View Full Version : SCREWED UP HELP!!!

01-27-2008, 11:05 AM
I made my first mead yesterday and screwed up right at the end. I ran my pasteurized must through my wort chiller and I assumed it came down to a "pitchable" temp but did not check it because I was Bullsh*ting with my buddy; anyway I pitched my yeast (Lalvin D-47 prepared per package directions) at 98deg; did I kill it? It has been about 12 hrs since I pitched the yeast and no activity:
1 How long should wait to repitch with more D-47?
2 Should I start a yeast starter with D-47, or just do as the package suggests?

The process:

12lbs raw honey pasteurized in 5gal water
Skimmed must
Added 1oz acid blend and 5 tablets of yeast nutrient
Activated yeast per package, added 1 packet to 2 oz of warm water and let reactivate on top of water for 15 mins and the mixed into water
Cooled must in chiller (to 98deg)
Pitched yeast/water mixture
OG 1.070
Whisked air into must and covered.
It held @ 98deg for a while and then I put it outside to cool faster.

Thanks in advance


01-27-2008, 11:30 AM
It has been about 12 hrs since I pitched the yeast and no activity

When you aerate the must, is there foam? If there is foam, there is active fermentation. Don't worry.

If no foam upon aeration, then the yeast have been killed off (I doubt this though).

Welcome to GotMead :cheers: , and the best recommendation I have is to look around and read a lot. There is a lot of information here about yeast rehydration, adding acid, heating the must, and nutrient addition.

01-27-2008, 03:14 PM
I opened the fermenter and no foam, when I aerate (i am using a stainless wisk, is this ok?) there is some foam but it dissapates quickly and does not look like yeast fermentation activity type foam, is this the type of foam you are refering to?

Thanks for your response


Dan McFeeley
01-27-2008, 04:24 PM
Twelve hours could be a little too soon to be worrying about the fermentation. Sure, sometimes the yeasties start up pretty quickly, sometimes not.

When you said you opened the fermenter, are you talking about a plastic bucket? If you lift the lid and listen closely, you might be able to hear a very light bubbling and hissing. If so, all seems to be well.

Give it a bit more time before you pitch again, about 12 more hours. If you do end up pitching more yeast, be sure to gradually acclimate the yeasties to the temperature of the must.

Click here:


for a great file on wine yeast rehydration. You'll find details on adjusting the temperature of the rehydrated yeast solution, along with lots of other great tips.

01-27-2008, 05:07 PM
You're probably fine. Yeast can survive temps up to about 106F, higher in some cases. It's probably just a long lag time. If you don't see any activity in a couple of days, rehydrate a new culture and pitch that. It'll be fine. Whatever you do, don't stress out. Yeast are like dogs; they can tell if you're freaked out. Never let 'em see you sweat.

Next time, skip the acid blend. I want to slap whoever it is that keeps promulgating that.

Speaking of yeast health, what kind of vitamins did you give them? I am unaware of nutrients that come in tablets.


01-28-2008, 09:04 AM
Next time, skip the acid blend. I want to slap whoever it is that keeps promulgating that.

Speaking of yeast health, what kind of vitamins did you give them? I am unaware of nutrients that come in tablets.


I used Nutrient tablets from my local brew supply from Crosby & Baker ltd, I am trying to get the chemical make up of these. Yea allot of the recipes I have found before finding this forum use acid blend. The tablets are DAP and recomended dosage is 1 Tablet per gal of water, I added five in total.

Thanks for the advice

Dan McFeeley
01-28-2008, 10:57 AM
You'll find a fair amount of recipes for mead using acid blends up front, at the start of the fermentation. Some of them are old recipes, some of them are newer recipes by people who have continued the trend. Acton & Duncan's book "Making Mead," is a good example. The book was published around 1965 or 1966, and the recipes called for a blend of tartaric and malic acids. The meads also required a lot of aging.

At just about that time, Roger Morse and Keith Steinkraus published their own research on meadmaking which showed, among other things, that acid additions added at the start of the fermenation can lower the pH sufficiently to slow down or even halt a fermentation. Buffering capacity of different varietal honeys vary with the floral source, causing the rapid pH drop. Worse, yeasts secrete organic acids during the course of fermentation, which adds to the pH instability of the fermenting must.

Some confusion over the subject can come about because of the variations in varietal honeys. Sometimes you can do this, and it works. Other times, it doesn't. All things considered, you're always better off not adding acid at the start of the fermentation, and it's certainly not necessary. Your yeasties will thank you.

I published some research of my own on this subject, looking at the chemical and flavor properties of gluconic acid, which is the primary acid in honey and mead. I'd always been intriqued that mead seemed to stand on its own, without really needing acid additives, and I wanted to understand better why this was so.

Gluconic acid is actually a mild acid when compared to the organic acids found in wine, or other fruit wines. It doesn't play the strong role in balance of acidity and sweetness, as you'll find in other wines. For that reason, acids act more as flavoring agents in mead and are best added according to taste at the end of the fermentation. Balance in honey is better adjusted with blending various honeys, rather than approaching it as though it were a wine and using acid additives.

Ken, by the way, is very familiar with the research of Morse and Steinkraus, and had been presenting this information in seminars and articles long before he wrote "The Book." ;D

03-13-2008, 12:21 AM
I just started my first batch and I am a complete newbie. I did the same thing pitched the yeast at a pretty warm temp just plain forgot was in a rush. Anyways I can see a lot of fizzing like small bubbles running up the sides inside the 1 gallon plastic jug after only a few hours. It has been doing this for three days now steady. I have a balloon on the top with one small needle hole in it. The balloon is full of gas but not very big maybe about the size of an apricot. Does this sound right to you guys or should it look like big bubbles like when water boils and should there be more pressure in the balloon? My guess is that it is fine but since I've never fermented anything I'm not sure this is what I am supposed to see. Feel free to e-mail me some pics of what it is supposed to look like when looking in the side of the jug if you have any thanks.

