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Thread: Stuck in the middle

  1. Default Stuck in the middle

    New to the forum and excited to be here. I upscaled my 1 gal mead recipe that I started last year, in which my initial SpGr was 1.108 and finished at SpGr 1.016. It produced a very good batch of mead. This batch I went to 6 gallons and even though I used the same proportions (4 lb honey/gal) my initial SpGr was 1.150. Racked at 6 weeks with the SpGr 1.084 and no more bubbling in the airlock. Added more nutrient at that time and just reracked after another 6 weeks and SpGr is still at 1.084. VERY sweet. What are my options to restart fermentation and burn off more sugar? Any explanation as to the difference in initial SpGr?

    Thanks for the advice, Matt

  2. #2

    Default

    Why would you remove your yeast from your must before it's even half finished fermenting? That's your problem. Or at least the first glaring one.

    Matt, you need to let the yeast finish before you rack. I actually want more exposure time with the lee's for many reasons. I leave mine in the vessel for a month or more after fermentation is over if I didn't have any problems.

    So this is my recomendation.

    First learn about rehydration. Look it up

    Buy Goferm if you can and use it according to the instructions to the Scotts Lab handbook.

    Use the same yeast.

    Water down about a gallon to to 1020 or so. Do this so the ABV isn't to high. Learn what it means to attemperate your yeast temp to the same temp as your must. Then pitch it. Try to keep your temps as close to 62-64f as you can. Once it starts going really good. 3-4 days. Add 1 gallon a day to your new working batch until it's all in the new vessel. Now leave the yeast in there untill it get to zero. Stir every other day during this entire time to keep the lee's suspended in the must. Once it's reading zero, continue to rouse the lees for a few weeks. Then stop and let the yeast drop out of suspension. Now you can rack. Stabilize it with SO2 and potassium sorbate. Look it up. Now after it has had time for more stuff to drop out (1 month) rack again. Now you can back sweeten to your desired sweetness level.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    406

    Default

    Full recipe?
    Yeast type?
    Process?
    Nutrient type and protocol?
    Why are you racking so much?

    Using the gotmead batch calculator, 4lbs per gallon will give you an OG=1.144. So I'm thinking your first batch is the issue. 4 lbs of honey is approximately 1/3 of a gallon. And, if you add 4 lbs of honey to 1 gallon of water, you get a final volume of 1.33 gallons, with an OG=1.108. If you had started off with 4 lbs of honey and then topped off to 1 gallon, you would have ended up with the same OG as your 6 gallon batch.

    On your second batch you started off with 24 lbs of honey and then topped off with water, bringing your total volume to 6 gallons. If you had added 24lbs of honey to 6 gallons of water, you would have ended up with around 8 gallons of total volume, which would have givens you an OG=1.108. I'm guessing you used a 1 full gallon of water in your first batch and only 4 gallons of water in your second batch.

    An OG of 1.44 will give you an ABV over 18%, so you are going to need a hearty yeast. K1V-1116 or Ec1118, would probably be a good choice. 2 to 3 grams per gallon. You've going to need to hydrate your yeast and then slowly add your mead must to it in increments.
    Last edited by darigoni; 11-11-2017 at 04:28 PM.

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    Full recipe?
    Yeast type?
    Process?
    Nutrient type and protocol?
    Why are you racking so much?

    Using the gotmead batch calculator, 4lbs per gallon will give you an OG=1.144. So I'm thinking your first batch is the issue. 4 lbs of honey is approximately 1/3 of a gallon. And, if you add 4 lbs of honey to 1 gallon of water, you get a final volume of 1.33 gallons, with an OG=1.108. If you had started off with 4 lbs of honey and then topped off to 1 gallon, you would have ended up with the same OG as your 6 gallon batch.

    On your second batch you started off with 24 lbs of honey and then topped off with water, bringing your total volume to 6 gallons. If you had added 24lbs of honey to 6 gallons of water, you would have ended up with around 8 gallons of total volume, which would have givens you an OG=1.108. I'm guessing you used a 1 full gallon of water in your first batch and only 4 gallons of water in your second batch.

    An OG of 1.44 will give you an ABV over 18%, so you are going to need a hearty yeast. K1V-1116 or Ec1118, would probably be a good choice. 2 to 3 grams per gallon. You've going to need to hydrate your yeast and then slowly add your mead must to it in increments.
    I would just interviene here that if you used a yeast with a kill factor you need to use the same one. Other wise you will have a civil war.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    385

    Default

    Even if you used exactly the same ratio as before (which isn't likely given the big difference), honey varies in it's sugar content. I always "creep up" on the OG doing the initial mix.

    For now, raising the temperature a few degrees might wake the yeast up and eat that last bit of sugar. Otherwise, you may have to do a stuck fermentation protocol.

    But as noted, we need to know what yeast you used and what your process was.
    Dave from New Haven County

  6. Default

    Apparently I am in the right place. First off for clarification on batch #1 I used 4 lb honey and filled jug to the 1 gallon mark. Batch #2 I used 24 lb honey and filled carboy to 6 gallon mark. I went with what was lying around the kitchen for my recipes but was consistent both times using Fleischmann's yeast and raisins for my nutrient. I know that isn't necessarily what is on the preferred ingredient list but I figured it worked for Friar Tuck. Based off the results on my 1 gallon batch I figured I had a good recipe. The honey was different (batch #2 honey was much darker and had more flavor). Batch #2 started off well and I was stirring every other day but I had read after the 1/3 break not to aerate it or it would affect the flavor, so I just let it sit. I am assuming that is also a factor in my current situation. My reasoning for racking twice so far was simply that I had a considerable amount of sediment in the bottom of the carboy and didn't think it was necessary to keep it around.

    Another question I have is that both times I used 1 package of yeast. Should I have increased my yeast to match the increased volume of the carboy?

    Update. Per your suggestions I siphoned some must off into a 1 gallon jug and attempted to reach 1020 (but was closer to 1040). Added another round of yeast and am already bubbling vigorously at this time. Will begin to add a gallon at a time in a day or two until it is all back into 1 carboy.

    I really appreciate your advice and that you took the time to help. Any other advice or suggestions are welcome

  7. Default

    Looks like I am in the right place. Appreciate the responses. For clarification my first batch I used 4 lb honey and filled my jar the rest of the way to 1 gallon. My second (current) batch I used 24 lb honey and filled the carboy up to a total of 6 gallons. I went with what was on hand and so I used Fleischmann's yeast and raisins for my nutrient. I know it wasn't on the preferred list but I figured it was good enough for Friar Tuck. Also with how much we enjoyed the first batch I had no reservations with repeating using the same ingredients. I did the hydrate the yeast both times and everything was the same temp when pitched. Both batches stayed at a constant 66-68 degrees. Both had almost immediate bubbling in the airlock.

    Difference with the second batch is that I had read that after the first 1/3 drop in SpGr to stop aerating it or it could affect the flavor and so I stopped stirring it and let just let it sit. I assume that contributed to my current situation. The reason for racking at 6 weeks was simply because there was no more bubbling and a good bit of sediment had accumulated.

    Also I used 1 package of yeast for each batch (7 grams). Should I have increased the amount of yeast for the second batch? Do I need to add more raisins to the must?

    Progress update: I siphoned off some must and watered down, attempting to reach 1020 (but only got to 1040) in 1 gallon. I added in 1 package of hydrated yeast, with near immediate bubbling in the airlock. Will begin to add mead by the gallon tomorrow and will continue to stir regularly as you advised.

    Thanks for the advice and any other comments/questions are welcome

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