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zhiv9
11-26-2015, 12:54 PM
Recipe/Process:

Oct 10
~6gal of SG 1.060 - from washed capping
Left for 1 week - fermentation was well started
added 5kg of honey - SG 1.120
2.5tsp of nutriest
1.5 tsp of energizer

Nov 18
Racked to secondary - SG 1.090

Temperature around 72 deg F

Hadn't planned on using wild yeast, but didn't get around to starting the batch until after my cappings wash had already started to ferment. Decide to just go with it. Fermentation is/was pretty slow, but it bubbled pretty steadily and is still bubbling in the secondary. Should I be worried about it?

Thanks

Adam

58limited
11-26-2015, 01:29 PM
Did you take a gravity reading before you added the additional 5kg of honey?

willowhix
11-26-2015, 01:38 PM
Perhaps I'm missing something here. I'm new to meadmaking myself, but isn't SG 1.090 quite early to rack into secondary? My understanding is that the fermentation should be more or less finished, quite close to 1.000 before racking. Was there a lot of lees left over in your primary fermenter?

Stasis
11-26-2015, 02:29 PM
yep willowhix. racking early can slow down fermentation

zhiv9
11-26-2015, 08:30 PM
Did you take a gravity reading before you added the additional 5kg of honey?

SG was 1.060. The reading I don't have is right after I washed the cappings.

zhiv9
11-26-2015, 08:34 PM
Perhaps I'm missing something here. I'm new to meadmaking myself, but isn't SG 1.090 quite early to rack into secondary? My understanding is that the fermentation should be more or less finished, quite close to 1.000 before racking. Was there a lot of lees left over in your primary fermenter?

I was concerned about leaving it in plastic for longer than 5 weeks. There was a good amount of lees left in the primary. I didn't realize that racking it could slow it down. I actually thought the agitation and extra oxygen might perk things up.

zhiv9
11-26-2015, 08:38 PM
I had a look at it tonight and the bubbling had definitely slowed since racking. Any thoughts on whether I should just leave it to run its slow course? I do have some 71B that I could add. Or I could stir it up and add more nutrient? I did taste it when I racked it and there were no apparent off flavours.

willowhix
11-29-2015, 08:51 PM
In regards to adding nutrient or repitching, I'll refer to Squatchy's advice on my own thread.

http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/25190-Stuck-fermentation-with-D-47

Also when fermentation is complete, I'd personally rack again into another container just to get it off the lees. Otherwise, I'd be worried about clarifying and off-flavours from the dead yeast (particularily if I didn't know anything about the type of yeast doing the fermenting).

zhiv9
11-29-2015, 09:53 PM
Thanks. I had a chance to have a closer look at it today. Still has an SG of 1.090. PH is below 3. I think that is the problem. I am going to see if I can get some p. Bicarbonate tomorrow and try adding that and giving it a good stir to get it going again. Temps are in the 18 to 20 deg C range so I don't think that is the problem.

Squatchy
11-29-2015, 10:15 PM
If you can,,, stir,shake, power drill, whatever to get some oxygen back in the must after you add the PC. Let us know what happens with this batch

Mazer828
11-30-2015, 11:15 AM
SG was 1.060. The reading I don't have is right after I washed the cappings.
Help a noob out here. What's this process of washing the cappings? I assume this has something to do with harvesting wild yeast? Love to learn more about your process.

zhiv9
11-30-2015, 11:46 AM
Help a noob out here. What's this process of washing the cappings? I assume this has something to do with harvesting wild yeast? Love to learn more about your process.

When the honey in the comb is finished (cells are full and moisture content is low enough), the bees cap it off with a layer of wax. Before I can extract the honey out of the frames, I have to remove that layer of wax. I use a powered uncapper. You can see a little video of it here: http://tinyurl.com/ory92br. The cappings fall in to the tray below where some of the honey drains to a clarify below that. After this, I scoop the wax cappings into a cappings spinner. It is basically a spinning basket. After a couple of hours spinning in the basket, the cappings are fairly dry but still sticky. To get the last of the honey, I wash the cappings, I put these into a stainless steel wax melter that has a valve on the bottom. I fill this with warm water and stir the cappings to wash off the remaining honey. The wax floats to the top and I drain the beginnings of my must out the bottom valve, leaving the wax cappings behind to render. There are wild yeasts on the surface of the cappings that beekeepers have used for centuries to make mead - the first meads were probably made with this yeasts.

