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Thread: Stuck? Mead

  1. Default Stuck? Mead

    I did a simple mead, using chemicals (my next will be all natural), and it appears to be somewhat "stuck" in its fermentation. It's been in the carboy for 5 months, but had been bottled at one point when it looked to be done fermenting, only to have corks blow out some time later. Since then, I have put the mead back into a carboy, and added yeast nutrient, but the mead seems only to be carbonating, not really fermenting. I took a hydrometer reading, and it is still not that far along. Any ideas on how I can get the fermentation going again? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Stuck? Mead

    Which yeast did you use? Is there another that you can use to kick it up a bit that has a bit of a higher alcohol tollerance?

    My trick is that I use the Red Star Cote des blanc yeast and let it go as long as it will. If I feel that the mead is too sweet at that point, I'll pitch some Primier Cuvee to kick the fermentation with a touch of yeast nutrient.

    Hope this is an idea that may help.

  3. Default Re: Stuck? Mead

    I am using Lalkin EC-1118 yeast. I have used it well on two other melomels. The yeast seems to still be active, as the mead continues to carbonate, but I cannot seem to get it back into a fermentation cycle and it moves *very* slowly this way. I know time is a great ingrediant, but I think there must be a way to get the mead into a fermentation cycle.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Independence, KY and Greenacres, FL

    Default Re: Stuck? Mead

    If it is is fermenting. You are probably looking for a more vigorous fermentation but you never told us your recipe. It might be so close to done and the alcohol content so high that vigorous fermentation at this point may not be possible. If it taste okay or the sweetness is where you want it add potassium sorbate to stop it or heat it in the bottles in a pot of hot water to a temperature that will kill any remaining yeast. (pastuerize)

  5. #5

    Default Re: Stuck? Mead

    Jmattioli is correct...if you are producing gas, you are fermenting, as fermentation is the process by which the yeast break down sugar into carbon dioxide gas and ethyl alcohol. once your mead reaches a certain alcohol percentage its going to slow down no matter what you do. Basically i think you are just going to have to wait it out. i dont even know if the use of sorbate is a guarantee...i was under the impression that sorbate could not stop an active fermentation, only prevent fermentation from restarting once it ended (i could be wrong though). How old was your mead the first time you tried to bottle it?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Independence, KY and Greenacres, FL

    Default Re: Stuck? Mead

    That is correct... Potassium Sorbate Inhibits yeast reproduction and fermentation in sweet wines at bottling. Also called wine stabilizer. Not meant to stop active fermentation. It does however prevent renewed fermentation if it has stopped. I always also add potassium bisulfite. Together they will pretty well both stop and prevent renewed fermentation.
    Potassium (Meta)bisulphite is a stable source of sulphur dioxide in winemaking. It is added to wine to inhibit bacteria and yeast growth, as well as slow down oxidation.
    If used in proper amounts, neither will noticeable affect flavors.

  7. Default Re: Stuck? Mead

    Ok, for those who were wondering, this is the recipe that I used:

    Per Gallon -
    2 1/2 of clover honey
    4 1/2 tsp Acid Blend
    1/4 tsp Grape Tannin
    3/4 tsp Yeast Nutrient
    1 crushed pill campden

    This was increased to a five gallon batch and spit before adding yeast. I started with a SG of 1.096. It was originally put into bottles at 2 months, when the melomel that was started at from the same batch completed fermentation. At last reading the SG of the mead was 1.070, still well within the range of the Lalkin EC-1118 yeast being used (this was taken at almost 5 months of fermentation). The Lalkin yeast has taken both melomels to or below a 1.000 SG. In the time this mead has been going, I have completed the melomel started at the same time (split from this batch), and with its aging, it has become a *very* nice drink, and started and bottled another melomel (it's currently aging). The mead was started at the beginning of February this year. I am going to be checking the SG again tonight, to see where it is. I haven't checked it in about a month. Any additional advise is appreciated. I am still pondering the suggestion earlier of pasterizing and letting the mead sit as is, but I will have ended with a sweet mead, rather than a dry one as hoped for. Right now I am truly waiting it out, just wondering if anyone might have futher insight.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Independence, KY and Greenacres, FL

    Default Re: Stuck? Mead

    Well that answers the problem. Way too much acid! 4 1/2 t per gallon will make the ph way too acidic. Fermentation will drag on and take forever if not stop. Maybe some others who have had the same problem before can give you some tips like how much and what additive to put the ph back in an active fermentation cycle. I think it is calcium carbonate Somebody help who has more experience with this.

  9. Default Re: Stuck? Mead

    This is actually good news! Thank you for helping find the problem. I got this recipe from someone else, and since it was my first mead did not know what I was doing. I have decided that future meads with be honey, water, and a little lemon juice. Then we will start playing with spices. My next batch is going to be a cyser though, with a really basic formula. I am not using acid or campden as additives any more.

    I will be talking to the owner of the local brew shop to get an idea on what I need to do to adjust acidity. Thanks for the tip.

  10. Default Re: Stuck? Mead

    A quick update. I added the Calcium carbonate, and it seems to have picked up the speed a little on things. It is definately fermenting in a more normal fashion now.

    While I was at the store, I picked up ingredients for my simple cyser. It's bubbling away nicely. Thanks for the help everyone.

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