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Thread: How to Shorten Lag-Phase

  1. Default How to Shorten Lag-Phase

    Hello Everyone,

    first of all, thank you for the posts in the forum and the Podcast, specially the ones with the girls and Ryan Carlson these past few months, they are really helpful.

    So I made two batches, one on summer solstice here in Brazil, 12/21, and another batch the next day. They were identical, local wild flower honey (6 L) and 14 L Water, making 20 L each. 2 packs of 71B each, hydrated accordingly.

    PROBLEM: the first one had a normal Lag-phase, some 6 hours later bubbling heavily, but the 2nd one showed no activity after 48 hours, to the point I was sanitizing everything to inoculate a killer strain, K1V, until I opened the bucket and saw some activity and the densimeter showed a 10 point drop, though the airlock didn't bubble.

    QUESTION: if they were identical, why did the lag-phase vary so much? What can I do to prevent a long Lag, since Schramm's paper on Optimizing Honey Ferm says a short lag is important for a good mead?

    Thank you all a lot, it's my 11th 20 L Batch, made all kinds of melomels and traditionals from local honeys with all your help!

  2. #2

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    Hello and welcome to the community. Glad you enjoyed the podcast. I'm Ryan by the way. Thanks for the kind words. Are you using a rehydration product? If you are doing what they say you should. I like Go-ferm, but I wouldn't know if you can get that at your place. Make sure if you are using something that it is specifically made to rehydrate in. DAP during this procedure is toxic to the yeast. So make sure there is none of that. If you can't find a rehydrtaion medium. I would suggest bottled spring water of filtered home water with no chlorine in it. Please stay away from distilled water as it is very damaging to the yeast.

    So oxygen is very beneficial during this time for your yeast. So you will do good to introduce as much air into your must as you can. ANd O2 bottle and a diffuser stone would work best. If you don't have that. Shake the hell out of your vessel. Or use a lee's stirrer and a power drill. The O2 cause a growth spurt for the yeast and sets them up good for the remainder of the fermentation. Do this for the first week or so.

    You did well by using 2 packs of yeast. You could use even more if choose. It won't hurt at all, and will make for a shorter lag phase. Make sure your yeast slurry and the must are the same temperature before you innoculate. You should add your yeast at 104 f. This is the best temp for rehydrating in. And make sure you either pitch within the first half hour. Or start to add small increments of must to your slurry.

    Not sure what happened with your two batches. Maybe from my post, you might figure it out. It could be your different yeast packs were different ages or have had a different history before you bought them.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  3. #3
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    Squatchy's post aside (and as always I bow to Squatchy's real knowledge) I wonder if the problem has nothing to do with the lag time but with a poor seal between airlock and bung or bung and carboy or a poor seal between the lid and the fermenter. Carbn dioxide (and any gas for that matter) will find the route involving least resistance to escape. If the least resistance is offered by your airlock then the gas will bubble through but if less resistance is offered by a poor seal then the gas will escape through that and you will not see any activity.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    Squatchy's post aside (and as always I bow to Squatchy's real knowledge) I wonder if the problem has nothing to do with the lag time but with a poor seal between airlock and bung or bung and carboy or a poor seal between the lid and the fermenter. Carbn dioxide (and any gas for that matter) will find the route involving least resistance to escape. If the least resistance is offered by your airlock then the gas will bubble through but if less resistance is offered by a poor seal then the gas will escape through that and you will not see any activity.


    This is absolutely correct. ANd I failed to get it mentioned. Once again Bernard. You follow up with great advice. Merry Christmas
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  5. #5

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    Basically follow Lallemand's rehydration procedure http://www.scottlab.com/uploads/docu..._Lallemand.pdf

    Btw Squatchy.. A while back there were some posts where you referred to yeast showing proof of viability during the rehydration phase. It seems that according to Lallemand foaming is not an indicator or proof of viability (note at end of step 2). I wonder if foaming is just something that happens naturally when something dried interacts with moisture i.e perhaps the yeast pack would foam even if all yeast are dead? or perhaps this means that sometimes live yeast don't foam for some reason.. perhaps depending on the exact technique or vessel used to rehydrate
    Last edited by Stasis; 12-25-2017 at 10:04 PM.
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stasis View Post
    Basically follow Lallemand's rehydration procedure http://www.scottlab.com/uploads/docu..._Lallemand.pdf

    Btw Squatchy.. A while back there were some posts where you referred to yeast showing proof of viability during the rehydration phase. It seems that according to Lallemand foaming is not an indicator or proof of viability (note at end of step 2). I wonder if foaming is just something that happens naturally when something dried interacts with moisture i.e perhaps the yeast pack would foam even if all yeast are dead? or perhaps this means that sometimes live yeast don't foam for some reason.. perhaps depending on the exact technique or vessel used to rehydrate
    Hello Stasis and Merry Christmas to you.