Mazer828
11-30-2015, 11:51 AM
Wow. Very interesting! Thank you. Beekeeping is an art I hope to study and learn in the next few years. Funny how the more you learn, the more your methods migrate back to the ancient ones!

zhiv9
12-07-2015, 10:53 AM
Here's an update:

December 3, 2015
Added 21g of Potassium Carbonate to raise PH to 3.5
Gave it a good stir to aerate.

December 6, 2015
No airlock activity
SG 1.090
added 21g of P. Carbonate - PH3.8
add 1 tsp of Fermaid-K

I had planned to wait for a couple of days and see if the wild yeast gets going again. If not, I'll try pitching a commercial yeast. Also open to other suggestions.

Thank again,

Marshmallow Blue
12-07-2015, 01:23 PM
Might be tough sledding. Next time, it might be best to plate the yeast on agar, select and grow the cultures, then make a large starter from it to ensure healthy cell counts for a mead fermentation. In this case, depending on how many days it's been, it could be time to jump ship and pitch commercial yeast. I've gotten up to about 10-12 days before any mold started to grow in a mead must.

zhiv9
12-07-2015, 01:44 PM
Might be tough sledding. Next time, it might be best to plate the yeast on agar, select and grow the cultures, then make a large starter from it to ensure healthy cell counts for a mead fermentation. In this case, depending on how many days it's been, it could be time to jump ship and pitch commercial yeast. I've gotten up to about 10-12 days before any mold started to grow in a mead must.

Thanks. This was a bit of an accident. Beekeeping has its busy times and the bees come first. After I washed the cappings, the must sat in pail for about a week while dealt with more pressing matters. By the time I got back to it fermentation was well underway, so I just added more honey to bring up the gravity and nutrients to help support the existing fermentation. I was concerned about pitching a commercial yeast, when a wild strain yeast was already established. I should have checked the PH at the beginning and adjusted it then. I have some 71B-1122 at home, if there is now activity when i get home tonight, I will try pitching it.

zhiv9
12-10-2015, 05:11 PM
Another update:

Dec 7, 2015
Rehydrated 6g of 71B-1122 per Lalvin's instructions and pitched

Dec 8, 2015
Fermentation restarted - still very slow.

Dec 9, 2015
Air lock activity still really slow
Stirred and added 1/2 tsp of DAP

Fermentation hasn't really taken off. I am concerned that it still has a long way to go and will fizzle out again before completion. I figured I would take another SG reading early next week to see what kind of progress its made.

If it is just progressing very slowly, am I best just to leave it and see where it ends up? If it is still basically stuck, what is my best bet? Should I make a starter with some of the must watered down a little and pitch again?

Mazer828
12-10-2015, 05:59 PM
Have you tried building up your yeast population with a series of progressively larger starters on a stir plate prior to pitching?

zhiv9
12-10-2015, 06:24 PM
No. I have listed all that I have tried. I don't have a stir plate, but basically what I was asking is the next best step to create a starter with some of the must and then pitching that.

Mazer828
12-10-2015, 07:29 PM
I can't imagine how much or little a yeast population you're starting with. But if it's pretty small, like less than one billion cell count, I'd be tempted to make a 1.040 gravity culture medium using DME, pre boiled and cooled to sanitize it. Perhaps two cups to start with. Pitch your yeast into that and let it grow for 24 hours, swirling every time you think about it. Then the next day, pour off the clear liquid and pitch the slurry into another medium of the same gravity but double the size. Then the third day double it again. There's all kinds of math and factors to be considered to calculate yeast population growth rates, but I'd think after three growth phases you'd have at least 5x your initial population. I usually count conservatively a 50% population growth for each starter I make.

zhiv9
01-05-2016, 09:13 AM
Still struggling with this batch. I have summarized all of the previous updates into the post below and added a few more steps that I have taken. Looking for some feedback as to what to try next? Pitching the 71B has it making very slow progress(0.002/week), but I am concerned that it will eventually just stop again altogether. Do I wait and see if this happens and then try pitching EC-1118? Should I try making a starter with DME, some of the must and 71B and then pitch that?

