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Jezter
09-04-2013, 01:41 AM
HI guys awesome site and forums I've been reading lots already.

I also have a couple books I"ve read over and over and followed their directions making my first batch.

I followed the instructions from the book i received in my kit.

3lb/1 gallon
10 teaspoons yeast nutrient
10 teaspoons acid blend
1-1/4 teaspoons tannins
5 campden tablets

recipe called for mead yeast I used 1118

let must sit 24 hours.

S.G was 1.1 after primary fermentation slowed down lots
13 days later s.g was 1.04. I racked it into a carboy
14 days since then mead cleared really nicely so I racked it again and took another sample. S.G is still 1.04 and tastes pretty sweet.
I also added another 5 campden tables as per my instructions.

So my guess is somehow fermentation stopped and there is alot of sugar left. I want to fix it before somethings funky begins to happen lol.

One thing I'll admit that I did I wasn't thinking clearly it was late at night and I was very tired from a long day of harvesting honey (yes I"m a beekeeper), I mixed my yeast with a cup of warm tap water (chlorinated duh i know) and added it into the must.

joemirando
09-04-2013, 02:18 AM
HI guys awesome site and forums I've been reading lots already.

I also have a couple books I"ve read over and over and followed their directions making my first batch.

I followed the instructions from the book i received in my kit.

3lb/1 gallon
10 teaspoons yeast nutrient
10 teaspoons acid blend
1-1/4 teaspoons tannins
5 campden tablets

recipe called for mead yeast I used 1118

let must sit 24 hours.

S.G was 1.1 after primary fermentation slowed down lots
13 days later s.g was 1.04. I racked it into a carboy
14 days since then mead cleared really nicely so I racked it again and took another sample. S.G is still 1.04 and tastes pretty sweet.
I also added another 5 campden tables as per my instructions.

So my guess is somehow fermentation stopped and there is alot of sugar left. I want to fix it before somethings funky begins to happen lol.

One thing I'll admit that I did I wasn't thinking clearly it was late at night and I was very tired from a long day of harvesting honey (yes I"m a beekeeper), I mixed my yeast with a cup of warm tap water (chlorinated duh i know) and added it into the must.

Well let's see...

This was a 'Mead Kit'?

I am assuming that this is a 5 gallon batch. That's a lot of nutrient and a lot of acid in a mead. Honey tends toward the acidic anyway. I would recommend getting some pH test strips and checking the acidity before proceeding.

Did you aerate the must at all?

1118 is a champagne yeast. Its good to around 18%, and your batch fermented dry would be a little over 14%. At 1.040, you're at around 9.25% so, yes, you do have to worry more about something funky going on. I've been told that 10-11% is about the minimum for making sure nothing gross grows in our nectar of the gods. While 1118 would surely eat through all your sugar if everything was optimum, it would also probably leave your mead with very little taste. Imagine a flat (still) brute champagne. There are better choices. I learned this the hard way, and am still learning.

I'm sure others will come along and offer more help, but right offhand I would say to aerate and try to get the yeast happy. Checking the pH is the first thing I would do, adding potassium or calcium carbonate to bring it up (assuming it is quite acidic) to 3.2 to 3.8 (I think) if needed, and wait a couple of days to see if fermentation restarts.

If not, I think I would probably pitch new yeast. Maybe 71b or Cote Des Blancs, which will both ferment it dry or close to it. Get some potassium sorbate and, after its all settled and fairly clear, rack onto the sorbate and crushed campden tabs. Let it sit for a couple of days and then backsweeten to where you want it.

Fatbloke drummed this into me, and it really IS the most efficient way to do it. Well, at least for me.

As I said, I'm a newb, so I would wait for what more experienced, smarter mead makers have to say, but I thought I'd give it a shot.

Oh, and while chlorinated tap water isn't the best, I doubt it had too much of an effect. I wouldn't worry about that part right now.

Maze on,

Joe

Jezter
09-04-2013, 12:50 PM
Well let's see...

This was a 'Mead Kit'?

