View Full Version : Stuck Fermentation?

01-25-2008, 11:59 AM
I have 2 batches of orange honey mead going right now a 3 gal and 5 gal. They were started on Dec 18 and within the past week and a half they have gone from bubbling every 30 sec to virtually nil. I have mixed them up daily and dont know what the problem could be. They are both in glass carboys that i dont believe are leaking although i do hear the yeast going when i take the top off i dont see much activity on the surface of the mead so its going slow for some reason. I am new to this these are my first batches of mead which i prepared with an experienced friend. I called my buddy and hes got nothing. So far the only step ive made towards trouble shooting it is to add some yeast energizer to the smaller batch and see if it gets going again ive also moved their location from my 70 basement to my slightly warmer room. Do i need to repitch the yeast? Help

01-25-2008, 12:45 PM
Welcome to Got Mead?

Please post your exact recipe in vertical (cookbook) style format and we'll be able to help you a little more. Be sure to include:

Other ingredients

How you made the mead including even the most mundane process you used.

We'll take a look and echo back.



01-25-2008, 01:00 PM

6# Clover Honey
8.75 g Active Dry Yeast
3t Yeast energizer
2/3 pineapple
4 blood oranges
Clove, Lemon Grass, Anise Seed, Cinammon Sticks

thats about it the 3 gal is virtually the same minus the pineapple substituted tangerines and blood oranges and downsized

yeast was re hydrated with warm water and a little honey

After it was all together both batches were bubbling every second if not faster after a couple of days it slowed down to 30 seconds until about a week and a half ago then all of a sudden nothing. I shook it up 2-3 times a day for a minute or so each time to get some oxygen into it. The mead was kept in a room that never gets below 70 however it was on a tile floor which does get quite cool but it is not a monumental difference the mead was not sitting on ice. I moved the mead today into my bedroom where the cold floor can no longer effect it.

p.s. the 5 gal seems to clear within a few hours after shaking all the sediment is on the bottom i was under the impression it should hang around and not settle that quickly

Thats about it other than that i dont know what it could be. The mead smells great i can still smell a little yeast yet i also smell the alcohol fairly strongly

01-25-2008, 02:37 PM
Do you have a hydrometer, or can you get one easily? It would help greatly to know what the current specific gravity of each of the batches is. If you don't have a hydrometer, then I'd encourage you to take a small sample of each and taste them for your perception of any residual sweetness.

It is possible that the yeast may simply be reaching the end of primary fermentation because they're running out of sugar. With only 6 lbs of honey in a five gallon batch, you didn't give the yeast much to work with in the first place. Even with the pineapple and orange additions, your starting gravity would only be around 1.042 (if I guessed correctly about how much the average pineapple weighs). That will yield a finished mead with less than 6% alcohol by volume if it ferments totally dry. It is not uncommon for mead recipes with so little sugar to finish fermenting in as little as a week or two.

01-25-2008, 03:47 PM
YAY just got home from buying a hydrometer 3 gallon was below 1 and then the hydrometer broke lol so ill get a new one but i think your right i tested by adding 1t of sugar and it bubbled for a bit then stopped. That being the case what would you recommend? Bottle it? Add something?

01-25-2008, 04:16 PM
Well, at 6% ABV you have a "light mead" or hydromel. In the absence of preserving additives (Usually those can be things containing organic acids which will reduce the pH to the point where molds and bacteria won't grow. Hops are an example of a natural preservative used in beer.) your mead is not stable - it is susceptible to infections and it will oxidize relatively quickly in storage. I'd suggest that if you like the way it tastes, bottle it quickly, taking care to sanitize everything that comes in contact with it, and drink it young. Alternatively you could add more honey to bring the target ABV up to above 10.5%, which will help it to have a longer shelf life. However, adding honey so late in the fermentation cycle can result in a true stuck fermentation, so I'd recommend drinking it quickly and making a stronger batch next time!

01-25-2008, 05:06 PM
Ok ive tasted them both the 3 gal is pretty tasty the 5 gal tastes like watered down white wine would you recommend anything but honey for added flavor? Is there any special way to add the honey at this point because I know it is not going to mix well in 70 degree water

01-25-2008, 05:48 PM
I'd recommend that you blend the 5 gallon batch with another, high-strength mead, that you can make from a starting gravity around 1.125 or so. That will be the surest way to add flavor to this batch without risking something that will mess it up. Just make another 5 gallon batch using around 18 lbs of honey (a gallon and a half), and using a yeast that can handle high gravity musts and still finish dry (such as Lalvin's EC-1118). Then blend equal amounts of that new batch with your original, and you'll have something pretty tasty.

There really isn't much else that you can do to a finished batch that is so "light." Adding additional honey, as I said, may not re-start the fermentation at this point. Then all you'll end up with is a very sweet, weak mead.

Here's what I think: Blending is probably your best alternative at this point -- either with another mead, or with a commercial white wine. This kind of hydromel mixed equally with a white wine will give you a nice "wine cooler" sort of beverage, and it is drinkable with almost no aging.

01-26-2008, 03:09 AM
So at this point ive made decisions and heres what ive ended up with. 3 gallons of a pretty good melomel that despite the fact it fermented soo shortly is fairly strong and quite tasty. The 5 gallon i decided to see what would happen if i gave it some more sugar so i just threw 2 cups of plain old sugar in and its bubblin away about every 15 seconds so well see where it goes from there

01-26-2008, 12:26 PM
OK! That means your yeast are still healthy enough to ferment on! But be careful... cane sugar ferments out with some rather harsh overtones, and you might not like a mead that starts tasting like diluted rum. Or maybe you will! :drunken_smilie:

In any case, you can probably add some more honey, too. Just make sure that you stir it in enough to completely dissolve it.

BTW - The Mead Calculator on this site (search from the home page and you'll find it) will help you to estimate what the final potential ABV is in your recipe -- even when you make later additions of fermentables like this.