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brgeren
11-19-2015, 03:33 AM
Hi all! I'm new to GotMead (and mead making), however I've been brewing beer and making sodas for a few years.

Anyway, I have made 5 one gallon batches of mead with an OG at 1.08-1.12. All are in 2 gallon fermentation buckets and currently stored in my newly created fermentation chamber holding an ambient temperature of 64 (moved up from 60 hoping to solve my problem). I am planning 2 traditional meads (a dry and a sweet), 2 melomels (fruit in secondary), 1 cyser. I made them all five days ago, no boil but well sanitized, used GoFerm and followed the instructions for rehydrating although there is a chance I pitched when the temp difference was greater than 10 degrees.

After 24 hours I checked the airlock and saw no activity. I figured that was fine since the fermentation chamber was really cool so I waited.

After 48 hours, there was still no airlock activity, but this time I figured fermentation had to have started, so I followed the SNA rules by degassing (resulting in a decent amount of fizz and bubbling) and added 1/2t of Fermaid K to each gallon. I measured the gravity and all of them had the same (or slightly higher by up to .004) gravity as the OG.

After 72 hours, there was little airlock activity, but there was a ton of fizz/foam during degassing. I measured the gravity again and no change. I still added 1/2t of Fermaid K since it seemed like there was a ton of fizz. I also changed the fermentation ambient temp to 64 (from 60) since I was wondering if the temp was a bit too low. Granted I assume the ambient temp should be lower than the actual temp inside the bucket especially with fermentation occurring, but still I was at a loss for what else could be wrong.

On Day 4, there was little airlock activity, tons of fizz during degassing, but when I checked the gravity, there was still no change. This time I decided to forgo the Fermaid K since I was completely befuddled.

Today, on Day 5, there was still little airlock activity (by now I realize there may be a leak or I may be impatient since I'm used to beer, but either way I realize this is unimportant). I degassed with a lot of foam, and yet again, no gravity change. I still did the Fermaid K because I'm heading out of town in 3 days and want to get my final 1/2t in before I leave. I'm aiming for a full 2t per gallon of Fermaid K (I calculated that using all the YAN calculators, please tell me if I'm too high on this).

After all this, I'm lost. There are too many mixed signals for me to know what to do next. Plus I'm heading out of town in 3 days for a 10 day trip. I was hoping to come home to a completed primary fermentation which isn't looking to likely. The recipes are below but the yeast used is D47 and D71B and OG ranges 1.08-1.12. I just don't understand how I am getting so much CO2 production that can be seen during degassing, but my gravity readings are not changing. Should I increase the temp in the chamber again even though I'm guessing the temp inside the buckets are even higher than the ambient temp? Should I add more yeast since the gravity isn't changing? Is everything okay except my hydrometer is broken even though is reads 1.000 in a bucket of water? Am I missing something else like pH or who knows what? Any help would be appreciate from all the experts out there especially in the next few days before I head out of town. In case its important, I live in Phoenix and current temps are 65-70 during the day and 40s at night (sorry to rub it in) :-)

Thanks!

Here are the recipes:
DRY Traditional
12.7c Water
2.5lb Honey (Orange Blossom)
.5pack Lavlin D47 Yeast (60-85F)
1/2t Fermaid K each Day 1, 2, 3, 4 (actually done on Day 1, 2, and 4 so far)
GoFerm (according to instructions - 1/4t with 4oz 110F water, wait til water is 104 add yeast, wait 10-15min and pitch)
OG 1.08
FG 0.998

Sweet Traditional
11.3c Water
3.5lb Honey (Orange Blossom)
.5pack Lavlin D47 Yeast (60-85F)
1/2t Fermaid K each Day 1, 2, 3, 4
GoFerm (according to instructions - 1/4t with 4oz 110F water, wait til water is 104 add yeast, wait 10-15min and pitch)
OG 1.126
FG 1.025

Cyser
13.9c Apple Cider
1-2 cinnamon stick
2lb Honey (Orange Blossom)
.2lb (90g) dark brown sugar
.1lb (45g) chopped dates
.1lb (45g) raisins
.5pack Lavlin D71B Yeast (60-85F)
1/2t Fermaid K each Day 1, 2, 3, 4
GoFerm (according to instructions - 1/4t with 4oz 110F water, wait til water is 104 add yeast, wait 10-15min and pitch)
OG 1.12

Melomel Base #1
12.3c water
2.75lb Honey (Orange Blossom)
fruit to taste and preference
.5pack Lavlin D71B Yeast (60-85F)
1/2t Fermaid K Day 1, 2, 3, 4
GoFerm (according to instructions - 1/4t with 4oz 110F water, wait til water is 104 add yeast, wait 10-15min and pitch)
OG 1.099
FG 0.996

Melomel Base #2
12c water
3lb Honey (Orange Blossom)
fruit to taste and preference
.5pack Lavlin D71B Yeast (60-85F)
1/2t Fermaid K each Day 1, 2, 3, 4
GoFerm (according to instructions - 1/4t with 4oz 110F water, wait til water is 104 add yeast, wait 10-15min and pitch)
OG 1.108
FG 1.005

WVMJack
11-19-2015, 05:53 AM
Your hyrdrometer is hitting the bottom of the carboy:) WVMJ

brgeren
11-19-2015, 02:57 PM
Your hyrdrometer is hitting the bottom of the carboy:) WVMJ


I wish it were that simple! I use a sanitized wine thief to take the sample out and put it into a test tube with plenty of clearance below the hydrometer. Then I take the reading...

Ooga Booga
11-19-2015, 03:53 PM
Did you buy all your yeasts from the same spot? If so, perhaps the shop didn't take care of them as they should have. If that happened over the summer, they could have gotten cooked with your extreme summer heat. I would test your yeast by making some starters with and letting them sit overnight. If they look good, line up your must and starter temps and repitch. PH data could be of value as well (one more thing to cross off).

brgeren
11-19-2015, 06:56 PM
I did buy all the yeast at the same place. It is a reputable place and they have a fridge to store the yeast, but you make a good point, so I will retry with the yeast tonight and see what happens. I don't have any pH strips, but if I pass by the store I'll buy some and post that as well. Thanks for the suggestion!

brgeren
11-19-2015, 10:02 PM
To add to the weirdness, I was making the starter and got curious so I tested the gravity again. The ones with D71 (cyser and melomel bases) have gone down 20-40%, the ones with D47 went down 10%. So I repitched a full pack of D47 into each but left the others alone. I'm still confused as to whats happening but I won't complain now that its fermenting. Thanks for all the help!

mannye
11-20-2015, 12:17 AM
Are you spinning the hydrometer? If you don't spin, bubbles stick to it and cause false high gravity readings.

brgeren
11-20-2015, 01:44 AM
Are you spinning the hydrometer? If you don't spin, bubbles stick to it and cause false high gravity readings.

Yep, I do that every time. Although when do you measure the gravity, before degassing or after?

mannye
11-20-2015, 08:26 AM
I usually de-gas the sample independently. I don't put it back unless it's a small batch. In that case, I de-gas the jug, then do the whole sanitizing protocol (sigh... This is part of the reason I switched to mead... less insane sanitation needs and no boil) and put the sample back.




Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

brgeren
12-18-2015, 01:18 AM
Just figured I'd go back and update this post in case anyone else has the same problem in the future. I ended up repitching a full pack of D47 for the two traditionals and when I returned from my trip (around 3 weeks after originally making the mead). All have fully fermented. They all were about .01 higher than the expected FG, and surprisingly the cyser went to .998 which was a bit of a surprise. Guess I'll learn about back sweetening next. Thanks for all those that helped!