I am assuming that this is a 5 gallon batch. That's a lot of nutrient and a lot of acid in a mead. Honey tends toward the acidic anyway. I would recommend getting some pH test strips and checking the acidity before proceeding.

Did you aerate the must at all?

1118 is a champagne yeast. Its good to around 18%, and your batch fermented dry would be a little over 14%. At 1.040, you're at around 9.25% so, yes, you do have to worry more about something funky going on. I've been told that 10-11% is about the minimum for making sure nothing gross grows in our nectar of the gods. While 1118 would surely eat through all your sugar if everything was optimum, it would also probably leave your mead with very little taste. Imagine a flat (still) brute champagne. There are better choices. I learned this the hard way, and am still learning.

I'm sure others will come along and offer more help, but right offhand I would say to aerate and try to get the yeast happy. Checking the pH is the first thing I would do, adding potassium or calcium carbonate to bring it up (assuming it is quite acidic) to 3.2 to 3.8 (I think) if needed, and wait a couple of days to see if fermentation restarts.

If not, I think I would probably pitch new yeast. Maybe 71b or Cote Des Blancs, which will both ferment it dry or close to it. Get some potassium sorbate and, after its all settled and fairly clear, rack onto the sorbate and crushed campden tabs. Let it sit for a couple of days and then backsweeten to where you want it.

Fatbloke drummed this into me, and it really IS the most efficient way to do it. Well, at least for me.

As I said, I'm a newb, so I would wait for what more experienced, smarter mead makers have to say, but I thought I'd give it a shot.

Oh, and while chlorinated tap water isn't the best, I doubt it had too much of an effect. I wouldn't worry about that part right now.

Maze on,

Joe

Hi Joe, thanks for the response.

Its not a mead kit, I meant my wine kit that I bought. This recipe I've decided to use for the first try was in the instructions that came with my wine kit.

Never did "aerate" the must at all just two rackings so far. I'll have to read up on that. I did give it a little stir last time to mix in the crushed campden tablets. I guess mead is different from wine as the instruction booklet is always advising against splashing and air to avoid oxygen.

I will check the ph, i guess its possible it got too high for the yeast to thrive.

Yeah I have another package of 1118 maybe I will re pitch with that just to use it up after I do everything else. I don't have the convenience of running into a wine store, I live too far from the city hehe. As long as the batch fully ferments or near full I'll be happy.

Again thanks very much Joe I know where to begin now.

kchaystack
09-04-2013, 01:06 PM
Hello Jezter,

You should read the new bee guide linked to the left side of the page. It sounds like you followed the directions for making wine, but used honey instead of grape juice?

I am betting the pH got really low. When you get your pH strips also get some potassium bicarbonate.

As far as O2 goes, in the first stage of fermentation the yeast need the oxygen to reproduce. After that, then you want to limit exposure to O2, but need to make sure there is as little CO2 in solution as possible.

As I said, the guide is really helpful.

Welcome aboard.

James

joemirando
09-04-2013, 02:38 PM
Hi Joe, thanks for the response.

Its not a mead kit, I meant my wine kit that I bought. This recipe I've decided to use for the first try was in the instructions that came with my wine kit.

Thought so. Yeah, mead is a little different than grape wine. The pH of honey must tends to be lower (more acidic)


Never did "aerate" the must at all just two rackings so far. I'll have to read up on that. I did give it a little stir last time to mix in the crushed campden tablets. I guess mead is different from wine as the instruction booklet is always advising against splashing and air to avoid oxygen.

Aeration can really help during the first 1/3 or 1/2 of the fermentation.


I will check the ph, i guess its possible it got too high for the yeast to thrive.

Too low. The lower the pH, the higher the acidity. But I knew what you meant.


Yeah I have another package of 1118 maybe I will re pitch with that just to use it up after I do everything else. I don't have the convenience of running into a wine store, I live too far from the city hehe. As long as the batch fully ferments or near full I'll be happy.

I don't know where you're located, but I know what you mean about not having a brew store nearby. I THOUGHT that was the case with me, so I ended up without resources (or so I thought). It was a while before I found out there are two semi-well-stocked shops within 15 minutes of me. Live and learn. Not saying that there are hidden shops in your area, just that I know the isolation feeling.

