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bilbo
05-22-2016, 08:58 PM
Started 2 batches yesterday that are non responsive.

the two that are not going are as follows:

1 gallon batch,

5 lbs clover honey
handful of mint
4 lemons skinned and ground up
1/4 tsp fermax
1/4 pectic enzyme
1 package of calvin 1118
and water to make a one gallon batch


2nd batch

2.5 lbs peaches skinned and ground up
1/2 oz mashed ginger root
5lbs wildflower honey
1/4 pectic
1/4 fermax
1 package of calvin d47
and purified water to make a one gallon batch

24 hrs later I have no bubbles via the airlocks,

re added the same yeast quantities today and 1/2tsp of nutrient at the same time I pitched another batch that has take off on fermentation.

any advice?

Squatchy
05-22-2016, 10:10 PM
You've done so many things wrong it's hard to say really which one has caused the most damage. Where in world did you come up with these recipes?

Your last line is hard to understand.

So first off do you own a thermometer and a hydrometer? Do you know what a hydrometer is and how to use it? If so go measure your gravity. You have added so much honey I doubt any yeast could get off to a start with that much osmotic pressure. That plus the added lemons has messed up your pH so bad it's probably too toxic to have a shot at life.

Did you just pitch your dry yeast on top of your must?

We can help maybe. If you haven't messed things up so bad.

Please tell us your process.

Welcome to the forum by the way :)

bilbo
05-22-2016, 11:29 PM
All is well now, got everything bubbling away. Looks as though all my many errors as stated above are not as plentiful as thought...but thanks for the input.

Farmboyc
05-23-2016, 12:13 AM
All is well now, got everything bubbling away. Looks as though all my many errors as stated above are not as plentiful as thought...but thanks for the input.
Wow you got 5lbs per gallon bubbling. That is impressive.

Better feed the yeast well or you probably won't be pleased with the results.

Squatchy
05-23-2016, 09:22 AM
All is well now, got everything bubbling away. Looks as though all my many errors as stated above are not as plentiful as thought...but thanks for the input.

Hi Bilbo

After reading my post to you this morning I can imagine I came across as an ass. I'm sorry if I did, I meant well for sure. You have found the very best forum on the web for making mead. We are here to help you.

I'm really surprised you yeast we able to get going with such a high gravity. I have never heard of anyone starting this high and having success. The added honey in the must adds pressure to the yeast. The more honey (higher gravity) the more pressure (osmotic pressure). Think about diving in a 6' pool to the bottom. Now dive 200' down to the bottom of a lake. Huge difference. I personally start at 1120. If I want a higher ABV or a sweeter finish than that I would need more honey. So as not to start out with a "too high" gravity I get it started, let the yeast eat until the gravity is lowered enough that I can now add the remainder of my desired gravity points and not harm the yeast.

Next:

It's not good to just toss your dry yeast on top of your must for many reasons. People do it but it's not really that good. To my knowledge there are 2 yeast that handle that much better than everything else. That is K1V and EC-1118. You will find these in wine kits because they are very hearty and can withstand the dry pitching process. Literature would suggest around 60% of your yeast die when dry pitching. I'm really surprised you got your started. Especially the D-47. That is a great yeast by the way for traditional and lightly spiced meads.

When you start out with a small army, and many, or most of them are wounded you have a huge chance to have a stalled ferment. Meaning they will not finish the job before giving up. I suspect you will find this to be true. :)

pH control is also very important to monitor and understand. If your pH goes lower than around 3-3.2. it is too toxic of an environment and the yeast cannot go to work. Because of this it is highly recommended to not add any acids (lemon) in your must up front. But rather wait until your fermentation is complete and then make acidity adjustments if need be. Most of the time you will be fine as is. The pH will drop on it's own once fermentation begins. Sometimes as much a .5. I have heard from some who monitor these things to have almost a whole point swing. Remember ,,, go below 3.2 or such and you will stall out. You may find this the case with the added lemon in a must that began right at the border line to begin with.

There is almost zero nutrition for the yeast in a honey must. Therefore we feed them. To do this right , we calculate how much food they will need. We determine how much food we will need to feed them over the course of the fermentation and then divide the feeds up on a specific schedule. Think eating breakfast before you go run a marathon. Now, think of having breakfast, start running, and along the way eat small amounts every so many miles. Very few people just feed a single dose up front. There are different things in different types of food. Some are not good (DAP) to be feed to your yeast after the first (breakfast) feeding.

