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Brewbear
07-13-2005, 11:30 AM
Day 4 and I have no ativity in the airlock :'(
The Peachy/Apricot was doing OK last night, this motning it is quiet. Ambiant temp. is 72 deg.F, pH is between 3.o and 3.5 - I used the paper strips. I will add calcium carbonate and see if that fixes the problem.
Added 2 teaspoons calcium carbonate, mixed thoroughly, pH at 3.5 . Added 2 more tsp carbonate and mixed, pH at 4.5 .
Let's see if that will do the trick. If not, I'll pitch another pack of D47 and wait untill tomorrow. If the suckers are stubborn, I'll pitch 2 packs of K1-V1116 to get them going. I know it will ferment it dry, but it is better to have a dry batch you can backsweeten than no batch at all.

Any help is greatly appreciated,
Ted

Oskaar
07-13-2005, 12:59 PM
Hmmm,

What's the current gravity and how does the must smell and taste? Is it skunky, rotten egg like, etc.?

Also you have plenty of K-carbonate and Yeastex in there too. It sounds like things slowed down when you added the Yeastex, is that correct.

Let us know.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Norskersword
07-13-2005, 01:09 PM
What was your recipe, Brewbear?

It's also a possibility that you didn't add enough nutrients.

Dan McFeeley
07-13-2005, 04:44 PM
Hello all --

Brewbear's recipe for Peachy/Apricot, along with gravity readings, is right here:

http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,1378.new.html#new

Norskersword
07-13-2005, 09:01 PM
Thanks Dan!

Yep, that's it. Brewbear you held back on the nutrient too much. Add 5 grams of Fermaid K or, if you don't have it, another 3 tsp of nutrient and some energiser.

Get the Fermaid K if you can. It is wonderful stuff. The end product will come out much much better.

Oskaar
07-13-2005, 09:38 PM
I don't think the problem is a lack of nutrient, he has a total of 4 tsp of DAP and 2 tsp of Yeastex, plus the fruit so there's plenty of nutrient there.

I think that when he spiked the rehydrated yeast with the apple juice it actually slowed them down a bit. It may seem foamy and lively, but foaminess is not necessarily an indicator of yeast virluance.

Also the OG is going to leave it on the dry side anyway with D-47, so it wouldn hurt to add another pound or two of honey.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Brewbear
07-14-2005, 12:20 AM
Measures taken so far:
Rehydrated two more packs of D47 with 100 mlwater and 50 mls apple juice ( sorry Oskaar, your post was way too late :'()
Pitched yeast, capped with lid and airlock, went to work, kept thinking about my mead.
Got back at 8:20 pm, checked the airlock, greeted mom, pet Cheyenne, washed hands, checked airlock again. Nothing, nada, zilch, zip...no action. Read posts, ( thank you all), dissolved 1 lb honey in 1 quart water, added it to the bucket, stirred, stirred, put lid and airlock.
The back-up plan: rehydrate two packs K1-V1116 in 100 ml. water and two tablespoons of turbinado cane sugar (sugar in the raw) tonight, pitch in the morning if there is no airlock activity. If there is some activity, get 2 more pounds of honey, dissolve in 1 quart of water and add it to the bucket, pray really hard, cover and airlock. I can use the K1 starter this week-end.

Now the readings I got: SG = 0.996, adjusted for the temperature-> SG = 0.999 before adding the extra honey. After the addition, SG = 1.009 (including temp. adjustement). The measurements are the best I could read considering the fruit plup in the must.
There is no foul odor, the must is slightly sour but not vinegary

Brewbear
07-14-2005, 12:46 AM
I should have looked :-\
I rehydrated my last two packs of K1-V in 100 ml water, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon each nutrient and DAP ( no Go-Ferm or Fermaid on hand)
Took a look at the airlock on the troubled batch and......2 bilps/second ;D
Will see again in the morning,
Ted

byathread
07-14-2005, 01:06 PM
Now the readings I got: SG = 0.996, adjusted for the temperature-> SG = 0.999 before adding the extra honey. After the addition, SG = 1.009 (including temp. adjustement). The measurements are the best I could read considering the fruit plup in the must.
There is no foul odor, the must is slightly sour but not vinegary


Soooo, the ferment didn't stick, it simply fermented to completion in 4 days!? I suppose with the nutrient and fruit juice and a modest OG, this is what happened.

Oskaar
07-14-2005, 01:28 PM
Looks like it to me. That OG was pretty low so I'm not surprised with the added nutrients and agitation that it went quickly, but 4 days is pretty darn quick. OG 1.109 and SG before adding more honey .999 so it may have been done. Sounds like the additional honey will feed it to dryness again since D-47 can be fed up to 16 - 18%.

Gonna have some hi-powered hooch there BB! ;)

Cheers,

Oskaar

Brewbear
07-14-2005, 11:45 PM
Well,
Still going at two blips/sec. but the strawberry batch stopped :-\ I believe I should have added more honey from the start.
Back to the store, get more honey.....

To be continued...
Ted

Oskaar
07-15-2005, 01:45 AM
Yup BB,

I really feel like people don't pay enough attention to the starting brix/OG of their must, and aren't aware of the characteristics of their yeasts at innoculation. This leads to lammentations and gnashing of teeth when the meads turn out overly dry or overly sweet, or the primary just stalls out.

Anyhow, keep us in the loop of what is going on with your batch, we'll help wherever you can.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Brewbear
07-15-2005, 02:08 AM
Lesson Learned :'(
I guess one needs an incident like this to learn a valuable lesson, one not soon to be forgotten.
It was shocking to see fermentation stop after four days. I was surprised and thought of it stalling, never entered my mind that the yeasties were so hungry they'd eat up all the sugar in such a short time.
I will check gravity again tomorrow, also check how it tastes, I'm not expecting miracles.I started both batches with 12 lb honey each, but I think an additional 2 lbs per batch will do them good. I think that with the additional honey they will finish semi-sweet and pack a punch. I will let them age on lees for at least 3 months and then we will see....

