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nosmokingbandit
12-02-2012, 12:28 PM
Hello everyone!

I'm making my second batch of mead and it is fermenting super slowly. My first batch was one gallon and it finished primary fermentation in about 2 weeks. This batch is 3 gallons that I started about a month ago and it is still fermenting.

My OG was 1.100 and in 3 1/2 weeks it was ~1.60. I was fermenting it a little cooler than usual (in the low 60s F), so I moved the carboy to a warmer room but it doesn't seem to be going much quicker.

I intended to make a super basic mead, so this is what I did:

9lbs of local clover honey
Water to 3gal
EC-1118 yeast that I had in a starter for 24 hours before pitching

Thats it.

Should I be concerned that it is going so slowly? I'm not in a rush to get it done, but if this is going to cause off flavors I really would like to fix it.

theEnvoy
12-02-2012, 01:53 PM
Shouldn't that read 1.06. I checked the spec sheet on EC-1118, and the low end on that is 59 degr. F. I have put a JAOM in the basement at 60 Degr. F, and it has slowed to a snail pace with the Fleischman's. But I'm going to leave it, for now. Maybe some more experienced can add to this....!

fatbloke
12-02-2012, 03:26 PM
Hello everyone!

I'm making my second batch of mead and it is fermenting super slowly. My first batch was one gallon and it finished primary fermentation in about 2 weeks. This batch is 3 gallons that I started about a month ago and it is still fermenting.

My OG was 1.100 and in 3 1/2 weeks it was ~1.60. I was fermenting it a little cooler than usual (in the low 60s F), so I moved the carboy to a warmer room but it doesn't seem to be going much quicker.

I intended to make a super basic mead, so this is what I did:

9lbs of local clover honey
Water to 3gal
EC-1118 yeast that I had in a starter for 24 hours before pitching

Thats it.

Should I be concerned that it is going so slowly? I'm not in a rush to get it done, but if this is going to cause off flavors I really would like to fix it.
Well if that really is the entire ingredient list, its hardly surprising that its slow.

The only nutrient is likely to be that which the yeast was started with. Hence not only your lower temp method slowing it some, but its also the likelihood of limited nutrition will also not be helping the matter.

It sounds like its being made as a "show" mead (honey, water and yeast) rather than as a "traditional" mead (honey, water, yeast and nutrients i.e. nutrient and energiser or some variation). Honey is famously devoid of the nutrient components that are contained in grape.

If that supposition is correct then you're lucky its dropped as much as it has......

Chevette Girl
12-02-2012, 03:47 PM
For comparison, here's the brew log (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16141)for the time I made show meads... initial SG was 1.085, by day 7, I was at 1.060, day 20 at 1.045, 3 months to get to 1.030 then it took almost a year after that last reading to get down to 1.010 where I think it may have finally finished. As far as I can tell, there were no off flavours or aromas from such a long slow, nutrient-deprived ferment but it sure took its sweet time. EC-1118 isn't usually too whiny about nutrients either so you'll probably be OK, it's just gonna be a long, very slow process.

Have you been aerating this in any way? If not, you should give it a real good aeration soon, you're getting close to the point of it no longer being useful to your yeast.

If you don't have your heart set on keeping this as a show mead, you can microwave or boil a few teaspoons of bread yeast, and that'll give the EC-1118 something to chew on while still keeping things as natural as possible.

Simple and natural may be nice goals in theory, but if you want something safe to bottle and tasty to drink before several years are up, use the chemicals... or at least, use some fruit so the yeast has a little bit of the nutrition it needs. If you're at 1.060 from 1.100 it could probably still benefit from some form of organic nitrogen.

nosmokingbandit
12-02-2012, 03:57 PM
I do want this to be a show mead. My first batch of mead had some orange thrown in it and fermented pretty quickly. I wasn't aware that show meads take that long. Thats not a problem, I just wanted to make sure it wasnt going horribly wrong.

I have been stirring it pretty aggressively every other day or whenever I remember it. The mead degasses like crazy when I do, but at the lower temp more co2 is going to stay in solution.

Medsen Fey
12-02-2012, 04:15 PM
EC-1118 can get stinky with H2S if you starve it, so watch out for that.

Another hazard of long drawn-out fermentation is that it gives acetic acid bacteria a good opportunity to grow. Protracted fermentations often have higher volatile acidity.

What you are seeing is what gave our forebearers the understanding that meads are difficult to ferment.

adina728
12-11-2012, 12:55 AM
Nice Post...Thanks for the info.