Your food does not list it's ingredients nor the amounts. You can't "count calories" so to speak when you know nothing about your food. Most of us feed to our yeast an exact amount of (YAN) yeast assimilated nitrogen. And, we feed it on a schedule so the yeast have some through the entire marathon. Those generic food additions do not list ppm of YAN so you do not know what value to add to your feeding protocol.

Temperature is very important along the entire process. Starting when you first rehydrate your yeast all the way through to the end and beyond. Too low and your yeast will struggle to keep going. Too warm and they will make off flavors that can take a year or more to go away in the aging process.

If your "purified water" was distilled, your used water with zero nutrients and trace elements. But even way worse, zero dissolved oxygen. Yeast need huge amount of dissolved oxygen, (Between 12-15 ppm) to start of the journey. Without that they don't get the chance to make a nice suit of amour and will struggle at the end of fermentation when the ABF% becomes too high and will crap out sooner, and/or create off flavors (fussels).

You have way more honey/sugar in your batch than the yeast can assimilate. Even if you were to manage all of the above in good fashion. Your yeast could never chew on the honey enough to get to the levels that will be desirable to drink. As the alcohol levels rise from eating the honey, eventually you will reach a tolerance level where the yeast will give up the ghost and die from alcohol toxicity. You will be left with something so sweet you will not want to drink it. Read syrup in this case.

This is why I asked for you to tell us your protocol. There are many things needed to make a successful mead. More than the brief overview I provided above. Miss any one of several, and you will pay the price. Include, and manage them all, and you will have a very good chance of making something to be proud of and enjoy in a matter of a few months.

I hope you appreciate the time it took for me to type this, and the time it took to learn these things. I would have been more specific to try and help you. Specifically, with your recipes had you come back and listed your protocol. I wasn't trying to be an ass.

You are lucky to even see any proof in your vessels. Even though you have some bubbles (which really isn't a good indication of what's really going on) I am afraid these will be very difficult batches. Two good things will/can come from it. You will learn tons of what not to do. And mead is very resilient. A mantra around here is to never throw anything away. It seems as though time in a glass carboy, tucked away somewhere for many months can make seemingly undrinkable things into tolerable or hopefully even better.

Stick around here and learn. Ask questions. And most importantly have fun :)

Good luck

Ryan

bilbo
05-23-2016, 09:40 AM
ya man no worries. as far as yeast i just did the standard(ish) of adding the yeast packet to 107 degree water and left for 15 minutes then stirred it, added it to the room temp (68) degree must and added nutrient. sure took its sweet time to lite off, and especially the lemon batch, which in hind site ill add the lemons after fermentation next time. I un capped the bottles a few times and shook them around pretty well to get some fresh air in it. thats about it.

Squatchy
05-23-2016, 10:10 AM
ya man no worries. as far as yeast i just did the standard(ish) of adding the yeast packet to 107 degree water and left for 15 minutes then stirred it, added it to the room temp (68) degree must and added nutrient. sure took its sweet time to lite off, and especially the lemon batch, which in hind site ill add the lemons after fermentation next time. I un capped the bottles a few times and shook them around pretty well to get some fresh air in it. thats about it.

So for future batches this will help.

You did well to rehydrate with warm water, 104 is ideal. You also did well to not let them starve before inoculation. It's recommended by the suit-coats at the lab, to never toss your yeast slurry into a must that's not within 10 degrees of your yeast slurry temps. If it's too far outside it's range, they yeast will suffer temperature shock and much/most will die right from the start. What will work better (this is what I do) next time is this; When your about 15-20 minutes post rehydration, rather than just tossing the yeast in your must, remove some must from your vessel and add it to the slurry. Only add about one quarter of the volume of your slurry. This does two things. It begins to bring the temperatures closer to the same but in a gradual way. It will also allow the yeast to start to get used to the gravity/pH/acidity of the must in a slow fashion. Now they have some food so there is no hurry to get your slurry into your must.

Over a period of time you can continue to add more must to the slurry. Eventually the slurry will match the temps of the must and you got there without shocking the yeast. AT the same time they have now had a taste of their new home. This will be much more comfortable for them to be tossed into the must. Once you inoculate your must, make sure to stir the vessel so as to disperse the yeast throughout the vessel.

bilbo
05-24-2016, 09:15 AM
Sounds good I will do this next time with out hesitation.

Tomegun32
08-15-2016, 10:35 AM
This is a great post with tons of information. Thank you! I'm about to start my first batch. One question I have is in regards to the YAN schedule and amount during the fermentation you use. Can you shed some light on this please? Also, is this in addition to the energizer and nutrient added in the beginning?