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khaleesi
05-15-2016, 07:34 PM
My fiancÚ and I are making our 2nd batch of mead ever. 1st 5 gallon test batch seems to have gone well (12.5lbs of honey, 4 gallons of water, D-47 yeast, 2 tsp of ferment K, 2 tsp DAP). So we decided to move on to our 2nd batch of two 5 gallon batches we intend to use as our wedding favors. On May 1st we mixed 2 batches of ~13.14 lbs of honey with 4 gallons of water. Added 2 tsp of Ferment K and 2 tsp of DAP to each batch. We rehydrated our 4 packets Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast by sprinkling it in 105 degree water, let it sit for 15 mins, gave it a gentle stir and then pitched it into the must which was at ~72 degrees. We mixed the mead for for 5 mins and took a specific gravity reading. Wedding batch 1 was around 25.25 P, and Wedding batch 2 came out around 25 P. We put our air locks on, and put them away for 2 weeks. We noticed less of a fermentation smell than with the 1st test batch, which seems weird since this round had twice the amount of mead. But the water in the air locks did get pushed to one side. Not a lot of bubbles in the air lock, but that happened with our 1st batch too, seems there's not the greatest seal with our primary fermentation buckets.

Two weeks to the day we did a specific gravity reading. Wedding batch one is 10 P and wedding batch two is at 11 P. With our 1st test batch, it was ready to rack at the 2 week mark.

Did our fermentation stall out?

If so, what can you recommend to restart fermentation?

zpeckler
05-15-2016, 10:22 PM
It may not be that the fermentation is stalled, it may just be that it's going slowly. You'll need to recheck the gravity in 5-10 days and see if there's been any further gravity drop before you can say that it's stalled. Trust the gravity readings; don't hang your hat on subjective things like the fermentation smell or airlock bubbling. Hang in there, don't panic just yet.

There are a couple things you can do to improve your next batch:

1. What was the temperature of the rehydrated yeast when you pitched it? If there's a difference of more than 10F between the temp of the yeast and the must it can thermally shock the yeast, and kill off a huge proportion of them. This could be responsible for your slow or stalled ferment. What you should do next time is "temper" the rehydration solution. To do this you must equaling half the volume of rehydration solution and wait another 15min. If the temp is within the 10F window, pitch. If not, repeat until you're within the window. For example: Rehydration solution volume is 100mL, temper with 50mL must, and then repeat with an additional 50mL if needed. To increase your yeast health even more, use GoFerm when you rehydrate. It's a specifically designed nutrient for rehydration. (Note: Do NOT use Fermaid-K or DAP in it's place.)

2. Look up the TOSNA protocol using a nutrient called Fermaid-O. You can find instructions at Mead Made Right. (http://www.meadmaderight.com/) By staggering your nutrient additions instead of adding them all at once in the beginning helps even out the rate of fermentation, which results in improved flavor development as well as other various advantages. More and more meadmakers are using Fermaid-O as their nutrient source instead of Fermaid-K/DAP, with improved results.

khaleesi
05-15-2016, 10:56 PM
Thank you for that information. I forgot to say that in our test batch, we used GoFerm when rehydrating the yeast. Our local brew store recommended it, along with a staggered regimen of adding nutrients. This confused us because I read The Compleat Meadmaker never mentioned GoFerm or this staggered nutrient regimen. I did some searching here on GotMead, and everyone was wishy washy on whether or not to use GoFerm. It seemed some use it, and some don't and some noticed a difference when they did, and some didn't notice much of a difference. So we tried out the GoFerm but didn't do the staggered nutrient regimen with the test batch. Then we were confused with all the differing information, that we opted to just follow The Compleat Meadmaker's method and keep things simple with the wedding favor double batch that we just did. This information was a lot more clear than anything I was able to find.

Squatchy
05-16-2016, 09:12 AM
I'm wondering if perhaps you killed off a lot of your yeast at pitch. You mentioned you rehydrated you yeast at 104 (perfect by the way) and then that you pitched 15 minutes latter into 72 degrees must. If your yeast slurry is not within 10 degrees of your must temps you can kill off as much as 60% of your yeast and leave the others severely wounded. The remaining yeast are called petite mutants. My understanding is they are much smaller, not very strong, cannot bud near as many times as normal and will struggle to finish your attenuation.

Look here to restart. Goferm is priceless in the rehydration protocol. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-TC4BRdbOg

And most of us these days do a staggered feeding schedule

khaleesi
05-23-2016, 10:44 AM
Took another reading yesterday (05/22/16). Wedding favor batch 1 is now at 8.5 P and batch 2 is at 10 P. All the foam has disappeared and the fermentation smell is completely gone. If fermentation has stalled, what can we do to restart it. Should we restart it? I've heard it will create off flavors. How bad will it make the mead taste? We're considering just restarting because I'd hate to introduce a lot of new people to mead with a terrible tasting mead.

Squatchy
05-31-2016, 11:06 AM
Hi

I would suggest buying some K2CO3 and add it appropriately

You may have stalled because your pH dropped to low. It could be a cheap and easy fix. If that's not the problem the addition will not have hurt anything.

If you follow the link I sent you to restart your batch I wouldn't expect any off flavors��