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Thread: Not Fermenting

  1. #1

    Default Not Fermenting

    I made a 3 gallon batch of 11.25 lbs of honey
    3 tsp yeast nutrient
    1.5 tsp yeast energizer
    1/8 tsp calcium carbonate(I thought I'd try this ahead of time because the pH always comes out low in 2-4 weeks) w/ my meads
    Lalvin D-47 yeast 5g packet

    I thought I'd try something different so I made the must, put it into a 6.5 gallon bucket(total 3.25 gallons), pitched the yeast, aerated it and put it into a 3 gallon glass carboy. It's been 5 days and no sign of anything. I sanitized like crazy as usual so I think. Is it me or can the very small amount of yeast have something to do with it? What should I do now? Throw it out I've done other 5 gallon batches and they seem to be coming out pretty good.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by thebaron104 View Post
    I made a 3 gallon batch of 11.25 lbs of honey
    3 tsp yeast nutrient
    1.5 tsp yeast energizer
    1/8 tsp calcium carbonate(I thought I'd try this ahead of time because the pH always comes out low in 2-4 weeks) w/ my meads
    Lalvin D-47 yeast 5g packet

    I thought I'd try something different so I made the must, put it into a 6.5 gallon bucket(total 3.25 gallons), pitched the yeast, aerated it and put it into a 3 gallon glass carboy. It's been 5 days and no sign of anything. I sanitized like crazy as usual so I think. Is it me or can the very small amount of yeast have something to do with it? What should I do now? Throw it out I've done other 5 gallon batches and they seem to be coming out pretty good.
    I wouldn't throw this batch out yet. Since it has been contained in a sterile environment, you should still be really good to go. What I would do is start a yeast starter using the D-47. Make sure the starter is good and going well. Use something like GoFerm or a LHBS generic yeast starter and follow the directions. Use two or three packets of the D-47 to really good a healthy and over-kill yeast culture going then pitch that. You'll be fine getting that batch going. A funnel for pitching in the carboy wouldn't be a bad idea. =)

  3. #3
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    There are 2 things that can be going on here....

    1) The PH might be too high. Id suggest picking up some strips and reporting back what the PH is.

    2) With 11.25 pounds of honey, your approximate SG is 1.135, which in my opinion is high. It is very possible that the osmotic pressure is just too great for the yeast. They can take in the sugars, but since the pressure on the cell walls is greater then the pressure at which they exude the CO2, they can never release it.

    Whenever I brew, I don't go above 1.115, or about 15% potential ABV, and then step feed as needed.

    Hope this helps.
    Michael


    Not all those who wander are lost.
    -J.R.R Tolkien

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the info everyone. I will test the pH tonight. I know the OG was 1.130. I'll report back!
    Karen

  5. #5
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    Although there generally isn't an issue with getting yeast to start in a high pH must (the problem is more often when pH is above 4.0 that you get your yeast and a whole host of spoilage organisms going simultaneously), it is possible that your yeast were shocked by the high starting gravity, as Brewin' suggests. It might be especially problematic if you pitched the dry yeast directly into your must, since that high of an initial gravity could have done damage to your yeast before they were ready for it. Proper rehydration is essential if you are to succeed with high gravity ferments.

    I agree that you should try another pitch, but make sure that it is properly rehydrated first (pay close attention to rehydration temperature), use GoFerm or another rehydration specific nutrient if you have it available, and then grow an acclimated starter by adding several small amounts (say a cup or so) of your must to the rehydrated yeast, waiting between additions to see some signs of yeast activity. You'll probably be good to go with a couple or three small acclimating additions - then just pitch that whole result into the main body of must.

    When starting gravities are high, you want to ensure that your yeast are as little stressed as possible. They can be stressed from temperature differentials, osmotic shock (i.e. too high of a concentration of sugar right from the get-go), or excessive concentrations of nutrient, especially inorganic DAP, before they are fully rehydrated.
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Ottawa, ON
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    It's also possible you just got a dud yeast packet. It's pretty rare, but I've had it happen once... in 140-some batches... I think mine was a packet of EC-1118. Repitched another packet after a few days of no activity, it took off immediately and was fine.

    But I agree with the others, it might be the high SG, anytime I go over 1.125 I like to make an acclimated starter of at least 1/5 the volume of the batch, I rehydrate the yeast as per directions, then add an equal amount of must as there was rehydration water, wait till it looks and smells like it's doing something, then add must to double the volume again, repeat every 30 min to an hour or two until I've got a good volume, then in it goes.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014

  7. #7

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    Well I repitched another one and now it's going like crazy!!! So I think it will be fine. I'm guessing that if I do something like this again, I'll have to use a couple of packets of yeast to start with Thanks everyone.

  8. #8
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    Sounds like you did indeed have a dud package...

    One packet should be enough for a 5-gal batch, just make sure you rehydrate it properly. If you're worried about its viability, after it's rehydrated, add a small amount of must (about the same amount as the rehydration water) and wait 15 minutes and you should be able to see/smell the difference as the yeast gets going, it'll start fizzing and smelling really yeasty Then you know it's doing something before you pitch it in.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by thebaron104 View Post
    Well I repitched another one and now it's going like crazy!!! So I think it will be fine. I'm guessing that if I do something like this again, I'll have to use a couple of packets of yeast to start with Thanks everyone.
    It's great you have your problem solved.

    I've done some research into the pitching rates for dry yeast when used by commercial wineries. Most of the rates that I've seen recommended by manufacturers would translate to about 12 to 18 grams of dry yeast per 5 gallon batch. Based on that I usually use 15 grams (three packets) per 5 gallon batch and I try to mostly follow the manufacturer's recommend rehydration instructions which should prevent most issues with osmotic pressure.

    Most wine yeast manufacturers (Lalvin, Fermentis, etc) post detailed instructions including pitching rates on their websites.

    http://www.lallemandwine.com/spip.ph...mot=19&lang=en
    http://www.fermentis.com/FO/80-Wine/...?TypeProduit=1
    BJCP Certified Beer Judge since 2003. Owner of Mt. Si Mead Supply.

  10. #10
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    To try an prevent this I have a tendency to try and start multiple meads using the same yeasts. Then I can proof several packets, and put some from each packet into each of the meads. Sort of cheap insurance.
    Bees stole my signature file!

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