    This is true in a way. It doesn't prove anything. But it does somewhat. In as much as bubbles don't prove anything either. But it's a good indicator of activity.

    And to be more precise. I wasn't talking about foam. Rather I was talking about something that happens much sooner than foam. Within the first 10-15 minutes after I add my yeast to my Go-ferm slurry. I start to see very small, ( but quite obvious) explosions in the slurry. They look like what I expect fireworks look like watching from above. The professional type. With large explosions sending a large round ball of sparks flying from the center outward and then disappearing all together. This happens just underneath the surface. Or. It looks like cauliflower. Appearing and then disappearing. I just saw this again in three different batches I made in the last week. I think I may have had a couple strains not do this. But I can't rememeber off hand of which ones don't at this time.

    I see this as proof that at least some yeast has come alive. Of course, I can't tell what % of the entire amount of yeast is alive. But I can imagine this happening without life in the dish. And then. If I feed the yeast in the same dish for an extended period of time. Waiting for it to reproduce a few times before I pitch. Then at some point it starts to make foam. I see this only happening when the yeast start to assimilate the sugars into ethanol.

    Thoughts?
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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    Thank you for all the input. I couldn't find the Lallemand products from here, the Go-Ferm and Fermaid, but I did buy a similar product with DAP and hulls, assembled by a local Lab, which I use only after the Lag-phase. For rehidrating, I use only mineral water (50ml/5g Yeast) at 40ŗC for 15 minutes, meanwhile I stir the must for oxygen, then add 50mL must to the slurry for the next 10 minutes... I think Bernard tapped in what my Lag-phase problem was: some of the bucket Lids I bought holed but some I made the hole myself with a drill, so maybe these are a little loose between the airlock and the Lid. Once again, really appreciate everything you guys post and the Radio shows, which I listen to while I'm mead-making!

    My Yeast Nutrient: https://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/...l-levedura-_JM

  8. #8

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    Wow... If it weren't on these forums and from you Squatchy I would have thought someone is pulling my leg or trolling. I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. When I place the yeast into the slurry it just settles at the top of the water. Some of it sinks on its own. The yeast start to puff up but I think that's just something bone dry absorbing water. The yeast start to drop and if I mix the slurry it becomes cream coloured. That's just about it.
    That yeast energizer is just one step better than simply using straight up dap (diammonium phosphate). The link to the energizer you provided doesn't mention any hulls. There are many products which are better than that. From best in my opinion to worst: Fermaid O, Fermaid K, Tronozymol, Fermax, Yeast Energizer, Dap. There are some other good products out there which I haven't tried out.
    You should look into buying more stuff online. Personally I'm buying from hopandgrape.co.uk (baldinger.biz when buying in bulk) but there are loads of other sites. You just need a quiet day (or two) of surfing and searching to find the site best suited for you. There were a thread or two on these forums about nutrients in europe so that might make your searching easier/quicker. Don't buy from the U.S because as you already realized the postage fees are way too high and you might have to pay import charges on top of that
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  9. Default

    So, complementing: today we're passed 1/3 Sugar-Break for the second (first one hit it two days ago). There actually wasn't a problem with the airlock, since it started bubbling, so I'm still surprised at the different speed of fermentation between the two batches (i.e. 2 x 71B with 14 L Mineral Water and 6 L Wildflower, SG 1.120).

    So Squatchy had a point about the different unknown history of the yeast packs, that probably influenced in a different viability of the starting population. The only difference between the 2 batches was the 2nd was made a day after the first, and the 2nd is clearly fermenting slower, with less foam and hitting 1.080 today (1/3 SB).

    Stasis is right, the Nutrient is made of diammonium phosphate (DAP), magnesium sulfate and complex B vitamins, so no hulls. My land here is a very protectionist one so it gets very expensive to bring anything into the country, so we end up buying these similars, but this one has been working fine, these are my 10th and 11th batches, all with this Nutrient, I made 4 different traditionals with 71B to compare so far: my 1st batch with wildflower, 2nd morrćo-de-candeia (local autumn plant), 3rd eucaliptus honey and now these 2 with a new wildflower, hope to meet you guys someday and bring some great honeys we have here.

    Cheers y'all !

