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Thread: Long wait to start

  1. #1

    Default Long wait to start

    Hi everyone, just getting started on the Mead journey. Mixed up a couple batches of JAOM and they kicked right off. So I cleaned out the freezer of all the mixed, frozen fruit and put together a batch like this:

    - 3 lbs honey
    - 48 oz mixed frozen fruit
    - 48 oz concord grape juice
    - Lalvin D47 yeast
    - Energizer
    - Nutrient

    I squashed all the fruit as best I could, mixed the honey and juice in, aerated vigorously, re-hydrated the yeast and pitched it at room temperature (adding a little energizer and nutrient) before sealing it in a 2 gallon fermenting pail. After a day, no bubbles. I popped it open and found a real thick cap which I carefully stirred back in noticing a little foam underneath. 48 hours after I started still no bubbles so I stirred again. 72 hours after I started, no bubbles so I thought maybe the pail wasn't sealing tight but it looked OK. I stirred again. Finally, last night, I added a little more nutrient and energizer but I stirred a LOT of air into the must. Probably stirred for 8-10 minutes before I buttoned it all back up. This morning, I'm getting bubbles out of the airlock about once every 10 seconds.

    Do you all think things will proceed normally now or should I be adding something along the way. I'll punch the cap every day but where this took so long to start I don't want it to stop until it's done. I'm glad I read a lot of posts stressing the need to be patient.

    Thanks in advance!

    Oh yeah...starting SG was 1.150

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    403

    Default

    "Pitched it at room temperature". Was the yeast and the must both at room temperature? You said that you started with some fozen fruit.......

    You may done better if you started off with an SG less than 1.120 and then added some honey a couple of days later, giving the yeast a chance to chew through some of it before hand.

    You'll hear it time and again; don't use bubbles as an indicator of how your fermentation is going. Take a hydeometer reading and see how far along you are.

    FYI. I live across the border from you. :-)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,086

    Default

    Hi Ravnenseye - and welcome.
    The presence of a cap is telling you that something is producing enough gas to keep the fruit floating..That gas is almost certainly to be CO2 and if it is CO2 then the source is the yeast fermenting the sugars. Yeast need to become acclimatized to their environment and they need to ensure that they can transport the must through their cell walls. This takes time and is known as the lag time - It can be as long as 48 hours... though typically with dry yeast it is far shorter.

    You don't need to seal the primary. You want to be able to stir the cap into the body of the wine a couple of times a day to make sure that it does not become moldy on top. Simply cover the bucket with a clean towel or dishcloth. Mead ain't beer. You want the air to get to the yeast during active fermentation.

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks all. Yes, everything was at room temperature. I'll take a hydrometer reading later today. I'm thinking that it was probably fermenting just fine, although a bit slow when I first got concerned. Live and learn.

  5. #5

    Default

    You better keep it below 68 G or you will be sorry. Learn about staggered nutrient additions as well and do that
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  6. #6

    Default

    OK. So started on 12/6 with a SG of 1.152. The bubbling is barely evident if at all and the foaming under the cap has all but ended. The SG readings are:

    12/6 - 1.152
    12/9 - 1.085
    12/11 - 1.062
    12/17 - 1.030

    It tastes a little tart but not bad. I figure on racking it out of the fermenting bucket right after the New Year. At this point, I'm thinking I don't need any more nutrients but what do you all think? I do stir it daily.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Cincinnati
    Posts
    584

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenseye View Post
    OK. So started on 12/6 with a SG of 1.152. The bubbling is barely evident if at all and the foaming under the cap has all but ended. The SG readings are:

    12/6 - 1.152
    12/9 - 1.085
    12/11 - 1.062
    12/17 - 1.030

    It tastes a little tart but not bad. I figure on racking it out of the fermenting bucket right after the New Year. At this point, I'm thinking I don't need any more nutrients but what do you all think? I do stir it daily.
    You never said how much yeast nutrient or yeast energizer you used? Did you stagger? If so, how did you stagger?

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by caduseus View Post
    You never said how much yeast nutrient or yeast energizer you used? Did you stagger? If so, how did you stagger?
    Sorry.

    Added 1 tsp nutrient and 1/2 tsp energizer at pitch on 12/6.

    Repeated on 12/9

    Repeated on 12/11

    Repeated on 12/16

    Thanks

  9. #9

    Default

    Well I ended up racking it today since I really wanted to get this in a glass carboy. I gently scooped the remaining fruit off the top and them racked. There's still a lot of suspended pulp although it had no problem getting through the plastic thief I used. Added about 2/3 cup of water....maybe a little less...to get the carboy topped off before I put the airlock in. Took a reading after I added the water and gently stirred. Now it's at 1.015. It tastes dry (my wife said it smells and tastes like alcohol) but I didn't mind it too much although I like a sweeter mead so we'll see what the future brings. It had a pretty good fruit flavor which surprised me. Any thoughts would be welcome.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

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