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Whozat
12-10-2016, 02:09 PM
Hello!

First time post, so excuse my rookie mistakes.

Recipe and procedure followed:
1 gallon water
3.8 lbs of clover honey
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1/2 tsp yeast energizer
1 packet Lalvin ICV D-47 yeast
Must temperature at time of pitch: 68 F
Yeast temperature at time of pitch: 70 F

I heated water on the stove to 102 F and set the honey jars in to make it easier to pour into the must. I then mixed the gallon of water and honey in the fermentation bucket and stirred for 5 minutes to ensure proper consistency and help aerate the must. I then added the nutrient and energizer to the must. I hydrated the yeast per the instructions on the packet and pitched at 70 F. I attempted to read the O.G. and the hydrometer hit the bottom of the bucket. Being the rookie I am, I figured it wasn't that big of a deal (wrong). I sealed up the bucket and set it a closet with digital thermometer next to it to keep track of the room temp of 60-65 F (recommended for this yeast strain to keep between 59 and 68 F).

Troubleshooting:
A few days after I sealed everything in the fermentation bucket, I still didn't see any real activity in the airlock. I could see small carbonation bubbles in the water, but nothing active. Shining a flashlight through the bucket revealed a few bubbles at the top, but only 2-3 bubbles. I decided to open it up and see what was going on inside and I saw a very small stream of carbonation bubbles coming up the center of the must. I figured it was just getting a slow start and decided to leave it sit a little while longer. Now at a week in, I still see no activity in the airlock and decided to intervene. I consulted a fellow home wine maker for suggestions and was advised to add yeast and more nutrient to the must and rack over to my glass carboy rather than the bucket as he believes I probably wasn't getting a proper seal with my bucket. I have just added more yeast and energizer to the must, stirred, and racked over to the glass carboy where I can have a better view of what's going on. I now realized the importance of successfully measuring the O.G. at the start. My bucket was too short for the hydrometer to get a reading initially as it hit the bottom and, being a rookie, I figured it wasn't that big of a deal.. right? Wrong. Seeing as now I have no way of knowing how much (if any) fermentation has occurred. Now that I was in the carboy, I was thinking I could get an accurate reading judging on the height of my hydrometer and the expected specific gravity. The darn thing hit bottom yet again, so I tilted the carboy so that the hydrometer was freely floating and got a reading of 1.055 (which was very surprising to me that it was so low granted how much honey I added in originally..)

Suggestions on what I could have done better this round, or what I could change on my next batch? Obviously get a test tube for the hydrometer to measure in so I'm not struggling to get a proper reading again.. but what else? Was my batch potentially fermenting and I was jumping the gun at intervening?

Thanks!

pwizard
12-10-2016, 03:17 PM
A lack of activity in the airlock means nothing-- those buckets are seldom airtight (which is perfectly fine during primary) and the gas is probably escaping a different way. You definitely have some kind of ferment going on, since 3.8lbs of honey properly dissolved in 1gal water would have an OG way above 1.055 (more like 1.130 or more). Your yeast may have had trouble getting started. Does everything smell ok?

There's a better way to do gravity measurements when fermenting in shallow pails and carboys. Your LHBS probably sells some kind of plastic tube to keep your hydrometer in. I have one of those and I do my gravity measurements in it (I sanitize the tube, fill it with must w/ a wine thief, do my measurement, and then dump it back in the carboy).

Whozat
12-10-2016, 03:46 PM
Everything smells okay. No weird scents or anything. Going back to what you said about the buckets not sealing well, the room I was storing in did smell a bit like bread (I assumed this was indeed a sign of fermentation as well). The tube that my hydrometer came in was plastic and in two pieces, so the height wouldn't be where it needs to be, but I'll have to check it out on my next trip to the store. I will give it a day or two in the new vessel and see what happens, but it sounds as if it was probably doing just fine. I'll use the calculator I just found here on the site and see what the estimated O.G. would have been and then use that as a measure to determine the alcohol percentage. Anyways, thanks!

caduseus
12-10-2016, 05:48 PM
Hello!

First time post, so excuse my rookie mistakes.

Recipe and procedure followed:
1 gallon water
3.8 lbs of clover honey
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1/2 tsp yeast energizer
1 packet Lalvin ICV D-47 yeast
Must temperature at time of pitch: 68 F
Yeast temperature at time of pitch: 70 F

I heated water on the stove to 102 F and set the honey jars in to make it easier to pour into the must. I then mixed the gallon of water and honey in the fermentation bucket and stirred for 5 minutes to ensure proper consistency and help aerate the must. I then added the nutrient and energizer to the must. I hydrated the yeast per the instructions on the packet and pitched at 70 F. I attempted to read the O.G. and the hydrometer hit the bottom of the bucket. Being the rookie I am, I figured it wasn't that big of a deal (wrong). I sealed up the bucket and set it a closet with digital thermometer next to it to keep track of the room temp of 60-65 F (recommended for this yeast strain to keep between 59 and 68 F).

Troubleshooting:
A few days after I sealed everything in the fermentation bucket, I still didn't see any real activity in the airlock. I could see small carbonation bubbles in the water, but nothing active. Shining a flashlight through the bucket revealed a few bubbles at the top, but only 2-3 bubbles. I decided to open it up and see what was going on inside and I saw a very small stream of carbonation bubbles coming up the center of the must. I figured it was just getting a slow start and decided to leave it sit a little while longer. Now at a week in, I still see no activity in the airlock and decided to intervene. I consulted a fellow home wine maker for suggestions and was advised to add yeast and more nutrient to the must and rack over to my glass carboy rather than the bucket as he believes I probably wasn't getting a proper seal with my bucket. I have just added more yeast and energizer to the must, stirred, and racked over to the glass carboy where I can have a better view of what's going on. I now realized the importance of successfully measuring the O.G. at the start. My bucket was too short for the hydrometer to get a reading initially as it hit the bottom and, being a rookie, I figured it wasn't that big of a deal.. right? Wrong. Seeing as now I have no way of knowing how much (if any) fermentation has occurred. Now that I was in the carboy, I was thinking I could get an accurate reading judging on the height of my hydrometer and the expected specific gravity. The darn thing hit bottom yet again, so I tilted the carboy so that the hydrometer was freely floating and got a reading of 1.055 (which was very surprising to me that it was so low granted how much honey I added in originally..)

Suggestions on what I could have done better this round, or what I could change on my next batch? Obviously get a test tube for the hydrometer to measure in so I'm not struggling to get a proper reading again.. but what else? Was my batch potentially fermenting and I was jumping the gun at intervening?

Thanks!

1) Hydrometer, hydrometer, hydrometer! I would not do any future batches of mead, other than JAOM, until you are willing to get and use a hydrometer. Bubble activity means nothing. Hydrometer readings do.
2) while yeast energizer is "adequate", I would get fermaid-o or fermaid-k in the future.

Whozat
12-11-2016, 01:10 AM
Thanks for the feedback and suggestion Caduseus. Yes, Like I mentioned I realized that my mistake of not using my hydrometer properly was my first and biggest mistake. As for the Fermaid, I will give it a shot after my current nutrient/energizer stock runs out. I like what I read about it. Thanks again!