PDA

View Full Version : Vigorous fermentation in 5 days suddenly stopped



markbk
12-04-2016, 09:44 AM
Hi everyone,

Recently started my first mead, and it vigorously fermented away with about 5-10 bubbles per second(!) after 24 hours in my 1,3 gallon carboy.
I degassed once a day for four days by stirring for approx 10-30 min., so foam never reached the airlock.

But after 5 days it suddenly stopped - like really stopped - and I've only seen three bubbles watching it for a whole day of sitting right next to the carboy, reading.

-> So, I just wanted to hear how this sounds to you guys, since I messed it up a bit by adding too much nutrient and yeast than recommended.

There was almost an inch of dead yeast at the bottom, and i racked to another carboy. It is not at all transparent yet (24 hours later).

And sorry, no hydrometer - I know I know, I'll get one some day.

Tools:
- 1,3 gallon glas carboy (5 litres)
- S-shaped airlock with vodka in it
(and sanitizer etc.)

Recipe:
- 6.6 lbs of water (3 kg)
- 3.7 lbs honey (1.7 kg) heated to about 65 celcius with small amount of water, cooled in water in the sink afterwards, then put in the carboy, topped with water, left a little room in the top for foaming
- 1.5 freshly squeezed lemon juice through a coffee filter
- Shook it for several minutes
- Nutrient w/vitamins for 25 litres, says nothing else on the pack (realized afterwards that this was five times too much needed)
- Shook it again
- Yeast 7 grams: Bioferm Vinoferm champagne yeast (realized afterwards that only half was needed)
I put it in water for 15 minutes before pitching, as it says on the packet. Made sure the temperature was the same as the carboy (20 celcius).
- Shook it again, put the airlock on it.

Conditions:
- Carboy placed under a table on the floor in my apartment, wrapped in a blanket so I can follow the fermentation proces.
- Probably 18-21 degrees celcius in the room with very small changes in temperature.

I sanitized all equipment thoroughly with bleach and removed bleach with water (in Denmark the tap water is among the cleanest in the world).

Any thoughts? Should I just be patient?

Thanks in advance,

Mark

caduseus
12-04-2016, 10:28 AM
Hi everyone,

Recently started my first mead, and it vigorously fermented away with about 5-10 bubbles per second(!) after 24 hours in my 1,3 gallon carboy.
I degassed once a day for four days by stirring for approx 10-30 min., so foam never reached the airlock.

But after 5 days it suddenly stopped - like really stopped - and I've only seen three bubbles watching it for a whole day of sitting right next to the carboy, reading.

–-> So, I just wanted to hear how this sounds to you guys, since I messed it up a bit by adding too much nutrient and yeast than recommended.

There was almost an inch of dead yeast at the bottom, and i racked to another carboy. It is not at all transparent yet (24 hours later).

And sorry, no hydrometer - I know I know, I'll get one some day.

Tools:
- 1,3 gallon glas carboy (5 litres)
- S-shaped airlock with vodka in it
(and sanitizer etc.)

Recipe:
- 6.6 lbs of water (3 kg)
- 3.7 lbs honey (1.7 kg) heated to about 65 celcius with small amount of water, cooled in water in the sink afterwards, then put in the carboy, topped with water, left a little room in the top for foaming
- 1.5 freshly squeezed lemon juice through a coffee filter
- Shook it for several minutes
- Nutrient w/vitamins for 25 litres, says nothing else on the pack (realized afterwards that this was five times too much needed)
- Shook it again
- Yeast 7 grams: Bioferm Vinoferm champagne yeast (realized afterwards that only half was needed)
I put it in water for 15 minutes before pitching, as it says on the packet. Made sure the temperature was the same as the carboy (20 celcius).
- Shook it again, put the airlock on it.

Conditions:
- Carboy placed under a table on the floor in my apartment, wrapped in a blanket so I can follow the fermentation proces.
- Probably 18-21 degrees celcius in the room with very small changes in temperature.

I sanitized all equipment thoroughly with bleach and removed bleach with water (in Denmark the tap water is among the cleanest in the world).

Any thoughts? Should I just be patient?

Thanks in advance,

Mark

1) NEVER ever go by bubbles. Go by hydrometer readings. Use got mead calculator to guesstimate your starting gravity, get a hydrometer and take daily readings. No visible bubbles does not equal no fermentation at all. In addition to possible leaks it could be just one bubble an hour. Are you really capable of watching it that closely?
2) You racked WAY too soon. There may have been dormant yeast at the bottom that could have been reactivated with stirring. You should stir daily until your hydrometer reading says no residual sugar.
3) "nutrient for 24 liters"? What does that mean? Are you saying you don't know how much nutrients you put in? What kind of nutrient exactly did you use?
4) what was the VOLUME of water you used?

