View Full Version : Did we screw up?

05-05-2016, 10:56 AM
We started our mead on Monday (the 2nd of may) and it started bubbling the night of the 3rd.
Things were progressing slowly, where yesterday afternoon it bubbled once every 15 seconds, and last night it was bubbling once every 8 seconds.

Now today I check on it again, and it's slowed down to 19 seconds per bubble :S
The temperature in the room is down to 19 celsius from 21, but would that affect it that much or did we do something wrong?

We are fermenting in a 25 liter plastic pail and used the following:

8.1 KG Honey
Filled up to 20.1 liters with water
2.79 grams DAP
7.9 grams Ferment - O
2 packets lalvin 71B - 1122

Gravity reading of must: 1.118 before yeast/nutrients

05-05-2016, 11:00 AM
Bubbles mean nothing! Just take daily gravity readings.

What was your original gravity, and what's the gravity now?

EDIT: Looks like 71B has a massive temperature range 15 - 30 C. A lower temperature will usually result in a slower ferment, but at that temperature you've got nothing to worry about.

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05-05-2016, 11:11 AM
Gravity was 1.118. I'll take a new reading in the evening and post it asap :) thanks for the quick reply. (Have to wait until the wife is home so the dogs don't get in the way)

05-05-2016, 02:34 PM
I had some issues getting a reading with no bubbles on the hydrometer (had to take the reading in the pail itself as we didn't buy anything else to do it in yet).

From multiple attempts, it looks like it's at around 1.113 now though.

05-05-2016, 02:44 PM
Some of the more advanced mazes might want to step in but...

Looks ok to me, probably just a slow start. 20L batch is pretty large. How did you pitch your yeast?

Check gravity again in 24 hours, if it's lower then I'd say you're ok.

How did you work out your nutrient plan? Was that all up front addition, will you be adding anyone later on?

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05-05-2016, 03:14 PM
How did you pitch your yeast?

How did you work out your nutrient plan? Was that all up front addition, will you be adding anyone later on?

Those are definitely important questions, especially that first one. If you just pour the dry packets into the must, the yeast can become overwhelmed and die, leaving you with only a fraction of the yeast cells that you would have otherwise. Similarly, if you rehydrated properly, but did not allow the yeast slurry to cool down to within 10 F of the temperature of your must, then a lot of your yeast can succumb to temperature shock.

I'd also like to add:

Do you know your pH?
How well did you oxygenate your must?
What type of water did you use (distilled vs spring vs tap)? Spring water has plenty of trace minerals, distilled is a nutrient desert, and tap water is pretty hit or miss.

Also, if you're using a bucket, remember that they don't always seal 100% air tight, so CO2 might be escaping from other places besides the airlock.

05-05-2016, 03:33 PM
We did rehydrate, but I was not aware of the letting it cool down. So we did pitch yeast that was probably hotter then the must by a bit more then that.

I don't know the ph, and we used tap water, however our tap water is extremely clean in Iceland.

We oxygenated by vigorously stiring with a spatula for over 5 minutes (we timed it to make sure we did that at the very least)

As for nutrients we are very new at this (as in this is our first time) so we added it all up front and these were the amounts the packets said to add to this much liquid.

Did we kill the yeast from the temperature shock? And if so how do we fix that? Just add more and temperature match this time? Should we then add more nutrients too?

Sorry for all the questions but like I said its literally our first batch ever.

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05-05-2016, 03:44 PM
If your producing CO2 and your gravity is dropping then you definitely have viable yeast.
I suggest stirring the crap out of things this will help to Degas as well as add more oxygen to your must.

05-05-2016, 04:26 PM
We'll give it a shot and keep checking the gravity thanks :)

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05-05-2016, 06:34 PM

Welcome to the forum. :)

So when you rehydrated the yeast what temp was the water when you placed the yeast into it?

