View Full Version : Another stalled ferment

01-17-2015, 02:44 PM
I started my 8th batch of mead on 1/1/15.

I started by making a decoction of several roots and herbs. Astragulus, fo-ti, echinacea, burdock, eleuthro, saw palmetto berry, star anise, hawthorne berries and nettle leaf. This made a strong tea that I used as a base in which I dissolved my honey. I used only 3/4 tsp of nutrient over each of the first 4 days, because I imagined that the "tea" was going to contribute nutrients and I wouldn't need to add as much.

Total batch volume = 5.5 gallons
OG = 1.120 @ 80 degrees
Yeast = D47 5 grams activated in 105 deg water for 1/2 hour and producing bubbles
pH = 4.77

I kept the ferment intentionally cool, because I have read that it produces a smoother end product. Since D47 is said to have a tolerance down to 50 degrees, I kept it between 58 -62. It started up within a day and a half and was eating the sugars away steadily for the first two weeks during which time I aerated twice a day minimum. After two weeks it was down to 1.084 gravity. Now over the last 3 days, the gravity has not moved and the airlock activity is weak at best. The current pH is 4.65. I just added a Tsp of nutrient and aerated fearing this is the problem. I thought it was OK since I am still just short of the 1/3 break.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Medsen Fey
01-17-2015, 02:58 PM
If you hadn't fed them before, the nutrients should help. Rarely will a tea have enough nitrogen for fermentation. You might also bring the temp up to about 65F to move them along.


01-17-2015, 03:42 PM
Thank so much for your feedback.

They got about 3 Tbs of nutrient in the first few days but nothing since. Since I am at the 1/3 break, any suggestions on when I should stop giving them nutrient if it does indeed rejuvenate them?

In my previous batches, I usually give 1 good size tsp per day for the first four days in my 5-6 gallon batches. That's slightly less than recommended on the Fermax label. I have had a couple other ferments stall after I thought everything was going great. One was at 1.022, 11% ABV using Cotes de Blanc. I had another batch stall at 8% alcohol (Gravity = 1.054, OG = 1.115) using 71B. That batch also reached a pH of 3.0 at that same time. I added 10g Pot Bicarb to pH ~3.5 and it got to 1.019 over the next 2 weeks.

Question: Do you think if I used more nutrient (1-1.5 tsp per gallon VS. 3/4 tsp per gallon) I will have more success in getting my traditionals to ferment dry all other things being equal?

Medsen Fey
01-17-2015, 04:30 PM
If using Fermax alone, using about 2 tsp per gallon should help as long as it isn't a high-gravity ferment or a nutrient-hog yeast.

71B is not going dry from a gravity above 1.105, and I'd keep it a bit lower than that.


01-17-2015, 05:09 PM
"If using Fermax alone, using about 2 tsp per gallon should help as long as it isn't a high-gravity ferment or a nutrient-hog yeast."

It's D47 with an OG of 1.120, stuck at 1.084 after two weeks. Kept between 58 and 62 degrees.

Medsen Fey
01-17-2015, 07:32 PM
Do keep in mind that your strong tea could contain some yeast inhibitors.

Double check your pH and make sure the meter is calibrated

Warm it up to 65-68 F and give it a good aeration.

If that doesn't get it going you may need to pitch a different yeast.


01-19-2015, 01:01 AM
How are you checking pH? test strips are wildly inaccurate. Also astragalus+alcohol= BAD for liver function. my .02

01-19-2015, 05:01 PM
Rachmael, thanks for the heads up. I have not been able to find any contraindications anywhere between astragalus and alcohol, so I am curious about your source. I am using a pH meter - Checker by Hanna. Admittedly, it does need a calibration.

I repitched a quart starter of K1V this morning accompanied by a vigorous aeration. Temp is up to 64. It does seem to be reactivating, so I have my fingers crossed.

01-20-2015, 06:49 PM
I raised the temp to ~73 since yesterday. I am getting a bubble every 12 seconds.