View Full Version : No fermentation in 36 hours / suggestions please

11-18-2004, 09:12 PM
i pitched 2 packets after it sat for 24 hours. i rehydrated as lalvin said to on thier web site. nothing, so i pitched a third packet after starting it with some sugar and a shot glass of the must. the third starter was bubbling and i pitched that 12 hours ago. now its been 36 hours and still no activity. any suggestions before i lose my ingredients?

starting sg was 1.160, temp was stable at 71 degrees.

12 lbs black currant (vintner's harvest)
15 lbs flower honey
1 qt red grape concentrate
34 pnts water or to 6 gals
3 tsp pectic enzyme
2 tsp nutrient
2 tsp energizer
6 tsp potassium metabisulfite
2 yeast ICV D-47
acid blend @ end if needed

thanks for any help

11-18-2004, 09:37 PM
1) Make sure your fermenter is sealed well - that your airlock fits snugly and that the lid/stopper is seated properly. Any leaks and you'll get zero airlock activity even though it is fermenting.

2) Shake/swirl it around a bit. Gently, of course. I find that usually gets a sluggish start going.

11-18-2004, 09:55 PM
the must is in a 7 gal primary pail with no airlock, i was to move it to a glass carboy after the first five days of heavy fermentation.

i stirred it vigorously before i pitched and again medium a few hours ago.

still nothing?

11-18-2004, 10:03 PM
Ummmmm, since I don't use the chemicals I am a little weak on the point... but can you sulfite the must and still get it to ferment?

Idaho lists metabisulfite as one of the ingredients...

11-18-2004, 10:09 PM
i got the below info from leeners and decided to go with the pota meta, i believe i read n here (joe?) uses it also when needed.

For sulfite additions to wine, 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons gives 50 PPM. Dissolve in a small amount of cold water then stir into wine thoroughly. To make a 25% cleaning solution, dissolve 8 teaspoons into 1 gallon of cold water. Hazard classification is Irritant and will provoke allergic reaction in hypersensitive individuals. Individuals with asthma or emphysema should not breathe the dust or sulfur dioxide gas from the prepared solution.

Sodium Metabisulphite tables used to suppress unwanted bacteria and wild yeast prior to fermentation and to stabilize wine during racking. Each pre-measued tablet equals 1/3 oz (10 gr). For every gallon of wine completely crush one or two tablets. Dissolve in a small amount of cold water then stir into wine thoroughly. This sodium source of metabisulfite is not recommended because of possible flavor changes in wine. The US government currently bans the use of sodium metabisulfite in all wines made in or imported into the country due to health concerns over sodium in wine. A much better choice would be potassium metabisulfite.

11-18-2004, 10:17 PM
by the way, i have to go it to town today and i wondered if i should get some lalvin 1116 or 1118. would i use either to get this batch going?

i have about a hundred and twenty bucks of killer fruit and honey in this batch of syrup and would hate to toss it all away!!

11-18-2004, 10:31 PM
by the way, i have to go it to town today and i wondered if i should get some lalvin 1116 or 1118. would i use either to get this batch going?

It probably wouldn't hurt to pick up a couple of packets of either of these as they can be very good for starting stuck fermentations. I don't know that they'll be able to help much though.

According to Leeners,
Sulfites work by releasing free sulfur dioxide, which inhibits yeast, mould and bacteria. It does this in two ways: one, it kills some of the organisms outright, and two, it blocks the surviving organisms ability to reproduce. If your winemaking equipment is physically clean and you've rinsed it with a sulfite solution, nothing will grow on it.

I'm pretty sure that the last thing you want at this point is yeast inhibition. As I understand it, the sulfites (in this case, K metabisulfite) aren't supposed to be added until the fermentation is done. IIRC, Sulfites inhibit fermentation, but *may* make the liquid susceptible to other bacteria. Sorbates fight the other bacteria which is why many people will add sorbate and sulfite simultaneously. Sulfites are generally used at the end to prevent bottle bombs (especially when the final product needs to be sweetened before bottling).

i have about a hundred and twenty bucks of killer fruit and honey in this batch of syrup and would hate to toss it all away!!

I feel your pain. I hope that you don't lose it all. In the future, you might go with somewhat smaller batches until you know that the recipe works so that you can cut your losses a little easier.

11-18-2004, 10:43 PM
wow! now i'm really confused, every recipe i have calls for the sulfates to be added to the must at preparation, usually in the form of one campdom tab per gallon and one more at every racking.

i used a small solution of the potassium metabisulfite because it was to be better as per leeners.

i also thought this was one of the reasons you let it sit for 24 hours before adding the yeast, that and for temps to stabilize?

what a stinking bummer!!

11-18-2004, 11:10 PM
Ok Idaho,
Hope you got my instant messages. It is okay and an accepted procedure especially when adding fruit to the primary to add Campden tablets. It is used to disinfect the Must especially when there is fruit. It is a method published in Ken's book and is ok. I personally do not use that method but it is acceptable. It is used widely in winemaking. The problems appears from your recipe that you added too much and with a high gravity must fermentation will not start. The solution is to aerate well by pouring back and forth til the free SO2 is dissippated. You won't ruin the must. With all that potassium metabisufite, you don't have to worry about bacteria or oxidation at this point. In a couple days you can repitch and all will be fine. If it is 6 t you used as listed in your recipe, then a lesson is learned and it is salvageable.

