View Full Version : Stuck Fermentation in a cranberry juice mead

12-26-2007, 07:21 PM
attempting to make one gal of cranberry juice mead, but fermentation is stuck with a SG of 1.15 and ph of about 3. temp is 72 deg F. the recipe comes from a little purple booklet called "Winemaker's Recipe Handbook". here are the ingredients:

2.5 qts juice; 1.5 qts water; 1.25 lb sugar; 2.5 tsp acid blend; .5 tsp pectic enzyme; .5 tsp energizer; 1 campden crushed; 1 pkg wine yeast (Lalvin D47).

because this recipe was only a gal, i didnt put in an entire pkg (which seems to be for 5gal). have stirred everyday. i did add a little more yeast this morning, but basically nothing has happened during the past 4 days. its in a bucket with a (not airtight) cover.

any suggestions?

Yo momma
12-26-2007, 07:36 PM
Is it possible that you read your hydrometer incorrectly. Typicaly 3# of honey is used to get 1.13 or so per gallon, I'm a little skeptical about your SG being 1.15 on 1.5#'s of sugar. Anyway, in my mead/wine making experience I have put in the whole population of the package in my must. It should say on the package that you should put in the whole pack for up to 5 gallons of must. Mead is also a honey must not a sugar must. A sugar must is wine at the end. I also have this booklet and followed the directions to a T and never have failed a batch. Most of the recipes are wanting a SG reading of 1.085-1.090. Using that amount of sugar I can see this being correct. Read the juice package and see if there are preservatives in it before any more trouble shooting. A little more clarification could help us help you out.

12-27-2007, 02:20 AM
Cranberry juice is very acidic, too, so you may be getting into the range where the yeast don't like it so much. Do you have any potassium bicarbonate?

Medsen Fey
12-27-2007, 02:32 AM
I would start by double checking my Sp Gr reading as Yo suggested. Then I would check the label on the juice - make sure it doesn't have any sorbate, benzoate, or anything else listed as preservative that would impair the yeast. If it does, you batch is probably done for.

Next question would be how long did you wait after the campden tablet before pitching the yeast? In a very acidic environment, you will have a lot higher level of free SO2 which could have stalled the yeast. You can get rid of some of the SO2 by keeping the bucket open and aerating the must well - I would beat it silly with a wisk or electric mixer. In the future remember to aerate the must well, as oxygen is important in the initial phases of fermentation to allow the yeast to grow and divide and build cell walls.

If you didn't rehydrate the yeast prior to pitching, I would do so. If you use Go Ferm to rehydrate the Lalvin yeast, you will get them off on the right foot. I would take another packet of D47 and rehydrate it before re-pitching following the manufacturer's instructions. You can use an entire 5 gram packet in a gallon batch - it won't hurt it.

The pH may also be a problem. At 3.0 it may stall the yeast. While I have seen ICV D47 ferment well at 2.9, your best bet would be to raise the pH with some potassium bicarbonate if you can get it. One gram at a time until the ph comes up to 3.5 or so. For future reference, you generally don't need to add acids at the beginning of fermentation, and in fact, it may cause your pH to drop so low that you stall - especially if you are using very acidic fruit. You can add acid after the fermentation is complete and adjust it to your taste.

I hope this is of some help. The wizened masters here may have some other suggestions for you.

Best of Luck!