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Gambler72
10-19-2013, 10:16 AM
Hi there all. Been making wine for years more recently Mead as both my bosses keep bees and have an endless supply of honey. The first batch I made was perfect for me, and had a starting s.g of 1.080 and fermented nice and dry the way I like it. Started a second batch a few months ago and raised the starting s.g to 1.100 to have a higher alcohol content, problem is its now stopped fermenting and has a finishing s.g of 1.026 and is far too sweet for my taste. Fermentation stopped over a month ago. I haven't added sorbate so can I make a yeast starter to try and get it to ferment drier or am I stuck with this sweet Mead? Any help would be much appreciated

joemirando
10-19-2013, 12:09 PM
Hi there all. Been making wine for years more recently Mead as both my bosses keep bees and have an endless supply of honey. The first batch I made was perfect for me, and had a starting s.g of 1.080 and fermented nice and dry the way I like it. Started a second batch a few months ago and raised the starting s.g to 1.100 to have a higher alcohol content, problem is its now stopped fermenting and has a finishing s.g of 1.026 and is far too sweet for my taste. Fermentation stopped over a month ago. I haven't added sorbate so can I make a yeast starter to try and get it to ferment drier or am I stuck with this sweet Mead? Any help would be much appreciated

Can you give us the complete recipe? Yeast type? pH? Nutrients used? Smells/tastes that might have presented themselves (rotten eggs, rubber, etc.)?

You can pitch more yeast, but there's a reason somewhere for your stuck fermentation, and just re-pitching may not do any good. Just about any wine yeast, or even bread yeast, would normally go past where you are now (~10%ABV), so there's a reason your wee beasties aren't doing what they were born to do. Fermenting dry, an OG of 1.100 would give you somewhere in the neighborhood of 14%.


Joe

Gambler72
10-20-2013, 04:55 AM
I know what the problem is now I just wanted to know can you restart after its been sat in a carboy for over a month not fermenting?

fatbloke
10-20-2013, 06:49 AM
I know what the problem is now I just wanted to know can you restart after its been sat in a carboy for over a month not fermenting?
yes, you may be able to do that, just that you need to know what the likely alcohol content is, whether there are any other possible things that might affect it (pH etc) and that the yeast you want to use for the restart is capable of that.

If you search for info about acclimatised restart i.e. rehydrating the yeast, then adding some of the wine, maybe with a bit of water, then adding more etc, until it's all fermenting as you'd expect.

The higher the level of alcohol/lower the pH, the harder it is to do, but unless you experiment and try, you won't know.

EC-1118 is useful for this (and easily obtained). Uvaferm43 is apparently, excellent for this, but isn't so easy to get...... So I'd suggest the EC-1118.

On checking a chart and the numbers you mention, the problem batch has dropped 74 points, which equates to about 10.5% ABV, so you should be able to achieve a restart and it should go dry.

Equally, if it's just low pH that's caused it to stick, you could just add some potassium carbonate to bring the pH up a bit, then a good stirring/aeration might restart it......

Gambler72
10-20-2013, 08:36 AM
Brilliant. Thanks for the reply mate. I'll get a yeast starter going today ;)

Gambler72
10-20-2013, 08:37 AM
Is it too late to add some acid blend? The original recipe didn't say to use any but lots of others I've read say to add it.

Chevette Girl
10-20-2013, 10:07 AM
Just curious, what do you think is the problem?

Lack of acidity is almost guaranteed NOT to be your problem, I wouldn't add it until fermentation's done, and only then to taste. If it's stuck permanently at 1.026 you might be able to balance the sweetness with some acidity, but it's not going to restart your fermentation.

I was going to suggest the pH was too low becuase a lot of older recipes suggest adding acid blend up front and if you do add it (sometimes even if you don't) the pH can drop too low for the yeast to function. Unlike fruit wines where you use sugar and the fruit provides some buffering effect, honey itself is acidic and can cause pH problems.

And it's never too late to restart, I had one batch whose SG I never checked on and when I finally did, it'd stopped at 1.060 about five years ago, restarted it last year and got the fermentation to complete in a week.

fatbloke
10-20-2013, 10:53 AM
As per CG's comment i.e. don't add it until the ferment is finished as it'd more likely make things worse. So you just add it too taste once it's finished the ferment...

Gambler72
10-22-2013, 07:40 AM
I thought the problem was me adding campden tablets when I wracked to secondary but obviously not. Ive had a few stuck fermentations with fruit wine before but nothing I couldn't get going with a starter apart from this mead. I made a yeast starter and added it but its still not going. im really stuck with what to do. I have never tested ph before because I have never need to do so, I don't know what the ph is because I don't have the equipment to do so? Any idea what I should do next?