View Full Version : How do you restart fermentation? Is it worth it?

05-24-2016, 04:58 PM
I've got 2 batches of mead that I intended to use as wedding favors next year (see recipe and process below for more details). It seems that fermentation has stalled out on me. After pitching my yeast in the must, I sealed it and let it sit for 2 weeks. I took a specific gravity reading and it was about half way finished, so I let it sit for another week and took another reading. It barely budged. Being that this is only my 2nd attempt at making mead, I'm not sure how to restart fermentation. I've heard that slow/stalled fermentation can create "off flavors". Will this make the mead undrinkable? I will be introducing a lot of people to mead for the 1st time by giving this out as wedding favors, so I want to give out the best representation I can. Would we be better off throwing out what we have and starting over?

Details of recipe and process:

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 a previous 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.

We did a specific gravity reading on 05/15/16 (2 weeks later). Wedding batch one is 10 P and wedding batch two is at 11 P. With our previous test batch, it was ready to rack at the 2 week mark.

Took another reading on 05/22/16 (1 week later). 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.

05-24-2016, 07:44 PM
So you did not add any more nutrients or stir the must daily to introduce oxygen ? Did you add must to your rehydrated yeast to bring the two closer to the same temp. If you didn't do that then the odds are good you shocked the yeast with the temp difference and killed half or more. Is the batch two 2.5 gallon batch or two 5 gallon batch. Try stirring the yeast to get them suspended in the must and test the ph if you can. Bubbles in the airlock mean nothing take a reading using a hydrometer. That is the only way to really tell what's going on with fermentation. What is the temp of the must? The more info you give the more we can help but mead is resilient and worth the effort. I would more nutrients when stirring and see where that goes. Good luck and keep us posted.

05-24-2016, 11:13 PM
We made two batches, each batch was 5 gallons. No additional nutrients were added. We also did not add must to our rehydrated yeast before pitching. I was following instructions from "The Compleat Meadmaker" in which they never mention any additional stirring or adding nutrients after the 1st day. I'm not sure what the temp is, I'll have to check when I get home, but we keep the house at 70 F. What kind of "off flavors" can we expect? Will it be that bad?

05-25-2016, 05:10 AM
A lot of info in the book is outdated. You can find a lot more updated info and better mead making techniques by just using the search features on the site. We now know a lot more about proper yeast handling and nutrient additions to keep the yeast healthy and happy. As for the off flavors taste the mead. If fusels are present time will usually age them out. Pretty much anything that can happen during the mead making process has happened to someone here so like I said just do a search for any info you need or want. Stir the lees see if you get any yeast action at all but you could repitch yeast and nutrients if necessary. You did not mention the type of water used ( tap water, bottled water,spring water) as the yeast do not like chlorine and other additives in city water supplies.

05-25-2016, 07:32 PM
We just used tap water. Same tap water that we used for a previous test batch. The test batch did really well, but we used GoFerm while re-hydrating the yeast. We're now seeing the benefit of using GoFerm as opposed to not doing so.

05-27-2016, 10:27 AM
Tap water in small batches is not always a problem as you are pitching a large amount of yeast. The same pitch rate in a larger batch will often result in long lag times and yeast that are stressed which produces more fusel alcohol and requires a longer aging time. Have you had any yeast activity since last post?