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maxmurder
05-23-2013, 02:25 PM
Hello,
I started a batch of traditional a little over a month ago.


17 lbs Orange blossom honey
2 packs D47 (according to my log...I don't really remember doing 2, but maybe I did)
5 tsp Nutrient
2 1/2 tsp Energizer
Water to 5 gallons

OG - 1.115

I noticed bubbles in the airlock after five hours.
One month and a couple days later it is still fermenting. I'm still seeing an airlock bubble every 10-15 seconds. This don't seem that unusual, I know sometimes they ferment slow. I took a gravity reading today and it read 1.06. So there's still a lot of sugar left with an alcohol percentage a bit over 7.3%. So it seems like it still has a while to ferment.

Is this normal, since it seems like it is only about half way there? Since it's still chugging along steadily, albeit slowly, I'm not too concerned, though a ferment time longer than six weeks seems unusual from what I've read (although I could be mistaken).

Would you recommend I take any action at this point? I'm inclined to leave it alone unless fermentation ceases. It does taste good so far.

Any thoughts?

Marshmallow Blue
05-23-2013, 03:14 PM
Did you stagger your nutrients or load them all in the front? Sometimes you can spoil your yeast (just like children) and they will slow down quite a bit when they run out. This is why its important to stagger them. If you did stagger them, it could be a Ph thing, or they're just taking there time.

fatbloke
05-23-2013, 03:32 PM
Normally its temperature, nutrients and/or pH that are the issue, especially with traditionals.

You've used D47 so while warming it up some might seem like a good idea, D47 shouldn't be fermented at over 70F/21C so that's out as an idea.

While staggering the nutrient, along with early stage aeration etc, I'm guessing that there's enough nutrients etc and even then, staggering can be done by front loading up to 85% of the total so probably not so much of an issue.

You dont mention much about checking for or testing pH etc. If it got too low i.e. below 3.0 then slow or stuck, a shade above 3.0 and potential for slow.

If you think its possibly a nutrients thing then organic nitrogen source is the way ahead like FermaidO or boiled bread yeast or yeast hulls, plus maybe vitamin B1 (a crushed tablet) and a handful or two of raisins.

If its a pH thing then potassium carbonate raises it.....a little bit at a time as a healthy pH is 3.4 to 3.8

maxmurder
05-23-2013, 04:27 PM
Thanks,

The temperature should be good; my basement is typically 65-68 degrees. I put in all the nutrients up front because I didn't learn the benefits of staggered feeding until recently. I tested the pH with some junk strips that I have, but I assume the strips are bad due to a consistent brownish color I get with all the meads I've tried them with. I'm gonna have to get a pH meter. All I have to go with is taste for now.

For now, I have a few boxes of raisins that I can toss in tomorrow. Perhaps I will look into the other feeding options as well.

When I drop the raisins in, and any other yeast food, should I give the stuff a good stirring, and if so, should I mix the yeast cake up a bit too?

fatbloke
05-23-2013, 04:42 PM
Thanks,

The temperature should be good; my basement is typically 65-68 degrees. I put in all the nutrients up front because I didn't learn the benefits of staggered feeding until recently. I tested the pH with some junk strips that I have, but I assume the strips are bad due to a consistent brownish color I get with all the meads I've tried them with. I'm gonna have to get a pH meter. All I have to go with is taste for now.

For now, I have a few boxes of raisins that I can toss in tomorrow. Perhaps I will look into the other feeding options as well.

When I drop the raisins in, and any other yeast food, should I give the stuff a good stirring, and if so, should I mix the yeast cake up a bit too?
Well its a bit late too stir for aeration reasons, but even a gentle stir will likely stir up enough to cause foaming (nucleation points) so care should be taken. Bringing the sediment back into suspension shouldn't do any harm so I'd do that just slowly.....

The pH strips should be of the appropriate range (I have some 2.6 to 4.8 ones......for combucha I think) otherwise you get an incorrect colour change reading (or they're buggered).