  10. #10

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    So the very coolest thing you could ever do mead wise. Is to come to the world's largest and most prestigious all mead competition. It happened every march in my home
    Town in Denver Colorado. The web site is under construction right now. I will let everyone know when it's up. It's the most fun in the world. I'll talk more about it later
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  11. #11

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    Since you skipped a line by mistake I thought you said that "the competition happens every march in your home" for a moment. Hmm with all those meads you're making it doesn't seem that far fetched either. hey I'd pay an entry fee to tour your meads
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaślaBrewBR View Post
    3rd eucaliptus honey
    where I live, most of the honey is from eucaliptus flower, so its easy for me to find it. And how did that go? Wasn't it too empowering?

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stasis View Post
    Since you skipped a line by mistake I thought you said that "the competition happens every march in your home" for a moment. Hmm with all those meads you're making it doesn't seem that far fetched either. hey I'd pay an entry fee to tour your meads
    Dude. My door is open to you anytime you can come out. That would be so much fun. Especially if you could come out for the Mazer Cup.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpereira98 View Post
    where I live, most of the honey is from eucaliptus flower, so its easy for me to find it. And how did that go? Wasn't it too empowering?
    Depends how pure the Eucalyptus varietal is. I tried to make a Eucalyptus traditional and it wasn't overpowering but I suspect the amount of Eucalyptus was not incredibly high because I caught notes of other varietals in there. Having said that, my Eucalyptus traditional turned out pretty darn well. Be wary of bee keepers who say that their honey is very powerful. They might be biased or might be exaggerating a bit to try to sell their product. There was a beekeeper who said that his honey was probably not good for a traditional but I tried it out and it turned out perfectly fine. Granted, I went for a lower abv mead... So if this a problem you're having you might want to go for a lower abv mead to create something a bit more delicate (I went for 11% abv rather than the more usual 13%. A slight difference but it might help). Or you might want to mix it with a less powerful varietal.
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  15. #15

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    With 11% it should end sweet right?
    I think I'm gonna enjoy that more that way, but I'm happy to know it turned out well for you!! I'm eager to try a traditional mead with the eucalyptus honey!!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by hpereira98 View Post
    With 11% it should end sweet right?
    You REALLY need to read post #10 of this thread.

    http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthr...electing-yeast

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by hpereira98 View Post
    With 11% it should end sweet right?
    I think I'm gonna enjoy that more that way, but I'm happy to know it turned out well for you!! I'm eager to try a traditional mead with the eucalyptus honey!!
    I think the only meads that end sweet are the meads that have residual sugars in them. That can apply to a mead with an ABV of 6% or 16%. Sweetness has nothing to do with the ABV in any simple sense - although clearly , yeast has a limit to how much alcohol it can tolerate so at some point the yeast will quit BUT it can quit when there is no sugar remaining , or not enough sugar remaining to suggest sweetness or it could quit with so much honey unfermented that it makes your teeth scream.. My point is that sweet or dry, high abv or low, carbonated or still all depends on you, the mead maker and how you design your mead. You provide the yeast with what you want it to do and then you sorta kinda step back and let the yeast "think" its doing what it wants to do... and do it... But it's you who is in the driving seat- not the yeast. It just thinks it is... You gotta know that it ain't. You are always one driving. so you gotta pay attention.

  18. #18

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    Thank you Bernard, that was what I didn't understand since the beggining, but now I got my thoughts clear, like a mead

    Another question though: does the amount of yeast I put on my vessel change anything? for example, putting 5g or 10g on a 5 gallon carboy.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpereira98 View Post
    Thank you Bernard, that was what I didn't understand since the beggining, but now I got my thoughts clear, like a mead

    Another question though: does the amount of yeast I put on my vessel change anything? for example, putting 5g or 10g on a 5 gallon carboy.
    It changes things but that's going into a lot of detail and overcomplicating things. Something I'm not comfortable going over in the newbees section. I bet this is covered quite nicely in the patrons section. You can probably also find info in the non-patrons section. But keeping to the topic of this thread: more yeast can lessen the lag phase. Just don't go too overboard because technically too much yeast is also bad. I.e if you're making a gallon batch you can throw in the whole packet even if its good for 5 gallons. I wouldn't throw 2 packs in a gallon batch though. Don't underpitch and there should be little concern about how yeast amounts affect the taste of your mead. I've tried all amounts of yeast and I can hardly say I ever tasted any difference
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  20. #20

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    Oh ok, i'll try too keep myself on the "easy" stuff for now, I've got A LOT to learn still. I really like your explanations Stasis, you go directly to the matter in discuss.

    Thank you all for sharing your mead wisdom with me, I'm really grateful and learning a lot.

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