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  1. Default Stuck at SG 1.040 - again and again !! Any advice or help please ?

    I've been trying repeatedly to make various Mead recipes over the last 2 years - but have a recurring problem.

    My most recent recipe is this :

    1.3Kg Polish Buckwheat Honey
    Dissolved in 1 gallon water
    0.25 oz Acid Blend
    1/4 tsp wine tannin
    1/2 Tsp Yeast Nutrient
    1 Tsp Young's Super Wine Yeast Compund

    I am aiming to produce a dry clear wine type mead with a higher alcohol content.

    I dissolve the honey and shake the demijohn for 10 minutes to get it well aerated. I add the yeast and within a few hours the fermentation has started actively - lots of bubbling every few seconds - and the pace continues happily for about a week. Temperature between 15-20 degrees centigrade. However the fermentation then slows and even stops after about 10 days. At this stage I leave alone - but not much else happens. The starting SG before I add the yeast is 1.090 and when it stops it is around 1.040. I have tried several batches with similar results.


    I have tried racking off the heavy sediment to a clean demijohn and also shaking again - no effect. I have added another teaspoon of yeast nutrient and also even tried adding a restart yeast. One of the first batches I made in 2016 has sat like this for 2 years and refused to clear fully - and I have ended up bottling it as a cloudy sweet 7% drink - but it is not what I am trying to make. I have also tried Lalvin EC 1118 yeast - which was similar.


    I am assuming it is something to do with fructose not fermenting out - but really don't know what the issue is. Has anyone some suggestions as to what to try next ?


    Thank you

    Glen

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Västra Götaland, Sweden
    Posts
    636

    Default

    Hi,

    Several things can make this occur. I would not add any acid blend to the must before I know pH. If you start low in pH it will most certainly get lower during the end of fermentation. If the must/mead reaches too low it will stall. If you have any batch standing still right now you can try to slowly add small amounts of bicarbonate to see when fermentation starts again. You should not add much at once, try to keep a slow pace on adding this, during several days, otherwise you will chock your yeast. The best thing is to buy ph-paper strips that is within pH 3-5 or similar. If you can target around pH 4 it’s good.

    Try this first and see what happens. pH and temperature (within yeast’s recommended temp range) is critical for a good fermentation.

  3. #3

    Default

    Cobrac's info is correct. I also would not add the tannin until it's finished to see if you want it. And them. If you do add it according to taste over a period so you make it how you like it rather than some preconceived amount. That may not correspond at all with your particular mead. I also don't feed it until I see my yeast has moved beyond the Lag phase. Adding food beforehand feeds the bad guys and not your chosen strain.

    I never pitch the yeast straight into the must. Very toxic for the yeast and most often you wound the hell out of the yeast.

    Fructose is most likely not your problem but your treatment of yeast instead.

    I would never remove my yeast from the biomass before it's finished. How can you win the war with no army

    If you look up the gotmead live podcast, you can start on 9/5 17 and learn the most modern protocol using modern science and why what we do. This will move you miles ahead of most people
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Västra Götaland, Sweden
    Posts
    636

    Default

    I also confirm Squatchy’s info here. To add even more you cannot use one yeast in the beginning and try to repitch with another yeast strain. Almost every wine yeast has a highbkiller ratio. Simply described; every yeast strain leaves some proteins and stuff into your mead that will be a hard combatant for a new strain to survive. Pick one yeast and stick to it, even if you repitch.

    If you decide to repitch here’s what to do:

    Rehydrate your new yeast in approx. 13dl (same strain that you already used) finger warm water (about 38c) by sprinkle a sachet (5gr) over the water surface. Let sit for maximum 15-20min.

    Add 25ml of your must and oxygenate by whipping air into the solution let sit for 2h.

    Next time double the amount of must to 50ml. Aerate and let sit for another 2h.

    Next time add 100ml and aerate. Let sit til day after (12h).

    You should now have activity in your solution. Add nutrient add another 100ml of your must and aerate. Let sit til next day.

    Add the new slurry to your stalled fermentation.

    It’s important that this procedure is done in a vessel with airlock. However this all undone if your pH isn’t correct.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    796

    Default

    Is that a US or Imperial gallon?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,495

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    Always the contrarian, I'd like to ask the OP how Scotymead was measuring the gravity? Strikes me as bizarre and totally not random that the FG was always finishing at 1.040. Just a thought (and this is not original, as it was raised in a different forum discussing wine making), might Scotymead be using a refractometer to measure the gravity and if so does Scotymead use the converters necessary to take into account the presence of alcohol? Refractometers are calibrated to measure sugar content in water (juice). Add any alcohol to the solution and your readings are very distorted. A reading of 1.040 could mean the same as .996 if the measurement was taken by hydrometer. Of course, I could be waaayyy off base and Scotymead's readings could be by hydrometer, but I for one would want to know through what instrument the readings were made.
    That said, I totally agree with others that adding acids to the primary when fermenting honey is both unnecessary and risky and adding any adjuncts such as tannins without having a good handle on whether the mead is short such compounds is a little like someone automatically adding salt or pepper to a dish that is set down on the table before even tasting a mouthful.
    Last edited by bernardsmith; 07-23-2018 at 10:27 AM.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    Always the contrarian, I'd like to ask the OP how Scotymead was measuring the gravity? Strikes me as bizarre and totally not random that the FG was always finishing at 1.040. Just a thought (and this is not original, as it was raised in a different forum discussing wine making), might Scotymead be using a refractometer to measure the gravity and if so does Scotymead use the converters necessary to take into account the presence of alcohol? Refractometers are calibrated to measure sugar content in water (juice). Add any alcohol to the solution and your readings are very distorted. A reading of 1.040 could mean the same as .996 if the measurement was taken by hydrometer. Of course, I could be waaayyy off base and Scotymead's readings could be by hydrometer, but I for one would want to know through what instrument the readings were made.
    That said, I totally agree with others that adding acids to the primary when fermenting honey is both unnecessary and risky and adding any adjuncts such as tannins without having a good handle on whether the mead is short such compounds is a little like someone automatically adding salt or pepper to a dish that is set down on the table before even tasting a mouthful.
    Got to give it to you. That's brilliant. I wonder if that's the case. <akes sense to me. We would all know instanly based on experience how dry ot wet someting is. But maybe not a newbbe. Good Catch Bernard
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  8. Default

    Thanks guys - that is all really helpful. I am very grateful.

    To answer the question - I am using a standard winemaking hydrometer in a measuring cylinder - so I am quite sure my SG readings are accurate and repeatable. I am new to mead - but am an experienced home winemaker and have been making an array of all sorts of both fruit and grape wines for years using many techniques. It is really working with honey that is new to me. My biggest challenge here in the UK seems to be sourcing reliable good quality honey to use at an affordable price.

    I did start out with the famed JAOM a couple of years ago - and that was fine - but not the complexity and art of what I want to make. I think you may well be right with the pH theory - and I have sent off for pH paper - as measuring pH is not something I have ever needed to do with my home winemaking. I have also started off another couple of batches - a gallon apiece - without adding any acids or tannins - just simply nutrients - and we'll see if that solves the problem. I have listened to the yeast podcast too - thanks for the tip - and have started listening my way through more of the others. I've got another 3 different strains of yeast to try out too - in case they are better for my situation.

    I'll let you know how I get on. Thanks very much :-)

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