Here is a link. This is very important so follow closely. Especially do not add your yeast to anything other than straight water (not distilled) or water with Goferm if you can find that. Once the yeast have rehydrated for 20 minutes start adding small amounts of must,,, (1/4th the amount of yeast slurry) to your yeast slurry. Continue to add the must to the slurry every 10-15 minutes. By doing this you are adding the cooler must to the warmer yeast slurry. And in only adding a small amount each time it's not too stressful on the yeast. Plus, they are becoming accustomed to the higher gravity of the must. Do this until the temps are the same for both the slurry and the must. Now you can add the slurry to the must without harming the yeast.

If you need to you can go buy more 71-B and do this and then add it to your must.

If you have more Fermaid O You could add another dose of the same amount once you see added activity from the new yeast. You could then add one last dose a day later.When you do feed stir first, then take out some of the must with a turkey baster into a glass and add your food to the must in the glass and stir it up before you add it back into the pail. Don't feed it any more DAP.

You shou8ld be ok with your pH. Fermaid O does a great job of buffering. If it doesn't take off after my advice get back on here and we can help you to adjust the pH with some potassium bicarbonate but I doubt you will need it with Fermaid O

Try to keep your temps in low 60's. Stir vigorously every day for a week. You can even shake it real hard after you stir enough that most of the gas is gone if your strong enough and can keep the lid on..

After the first week put it under lock with an air lock and stir every few days to keep the yeast in suspension. Touch base in 3 weeks time and we can talk about stabilizing and racking. :)

And don't worry. Mead is very resilient.

05-05-2016, 07:10 PM
The water for rehydration was tap water and was at 42 celsius (instructions said between 40 and 45 iirc) we left it for a little over 20 minutes and it was bubbling slightly.

I can get more 71b on monday so will stick to the stirring until then, and follow your instructions at that time, would the delay be an issue?

Also do we add 1 extra packet or another 2?

Is fermaid o the same as ferment o? Our package says ferment-o so just want to make sure we are using the right stuff.

I have to say this is one of the most welcoming friendly and helpful forums I've ever been on :)

05-05-2016, 08:08 PM
Hello again

We try hard to be friendly and accommodating.

I didn't realize the fermaid/ferment difference. I suspect it might be different.

Here is the exact for the rehydration product http://www.scottlab.com/product-102.aspx

and the nutrient http://www.scottlab.com/product-106.aspx

What is the status of your batch as we speak? Is there signs of life? Has the gravity dropped in the last 12 or 24 hours? You should see between 10-20 points drop a day when it is at it's most agggresive stage. The lower range is better and is usually the difference in controlled temps. Lower temps = slower ferment= better tasting/less fussels.

If you are "dead in the water" pun intended,,, pitch 2 new packages.

05-05-2016, 09:55 PM
Hi Shadowbreed, Just a quick thought about the water. In my opinion, the issue of water cleanliness is really not an issue in Northern Europe or here in the USA or Canada. The bigger issue is whether the water contains chemicals designed to kill bacteria - say, chlorine or chloramines and those chemicals will very likely work to damage yeast cells. You may want to look for a source of water that is chlorine free (NOT distilled water) or you may want to boil your water to ensure that the chlorine boils off. Chloramine is designed NOT to evaporate off but I think - I am not certain, but I think that K-meta added to the water can neutralize chloramine.

05-06-2016, 10:50 AM
Right did some degassing by both stirring and shaking (and learned in the process that shaking before the stirring will make the airlock blow water in your face ;) ) and then took another reading.

Gravity is now at 1.102 ish.

We do in fact have fermaid-O apparently. it was simply listed differently on the icelandic site, but the package says fermaid. sorry for the confusion

Since it did go down by about 10 points, (It was about 19 hours since last reading) should we still add yeast, or are we good? (still can't get yeast until Monday either way)

As for the water, there is no chlorine or similar in our tap water, so I think we're good on that part :) It's pretty natural water over here :)

05-06-2016, 11:02 AM
I'd say you're fine, no need to add more yeast.

