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Thread: First Time making mead - Problems?

  1. Default First Time making mead - Problems?

    Hello all,

    I am new here and fairly new to brewing.
    I tried making 3 1 gallon batched of mead. Right now they seem to be going very slow and not sure what I should do.

    #1 3 lbs clover honey and spring water.
    Heated to 100 degrees F to dilute, let cool and pitched have a pouch of Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead
    3/27/17 - OG 1.100
    4/27/27 - SG 1.070
    No nutrients or energizers were added.
    Shake jug every couple days it is getting fairly clear.

    #2 is the same as #1

    #3 3lbs store bought honey and spring water
    Heated to 100 degrees F to dilute, let cool and pitched a packed of re hydrated Lalvin D-47
    3/27/17 - OG 1.082
    4/27/17 - SG 1.030
    No nutrients or energizers were added
    Shake jug every couple days. it is pretty clear.

    I had no nutrients or energizers at the time but I do have them now. is it worth it to add them or is it to late?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Not everyone may agree but I would add some nutrients even now, especially to batches 1 & 2. I might add a small amount of nutrient to batch 3. My reasoning is that absent the minerals in the nutrients (especially, nitrogen and zinc although others are important too,) the yeast cannot produce the enzymes they need to metabolize the sugars in the honey. They also cannot repair their cell walls to allow the liquid to be transported through the cells. But that said, even if you don't have "nutrients" you may in fact have them. You could add a tablespoon of bread yeast to a cup of warm water with a teaspoon of sugar and allow the yeast to prove and then boil that activated yeast to kill it. The dead yeast cells will provide much of the nutrients the live cells need.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Welcome to the forums bigern

    What bernard said is accurate, you can use common supermarket bread yeast as nutrients. not the best but will do.
    Dry yeasts usually come with more nutrients than liquid. D47 is dry and wyeast is liquid, so that is why they fermented less. And to add more, that particular wyeast strain is really tricky to use i think.
    You will probably need to repitch. That is, add more, new yeast. I'd recommend you buy some nutrients such as fermaid O or K if possible. If you wanna keep it low budget, rehidrate some more D47 and add it to the meads. After that boil some bread yeast and add it too. I say you should add new yeast because if you dont, the one you pitched might be already dead or inactive since its been over a month. YOu can try your luck and add only the boiled bread yeast, you never know
    You may also be interested in a JAOM recipe. google JAOM and you'll get lots of results, or use the search engine from the site. Its a recipe for begginers.
    I'd also recommed reading the newbee guide from this site. It is really helpful to start making mead.

  4. #4

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    Hello bigern26 and welcome!

    For #1 and #2 it sounds like your fermentation stalled. If you tasted it, you'll find that 1.070 is wayyy too sweet. This is likely due to the lack of nutrients yes, but adding them now probably won't help. What you'll want to do is an acclimated starter. The recommended yeast for this is usually EC1118.
    1) Take two cups of water and add 1/2 cup of honey to it and mix thoroughly. This will be your starter.
    2) rehydrate some yeast and pitch it in your starter
    3) add 1/4tsp nutrient, but no energizer
    4) after ~24 if fermentation seems to be progressing, add a cup of your must to the starter. do this every 12-24 hours until you've added 1/4 of your total volume.
    5) Then pitch this back into your main fermenter and add a full dose of nutrients and energizer at this point.


    #3 seems like it may have also stalled, but 1.030 is drinkable. Take a taste and if you're fine with the sweetness, leave it, if not, do an acclimated starter for this one.
    But! What temp did you ferment this at? D47's range is 59-68F (15-20C), so if you went above this, it will let off a lot of fusels (sulfur/rotten egg/rocket fuel flavors). If that happened, you'll need to age it for at least a year. At ~7%abv, that could be iffy, so you might want to do an acclimated starter anyways if you detect fusels.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dingurth View Post
    What temp did you ferment this at? D47's range is 59-68F (15-20C), so if you went above this, it will let off a lot of fusels (sulfur/rotten egg/rocket fuel flavors). If that happened, you'll need to age it for at least a year. At ~7%abv, that could be iffy, so you might want to do an acclimated starter anyways if you detect fusels.
    dingurth, I would want to separate off the production of sulfur by the yeast (smells like rotten eggs (hydrogen sulfide) or even burnt matches (mercaptans) from fusels which are really forms of alcohol that are not simply ethanol. The latter taste sharp and may quieten down as the mead ages but the first two are essentially signs of a stressed yeast and hydrogen sulfide can be removed either by whipping lots of air into the mead to help blow off the sulfur and then racking or by adding some copper to the mead (a penny or some copper scrubbing wool from the supermarket (all suitably sanitized) and again racking. The copper binds with the sulfur to produce copper sulfate (not toxic in such small amounts) and the hydrogen will bind with the oxygen to produce.. water. Mercaptans are far more of a challenge to remove and if you have aerated the wine to remove hydrogen sulfide it becomes even more tricky.

  6. #6

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    Just a quick note. You dont want to add any copper to an active ferment.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    dingurth, I would want to separate off the production of sulfur by the yeast (smells like rotten eggs (hydrogen sulfide) or even burnt matches (mercaptans) from fusels which are really forms of alcohol that are not simply ethanol. The latter taste sharp and may quieten down as the mead ages but the first two are essentially signs of a stressed yeast and hydrogen sulfide can be removed either by whipping lots of air into the mead to help blow off the sulfur and then racking or by adding some copper to the mead (a penny or some copper scrubbing wool from the supermarket (all suitably sanitized) and again racking. The copper binds with the sulfur to produce copper sulfate (not toxic in such small amounts) and the hydrogen will bind with the oxygen to produce.. water. Mercaptans are far more of a challenge to remove and if you have aerated the wine to remove hydrogen sulfide it becomes even more tricky.
    Fair point. I have had the strong fusel taste without any sulfur or off smells. But aren't both a sign of yeast under stress? What constitutes the difference?

  8. Default

    Thanks all,

    I did buy nutrient so I will try adding a little.

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