If you are in the US, you might want to check out online resources. You could order the potassium carb, sorbate, pH strips and a couple different kinds of yeast all at the same time. Granted, for just a couple of packets of yeast the shipping is more than the purchase price, but it IS a way to go, especially if you bundle stuff.

I would recommend against re-pitching with 1118. Its a strong fermenter, yes, but its brutal on the subtle things in your must that give it aroma and taste. I would save the 1118 for a batch that you want bone dry to have on hand for blending or for backsweetening to showcase a 'special' honey. Its up to you, and you can repitch with the 1118, but you've gotten a sort of 'second chance' here.

And I'm not saying there's no place in mazing for 1118. I'm using it right now in 2 batches: A gallon batch that I want to go bone dry at about 14% and leave little trace of the original store brand clover honey so that I can stabilize it and backsweeten with a wildflower honey my brother in law gave me. I'll give it back to him with an alcohol kick. The other one is a strong, sweet sack mead. In this one, there's so much honey that not all of the flavor and aroma will get blown out the airlock (I hope). 20% alcohol and sweet... of course, its going to take years to mellow.

For now, how about trying a JAO? (Search "Joe's Ancient Orange")? It can be done cheaply and quickly, yields good results and will give you something to enjoy as you watch your other batch(es) do their thing.

For me, every penny is an issue, and I have to work hard to justify spending anything on 'extras', but these really aren't extras; they're tools to making the best mead you can.



Again thanks very much Joe I know where to begin now.

Anytime. I'm a rank newbee myself. It feels good to be able to impart what I've learned here to someone else. And as Confucius said, the longest journey still begins with a single step. You took the step. You're making mead!


Maze on,

Joe

Jezter
09-04-2013, 09:54 PM
Well tomorrow I will have a chance to buy some supplies, ph strips and potassium bicarbonate.

I have no issues re-pitching with 1118, I'd like it to be dry and ready for christmas time. It shouldn't be too dry being bottled up that quick? I don't think my supplier has a large selection of yeasts without being specially ordered.

If i manage to get the ph fixed and fermenting again do I have to rack it back into a primary? Its currently in a carboy with less than an inch of headspace and an airlock in place. I do realize the s.g is 1.04 so there shouldn't be much of a violent fermentation because most of the sugar is gone already?


IS there a ph tolerance chart of yeasts simliar to the alchohol tolerance chart I found? I did look around and did a google search and didn't find much. Or it least what low ph can most yeasts handle so I can decide if that was the case for me. I do know the newbee guide said optimum is around 3.7

Just to clarify, the recipe I used was actually for mead that was in the instruction booklet that came with my equipment. In case we weren't on the same page there hehe.

joemirando
09-04-2013, 10:26 PM
If I remember correctly, you want to keep your must between 3.2 and 3.8 ph. That's from an admittedly faulty memory, so if I'm wrong, I hope someone will chime in.

I would shoot for right down the middle and check every couple, two, three days, make adjustments as necessary and wait till the next pH check to make another adjustment.

Unfortunately I dont know of a chart that shows the pH tolerance of specific yeasts. Lalvin may provide such information in their data sheets, but I dont recall for sure.

I would leave it right where it is if you re-pitch. No need to move it, really.

I don't understand what you mean by "It shouldn't be too dry being bottled up that quick?"

Let me take a shot. Do you mean "will it finish dry in time to be bottled and ready for Christmas?"?

Hard to say, but it could be. 1118 is probably going to leave lots of harshness what will need to mellow out though. THAT takes time.

(Is that right, people? The 1118 will probably leave a rough finish with lots of fusils that will take time to mellow even if not fermenting up to 18%?)


Maze on,

Joe

Chevette Girl
09-04-2013, 10:33 PM
If you're going to repitch wiht EC-1118, I'd suggest you do a little reading up on acclimated starters, just dropping another packet in there might not do the trick, you'll want to get them acclimatized to the amount of alcohol that's in there already.