If you have in fact got fermaid O then I strongly recommend you check out the tosna protocol. http://www.meadmaderight.com/info.html

That'll make sure you feed your yeast enough nutrients

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05-06-2016, 11:46 AM
Ok if I understand that right, with our OG of 1.118 that should be brix 27 ish?
which would make it 350mg - the 30 average is 320 divided by 50 = 6.4 x 5.5 gallons = 35.2 grams of fermaid - O?

Which brings a similar issue to additional yeast.. we only have 5 grams of fermaid-o left and can't get more until Monday.
Also would the DAP have any effect on amount needed?

We are definitely doing more research on here before the next batch and not going with an online simple version ^^

05-06-2016, 03:40 PM
You DAP would have been about 28ppm YAN.

05-06-2016, 07:29 PM
So you still haven't given us an update on the condition of the batch in it's current state.

Is it foaming? Can you hear it fizzing. Do you see bubbles rising and poping? Do you see activity like meteors shooting through the must?

Hod you known better and done everything correctly you might expect to see a lag phase (nothing visible going on) for 6-12 hours. After that you will see lots of foam for 3-4 days and should expect to see 15-20 points a day being eaten buy the yeast. This for the first 5-7 days. At this point things begin to slow down as the alcohol toxicity starts taking affect on the yeast. Another week of slow going and you should, under normal circumstances have gotten to the end of active fermentation. AFter this you will see lots of off gassing going on for a handful of weeks. At the same time you will start to see dust beginning to collect on the bottom of the carboy.

Can you buy some K2CO3 at your home brew shop. This would help to bring the range of your pH back inside optimal range if by chance it slipped bast the workable range for your yeast.

You should be pretty deep into your ferment by now so you have 2 things that could be the culprit. It could be pH ( I doubt it) or, you could have killed/wounded most of your yeast from temp shock ( I expect that is the problem). I think if you can feed it more food for sure unless you see nothing happening. If nothing is happening I would not feed it until you can pitch again the proper way. And then I would wait until you see action going on again before adding the additional food. By now you will have lots of undesirable bad guys living in your must. No sense in feeding them more food at this time. Once the new yeast get underway they should be able to kill off the bad guys. You should be ok so don't worry just yet. If you do have action you could feed it but the hydrometer reading are not showing much proof of any decent kinetics going on.

05-06-2016, 07:36 PM
There is definitely fizzing, and when degassing there is a LOT of fizzing. There is a bit of foam but not a lot, although there was more foam yesterday before I started stirring/shaking, Bubbles are rising. And I don't see any meteors. But it is in a plastic pail so I can't see through the side.

I will have to check with the brew store if they have K2CO3.

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05-06-2016, 07:42 PM
So go ahead and feed it your last amount of Fermaid O. No more DAP. DAP isn't that great to begin with. You can also boil a little bit of water and drop in a couple packets of old fashioned bread yeast into the boil to kill the bread yeast. Let it cool and then feed it to the batch. Take and record a gravity reading every day.

05-06-2016, 07:47 PM
I'll definitely take gravity readings every day from now on, including on any new batches we make. I've learned not to trust easy start guides, and will do more proper research before we start another batch.
But yea for now focussing on saving this one, so I'll throw in the rest of the fermaid before heading to bed, and check in tomorrow with a new reading.

05-06-2016, 08:05 PM
Sanitized tools, stirred to degas. added some of the must to a glass, to which I added the 3.9grams fermaid. stirred that up, and fed it back in, then stirred to mix.

Not the greatest picture, but this is what it looked like right after, and it caused the wife to go "it sure smells like mead" from downstairs.
I will take another gravity reading tomorrow and report back in :)

05-07-2016, 02:19 PM
Ok today we were both here, so we stirred the crap out of it, and took another reading.

We are at 1.092 currently, and there is definitely starting to be an alcohol smell and yeast smell.

05-07-2016, 02:27 PM
Well then you sir are making mead. I would recommend another feeding of Fermaid O or boiled bread yeast in the next day or 2 to keep thoes yeasties happy.

