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Heylea
10-07-2014, 02:32 PM
Good Day, All! First time wine-maker and am having apparent success w/ my apple-cranberry wine bubbling away happily in the carboy. Since I've been overwhelmed with an abundance of apples off my trees this year, I'm pressing a lot of cider and wanted to start up some Cyster.

Recipe:
3 lbsClover Honey
1 tspAcid Blend
1 tspPectic Enzyme
1 tspYeast Nutrient
3Campden Potassium Metabisulphite Tablets
1 packetRed Star Cote Des Blanc
3 Gal fresh Cider (pressed it ourselves)
Procedure
Combine one gallon of fresh apple cider with the honey and heat to 180F. Hold for 10 minutes.
Cool to 85F. The remaining two gallons should be left in the sanitized primary fermenter.
Crush Campden tablets, dissolve in cup cool water and add to primary fermenter. Add the apple/honey mixture, acid blend, pectic enzyme and yeast nutrient. Stir thoroughly, cover with pail lid and let the juice rest for 24 hours.
Pitch the yeast, place the lid securely on the pail and attach the air lock. Allow it to ferment at room temperature for 14 days or until the activity in the air lock slows to less than 1 bubble per minute, whichever is longer.

Well, today is day 6 and still no activity. SG is still @ starting point of 1.08+. After a little reading, I thought putting the pail lid on was the problem, and the gas was still in the must and killed (or slowed) the yeast. So 2 days ago I covered instead with light towel and have been stirring daily, even added an energizer yesterday and raised the heat a little, thinking also it was too cool.

At this point I'm worried about it going bad soon. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

GntlKnigt1
10-07-2014, 04:31 PM
Might be too much acid. Have you tested pH? Also, stir a lot to release campden tabs gas....you might need to repitch yeast

Heylea
10-07-2014, 06:14 PM
Might be too much acid. Have you tested pH? Also, stir a lot to release campden tabs gas....you might need to repitch yeast

Haven't tested PH. Our local supplier sells the test strips so maybe I'll invest in some and find out how more about PH. Stirring daily and keeping fingers crossed.

Thanks for the reply.

WVMJack
10-07-2014, 06:40 PM
Why did you add acid blend? Why did you both pasteurize your honey and use camden? You dont really need to do all of this together. Your yeast may never have been viable. You have a fermenting carboy now, you can take a little of that, like a cup and add a cup of your unfermented cider and see if it takes off, then add a little more and when it gets going well innoculate your whole batch. If you are having problems like this you need to proof your yeast to make sure its viable. What kind of apples do you guys have?

WVMJ

GntlKnigt1
10-08-2014, 04:16 AM
+1 for WVMJ post. If pH is below 3.0, then you will need potassium carbonate to raise the pH to 3.5 to 4.0. Also, making the "acclimated starter" for your yeast as he suggests would be good when you have checked (and, if necessary) corrected your pH. NEVER a good idea to add acid blend BEFORE fermentation when making mead.....it's okay for wine (usually) but not mead.

Heylea
10-08-2014, 11:36 AM
Why did you add acid blend? Why did you both pasteurize your honey and use camden? You dont really need to do all of this together. Your yeast may never have been viable. You have a fermenting carboy now, you can take a little of that, like a cup and add a cup of your unfermented cider and see if it takes off, then add a little more and when it gets going well innoculate your whole batch. If you are having problems like this you need to proof your yeast to make sure its viable. What kind of apples do you guys have?

WVMJ

Well, as a newbie, following the directions seemed the wisest thing to do!! ;-) Our apple trees are over 50 years old and are a mystery variety since they came w/ the property. Close to Gala in all aspects. PH testing today and will consider pitching new pkg of yeast.

Good to know people who know their mead! Looking forward to learning a lot.

Heylea
10-08-2014, 11:38 AM
Will get back to you on PH. Lordy, so much to learn!

Heylea
10-17-2014, 04:12 PM
Ok, PH looks to be about 3.6 on test strip. So, I made a yeast starter and accumulated the mead into it over 2 days -- nice activity, happy little yeasties. Pitched the starter yesterday and holding my breath.....

Heylea
10-29-2014, 10:36 PM
This morning I noticed some bubbles in the must cleaning to the side of the carboy, but not obviously active on surface yet. This was after adding energizer, raisins and raising the temp. Yes! I'm very hopeful.

WVMJack
10-30-2014, 03:04 AM
Something is horrible wrong if 12 days after tossing in a starter you only see a few bubbles on the sides of the carboy, did you take a hydro reading? By any chance do you guys have any potassium sorbate? WVMJ

Heylea
10-31-2014, 10:00 AM
Something is horrible wrong if 12 days after tossing in a starter you only see a few bubbles on the sides of the carboy, did you take a hydro reading? By any chance do you guys have any potassium sorbate? WVMJ

SG has been @ 1.08 since the beginning, ph is 3.6 +/- and temp right around 78 degrees, last time I checked. Yes I have potassium sorbate. No vinegar smell or taste. Have pitched 2x, energized, everything I could think of or suggestions from the experts. All other wines (non-mead) are happily bubbling away. Something just didn't go right on the mead. Should I call it a lost experiment at this point and move on?

WVMJack
10-31-2014, 06:10 PM
By any slim chance did you accidentally add sorbate? WVMJ

Heylea
11-01-2014, 03:52 PM
By any slim chance did you accidentally add sorbate? WVMJ

Haha! I did that once and after that put the sorbate in a high cupboard out of reach so as not to do that again.

I'll be chalking this up to experience. In the mean time, my other fruit wines are bubbling away, so I'm a happy girl. ;D

Thanks so much for the posts. When I get up the nerve, I'll try mead again.

Chevette Girl
11-05-2014, 10:14 PM
Something just didn't go right on the mead. Should I call it a lost experiment at this point and move on?

Heck no! Use it as a learning experience until it goes bad!!

I'd try an acclimated starter next, if it's still not going...

Heylea
11-09-2014, 05:42 PM
Just thought of this.... would the mineral oil/beeswax seal on my press tray (if that's what it's called) have an effect on the juice running over it during apple pressing? Is this why my fermentation of any must containing my fresh cider is snail-slow or just no-go? The wooden catch tray is LIGHTLY sealed with high quality mineral oil and beeswax mixture as recommended by the instructions of the cider press we made. After applying the mixture on the wood, we thoroughly wiped off any residue. But maybe there was just enough that the juice picked up?

Just a thought....

GntlKnigt1
11-09-2014, 06:06 PM
I rather doubt that as the issue, esp if it is lightly sealed.

Chevette Girl
11-09-2014, 11:08 PM
I agree, it's not likely that it's the problem... mineral oil would be inert... and might actually be visible on the surface of the cider if it had picked up a lot...

Have you checked the SG yet to make sure it's not stealth-fermenting on you?

Aerate the heck out of it, too...


If you've got another carboy, you could try an acclimated starter where you start it in the second carboy and just keep adding more from the first carboy until you've added it all...

Or did you actually dump it...

WVMJack
11-10-2014, 05:01 AM
You have other wines happily bubbling away, which means you have already established yeast colonies that are healthy. Stir one of your healthy fermets up real good and take a cup of it out and add a half cup of your cyser and see if it ferments that over a day, if it does add a cup of your cyser to the starter again and see if it eats it up, if so then dump the whole thing into your cyser and give it all a good stir. WVMJ