Thanks again, Adam


Wild yeast fermentation slow
Recipe/Process:

Oct 10
~6gal of SG 1.060 - from washed capping
Left for 1 week - fermentation was well started with wild yeast
added 5kg of honey - SG 1.120
2.5tsp of nutriest
1.5 tsp of energizer

Nov 18
Racked to secondary - SG 1.090

December 3, 2015
Added 21g of Potassium Carbonate to raise PH to 3.5
Gave it a good stir to aerate.

December 6, 2015
No airlock activity
SG 1.090
added 21g of P. Carbonate - PH3.8
add 1 tsp of Fermaid-K

Dec 7, 2015
Rehydrated 6g of 71B-1122 per Lalvin's instructions and pitched

Dec 8, 2015
Fermentation restarted - still very slow.

Dec 9, 2015
Air lock activity still really slow
Stirred and added 1/2 tsp of DAP

December 21 2015
SG 1.086
Rehydrated 10g of 71B-1122 in Go-ferm per instructions and pitched

Dec 30 2015
SG 1.083
PH 3.6
Very slow air lock activity

Mazer828
01-05-2016, 09:56 AM
My goodness. That is getting a slow start. It's been three months. That 71B ought to have done the job by now. Do you have the inclination/ability to Oxygenate with pure oxygen? Might try that or some other forced source of clean/sanitary air. Also haven't looked through all the posts above thoroughly but what temp is your must sitting at? Many wine yeasts like to get really warm to get started (like mid 70s) then cool down for the long haul (low to mid sixties). More experienced yeast-ologists may need to chime in here with more exact numbers.

Mazer828
01-05-2016, 10:01 AM
Ok I just found your early post citing 18-20C. Assuming that's been constant I'd recommend raising the temp to somewhere in the 24-26C range for a few days. Then if fermentation kicks in, let it settle back down to 18-20 again.

zhiv9
01-05-2016, 10:53 AM
I have tried really stirring it well to oxygenate several times and have been stirring every couple of days. I don't have a method of oxygenating with pure oxygen. I was concerned about how much oxygen to expose it to at this point - I didn't want to cause too much oxidization?

I don't have an easy way of raising the temperature to the 24-26 range this time of year - might be able to rig up something if this is the way to go.

Stasis
01-05-2016, 11:30 AM
Temperature may help, although 20C is above 71b's minimum tolerance of 15C. I think 71b may be a bad choice to restart a wild fermentation. Since you mentioned ec-1118 I guess you knew this so I won't go into too much detail. Lalvin also mentions k1-v1116 as good for restarting stuch fermentations. My guess is that repitching k1 or ec will solve your problem. If this fails there is something wrong with the must or in your way of preparing the yeast. Maybe you would need to add yeast hulls to absorb toxins or something... However at that point I would personally probably start another batch and combine the two once fermentation is strong. The yeast should be able to complete the fermentation of the larger batch if enough yeast and nutrient was pitched

zhiv9
01-06-2016, 09:06 AM
Thanks. I did know that EC-1118 would probably be better than 71B for restarting, but I was concerned with the end result being too dry. I didn't realize that 71B is a poor yeast for restarts. I found this restart method on the Scott Labs website:

http://scottlab.com/uploads/documents/downloads/136/2010RestartStuck.pdf

I don't have a local source for K1-V1116 or yeast hulls, but I could follow the rest of the procedure using EC-1118. Any thoughts?