And I'm guessing the pH will be too low, that is a lot of acid blend. Fine idea for wines, not so much for meads. Try to correct this before you repitch or you'll just piss your yeasties off. You'll be aiming for 3.7 (I think Ken Schramm's book says 3.8 ) but I've found that anything over 3.5 is a definite improvement over anything lower than that... mine usually get stinky around 3.2 but I'm not sure exactly at what pH they completely give up, it might have something to do with how well they were treated earlier on in the fermentation. I don't think the type of yeast has all that much to do with what pH they're comfortable with.

I often have problems where if the pH is too low and I raise it with chemicals and leave it, it'll drop back down too low again... so you do kind of have to keep an eye on it, you can't assume that one dose will correct everything.

Jezter
09-05-2013, 01:06 AM
I don't understand what you mean by "It shouldn't be too dry being bottled up that quick?"

Let me take a shot. Do you mean "will it finish dry in time to be bottled and ready for Christmas?"?

Hard to say, but it could be. 1118 is probably going to leave lots of harshness what will need to mellow out though. THAT takes time.

(Is that right, people? The 1118 will probably leave a rough finish with lots of fusils that will take time to mellow even if not fermenting up to 18%?)


Maze on,

Joe

Yeah Joe I just didn't really know what I meant and was confusing dryness with aging(harshness). YOu recommend the other two yeasts you posted earlier to have a dry wine early to bottle that wouldn't be so harsh? If thats the case perhaps I'll look into the availability tomorrow.


If you're going to repitch wiht EC-1118, I'd suggest you do a little reading up on acclimated starters, just dropping another packet in there might not do the trick, you'll want to get them acclimatized to the amount of alcohol that's in there already.

And I'm guessing the pH will be too low, that is a lot of acid blend. Fine idea for wines, not so much for meads. Try to correct this before you repitch or you'll just piss your yeasties off. You'll be aiming for 3.7 (I think Ken Schramm's book says 3.8 ) but I've found that anything over 3.5 is a definite improvement over anything lower than that... mine usually get stinky around 3.2 but I'm not sure exactly at what pH they completely give up, it might have something to do with how well they were treated earlier on in the fermentation. I don't think the type of yeast has all that much to do with what pH they're comfortable with.

I often have problems where if the pH is too low and I raise it with chemicals and leave it, it'll drop back down too low again... so you do kind of have to keep an eye on it, you can't assume that one dose will correct everything.

Thanks for the advice chevettegirl. I have been doing some reading on stuck fermentation and apparently 1118 is supposed to be one of the best to do it with.

If you're interested. http://www.grapestompers.com/articles/stuck_fermentation.htm

Jezter
09-05-2013, 01:34 AM
I should also point out that the honey I have used is my own unpasteurized unfiltered honey.

joemirando
09-05-2013, 02:11 AM
Yeah Joe I just didn't really know what I meant and was confusing dryness with aging(harshness). YOu recommend the other two yeasts you posted earlier to have a dry wine early to bottle that wouldn't be so harsh? If thats the case perhaps I'll look into the availability tomorrow.

In my limited experience, yes, something like 71B leaves less 'rocket fuel' fusils. I can't swear to it as a matter of natural law, but that has been my experience with the two batches I have made using it.

Cote Des Blancs gave me a very nice finish pretty quickly. The problem was getting it to that point... its a very slow fermenter, in my experience.

ICV D-47 works well, but its got a low temperature tolerance. If you don't have a place where it stays below 68 F, (this is listed incorrectly in the yeast table (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=625&Itemid=42)) leave this one for the winter. I've got a packet in the fridge just waiting for the leaves to start changing color, and a spot in the basement all picked out. ;)

1116 is also a strong fermenter, but is, from what I gather, more kindly to flavor and aroma (alch tolerance 16%).

So I'd recommend either 1116 or 71B based on your current status and time constraints.

I'm a newbee too, so hopefully someone with a broader yeast experience will be able to provide more info or correct me if I'm wrong before you head out for the big city.


Good luck, mazer,

Joe

Jezter
09-05-2013, 11:59 AM
Hey Joe, what are fusils?

joemirando
09-05-2013, 02:27 PM
Hey Joe, what are fusils?