03-13-2008, 02:08 AM
Colby, welcome to Got Mead?

Please post your exact recipe and process you used to make it. This will help us help you figure out what may be a problem, or nothing to worry about.



03-13-2008, 02:16 PM
OK Here is what I did. One gallon of spring water. Poured half the water into pan other half into pitcher. Added 3 pounds of Honey into pan with water. Heated it until it was steaming but not boiling for 20 minutes wanted to go longer but was in a rush had to go to work. Skimmed most of the foam there wasn't allot. Poured a cup of the water from pitcher into small pan heated to 105F then added flieshmans yeast and two raisins when it cooled to 100F

Tried to get the pan with the honey and water to cool down put it in my freezer for ten minutes but it was still hot. While it was in the freezer I added one of those snack packs of mandarin orange slices and the juice to the empty gallon jug and added 25 raisins. Now I removed the still pretty hot pan from the freezer.

OK Don't laugh but I then realized I had no way to pour the honey/water from the pan back into the small neck of the plastic jug. So in a rush I ended up grabbing a funnel from the garage that yes oil and other such has flowed through. I threw it into the dishwasher and put it on the hottest setting and ran it for about ten minutes. I then washed it by hand with anti bacterial soap and rinsed and dried it. Yes I used it to pour the mix back into the bottle.

At this point I was so mad about how it was going I forgot about the temperature and after I had about half of it back in the bottle I pitched the yeast through the funnel. As soon as I did I realized what I had done so I grabbed the left over cool water in the second pitcher and pured some in trying to cool it. Then I realized I may not have enough room to fit the rest of the honey water to the gallon jug because I threw cool water on top of it. So I looked at the clock and I had 5 minutes before I had to leave for work (GREAT) so I start adding the rest of the mix of course it runs up the funnel over the top of the jug and I had to pour an inch or two out to make head space as well so basically it was a nightmare. I grabbed a balloon poked a pin hole in it threw it over the top and put the jug in my office after rinsing the outside of it off. Oh yea I did shake it for 5 minutes to add air.

I went to work and after I got off work I checked it the balloon has gas in it it looks like the size of a lemon. So I wrote in my log it will be a miracle if this actually works out. But it is fizzing and it looks OK what do you all think?

03-13-2008, 02:34 PM
Well, for your future batches let me suggest that you read all you can in the newbee's section before starting... but what I can gather from your posting suggests that you have successfully started a fermentation in your current batch.

There are several things I'd recommend for the next time, like use a stopper and an airlock to seal your carboy rather than the balloon, since they aren't the best way to regulate the release of CO2 pressure as it builds up in the fermenter. Most of the other things I'd suggest are already well covered in the newbee's section.

The bottom line is that you have a fermentation underway and it doesn't seem as if anything you've done, or not done, has screwed anything up to this point. You did probably pitch into a must that was too hot so you might end up with a pretty nasty tasting result since the yeast will throw a lot of fusels along with the ethanol that they produce at that higher temperature, but with this small a batch it may have cooled off quick enough that the fusel additions will be minimal. Hard to say. You will end up with something fermented, it will contain ethyl alcohol, and it might even be drinkable.

My advice would be to relax, let this one run its course, and to have a glass or two of mead. Beginning with your very next batch, read and follow the advice you'll find here, and get as much of the equipment (airlocks, hydrometer, etc.) as you can before you start.

03-13-2008, 02:44 PM
I've got 200 bucks worth of stuff coming UPS as I type. :)

03-13-2008, 03:10 PM
Very cool! You're on your way... :cheers:

03-14-2008, 02:58 AM
::busts up::

Why did I want to ask if you were my brother when you mentioned the oil-used funnel?

I could actually hear a couple of folks wince from that one...

Ok, little story about my first mead...

I did a high heat/short time pasteurization. ::actually hears Oskaar wince::

I did a reverse double boiler chill down (big pot goes in big bucket with a constant water flow to chill the must)

Pitched some Pasteur yeast (didn't have instructions, so I added a bit of must, a bit of sugar, microwaved the whole works to heat up things to 95 or so, gave it a quick stir with a UV sterilization tool (yeah, I have weird things laying around) then popped the yeast in (no nutrient) waited about 20 minutes until it had a head of foam. Pitched this into 78f must and covered it with a random kitchen towel that I wet with sanitizing solution (campden tablets/water)

It took forever to launch...

I didn't oxygenate

I didn't stir it ever

It took a month or so in primary, then I was down to about 4bpm, swapped it out to secondary and let it set for a year...

yes, a year.

It never dropped clear, and had the look of muddy water, but tasted great...

It may have had something to do with the 1.2sg I started with ::hears Oskaar wince again:: and while the ABV is about 12-13%, the real kicker is that I ended up introducing enough nutmeg into the mix that you get a pretty good psychodellic event off it...


Brother, welcome home... My current mead's are clear and clean and I have to thank Vicky and Oskaar and jeebus everyone here for their wonderful help.


03-14-2008, 01:41 PM
wow if i wasn't sore from the gym, i'd be sore from reading that
sore from laughing
man do i feel lucky that my dad has a wine making background so i had a bit of an idea of what i was going
well you live and learn

rychehawk, i think you're going to do just fine, that first batch may end up total crap, or sweet sweet ambrosia, bu i know you future batches will turn out better reguardless