View Full Version : Fermentation Problems.

12-05-2005, 04:20 PM
Help, my mead is dead! In November I started my first batch of Orange Blossom Mead purchased from Northern Brewer. The kit contained everything necessary to make % gallons of mead. The kit contained, 15 pounds of Orange Blossom Honey, yeast nutrient, and one packet of Vinters Rudsheimer #3783 yeast. I followed directions to a tee, sterilized as usual for my previous Beer adventures. For several daysí I aerated the must with a spoon, and had wonderful results. Mead geysers are fun! I continued to have bubbles in the air lock. Last week I checked in on the progress, and nothing. Not even a hint of fermentation. I racked to a secondary to see if it needs more aeration, and get a sample. My Brix was 22, and the must was very sweet, hence the high Brix number. In my secondary I have what looks like yeast at the bottom on the carboy.

Starting Numbers 11/19/2005:
O.G 1.170
% Alcohol 20.49
Brix 19

The above numbers obtained from converting the Brix using ProMash software.

Numbers today:
O.G 1.204
% Alcohol 25.34
Brix 22 (Higher? Maybe I did not get a good sample in the beginning.)

I have tried to add as much information as I could. What can I do to save this batch? Thank you all for the time and assistance.


12-05-2005, 04:53 PM
The high, really high OG, says that you would have a fairly sweet mead even after using a champagne yeast. 15 pounds of honey in a 5 gallon batch would normally get you an OG of around 1.100 (give or take 0.100 or so). Did you leave so much headspace that you only ended up with 3 1/2 or 4 gallons of must?.

I would suggest that you dilute the must down to an SG of at least lower than 1.15 using water. I would also suggest getting an aggressive yeast like K1V or EC-1118 although you might try stirring the current yeast back into the must after you dilute it before resorting to another yeast.

Good luck,

12-05-2005, 06:21 PM
Thank you for the reply. I have a total of 5 Gal, in 6.5 gal Carboy. So I should boil about a gallon of water let cool and add to make 6.0 gal? I have just purchased a Oxygen aeration system. Do you think this will help???


12-05-2005, 08:18 PM
How good are you at your hydrometer? I agree with pewter that 15 lbs in 5 gallons should be MUCH lower than 1.2 or even 1.17. Plus your SG will not increase - especially considering that at one point you had a good ferment going. Something is not right with the SG measurement.

12-05-2005, 08:47 PM

You need to take a step back and re-read your hydrometer, or buy a new one. That starting gravity of 1.170 would have given you a starting brix of about 39.0 and a potential Alcohol Level of about 22+. In no kinda way will 15 lbs of honey in a five gallon yield go that high. If it does, then I want to know where you're buying your honey so I can get some. LOL

Listen, you need to get on the horn with your LHBS and find out how to read your hydrometer and perform compensation (for the must temperature) to dial in the correct hydrometer reading. To start with, put the hydrometer in some 68o F water. If it is sitting at 0.000 your hydrometer is ok. If it's above or below that, pitch it and buy a new one.

Your yeast, Wyeast Vintner's Choice Rudsheimer #3783 is a German Riesling style wine yeast that will tolerate 12-14% ABV. Your original gravity/brix with 15 lbs of honey in a five gallon batch should be right at 1.110/26 brix. So I'd bet dimes to doughnuts that you misread your hydrometer initially. As mentioned below your gravity and brix numbers will not increase as the fermentation progresses. If it has increased you have some "mutant" must on your hands and I'd suggest that you may want to re-read that gravity a few times to get the correct reading.

In the mean time, your must should be popping away still, and that gravity should be somewhere around 1.020 rather than 1.20.

Here's a link to some gravity/brix/sugar/PABV tables that I use:


Hope that helps, post more questions if it don't, but make sure to read that hydrometer correctly and give us the actual readings immediately if not sooner.



12-05-2005, 09:24 PM
Funny thing, I have never needed a Hydrometer with beer. I have a refractometer as a gift, and I calibrated prior to any sample. The Brix number I have posted is the correct numbers, however the O.G may be off. I used PC based software to obtain the S.G. converted from the Brix I obtained from the refractometer. I too agree this number is too high, but I am new to Mead and thought it may be possible. The original Brix of 19 may be my error; I was in a hurry and only took one reading. The Brix of 22 is accurate. I took three readings.

Anyway, the Mead appears dead. No bubbles of any sort. I used a flashlight just to confirm death, and no yeasty bubbles. I have never had difficulties with beer wort. I have met a challenge. What can I do to resurrect the yeast? I appreciate all the help.


12-06-2005, 01:01 AM
If you're using Pro Mash your numbers are off. Also, unless Northern Brewer is watering down their honey that refractometer reading was wrong. Like I said, spin a hydrometer reading now and see what you get, post it and we'll help you figure it out.



12-06-2005, 11:27 AM

Not including headspace, how big is your volume? 5 gallons? An SG of 1.20 based on 15 pounds of honey would tell me it is more like 3 gallons. However, if you mean 1.120, that is more believable...

Good luck,

12-17-2005, 11:35 PM
Sorry all for the delay in response. I finally have purchased a Hydrometer, and the official SG today is 1.080. My mead taste very sweet, and appears to be dead. I have purchased a oxygen tank and micro-pore steel aerator. Any ideas on how to get things fermenting again? I have a total of 5 gallons of must, (mead) in a 6 gallon glass carboy.

Thanks for all the help.


12-18-2005, 12:57 AM
I've have a chocolate mead that has appeared dead for two months now, but every time I put a stopper in it... a week later it pops out.

You can try putting the must in a warmer spot, adding a little fermaid K, or failing that... make a very healthy starter and repitch the yeast.