Oops. they're fusels spelled incorrectly. <ducking>

Those are the nasties that make mead taste like rocket fuel. My understanding of it is that 'fusels' are the nastier alcohols such as methanol. I also get the impression that they, thankfully, break down faster than our beloved ethanol.


Joe

Jezter
09-05-2013, 04:21 PM
Joe does potassium or calcium bicarbonate have any household name? None of the supply stores have anything to raise ph.

joemirando
09-05-2013, 04:37 PM
Joe does potassium or calcium bicarbonate have any household name? None of the supply stores have anything to raise ph.

Not that I know of. I don't know what you could use in place of them. Its time for the heavy guns here to jump in with their superior knowledge.

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention. De-gas your mead before you test pH. You want to get all the CO2/Carbolic (or is Carbonic) acid you can out of there so it doesn't give you a false low reading. We're guessing your pH is going to be low; no need to make it lower than necessary. ;)


Joe

Medsen Fey
09-05-2013, 07:50 PM
A few tidbits to clear up:

1) Yes this is likely a pH problem. 10 tsp of acid blend may have driven the pH too low.

2) Different yeast do have different pH tolerance. EC-1118 and other Champagne strains tend to tolerate low pH fairly well. I don't know of a chart anywhere that describes the details for different strains. Some manufacturers (like Vintner's Harvest) do make specific recommendations for some of their strains.
Below 2.8, hardly any yeast (or spoilage organism for that matter) will operate.
Below 3.0 it becomes very iffy.
Below 3.2 it is quite stressful for yeast.
Below 3.4 it starts to become a challenge for some strains.
If you do find you need to adjust pH, you typically only need to get it up to 3.3-3.5 to have the yeast functioning well.

3) Calcium carbonate is precipiated chalk, and you can sometimes find this as an antacid in the pharmacy. In a pinch, you can use crushed egg-shell which is about 95% calcium carbonate. Potassium bicarbonate is a better option however.

4) Fusel alcohols are higher alcohols that weigh more than ethanol (methanol weighs less) Isoamyl, Isobutyl, and numerous others can create nice aromas, but can also create nasty odors and a "burn like whiskey" sensation in the back of the throat. High temperature is the main culprit in their production.

5) Degassing the mead won't typicall move the pH much - maybe 0.1 at most so you don't really need to do that before adjusting pH.

6) Your yeast may be undernourished. If you didn't give them a balanced nutrient. Was your nutrient DAP (white crystals), or balanced energizer (tan powder)? If you added DAP, you are likely missing essential vitamins and micronutrients. You can add some Fermaid O, Yeast Hull, or Boiled Bread yeast and that may help get things movings. If what you added was tan powder, you haven't added enough of it for this batch (it is 5-gallons right?)

7) If you don't have a homebrew store close, order it online. Midwest supply has everything you need, and Morewine is great also. There are others and they deliver it right to your doorstep with good prices to boot.


8 ) If you need to restart, you need to make sure the pH is OK and you need to acclimate the starter. If you take fresh yeast and just pitch them in, the 9% alcohol and harsh environment (that has alread caused one of the toughest yeast there is to stall) will stun them into submission.

9) Alternatively, sometimes a large biomass pitch can get a stressful batch finished, but this mean a pitch of about 5 g/L (a lot of yeast).

Endeavor to Persevere!
Medsen

Jezter
09-06-2013, 10:29 PM
A few tidbits to clear up:

1) Yes this is likely a pH problem. 10 tsp of acid blend may have driven the pH too low.

2) Different yeast do have different pH tolerance. EC-1118 and other Champagne strains tend to tolerate low pH fairly well. I don't know of a chart anywhere that describes the details for different strains. Some manufacturers (like Vintner's Harvest) do make specific recommendations for some of their strains.
Below 2.8, hardly any yeast (or spoilage organism for that matter) will operate.
Below 3.0 it becomes very iffy.
Below 3.2 it is quite stressful for yeast.
Below 3.4 it starts to become a challenge for some strains.
If you do find you need to adjust pH, you typically only need to get it up to 3.3-3.5 to have the yeast functioning well.