11-18-2004, 11:13 PM
Modern wine yeasts have been selected to be less affected by sulfites than the rest of the nasties. So you really haven't necessarily done any damage to the yeast you pitched.

That said, I've never used them in mead. Sanitize your equipment well, primary ferment in a bucket with a lid, add fruit in the secondary, and you should have no problems.

How do you know it's not fermenting if you've got no airlock attached?

And now.... DON'T PANIC.

I've had meads take 2-3 days to start, especially in the winter when it's cool. No ill effects. It'll go. It probably already is. You may want to have some EC-1118 on hand just in case, but I certainly wouldn't pitch it today.

11-18-2004, 11:15 PM
Hey Idaho,

The six teaspoons of metabisulfite seems like an awful high amount to put into your must. You really need to check your instructions from leeners, and match your package information with their product number to ensure you are not over metabisulphiting. Generally one campden tablet per one gallon is the standard, but, one campden tablet generally works out to much less than a teaspoon per gallon.

I'd suggest checking out your sulphite level.


Here is says one teaspoon per 5 gallons gives you a 50 ppm concentration which is about right if you're going to sulfite. I generally don't sulfite.



11-18-2004, 11:27 PM
One teaspoon of potassium metabisufite is 6.2g
one Campden Tablet is .55g
Big difference and thats a fact
D47 will not start with that SO2 level
recipe should have read 6 Campden tablets or 1 t at most
Aeration will decrease the level of free SO2. That is the only logical alternative to get it restarted.

11-19-2004, 01:23 AM
Oops, Joe is right. WAY too much sulfite.

11-19-2004, 02:17 AM
i followed the instructions on the packet:

prepare a solution of 1 oz bisulfite in 8 oz of water


add 1 tsp of this solution per gallon of must.

very little really got used as i tossed about 7.7 oz away!

sooooo, that's what i did and next i will aerate as joe suggested and see if that helps.

i'll check in and let you know what happens.


11-19-2004, 03:10 AM
ok, taking joe's advice i used my flux capacitor
and sterilized a 1 qt measure and a 5 gal plastic
bucket with a nuclear snap shut lid.

i carefully, (as to not upset the delicate balance
of yeast and nature,) dipped into and removed about two
of the six gallons of mead juice.

carefully snapped on the cover and went out to my car.
i proceeded to tie the bucket on my car and drove (sober)
around the block 17 times dragging the living #*@^ out
of the bucket.

then i carefully dumped the 2 gallons of pure frothy oxygenated fluid back to join the rest.

now.... if joe is right, the dizzy oxy yeast will tell the
rest of the lil buggers their story and all will join
forces and make some alcohol!!

stay tuned, i should know in a few hours.

11-19-2004, 03:43 AM
Thats a good one. I didn't quite meaqn that kind of violent aeration. Never heard of doing it that way. Did it smell like sulfur fumes?

You'll still have to repitch yeast as your yeast probably died a horrible death. SO2 takes time to dissapate. Will naturally do it over 24 hours with a large surface exposed and a cloth cover. Wait more than a few hours before you pitch. a day won't hurt.

11-19-2004, 04:18 AM
it smelled like car exhaust ;D ;D

well.... after we talked and all is figured out i probably should use red star champ or 1118 yeast so that it's not so sweet.

i just hope all the yeast before and after doesn't give it a yeast infection. :o

i guess i could always add some monistat to the recipe ::)

11-19-2004, 11:37 AM
I re-read all your posts more carefully and it seems you meant not 6 t of potassium bisulfite in your recipe but 6 t of potassium sulfite SOLUTION instead. That being said, your SO2 was not excessive as it appeared. Your real problem was a gravity higher than 1.140.(1.160) Bad recipe for a beginner with D47. Very difficult to start fermentation. Dilute and use D47 OR Pitch the EC-1118 as it is any time you are ready. Follow rehydration procedure carefully in tepid water for at least 15 but no more than 30 minutes. Pour gently into must and don't stir after pouring in. Let the yeast acclimate slowly so as not to shock them with the high sugar level. They will over a short time spread themselves at their own pace. Bubbles should start within hours. In the future, it would be wise to keep OG 1.120 or under. As mentioned in another post, Ken Schramm warns us against the diffuculty of starting gravities above 1.140. Most of mine are at 1.100 which produces alcohol 12-14% similar to most wines. Sweetening can be done when finished after stabilizing if needed.
Best of Luck,

11-20-2004, 05:23 AM
followed your advice joe, pitched 1118 and its going strong now. so will the 1118 out grow the d47 and win out? will i have a bad yeasty taste for using so much yeast or will it all fall out like normal?

also i'm looking for a elderberry recipe, i lucked in to a nice batch of puree and 2 qts of elderberry flower syrup, would like to make a medium sweet mead.

11-20-2004, 06:38 AM
Not to worry. Ec-1118 is a very competive yeast. The d47 didn't stand a chance with the high SG. Don't know why anyone sells it as a kit with D47 and that kind of high gravity. It takes Ec-1118 to start a batch like that. It will be fine. It is still sleeping on the bottom with a sugar high. By the time it wakes up you'll be racking the good stuff off.