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View Full Version : First Mead - Little or No Fermentation



aaron1983
03-25-2013, 04:56 PM
Hey folks. I've been home brewing beer for quite some time now, SWMBO is a big fan of sweet mead so I decided to dabble in making a batch. I followed a simple recipe that called for 24lbs of honey to 6 gallons of water (yes she likes the mead REAL sweet). So here are the steps I followed:

1. Boiled 3 gallons of water, removed from heat and dissolved the honey.
2. Added 3 gallons of chilled water.
3. Added Go-Ferm as instructed.
4. Placed into Keezer next to my Weiss.
5. Waited until the temp was at 68F, then pitched my WLP720 Sweet Mead Yeast.
6. Popped on the airlock and closed up the keezer to await yeasty fermentation goodness.

Seems simple enough, but it's been about a week since I pitched. I am not too terribly worried, but there has been very little signs of fermentation. My OG was (1.127 Yes, incredibly sweet) my SG ready today was 1.124 and has been 1.124 all week long.

What is really confusing, is, that there is a lot of carbonation every day when I degas. It's fizzy almost like a 7up. I give it a good stir every morning and go about my business.

What do you all think? I am not detecting any signs of infection yet, but the lack in falling gravity is worrying me.

akueck
03-25-2013, 06:50 PM
I assume you used just one vial of yeast? WLP720 is notoriously hard to work with (might be worth searching the forum for some ideas). One vial is nowhere near enough to quickly ferment your batch.

That being said, you can get the population up with nutrients and aeration. It might be many days before you get significant movement in the SG. If you have DAP or FermaidK or other yeast nutrients, I'd add enough to get you at least 200 ppm of YAN. You'll probably need to feed this mead early and often to get full fermentation. Also watch the pH.

aaron1983
03-25-2013, 07:00 PM
Ive been stirring daily and i added some nutrient today. I dont notice any signs of infection so ill keep with my routine and keep some lavin handy if I need to repitch later. The presence of CO2 and lack of SG changes had me worried.

Swordnut
03-26-2013, 06:48 PM
Sugar overdose can slow down yeast growth but won't halt fermentation. Seeing as you added a great deal of sugar indeed this is what might be happening, a very slow multiplication.

aaron1983
03-26-2013, 10:43 PM
Turns out about 12 hours after adding my additional dose of nutrient, airlock activity kicked off and my gravity fell by 0.014. I've been degassing daily so it appearts it was on a LONG delay and just needed some extra goodies and a little time.

It took nine days for the gravity to begin to fall. It looks like the mead is going to turn out just fine. Thanks guys! If you have any other tips for me i'm all ears!

fatbloke
03-27-2013, 12:37 AM
Well if you read the various bits of guidance, particularly from lallemand who make the yeast and go ferm, they say about mixing the goferm with the rehydration water etc then pitching and not adding any other nutrient that contains DAP or other inorganic nitrogen because in the earliest stages of development it can be injurious to the yeast.

Fine, we understand that but then when they say about adding the main nutrients/energiser you are supposed to wait until its showing signs of active fermentation ? So given you were seeing CO2 production but no drop in gravity......surely that indicates that the yeast is doing its thing and you can hit it with the main nutrients/energiser.....

Well I'd have thought so, hence the long lag may have been a bit self inflicted ? as you probably could have given it a bit of a kick earlier. I'm not criticising just that I do find it a bit confusing when trying to follow instructions verbatim too.

I mean, is the lag phase considered part of fermentation or is it different and you have to wait to see not only gas production but gravity drops too ? It'd be nice if they could be more concise.

As for the white labs sweet mead being hard work, I've not heard that and presumed that akueck was mixing it up with the Wyeast sweet mead yeast, which really can be a pain in the arse....finicky as hell.

Plus don't get hung up with these so called mead yeasts. I have no idea whether they have a reason for calling them that, but unless they've got a yeast collection time machine they certainly couldn't know which strains were used historically. And in any case to think it best to use "mead" yeast ties your hands a bit when it comes to styles and flavours from other ingredients......

If your "erindoors" likes sweet meads then just make it to the required strength, stabilise it and back sweeten. Meads are only as sweet as you make them.......

aaron1983
03-27-2013, 03:13 AM
I'm inclined to agree. This was my first batch and I was following a simple recipe for "sweet mead". I am just glad I am on the right track for the time being. It will be interesting to see how this mead turns out in the end.

This was definately a learning experience for me, and I have a lot of "next time I will do X instead of Y" scenarios in mind. I will definately use a different strain of yeast, backsweeten later, and degas from day 1 (instead of 4 days later).