Well I was able to get a ph tester for free today from an old timer who had no use for it, I brought it home, calibrated it and its testing 2.45.


3) Calcium carbonate is precipiated chalk, and you can sometimes find this as an antacid in the pharmacy. In a pinch, you can use crushed egg-shell which is about 95% calcium carbonate. Potassium bicarbonate is a better option however.
I did manage to find calcium carbonate today, one store in all of Edmonton.



6) Your yeast may be undernourished. If you didn't give them a balanced nutrient. Was your nutrient DAP (white crystals), or balanced energizer (tan powder)? If you added DAP, you are likely missing essential vitamins and micronutrients. You can add some Fermaid O, Yeast Hull, or Boiled Bread yeast and that may help get things movings. If what you added was tan powder, you haven't added enough of it for this batch (it is 5-gallons right?)
Yes the nutrient was a white powder, I was educated today by a guy about super nutrient (tan powder)

Thank you so much for your info I now have to get the p.h up.

Today however I looked at a recipe at a wine store for dry mead, I couldn't believe it even called for more acid than I used, although it was a combination of malic and tartaric but the total tsp was probably 5tsp more than my batch.

Perhaps they way these recipe are to work is the acid should be added after fermentation?

Jezter
09-06-2013, 10:59 PM
The instructions say add 2.5 grams per gallon will roughly lower acidity by .1%

Is this a safe assumption of the calculation? ph2.45*1.1=ph2.695?

So therefore, to get the ph to roughly 3.3-3.5 then ph2.45*1.4=ph3.43
So then 2.5 grams/gallon *4=10 grams/gallon.

I just don't know if % acidity can be applied to ph I'm not much of a chemist, more of an amateur mechanical engineer.

Medsen Fey
09-06-2013, 11:09 PM
The %acidity and pH do not track together. I'd approach this by adding 1g/Gal and then waiting for it to equilibrate for a couple of hours and rechecking pH. Repeat this until you get the pH up to about 3.2, then add it gram by gram up to 3.4 to prevent large overshoot. There is no urgency to do it all at once and if you adjust the pH over a couple of days that's fine.

And it is better to add acid to taste after the yeast are done.

Sent from my THINGAMAJIG with WHATCHAMACALLIT

rmccask
09-07-2013, 01:17 AM
2) Different yeast do have different pH tolerance. EC-1118 and other Champagne strains tend to tolerate low pH fairly well. I don't know of a chart anywhere that describes the details for different strains. Some manufacturers (like Vintner's Harvest) do make specific recommendations for some of their strains.
Below 2.8, hardly any yeast (or spoilage organism for that matter) will operate.
Below 3.0 it becomes very iffy.
Below 3.2 it is quite stressful for yeast.
Below 3.4 it starts to become a challenge for some strains.
If you do find you need to adjust pH, you typically only need to get it up to 3.3-3.5 to have the yeast functioning well.

Endeavor to Persevere!
Medsen

fatbloke did a review of some commericial mead, Moniack, in another thread (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=20153). It had a pH of 2.6. It seems you could almost stabilize a mead by adding enough acid to prevent further fermentation and then backsweeten if needed. Has anyone ever tried this? It might be an alternative for people who don't like sulfites.

Jezter
09-10-2013, 01:21 AM
Well I got the ph up to 3.45, there has been absolutely no sign of any fermentation to re-start. So the question remains? was it ph or lack of nutrient?

Also can nutrient be added at will or will it cause off flavours?

Also in my re-pitch im going to use yeast engergizer, is it ok to use both nutrient(dap) and energizer?? Does any unused nutrient/energizer settle out later on or leave off flavours?

Chevette Girl
09-10-2013, 01:27 AM
You probably want to nudge that pH up a bit more, 3.6 is closer to yeast's happy place.

You don't want to be adding nutrient/DAP after 1/3 of the sugar is gone, although I'm not entirely sure about restarts, hopefully someone has a better idea than me... I'd probably add some energizer instead, but add it to the must after you make your acclimated starter, don't feed it into your starter...

