View Full Version : Fermentation stopped short

04-11-2013, 04:04 PM
I started two traditionals at the same time, same recipe, nutrients etc except for the variety of honey. They both started off fermenting at the same rate, and then I didn't have time to check on them for a week, by which time all activity had ceased. The one using heather honey reached 0.999, but the one using Greek honey stopped at 1.014. Can't figure out why.

3lb Honey
Water to 1gal
Yeast: 71B

Day 1: Prepared must; Sulphited.
Day 3: Pitched yeast. SG 1.098
Day 4: Added 1.5tsp nutrient. Aerated. pH 5.0
Day 5: Added 1tsp nutrient. Aerated. SG 1.070, pH 3.55
Day 10: SG 1.014, pH 3.72. No visible activity.
Day 11: SG 1.014. Added 1.5tsp boiled bread yeast.
Day 12: SG 1.014. Still no visible activity.

So, unless the honey's very high in unfermentable sugars, looks like it's stalled (incidently, I was expecting an OG of 1.090, a bit lower than this). PH shouldn't be a problem. 11.25%abv when 71B should get to 14%. Added boiled yeast as nutrients just in case it might help.

Any ideas on how I might get it restarted?
I shalln't try repitching, as was planning on backsweetening anyway; will just stabilise instead, and it'll be a bit lower strength than planned. More just curious about why it stopped at this point.

04-11-2013, 07:01 PM
How cool is the container right now? If you put in a slightly warmer room it may start
fermenting again, and you could gently swirl the fluid in the container as well to try and help rouse the yeast.

04-12-2013, 09:21 AM
I used to encounter this scenario before doing staggered nutrient additions.

In my case, I add half a teaspoon (per gallon of must) of DAP and another half teaspoon (per gallon of must) of superfood (a type of yeast energizer).

I then add a teaspoon of 25% DAP and 75% superfood just after the 1/3 sugar break point (ie: after just over 30% of the sugar/fuel has been converted to alcohol). At this point I usually just wait until a specific amount of time has passed rather than measuring the SG every day so I don't waste too much must or expose it to oxygen too much.

If you just throw in all the nutrient at first, it won't have the same punch as it does when you stagger it. Kind of like eating 7 vitamin pills on a Sunday instead of having one each day of the week - you waste a lot of them and just get neon yellow pee for a day.

Provided you don't have a large air gap in your fermenter (in my case, I ferment in glass carboys, not buckets), you could try adding a bit more nutrient, and agitate the must for 30 seconds. I wouldn't advise the agitation step if you have a large air gap though, as you'll likely oxidize the must and change the taste. You could always fill it with a bit more distilled water, since the foaming stage is long gone.

Finally, although you've decided not to repitch, you COULD trying pitching a small amount of Lalvin EC-1118 champagne yeast. I use this for most of my melomels, but it's also designed specifically for restarting stuck fermentations.

Best of luck!

04-12-2013, 03:06 PM
Temperature is 20C - shouldn't be a problem.

Did a bit of an SNA, but was too busy on day 6, and by day 7, figured it'd be past the 1/3 break. Not going to risk the oxidation from agitating.

What I might do is a add some sugar to bring the gravity up a couple of points. When it fails to ferment back down to 1.014, it'll at least confirm that there isn't a large amount of non-fermentables.

04-12-2013, 05:41 PM
I'd wonder about unfermentable sugars too. What was the Greek honey like as-is?

04-12-2013, 11:39 PM
I'd wonder about unfermentable sugars too. What was the Greek honey like as-is?

Very dark and strong (http://www.paynesbeefarm.co.uk/honey-in-bulk/greek-honey/).
Do any of the other Brits/Paynes honey users have any experience with it? My experience with different honeys is limited, but this seems like this might be worth checking. Is my proposed experiment sound?

04-13-2013, 07:56 PM
The really dark honeys tend to have more unfermentables in there. Could just be that.

04-13-2013, 11:46 PM
NVM read the numbers wrong (had originally posted something else). Probably just unfermentables in the honey. That's not a huge difference anyway.

04-14-2013, 12:39 PM
Not going to risk the oxidation from agitating.

If the airlock is in place when you agitate the batch, you have nothing to worry about as far as oxidation goes. On top of that, traditionals are much less prone to oxidation than wine or beer. But as the song goes, it's your party, don't agitate if you don't want to. ;)