View Full Version : First mead batch - slow fermentation?

05-12-2015, 05:38 PM
This is my first time brewing anything, and it seems like my fermentation is going slow. Below are my notes and today is day 17. Should I add anything to the mead, change the temperature, or just wait?


1.5 Gallons of Nick’s Raw Honey (fresh and viscous)
3.5 Gallons of well water
2 tsp Brewcraft yeast energizer
2 tsp Brewcraft yeast nutrient
2 packets of Lalvin - 71B-1122


Clean and sterilize everything
Heat water to 90 degrees and added honey
Put burner on low and stirred honey
Added yeast, nutrient, and energizer
Siphoned into 5 gallon carboy
Took hydrometer reading (should have done before yeast, etc)

Started fermentation on Saturday April 25th

Temperature 66
Hydrometer reading was 1.130 - took after adding yeast, nutrient, and energizer

24 hr

Did a ph test at the local brew store and added 10 tsb of Brewcraft Acid Blend
Saw nice big bubbles on the surface

4 days

Fermentation process seems slow 1 bubble every 10 seconds
Increased temperature to 69
Added 1/2 tsp of nutrient & energizer
Agitated mead, but twisting the carboy on the ground

13 days

Hydrometer reading was 1.114
pH 4.56 - electronic meter
Agitated mead, but twisting the carboy on the ground

16 days

Fermentation process seems slow 1 bubble every 30 seconds
Agitated mead, but twisting the carboy on the ground

Thank you...


05-12-2015, 09:15 PM
This fermentation is slow.

I can't tell from your process, did you rehydrate your yeast before you pitched? And was the must temperature 66 degrees when you pitched, or did you mix the yeast in while the must was still heating on the burner?

I'd probably pitch new rehydrated yeast, mixing in with heavy aeration (making a vortex by twisting the carboy as fast as you feel comfortable without spilling).

05-12-2015, 10:57 PM
How to you rehydrate yeast? I didn't see anything about that when I was looking at recipes.

We added the yeast when it was around 80 degrees and the burner was off. About 24hr in the fermentation seemed to be going well.

So what would the next steps be. Add the same yeast again, same amount? Anything else?

05-13-2015, 06:21 AM
You are taking off the bung and airlock before agitating the mead right? I like agitating the mead, letting it degas, then agitating again, hoping that once the mead and the carboy have degassed some air had the chance of entering the carboy and would therefore be able to aerate the mead. If you keep the bung on the carboy the mead will only degas, but the carboy is full of Co2 so no aeration takes place.
Sorry this comment seems obvious. It's just that the 'twisting the carboy on the ground' part got me thinking. I prefer splashing the contents of my mead while aerating

05-13-2015, 06:30 AM
You mentioned you used 3.5 gallons of water and 1.5 gallons of honey. You then placed this into a 5 gallon carboy. This will hardly give you any room to aerate your mead through sloshing. If you really did use these quantities I'm amazed you didn't get any overflow. Ideally you would initially place your mead in a larger carboy or fermentation bucket during primary fermentation (I prefer fermentation buckets for larger batches)

05-13-2015, 10:14 AM
I didn't take the airlock off when agitating the mead. Being the first brewing I have done, nothing is obvious. :) Makes sense when thinking about it. I have taken the bung off a couple times when taking hydrometer readings.

Yes, I did use 1.5 gallons of honey and 3.5 gallons on water. It is pretty full. Should I be using a 6 gallon carboy for 5 gallons of mead?

05-13-2015, 10:40 AM
A little (to a lot) of wiggle room or extra capacity is always good during fermentation. 6 G carboy or a 6 to 7 G bucket work well for 5 G batches.

05-13-2015, 01:56 PM
So in this case probably almost no aeration took place. I bet this is the main reason the fermentation has been slow. If there has been less than a 30% drop in gravity from your original gravity (called the 1/3 sugar break) you can try aerating in the hope that the yeast restart. I have had some luck with this approach, but it is still possible that the yeast have not had the ideal starting conditions to finish this mead. Another option is re-pitching a new yeast. This is since if the old yeast stall towards the end, the high alcohol content in the unfinished mead can make restarting more difficult. Maybe a more experienced mead maker can talk more about the chances of the old yeast completing this mead

05-14-2015, 12:15 PM
Last night we siphoned the mead from one carboy to another aerating as much was we could during the process. At the time I took a hydrometer reading of 1.106. There seems to be more bubbles on the surface this morning, but we are getting a bubble every 30 seconds still.

I am going to add 2 packets of Lavin 71B-1122 later today. I will aerate and take hydrometer readings daily now. I assume I should do this until the 1/3 sugar break.

05-14-2015, 09:06 PM
For dry yeasts, the simple rehydration process is just to pour the yeast into lukewarm water (105-109 deg F) and let it sit for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, give it a good stir, and you can then pitch into your must. Adding goFerm during rehydration will give the yeast a boost, but isn't absolutely necessary.

The warmer water helps to reactivate the yeast from dormancy. If your must was only at 80 deg, it makes sense that you didn't get all the yeast active from the get go.

No worries though. With the extra aeration and a new dose of yeast you should be on your way to finishing the batch well.

05-14-2015, 10:46 PM
You forgot to mention atemperation.