Jezter
09-10-2013, 01:37 AM
Well, I see mixed reviews about ph, the newbee guiede says 3.7, the other guy said 3.4 for this is fine now you're saying 3.6 haha. Anyhow I"m sure 3.45 is fine, plus i'm using calcium carbonate and it can change the flavor so I think I'll keep it here.

Thank you very much for the info about the nutrient as I would have done it haha.
Regarding the energizer though I did read from another website that its good to put into the starter when re-pitching to a stuck fermentation so thats what I've done already.

Medsen Fey
09-10-2013, 05:27 AM
...It seems you could almost stabilize a mead by adding enough acid to prevent further fermentation and then backsweeten if needed. Has anyone ever tried this?....


It certainly seems possible, but you'd probably wind up having to sweeten it an awful lot. I'd live to see it tested.







Also can nutrient be added at will or will it cause off flavours?

Also in my re-pitch im going to use yeast engergizer, is it ok to use both nutrient(dap) and energizer?? Does any unused nutrient/energizer settle out later on or leave off flavours?

Unused nutrients may hang around and create metallic, salty, and yeasty flavors, but you usually have to go really overboard to have it happen. There is also the theoretical risk that excess nutrients may feed spoilage organisms.

When building your starter, it is OK to use energizer. Just don't use things that have DAP in them during rehydration. It is also good to treat a stuck batch with yeast hulls before repitching.

It is important to acclimate your starter. How do plan to do do?

Sent from my THINGAMAJIG with WHATCHAMACALLIT

Jezter
09-10-2013, 12:32 PM
It is important to acclimate your starter. How do plan to do do?

Sent from my THINGAMAJIG with WHATCHAMACALLIT


What I've already done is I pulled off maybe 1-2 liters of must.
I added 1 tsp of energizer to it.
I let the yeast warm up out of the fridge for over a half an hour.
Then I just lightly sprinkled the yest across the top of the surface.

I"m thinking i Should of even diluted the must a bit to lower the alcohol for the yeast? And maybe even added some sugar or honey to it? Or is 1.04 enough?

Within an hour there was already some light foam up top. And this morning this is an even nicer layer of foam, I should post a pic hehe.

Medsen Fey
09-10-2013, 07:36 PM
It sounds like this will work for you. Typically if you have a harsh must with alcohol and other yeast inhibitors, it is usually a good idea to make a small starter, and then gradually add additions of you must to the starter. Most commonly people keep doubling the size, and then waiting a few hours for it to start bubbling. By the time you get it up to 2 liters, your yeast will be ready for whatever they face in the must that is stuck.

sent from my THINGAMABOB with WHATCHAMACALLIT

Jezter
09-14-2013, 01:43 AM
My mead is fermenting like crazy hehe. I'm glad I got it going again. Thanks for everyone's help.

Now the next question, is the ph level going to taste nice for a dry mead at 13% alhcohol since it was 2.45 and then brought up to 3.45?

I also read this, can any of the veterans here confirm this?

"Calcium carbonate reacts preferentially with tartaric rather than malic acid, so one should not try to reduce acidity more thab 0.3 to 0.4% through its use. A dose of 2.5 grams per gallon of wine lowers TA about 0.1%. After its use, the wine should be bulk aged at least 6 months to allow calcium malate, a byproduct of calcium carbonate use, to precipitate from the wine. The wine should then be cold stabilized to ensure tartrate crystals do not precipitate out after bottling."

I was hoping to have this batch for xmas, doesn't look like its going to happen :(

anir dendroica
09-14-2013, 03:08 AM
Acid-base chemistry is one of the more complex aspects of wine/mead making, and you're jumping in on your first batch ;D

Acid blend is composed of malic, citric, and tartaric acids in various ratios depending on the manufacturer.

Acids dissociate when dissolved in water to yield positively charged hydrogen ions aka protons (which cause the pH to drop) and a negatively charged "conjugate base." If they dissociate completely (like sulfuric acid) they are said to be strong, and if they dissociate incompletely (like the three acids above, as well as nearly all organic acids) they are said to be weak.

Weak acids have a property called pKa, which is defined as the pH at which the acid is half in the dissociated form. The lower the pKa, the stronger the acid.