Until you are willing to get a hydrometer, then I would not waste your time with any mead other than 1) Joes Ancient Orange Mead;2) following someone else's recipe that is tried and true if you follow EVERYTHING exactly AND no hydrometer readings are necessary.
I cannot emphasize enough using a hydrometer. Yes in ancient times they didn't have it but they used a recipe like JAOM that didn't require one.

After you get a hydrometer look up meadology series on YouTube. It is an 8 week class that teaches you the basics.

markbk
12-04-2016, 11:35 AM
I already read the complead meadmaker and watched a ton of Youtube videos (There's a lot of other recipes out there than Joes for first timers). So it really just came down to testing. I hardly think anyone ever bought ALL equipment you can get in one go?!

Just couldn't find anyone discussing what it means when a vigorous fermentation so abruptly slows down so just wanted to get a heads up on whether that's normal or not.

1) Check. Nice to know, thanks! (And yes, sitting right next to it, I could hear the bubbles)
2) Okay that's noted thanks. I just read several places that when in doubt, one should rack. And saw a couple of vids of people doing it with the BOMM.
3) Unfortunately the nutrient pack (containing enough for 25 litres) just says 30111 Nutrient w/vitamins batch 61674 was bought online as a suggested wine nutrient.
4) Kg is same as litres, so 3 litres. I'm pretty sure the water/honey-ratio is fine (the same as in several vids I've seen).

An update: It's still bubbling, but again - very slow (maybe every half an hour/hour). So I'm guessing it just need time now, maybe buy a hydrometer and check it.

Squatchy
12-04-2016, 12:20 PM
Good chance you pH dropped too low. Also, you really didnt overpitch with 7 grams. Even if you only made a gallon you'll be fine. Most people I read about underpitch. Go buy some potassium carbonate to raise your pH.

markbk
12-04-2016, 05:03 PM
Thanks for the tips guys. pH could be it - it smells like it.
I actually read a great deal about making mead and watched several vids, so too bad first batch isn't going as planned. Guess I'm getting that hydrometer, some pH measuring strips and calcium/potassium carbonate. Will get back when I find out what's going on.

darigoni
12-04-2016, 06:23 PM
Just don't get discouraged by your first (?) attempt and throw it out. Many a mead has started out bad, but ended up being saved and turned out pretty good. Most likely it will take a little time, but people here will help you salvage it.

bmwr75
12-04-2016, 09:32 PM
Maybe it is done. I've had ferments finish in 4 days. How does it taste? What is the sweetness level?

markbk
12-08-2016, 03:42 PM
UPDATE - four days later from last post - mead started 26th of November '16:

So I've got me some gear at the local brewery store, which I had to wait for since they first opened today.

Mead calculator guestimation - from the start when I didn't have a hydrometer:
1.103 SB
13.54 % ABV potential

The readings today:

pH (tested by paper strips): 3 - maybe just slightly above like 3.2 or something.
Hydrometer: 0.998
Vinometer: 11.5 % ABV
Bubbling: Every 3 minutes
Taste: Like sour champagne, no off taste - and not really dry, but more neutral - like water
Looks in a glass: Like squeezed lemon juice, hazy/not very see-through
Yeast in the bottom since last racking: 1 cm (1/3 of an inch)

...But lets go back a bit:
Just after I wrote last - since I had to wait till the shop opened - I poured out about two cups of mead from the carboy and replaced with water.
That seemed to "up the bubbling" from almost nothing to every 3-5 minutes.

I also got some stuff to reduce acidity, but haven't used it.

Seems like I might have been overly concerned. But the champagne yeast would probably go higher in alcohol if I added more honey? Guess I wouldn't mind that. But then I might have to reduce acidity?

Any recommendations what to do next would be greatly appreciated? :)

And again, thanks for the advice guys!

Mark

Squatchy
12-08-2016, 04:34 PM
So it may have restarted because you diluted it with water and changed the temps or pH. Your yeast should take you to somewhere around 18%. Can you look up the ABV tolerance level? You might just want to stabilize it and then backsweeten it to preference.

markbk
12-08-2016, 04:59 PM
So it may have restarted because you diluted it with water and changed the temps or pH. Your yeast should take you to somewhere around 18%. Can you look up the ABV tolerance level? You might just want to stabilize it and then backsweeten it to preference.

Yes, the tolerance is to 18%. So if I want more alcohol I should add more honey - but probably expect more acidity than the yeast can handle (because of the juice from 1.5 squeezed lemons I put in, probably) - and then I have to add just a hint of potassium carbonate (I think its called) to make better pH conditions, right?

When you say stabilize, you mean campden tablets?

And thanks for the answer.