View Full Version : 5 year stall - should I jumpstart?

Chevette Girl
04-13-2011, 03:12 PM
I fermented some jalapenos in 2005 because it was the only thing my stupid garden yielded that year. I probably abused my yeast (K1V) rather badly as I rarely aerated anything back then and had never heard of yeast energizer, and since it continued to make little bubbles from the sediment at the bottom even when it looked pretty clear, I just kept topping up the airlock and ignoring it.

I checked its SG last night (realizing then that I never had bothered to check it since pitching) and it had pooped out at 1.060, it tastes kind of sweet and vegetabl-y with no heat. I can pick out the taste of the lemon I added back when I thought all wines should be adjusted to something akin to grape juice, can't really detect the alcohol.

My logbook's two flights of stairs away so I'll repost with its original gravity but from what I recall it wasn't terribly high, maybe 10% potential alcohol. I'm kind of surprised it hasn't gone bad with as little alcohol in it as there is. The colour is a little bit darker than originally, but since this one was so slow, I used to put a black cloth over it and sit it in the sun because that made it bubble more so there might be a bit of photo-damage but I didn't taste any oxidation.

Yes, I've come a long way since then. :rolleyes:

Think it's worth trying to jumpstart it with some fresh K1V using an acclimated starter, or just mix it with some garlic and declare it to be a marinade and move on so I can have my carboy back?

(if this should be in the wine section, please bump 'er on over, my apologies, technically I'm pretty sure I made it with sugar and not honey, just figured it might be interesting to anyone else who's had something stall out way early)

04-13-2011, 03:16 PM
Who says you can't add caramelized garlic and jump start it?

04-13-2011, 03:56 PM
If you really want it drier, then there's no harm in trying to re-start it. However, even though 10% ABV is on the low side for a wine (or mead), that is the level at which re-starts can be problematic. Are you saying that the potential ABV was 10%, or is it at 10% as-is?

Chevette Girl
04-13-2011, 04:22 PM
I think its potential was only around 10%. So there's probably less than 5% there now, unless I'm completely mistaken. Next trip to the basement I'll bring up my log book. Maybe I'll check its pH too, if the pH meter fits in the mouth of the carboy! (finally calibrating my new Xmas toy)

Medsen Fey
04-13-2011, 05:59 PM
It might make some good blending stock for things that are too dry.

04-13-2011, 07:27 PM
If it is only 5%, then by all means give a re-start a try. If nothing else it will be good practice of the technique. You might consider using a strain better suited to restarting a stuck fermentation, though. Something like EC-1118 or Uvaferm 43. Sure, the potential for going too dry is there, but that's got to be a better option than the jalapeno pancake syrup that you have now. ;)

Given that it stalled out so early, I'd suspect pH even if I couldn't test for it, and I'd add about a gram per gallon of potassium bicarb just to bring it more into balance. I'd probably also dose it with some yeast hulls and let those do their thing for a day or so prior to pitching the re-start starter.

Good luck with this one! (If all else fails, there's Medsen's blending suggestion - but that sounds too much like giving up - and you don't seem to be one of those people who gives up without a good fight!) ;D

Chevette Girl
04-14-2011, 12:42 AM
From the brewlog - 4 cups sugar (around 2 lbs), juice from 1 lemon, 1 cup strong decaf tea, 1/4 tsp pectic enzyme, OG = 1.082, started October 2005, still bubbling slowly at last logbook entry, May 2008.

Yeah, that's only .020 difference!! I can't believe this stuff hasn't gone bad!

Probably worth a restart with a decent starter, my yeasties really didn't like the jalapenos. It didn't stall out so much as never really got started. Even after 5 years there were tiny bubbles visible in the hydrometer test tube.

And I can't get my #%$!@#$ new pH meter calibrated... :mad: not only do they appear to have switched the packets for the two calibration solutions but also my distilled water doesn't appear to be 7.0... if I assume a correct reading of my tapwater at 8.6 (which is a bit high to my recollection), the distilled water's around 5.0 so my calibration solutions are both off too... grr, where the hell do I get new calibration solution...

Chevette Girl
01-09-2012, 01:24 PM
For completion's sake, I did make an acclimated starter with EC-1118 to get this one going again and it finished within a week. Then I bottled it too early and it surprised me by degassing rather violently when I did my one-week "are you safe?" check (it's well below 1.000 and producing no sediment so I don't think it's actually fermenting), but fortunately it was all bottled in flip-top bottles so I popped them open and I'm degassing the 3 bottles with my vacuvin pump.