Mazer828
01-06-2016, 10:28 AM
Any conflict between kill factors of 71B and EC? That would be my only question. But I don't have a source to find out. 😕

zhiv9
01-06-2016, 11:27 AM
Any conflict between kill factors of 71B and EC? That would be my only question. But I don't have a source to find out. ��

Looking at the data sheets, 71B is sensitive to the K2 kill factor, but doesn't appear to be a killer strain itself. EC-1118 is definitely a killer strain.

Mazer828
01-06-2016, 12:07 PM
So what does that mean in terms of whether the EC 1118 would be appropriate to try to restart the mead with 71B1122 already in it? And where do you go to look these things up and learn more?

zhiv9
01-06-2016, 12:42 PM
That's a good question. Could probably contact the manufacturer and ask. I went to the manufacturers website and looked at the datasheets:

http://www.lallemandyeast.com/company/products/ec-1118-wine-yeast

http://www.lallemandyeast.com/company/products/71b-1122-wine-yeast

zpeckler
01-06-2016, 04:54 PM
So what does that mean in terms of whether the EC 1118 would be appropriate to try to restart the mead with 71B1122 already in it? And where do you go to look these things up and learn more?

It means that if you add EC to a must containing 71B the EC will make the K2 kill factor and kill off the 71B. This would be a bad thing if you wanted to do a mixed fermentation, but since you're restarting a stuck fermentation the 71B isn't active anyway so who cares.

Edit: The Scott Labs Fermentation Handbook has charts comparing all their yeast stains. They note which stains are kill factor positive, neutral, or sensitive. Just Google it and it can be downloaded as a pdf.

zhiv9
01-18-2016, 12:54 PM
Thought I would post an update. The Scott Lab procedure is looking successful. I initially thought it was a flop, but there was just more lag than I expected.

​Jan 11 2016
S.G. 1.081
Followed Scott Labs procedure for stuck fermentations minus the yeast hulls.
Used EC-1118 yeast

Jan 12 2016
Stirred
No activity

Jan 13 2016
Stirred
Not much activity

Jan 16 2016
Good airlock activity
SG 1.060
Stirred.

zhiv9
02-01-2016, 03:00 PM
Jan 30th
No Airlock activity
SG. 1.002
Racked.

So the Scott Lab procedure with EC-1118 was successful. It has no noticeable off flavours despite it's 3 month fermentation.

Squatchy
02-01-2016, 05:34 PM
I have a question. Do you realize that you need to have your yeast slurry and your must within 10 degrees of each other before you pitch? If not, you could be killing as much as 75% by tossing it (yeast) into a must colder than a 10 degree separation.

It's also hard for your yeast to go from a extremely low SG in the slurry and then dump it into a 1100 or greater due to osmotic pressure.

If you do the go-ferm thing,,, after 15 minutes start adding about 1/3 the amount of must to your slurry and stir. Do this several times every 10 or 15 minutes apart until your temps are closer than 10 degrees separation. In doing so you draw the temps together and you gradually raise the SG over time so it's not so much of a shock going from one environment to a totally different one.

zhiv9
02-01-2016, 06:42 PM
Yes. When I rehydrated the 71B, I followed the Go-Ferm instructions precisely, including ensuring there was a less than 10 deg temperature differential as well as acclimatizing. The Scott Labs procedure takes it a step further. You make a weaker 50/50 must/water solution with 10% of your must and then add the remaining must in 30 minute intervals. It also calls for rehydrating the yeast in Go-ferm.

Looking back, my conclusions are that the wild yeast stopped due to high acidity. I made the huge mistake of racking before testing my SG. Once I realized there was a problem and that it was PH, I corrected it. There wasn't sufficient wild yeast left to get started again. I am not entirely sure why the 71B was unable to restart it - perhaps it's just too fussy to be used to restart a stuck fermentation.

I am more familiar with making wine and cider which is significantly less fussy. It is apparent that I need to be more careful when making mead.

Medsen Fey
02-01-2016, 07:00 PM
71B isn't a good yeast for restarts

Mazer828
02-02-2016, 08:55 AM
I must have missed something. I thought you restarted with EC-1118...?

zhiv9
02-02-2016, 01:44 PM
I did and was reflecting on what went wrong and lessons learned.