View Full Version : Added yeast late to honey water mix, what is happening?

09-05-2013, 10:03 PM
Hi there, I'm wondering if anyone could clue me in on what might be happening with this experiment. I made a gallon batch of 'mead', mixing a 4:1 ratio water to honey, thinking this would get me where I needed, as I bought 'raw honey', hoping for wild yeasts to do the trick. I think I got taken however, because I never experienced any fermenting, so I'm thinking I got some kind of pasteurized honey on accident. It has been sitting in wide-mouthed glass jar with a paper towel draped over to keep insects out (clearly I'm not worried about 'off-flavors'). With other ferments that I've made with this technique, I get some definite bubbling action, but this one sat for about a week with nothing going on. So I added about a couple teaspoons of lalvin d-47 on day 8 to see if the added yeasts would start the fermentation. It has been 5 days and no noticeable change in carbonation or movement at all.

Can anyone tell me what is happening here? Did I overlook something that would keep the yeast from eating the sugar? Also note: I'm on the fourth floor of my apartment, and it has been very hot lately. The average temperature up here all day has to be in the 80's, until I get hope and put on the air conditioner. Somebody posted on here that lalvin d47 withstands some pretty warm temperatures, so I'm not sure that's the case.

Any knowledge would be awesome!


Medsen Fey
09-05-2013, 10:16 PM
D47 HATES high temperatures. Or to be more precise, most folks hate the swill that D47 produces at high temperature. However, it will survive and ferment in the 80s without problem.

Honey, even raw honey, often doesn't contain enough viable yeast to start a fermentation. When you leave an open batch of must out, you may get yeast, or bacteria or molds growing (or a combination), but it can take a long time. After putting in D47, I would expect that to get fermentation going. Is the gravity changing at all?

Did you add anything else, like lemon juice, or some form of acid?

09-05-2013, 10:22 PM
D47 is not a good one for warm temperatures. According to their web site, http://www.lalvinyeast.com/strains.asp, it likes 15 to 20 degrees C. That is 59 to 68 degrees F. I don't know if it will prevent it from starting but it will generate a lot of fusels and will not give you the taste you want. I think the kiv-1116 would be better for you. It can go from 10 to 95 degrees F. It also can kill off other yeasts so you may want to just drop it in now and hope it takes out the D47.

You could also add nutrients and check the pH but at this early stage, it is most likely the temperature that is your problem.

09-05-2013, 10:28 PM
Honey doesn't ferment on its own routinely, we have to dilute it yes ?

Why might that be ? Could it be something to do with yeast not surviving in it in its raw, undiluted state ?

So ok, its diluted down, possibly a little too far as a quick look through the threads and recipes would have shown you that the basic level is 3lb watered down to 1 gallon (there's about 12lb of honey to the gallon so I'd be IRO 3:1 water honey).

Ok so you've got it a bit lower ? What's going on ?

Well yeast need more than just sugars. At the moment its like you eating just rice or potato. They need a few other bits too, grapes provide just about all the requirements as do beer wort, honey is famously sterile of other non-sugar requirements.

D47 ? Hum? A good yeast as long as its kept below 70F.

So what can you do ?

How about using a whisk to aerate the hell out of it, because yeast do need some O2 for development, then add both a handful of raisins and some boiled bread yeast (boil or microwave a couple of teaspoons of bread yeast in an ounce or two of water to kill off the yeast, let it cool and then add it in) so that the wine yeast has something other than the honey sugars to munch on......

09-06-2013, 03:48 AM
Ask any beekeeper who has tried to store honey over 20% moisture and they will tell you how it ferments, though very slow to get started. Even low moisture honey can crystalize and a pool of water form on the top diluting the surface just enough to let the wild yeasts already in honey go to work. Dont forget that beebread is a fermented product by the bees so any real raw honey is going to have some beebread mixed in there as an innoculant. You simple didnt wait long enough for the native yeasts to get their act together, assuming they were in there to start if not pasturized. WVMJ

09-06-2013, 06:35 AM
Being a bit of a hydromel, it could be done already. I've had them finish really quickly before. It is possible you missed the ferment in the first 24 hours.
You need a hydrometer to know for sure.