05-07-2016, 02:47 PM
Indeed, looks like things are going ok. As farmboyc suggested, get another does of fermaid O in when you can

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05-07-2016, 09:25 PM
Awesome! We'll keep an eye on it. Thanks for the help everyone :)

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05-08-2016, 03:34 PM
A day later, and we're at 1.084, only 8 points down since yesterday, and 2 hours later then I usually do the reading.
The brew shop turns out to also be closed on Mondays, however he is kind enough to meet me anyway so I can get some supplies.

I am thinking of adding some more yeast and nutrients as it seems to be slowing down yet again, thoughts?

05-08-2016, 03:48 PM
Any idea of current pH. It is a common issue with meads.
Potassium Bicarbonate is usually a good fix.

05-08-2016, 03:49 PM
Unfortunately not. A ph meter is a bit outside the budget right now as they're really expensive here

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05-08-2016, 04:11 PM
Any pH strips avaliable from your Home brew shop? Be sure to get some that go from 3-5 if possible.

05-08-2016, 04:28 PM
Not on the website but he does have some things that aren't on there so I'll check tomorrow for that as well

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05-10-2016, 06:20 PM
Well he couldn't make it yesterday, and my old dog died as well so I didn't really look at anything yesterday.

Just checked and it's 1.081 so nearly no progress in the last 2 days.

Unfortunately no ph strips both in the brew store and in any pharmacies, and the ph meter is over 150 dollars here so a bit out of budget right now.

I did stock up on more yeast and nutrients, so hoping that will fix things when I pitch it in the morning (want to take my time to do it right this time and not rush it this late at night)

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05-10-2016, 07:31 PM
Do you have any potassium carbonate or bicarbonate. If so I would go ahead and add a teaspoon.
My condolences on your dog. It's tough no matter how old they are.

05-10-2016, 07:33 PM
No it was unfortunately sold out and won't be back for a few weeks :s

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05-10-2016, 07:42 PM
Any precipitated chalk? It will work as well without leaving any unwanted flavour.
Just better to give it a shot rather than wait for something to come and spoil your must.

05-10-2016, 07:45 PM
I think so actually. There is a whine store that has a few items that has something that translates to chalk. I'll drive by there tomorrow as well :)

The only potassium are potassium sulphite

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05-12-2016, 04:36 PM
No such luck. I do now have a ph meter on the way for next batch but that won't help with this one. I think however we might have had bad yeast. With the new yeast, Even before most of the steps it was more active then the previous one was right before pitching. So let's hope the new yeast fixes this one.

For next batch I will have all the tools and chemicals if customs doesn't take them.

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05-13-2016, 04:01 PM
Would new yeast enter a new lag phase and be slow at the start?

Went from 1.082 to 1.078 since yesterday, I'm not sure if that means it's a lost cause, or if it's just starting up.

PH meter should be here in 5 ish days as well.

05-13-2016, 04:02 PM
How did you pitch the new yeast?

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05-13-2016, 04:24 PM
Basically I followed all the steps squatchy mentioned. Rehydrate in 43 celsius, added must to it until temperatures matched to within half a celsius, added more fermaid, pitched yeast and stirred like a madman

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05-13-2016, 04:26 PM
Basically I followed all the steps squatchy mentioned. Rehydrate in 43 celsius, added must to it until temperatures matched to within half a celsius, added more fermaid, pitched yeast and stirred like a madman

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Cool, you should be ok. It might take a little while for the yeast to get used to the sugar and alcohol in your must.

I'd the gravity is dropping then you shouldn't worry :)

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05-13-2016, 05:01 PM
Crossing my fingers :)

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05-15-2016, 04:59 PM
Bubbles every 3 seconds today, and 1.068. Still slow but progress at least

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05-17-2016, 06:59 PM
1.058 doing about 10 every 2 days, but at least it's a steady 10 every 2 days at the moment. progress is progress I guess ^^