39 PM
The first thing that came to mind was the apple juice might have preservative in in. That would be bad. Any sulfite or sorbate listed in the ingredients?

my first thought too. This happened to me as well. the batch took months to finish and I had to keep repitching yeast. Eventually I gave up and brewed another batch with a lower OG and let it finish super dry and then blended the two together. In the end it came out really good, but it took forever. Good luck

Stilgar
01-16-2013, 05:02 PM
The apple juice was tree top, no preservatives. Just sounded overall a bit of an odd process but shall see what happens now the ferm bucket is properly sealed and she'd added one last bit of dap/ferm k. I've had staggered ferm in the past and had them start up before just not had this where you could tell the yeast was doing something but nothing seemed to have changed.

On the pluss side the honey wasn't too costly($35 for 12lbs) so if all is lost I can help redo this recipe but won't give up, shall watch and see what happens just wasn't too sure what all we could do or could cause this.

Stilgar
01-16-2013, 06:22 PM
Giving an update here, Since sealing the bucket and adding one last bit of nutrient/energizer airlock is bubbling slowly away. Guessing that was it...But as for the pre 3 day feeding of nutrient/energizer would it be correct to assume that you'd begin that schedule after yeast is pitched vs prior?

akueck
01-16-2013, 09:53 PM
Yes, the idea is to feed the yeast in stages. Feeding the must before adding yeast isn't doing you much good.

Stilgar
01-16-2013, 11:08 PM
Yes, the idea is to feed the yeast in stages. Feeding the must before adding yeast isn't doing you much good.

Given what's already sitting sitting in there, would she be ok to still feed it nutrient over the three days or would that be overkill at this point. Thank you by the way.

triarchy
01-17-2013, 01:44 PM
Given what's already sitting sitting in there, would she be ok to still feed it nutrient over the three days or would that be overkill at this point. Thank you by the way.

Think of it this way. Your recipe calls for some amount of nutrients to be added up front (I didnt click your link, so I dont know what the recipe calls for exactly). Your gf added that amount before pitching yeast, no big deal. The nutrients are not going away on their own, they stay in the must until the yeast use them. So there is no real need to add more now (imo). Most recipes Im familiar with call for more nutrient additions at the 1/3 sugar break and maybe something around the 1/2 as well. I always feel free to add nutrient if I notice problems at any time (stinky or slow fermentation). Just dont over do it or you might be able to taste some off flavors.

wayneb
01-17-2013, 10:12 PM
The other thing to keep in mind for the future is that 1.130 is a moderately high initial gravity, so especially if you did not rehydrate the yeast before pitching it, fermentation can start out slowly (the period of time between when you pitch and when fermentation is obviously going, the lag phase, can last 24-48 hours if the yeast are stressed as they are pitched. Proper rehydration, and even acclimation to the high sugar levels in that kind of must, are your best preventative efforts to avoid extremely long lag.

Stilgar
01-29-2013, 04:46 PM
Giving an update here, after 3 weeks transferred to secondary. Took a gravity reading and taste test. Gravity wise it's dropped down to 1.010. Tastewise incredibly "dry" bit bitter which was I guess somewhat expected as the original brewer commented about needing to back sweeten unless you love incredibly dry brew. Having never worked with meadowfoam before will the characteristics of the honey show through as it ages or would back sweetening with the same do more too that effect?

Marshmallow Blue
01-29-2013, 05:45 PM
When did you start this? Around the 13th ish? I had a really dry apple cider mead that was / is bone dry. I was contemplating back sweetening it but later on it tasted much smoother. Still dry but a lot smoother. You could see how it turns out when it ages and decide to back sweeten then.

Medsen Fey
01-29-2013, 05:53 PM
Let it age a few months before you make a decision. The honey character will come back.

Stilgar
02-03-2013, 06:54 PM
Thank you, and am letting it be as long as we can. It's sitting comfortable still and kept wrapped up, I check it now and again to make sure things are ok. There's no activity in the airlock(thankfully) but I did notice a few what I'd guess were yeast boats floating up top. Wanted to share a pic to kind of confirm if that is what I'm seeing or not. Doesn't look like anything bad.

http://img707.imageshack.us/img707/7681/img9736q.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/707/img9736q.jpg/)


When transferred it came right up to the 5gal mark of the carboy buy left a bit of headspace. I'd talked to the original poster about his recipe and he had chose not to top up at all, should that be fine?