View Full Version : Can not start fermenting

John E.
10-13-2013, 08:49 PM
I started my metheglin on October 5, 2013.
Brought 1.25 gals water to boil added 4 oz. loose tea to water and let steep until cool. (room temp.)
Strained into plastic bucket.
Added about 3.25 lbs. honey brought starting gravity to 1.120
PH started out at 5.25
Added 1/2 teaspoon of tartaric acid.

October 6, 2013
Checked PH 4.85
Added another 1/2 teaspoon tartaric acid.

October 7 , 2013
PH at 4.35
Added another 1/2 teaspoon tartaric acid.

October 8, 2013
PH at 3.85
Added another 1/2 teaspoon tartaric acid.

October 10, 2013
PH at 3.65
Added another 1/2 teaspoon tartaric acid.

October 11, 2013
PH at 3.35
Rehydrated yeast with 1oz water and 1/2 teaspoon GoFerm
Made started for yeast k1 V1116
Temp. at 68-70 degrees
Pitched yeast into must at 3:00 pm
Added 1/2 teaspoon Fermaid O to must with yeast.

Tea is Black tea blend, cinnamon oil, orange oil, loves, and orange peels. It has been over 24 hours since pitching yeast and no signs of anything happening. Any thoughts n what is going on and what to do. I have made melomels and traditionals, this is my first attempt at a meth.
As of now no fermentation.

10-13-2013, 10:01 PM
No fermentation based on what? If your pH is dropping, you likely have fermentation. You gave pH reading, but no gravity readings. Gravity readings are all that matter.

John E.
10-13-2013, 10:07 PM
Starting gravity is 1.120
Gravity reading today 1.120

10-13-2013, 10:19 PM
The pH was doing because he was adding acid.

Did you notice any bubbling in your starter prior to pitching? I made a starter for my cyser, and it had a good head of foam within a few hours.

How old was the yeast?

John E.
10-13-2013, 10:42 PM
Brand new yeast.
Foam and bubbles, started with yeast water and goferm, after 1 hr. added 2 oz's of must to starter waited for foaming again, added 2 more oz's of must.
After foaming again added yeast starter to must.

anir dendroica
10-13-2013, 10:56 PM
Have you calibrated your pH meter lately? The first reading looks suspiciously high, and 2.5 tsp tartaric acid in 1.5 gallons could easily drive the pH down into the 2.5-3.0 range which is too acidic for yeast.

10-13-2013, 11:35 PM
Ok. I get it now. KIV is a beast, but I think your ph is just too low. Adding acid blend up front is no longer a suggested practice in mead making. It drops your ph causing the yeast to stall out. You will need to raise your ph with potassium carbonate, then repitch with new yeast.

After fermentation is finished, you can add acid blend to taste.

John E.
10-13-2013, 11:47 PM
PH meter has been calibrated.
PH holding at 3.48.

10-14-2013, 12:20 AM
its possible you waited to long when hydrating your yeast before you added to your must. If your going to do a starter you need to start adding must to it 15 min after hydration has begun or there may not be enough nutrition to keep them going. An hour is way to long. Also add the Fermaid O to your must before adding to your starter, this will help ensure you are getting enough nutrients to the yeast during the making of the starter.

Medsen Fey
10-14-2013, 05:57 AM
For future batches, consider pitching the yeast without all the acid. The yeast can function fine at a pH of 5.25 and will rapidly drop the pH themselves.

Get a packet of EC-1118 (or Red Star Premier Cuvee). Rehydrate and gradually add portions of your must until you have have the yeast bubbling and acclimated. Then pitch.

John E.
10-14-2013, 11:48 AM
Thanks all I will try the new yeast and let you all know if it works.

John E.
10-18-2013, 01:36 AM
Re-hydrated yeast as suggested on 10/15/2013. Still no fermentation.
Re-hydrated 2nd packet of yeast on 10/16/2013 Still no fermentation.
Took gravity readings before and after aerating still at 1.120.
Is it time to call it or other suggestions?

Chevette Girl
10-18-2013, 02:45 AM
I would try an acclimated starter before giving up on this batch... rehydrate your yeast as directed, then add the same volume of must to double the volume, then wait till it bubbles again, then double it again, wait for it to show signs of life, repeat till you've got maybe 1/5 of the entire batch added to the yeast... if it's going at that point, it should hit the batch running.

Medsen Fey
10-18-2013, 05:55 AM
Let me ask how you calibrated the pH meter?

10-18-2013, 08:38 AM
This may be a silly thought but is it possible that there was sorbate or some other preservative in the tea that was not denatured by boiling and you are simply adding yeast to a must that is preventing the yeast from reproducing

Chevette Girl
10-18-2013, 11:18 AM
If that's what's happened, the acclimated starter will fail... but there are a few threads were people have successfully gotten sorbated juices to ferment, it just takes several applications of non-acclimated starters.

John E.
10-18-2013, 12:11 PM
PH meter was calibrated with liquid solution one at 4.0 the other at 7.1.
Tea might have had sorbate in it but I did boil it then let it steep until it cooled, to room temp.

Medsen Fey
10-18-2013, 01:47 PM
Well, something is clearly inhibiting the yeast. If you start a new batch, you can get Uvaferm 43, the most durable yeast I've seen and start a batch with 1 gallon of traditional must (no tea or acid) in a 5-7 gallon fermenter. You can start at the same gravity. When this new batch is going good, add gallon of the old must and wait until it is going strong, then add another gallon. When that is visibly fermenting well, add another gallon of the old must. You don't have to worry about oxidation or spoilage. Eventually, over a period of a few days, you should be able to get this fermenting.

John E.
10-19-2013, 11:36 AM
Thank you all for your wonderful advice and your willingness to share your knowledge with us.
When I got home from work last night went to check on my mead and low and behold it started fermenting.
Gravity reading last night was 1.098 did not add any nutrients figured there was enough in already with the added yeast and goferm.
Will stir and continue on as if nothing happened.

10-19-2013, 11:49 AM
Wow !!! Interesting thread !!! And a difficult problem !!! Congratulations to John E. and all the contributors who offered advice and suggestions. Well done !!

Chevette Girl
10-20-2013, 12:27 AM
:) And, as often as is not, the magic ingredient was patience...

John E.
10-20-2013, 01:45 AM
11:00 am gravity 1.086 added 1/2 teaspoon Fermaid O, 1/4 teaspoon DAP
11:00pm gravity 1.070
Will continue to stir daily to degas. Want this one to go down to 1.020.
PH at 3.45 will continue to monitor regularly.
Once again thanks for all your help. Hope to meet more of my fellow Got Meaders at the next years Mazer Cup.

10-20-2013, 12:20 PM
I have issues in the past with cinnamon in the must. I have read a few places cinnamon and orange oil have certain anti-bacterial properties, not sure at what concentration. i now use Cinnamon in post ferment and have great success.

10-21-2013, 02:10 AM
We Were just chatting about the effects of cinnamon in must over here....

John E.
10-28-2013, 12:04 PM
Thank you all for the advice and links. I did a little research and cinnamon oil and orange oil do have anti-bacterial properties.

Update on this Mead:

gravity has been steady for 3 days at 1.004 (lower than what I wanted)
Racked to secondary last night, tasted like rocket fuel.
Will let sit and check on it later. Will back sweeten later as needed when I can tell some more about the flavor.