To be continued....
Ted

davarm
07-15-2005, 08:14 AM
Yup BB,

I really feel like people don't pay enough attention to the starting brix/OG of their must, and aren't aware of the characteristics of their yeasts at innoculation. This leads to lammentations and gnashing of teeth when the meads turn out overly dry or overly sweet, or the primary just stalls out.



That leads me to another question, which I've been thinking about the past few days. I know the rule of thumb for an OG is typically no more than 1.14, but can this be pushed higher, especially when using active yeasts like 1116 or 1118? Suppose I wanted a semi-sweet mead with higher alcohol than 14%? Assuming 1116 or 1118 go to 20%, I would still be pretty dry with an OG of 1.14. To end up with a final gravity of 1.01 to 1.02, I would require an OG of 1.17 or so (assuming I did my math right).

I realize I could also add sugar later in the process to boost the alcohol level, but I'm just wondering if I can get the desired results with one step.

Oskaar
07-15-2005, 11:07 AM
Hey Davarm,

Great question!

K1V and EC are pretty aggressive yeasts! I've pitched K1V into batch of must sitting at 35o brix and it chewed right through it and left me with a very nice semi-sweet mead.

When you're pitching into a high gravity must it's important to check your yeast's nutritional needs as well as the alcohol tolerance and mix up your must accordingly. If called for by the manufacturer it is also important to use a rehydration nutrient like Go-Ferm or whatever the yeast producer calls for. In some cases you'll need to make a starter for high gravity musts.

General rule of thumb that I use is if the must is under 26o brix I use one five gram packet of yeast, if it is over 26o I use two packets. I use Go Ferm or Dynastart where recommended and then supplement as recommended using DAP, oxygenation and Fermaid K. I also stole some ideas from wine producers who have large fermentation vessels.

A lot of them use the manway (little door in the side of the fermentation vessel) to add their yeast as the vessel is being filled. This gives the yeast a head start on any naturally occuring flora/microbes already in the must, and also oxygenates the heck out of the yeasties. So what I've been doing is getting about an inch of must in the bottom of my carboy and adding the yeast inoculum at that point. I'm mimicing on a small scale what they are doing on a very large scale.

I'm also adding a bit of tannin up front to a lot of my meads which helps structure the mead from the start, and aids in clarification. Joe Mattioli is a proponent of adding tannin up front and has had great results with it, and I like the results as well. Tannin also helps to soften astringency or bitterness, increase middle palate sructure and stabilize color.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

davarm
07-15-2005, 02:29 PM
That helps a lot Oskaar, as always!

According to the mead calculator (a great tool that still blows me away!), 35 brix equates to an OG of just over 1.15, which can be attained with 4.168 lbs. of honey, and resulting in just over 20% ABV. If this gives me a semi-sweet, I'm there!

One more question: Right now I'm doing mostly 1 gallon batches. Would you still recommend 2 packs of yeast using the conditions above?

Oskaar
07-15-2005, 03:19 PM
In the case of a one gallon batch one 5 gram package should be fine. If you are going high gravity then be sure to read up on the K1V-1116 (which I prefer over EC-1118) strain and find out what Lallemand recommends for rehydration and nutrient needs. K1V is a pretty tough hombre though so I imagine it's pretty tolerant of heat, low nutrient and doesn't produce an awful lot of H2S and SO2 during fermentation.

If you can get your hands on some DV10 that would be the one I would use. Clean fermenter, moderate foamer and doesn't influence the flavor like EC-1118, also great for high powered cider.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Brewbear
07-15-2005, 09:05 PM
Hi all,
Last night the strawberry stopped the bubbling.....Oh, nuts!!!
This morning I made the loooong drive to Miller Honey company where I latched on 6 1.5 lb jars of clover honey at $1.50 each ;D and one gallon of buckwheat at $18.
Got home, made must and added 2 lb honey to the strawberry and one pound to the peach. I'm happy to report they are happely bubbling away. Tonight I will add two teaspoons tannin to each and hope for the best. I will check the SG and pH tonight before I add the tannin.
On a different note, I will start a new batch of Ancient orange to tie me over....
Davarm, good questions and great replies from Prof. Oskaar ;)
Karl at B3 mentioned Oskaar's request for DV10 and I quickly replied that I would buy some when he gets it. He is ordering 1/2 a brick, however much that is :-\

Be back later,
Ted

Wolfie
09-14-2005, 11:29 PM
;D

same thing happened to me on my second mead.
First one went for 12 weeks, and because I didnt know any better I stopped it prematurly.
My second one with basswood and strawberries finished in a week! I was certain I'd killed it 'till I checked my gravity.
Sometimes fruit will realy hyper activate yeast, I find mel's ferment alot faster for me than my streight meads.

Norskersword
09-15-2005, 12:11 AM
12 weeks? Are you sure you don't mean 12 days? :D

If you added the proper nutrient requirments, it should usually finish in a week or less. You mentioned in another post you don't always use nutrient, right? The fruit had some nutrient that yeast like which made it ferment faster.

In my experience, not adding nutrient, or even not adding the right nutrient, always results in a harsh mead that takes a very very long time to age out.

Wolfie
09-18-2005, 10:54 PM
yep first ever recipe called for a 12 week fermentation...
or was it 10... either way it fermentd HARD the whole time, constantly throwing hney out of the airlock.

and yes, it did take a quite a time to age, but at nine months it is beutifull.