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Ghost99
01-03-2016, 01:48 PM
Hi Guys,

This is our 3rd batch, and I fear we may have a really slow or even stuck fermentation. Our plan is to add 2 lbs of organic blackberries to the following:

-about 5.5lbs of Borage Honey
-Spring water up to 9.5 litres
-5 grams Lalvin 71b-1122
-1.6 teaspoons go-ferm
-1 1/2 teaspoons Fermaid

-Initial gravity 1.088 on December 12,2015.

We aerated vigorously for about 3 days (twice per day) and things seemed to be doing ok.

After checking today on the 3rd of January however, the gravity is only down to 1.042 and the taste is still basically just honey water. I've been checking it periodically through this time and despite minimal to no activity in the airlock, the must's surface has been bubbling and there's an audible 'snap crackle pop' when putting my head close to the primary.

Does this seem pretty slow? Should we take action?

Thanks!

pwizard
01-03-2016, 02:12 PM
The airlock alone isn't a good way to check on progress. It may be your vessel isn't airtight and gas could be escaping another way.

Any bad odors? That is a telltale sign of stressed-out yeast.

Have you been step-feeding? If you haven't there probably isn't much nutrient left in there by now. It sounds like your ferment is still going, albeit very slowly. What kind of temperature are you fermenting at?

Ghost99
01-03-2016, 02:59 PM
I haven't been step feeding and haven't done so on my previous two batches (although I'd love to know more about it). This may be the problem. No bad odors, in fact it smells great!
The temperature of our apartment is on average about 66F.
Any recommendations?

brentG
01-03-2016, 03:09 PM
You should feed it (I use DAP and Fermaid K)
The idea is to give it energizer and nutrients once you hear the fizzing/see the bubbles. This is the end of the lag phase. After that you'll want to feed the yeast at the 1/3 and 2/3 sugar breaks. That way they have food and stay happy.

brentG
01-03-2016, 03:10 PM
You'll also want to take a gravity reading every day for 5 days. That way you'll know if it stalled or if it's really slow.

Stasis
01-03-2016, 05:12 PM
I wouldn't feed ar the 2/3 sugar break since yeast may not be able to use the nutrients. For a 12% alc batch the 2/3 batch break would have 8% alc, at which point very little, if any, nutrients are used. It seems feeding this late has negative impacts on your yeast while leaving leftover nutrients for spoilage organisms. The very latest addition should be the 1/2 sugar break IMO, and even then I'd only do it in very particular circumstances, ideally with organic nitrogen rather than DAP. Lallemand recommend feeding up until the 1/3 sugar break.

fatbloke
01-03-2016, 05:23 PM
You could use FermaidO if you can find it, or just take a couple of teaspoons of bread yeast, then mix it with some water, then microwave it to kill the yeast.

Once it's cooled back down, stir it in and aerate the hell out of it.

Squatchy
01-03-2016, 11:04 PM
I agree. Don't add DAP. Boil some bread yeast. 2-3 packs. Pour boiling water on it, add when it's lukewarm.

You might also want to go to your LHBS and buy some pH strips and check the Ph. They aren't great but will give you a better idea than none at all.

If you think your Ph is lower than 3.2 or so you may want to add some K2CO3 to bring it back into range.

brentG
01-04-2016, 01:17 AM
That's why I love this place. I learn so much every time.

Squatchy
01-04-2016, 01:51 AM
Yeast get to a place right around 9% where they can no longer assimilate DAP. The hulls do several things. Absorb toxins/smells, Become nucleation points. The yeast attach to it and ride the elevator up and down. This help to clear the wine better latter on. Lastly the alive yeast will eat if for nitrogen.

I'm not positive about this but I believe the rest will fall out of suspension..

Actually I add some up front in everything I make for the very same reasons.

Ghost99
01-05-2016, 11:22 AM
Ok, so I hastily stirred in a teaspoon of Fermaid-K before reading Squatchy's comments.
Hopefully this hasn't doomed the batch! I'll continue to monitor it for another couple weeks and add in the bread yeast if I don't see any improvement.
Thanks!

Squatchy
01-05-2016, 12:02 PM
Ok, so I hastily stirred in a teaspoon of Fermaid-K before reading Squatchy's comments.
Hopefully this hasn't doomed the batch! I'll continue to monitor it for another couple weeks and add in the bread yeast if I don't see any improvement.
Thanks!

The DAP is what you can't use past 9%ABV. The fermaid-K is ok. Try holding off on any more additions except for the yeast hulls

Stasis
01-05-2016, 12:40 PM
The DAP is what you can't use past 9%ABV. The fermaid-K is ok. Try holding off on any more additions except for the yeast hulls

Fermaid-k contains Dap so that portion of the formula at least won't be very effective. I wonder how much dap it actually contains..

Squatchy
01-05-2016, 12:42 PM
I don't think it has very much in it. Don't know for sure. I think the tiny bit in his dose won't be perceptible

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G870A using Tapatalk

Ghost99
01-09-2016, 10:07 PM
Squatchy recommended using Potassium Carbonate to raise the pH levels should they drop too low, but my local home brew shop only carries Calcium Carbonate (chalk) and they seemed to think this would have the same effect. Would this be ok to render the same effect as K2C03?