Taste is hard to judge with as the sugars mask the acidity......

maxmurder
05-23-2013, 05:01 PM
Noted,

The strips I have are 2.8 - 4.4 and in the three meads I currently have going, they all come up a similar brownish color which does not register. I'm assuming they are garbage.

fatbloke
05-23-2013, 05:23 PM
Noted,

The strips I have are 2.8 - 4.4 and in the three meads I currently have going, they all come up a similar brownish color which does not register. I'm assuming they are garbage.
Right range then, so you're probably spot on....... buggered.

Actually I got a new pH meter in the post this week. One of the blokes at another forum I post at had a spare (spare ? brand new unboxed etc), so the deal was done........

I'd guess that as my original one was about 20/30$ a few years back, then they shouldn't be too much on your side of the pond.......

joemirando
05-23-2013, 05:48 PM
For the purpose of comparison, the test strips I bought the other day have the same range... 2.8 - 4.4. The readings I got seemed to be off-the-chart to the high end with a bright blue color. (Beyond this point there be dragons)

I happened to notice just now that the strips are not uniform in color. I am wondering if these too are garbage and, if so, who I can scream at for ruining my mead. <g>


Joe

maxmurder
05-23-2013, 06:00 PM
I'm getting the idea from a few sources that the strips aren't worth the money.

I've seen some new meters on eBay for about $30.

Medsen Fey
05-25-2013, 12:53 PM
Treating with a couple of tsp of yeast hulls might help it finish out by binding yeast inhibitors, and possibly shifting the pH.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

maxmurder
05-25-2013, 01:15 PM
The guy at the brew store recommended I try pitching a pack of 1118. Whether or not this was a good idea, I guess we'll see. I pitched it with some more nutrient and it is cooking pretty good. If it slows down for some reason in the next couple days, I might go with yeast hulls and a pH adjustment.

Thanks!

Medsen Fey
05-25-2013, 02:05 PM
The EC-1118 should work, and that is certainly one way to handle it. However, instead of ending up with a 14% ABV semisweet mead, this will produce a 15-16% dry batch.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

fatbloke
05-25-2013, 02:07 PM
The guy at the brew store recommended I try pitching a pack of 1118. Whether or not this was a good idea, I guess we'll see. I pitched it with some more nutrient and it is cooking pretty good. If it slows down for some reason in the next couple days, I might go with yeast hulls and a pH adjustment.

Thanks!
Your problem there is that HBS bods often know a lot about wines and beers, but bugger all about meads. They make presumption on their wine experience and "screw the pooch".

Your numbers suggested a likely finish as semi/medium sweet but the EC-1118 is likely to take this dry, and as you say it seems to have taken hold (gravity testing will confirm).

Plus it will likely change the flavour profile. Personally I'm not a big fan of EC-1118 as it seems to blow a lot of the aromatics and some of the more subtle flavour elements straight out the air lock. Not that its a bad yeast but its a champagne yeast and does that well IMO produces a strong if bland brew. Good for a last option for stubborn batches too but I don't think its a good one to use regularly.

If you want strong/high alcohol then K1-V1116 is a better option.

But just measure to see how its progressing......

maxmurder
05-25-2013, 02:40 PM
I know 1118 is an aggressive yeast. I kind of had a feeling it may ferment dry using this and was anticipating back sweetening. Normally I would take the brew store worker's advice with a grain of salt, but I know he does brew meads as well, but I definitely see your point and have anticipated it.

I don't mind if it ferments dry, but as you say, hopefully it will not take away from the flavor profile. Good advise for next time.

maxmurder
06-05-2013, 02:35 PM
About two weeks after adding the other yeast and a couple handfuls of raisin, it's still fermenting pretty slowly. It's at about 8.6 percent with an S.G. of 1.05. Still chugging along, but still slowly.

Any suggestions? I assume the obvious choice would be to get a reliable pH meter and take it from there?