The pKa values most relevant to mead making are
Citric acid: 3.08
Tartaric acid: 3.2
Malic acid: 3.4
Gluconic acid: 3.6

Gluconic acid is the primary acid in honey, produced by the action of a bee-secreted enzyme on glucose. Malic acid is dominant in apples, pears, and quince, both malic and tartaric acid are prominent in grapes, and citric acid is prominent in citrus, though most fruits have some level of all three.

Now to get around to your quote: total acidity is the sum concentration of all acids in the mead. Adding calcium carbonate neutralizes acid as follows: The carbonate grabs a hydrogen ion in a reaction that ultimately produces water and CO2. The calcium ion remains in solution along with the conjugate base of the acid. Because lower pH = more hydrogen ions, taking them away will raise the pH.

Let's say your pH is 2.6 and you start adding calcium carbonate. Once it rises to around 3.08, the pKa of citric acid, you start pulling protons off of citric acid, yielding calcium and citrate ions. At 3.2 you neutralize tartaric acid, at 3.4 you neutralize malic acid, and at 3.6 you neutralize gluconic acid. Once the pH is up around 4 you have neutralized pretty much everything, resulting in a bland, "flabby" acid profile.

Tartaric and citric acids are a bit special, because the neutralization products, calcium citrate and calcium tartrate, are insoluble particularly at cold temperatures and will precipitate out. Calcium malate is partially soluble and can precipitate over long periods but generally stays in solution. This is important because calcium ions, like sodium ions, trigger our "salty" taste buds and thus impart a detectable flavor above a critical concentration.

Solubilities:
Calcium citrate 0.9 g/L (0.09%)
Calcium tartrate 0.4 g/L (0.04%)
Calcium malate ~9g/L (0.9%)
Calcium gluconate 33 g/L (3.3%)

The reason they recommend not to reduce acidity more than 0.3 to 0.4% is because that is typically the amount of tartaric acid present in wine. Once you add more than that you start neutralizing malic acid, resulting in free calcium ions and potentially a salty taste.

If you don't add fruit or acid blend, the primary acid present will be gluconic. Since calcium gluconate is highly soluble, it is possible to create a salty/chalky flavor by overdosing with calcium carbonate. However, given that the total amount of gluconic acid in honey is around 0.5% and this is diluted to around 0.12% when making mead, the amount of calcium carbonate required to keep the yeast happy is generally below the taste threshold.

In short, you'll probably be fine. Don't be surprised if you see some tartrate crystals (which are harmless). Depending on the amount of malic acid you neutralized you may have a slight salty taste, but most likely barely enough to notice.






"Calcium carbonate reacts preferentially with tartaric rather than malic acid, so one should not try to reduce acidity more thab 0.3 to 0.4% through its use. A dose of 2.5 grams per gallon of wine lowers TA about 0.1%. After its use, the wine should be bulk aged at least 6 months to allow calcium malate, a byproduct of calcium carbonate use, to precipitate from the wine. The wine should then be cold stabilized to ensure tartrate crystals do not precipitate out after bottling."

:(

Jezter
10-01-2013, 12:50 AM
Anir, thank you very much for the information.

Just a update on the mead batch and another question or two.

I got the fermentation going again and fermented until .99sg. Yes very dry, I racked it, tasted it and it tastes very much like alchohol and water lol. No honey flavour profile at all.

I now have a question about campden tablets.
Tablets were added at the beginning of the batch,
Second adding of tablets was on the second racking.
Fermentation at this point was completely stuck.

Got the fermentation going again after it was fully fermented I racked it and decided to add campden tablets again.

Is it safe that I've added campden tablets again for now a 3rd time? I want to be sure the product is safe. I won't be adding anymore, if I wouldn't of added last time I would of done at next racking since I think i read in my book it seems like every two times to add tablets but then again my circumstance is a little different due to the stuck and restarted fermentation.

Medsen Fey
10-01-2013, 05:44 AM
The easiest way to handle things is to get a test kit and measure free SO2. Then you know where you are at with multiple additions.



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