sugestions on why fermentation failure
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  1. #1
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    Default sugestions on why fermentation failure

    This is our second batch of mead:
    We are not getting any action from fermentation and it has been two days. Can the yeast be bad even if it is not past expiration? When you hydrate the yeast with luke warm water should there be an visible signs that the yeast is alive?

    I have a book that says you don't stir the yeast into the must but the directions in the recipe says you do, so we did. Any idea if this it the problem?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    What kind of yeast?

    The brew shop guy told me some White lab's live yeast have problems. For the most part dry yeast should be fine even after expiration date if they are not heated or frozen, keep best in a refrigerator will last the longest. I use E1118 for soda and have some that is in the fridge that is at least a year past exp.

    It can take 4 or 5 days for some slow starters to start bubbling.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Proof your yeast before you pitch it into your mix.
    Add the yeast to your warm water, add a couple teaspoons of honey, and wait.
    If nothing happens...the yeast is no good. It should start bubbling fairly quickly.
    Give it a while. (hour or so)
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  5. #4
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    It can definitely take a few days for some meads even with healthy yeast, especially if they have high gravity, cool temps, low pitching rates etc. It takes time at least for the must to become saturated with CO2 before any offgassing will occur, even though CO2 is being produced.
    Bees, brews and fun
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  6. #5
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Quote Originally Posted by aunt betty View Post
    Proof your yeast before you pitch it into your mix.
    Your advice is golden, thank you. Just what I was looking for. Now for the wait, your wait and my wait might be different. How long is wait?

    Yeast Lalvin D47 Product of Denmark 5 grams. Recipe said 8 grams so I used 1 1/2 packs. I figured I could pitch it again and I probably will depending on advice.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #6
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    +1 with Brewcat. I recently had a batch with D47 take a couple of days to start pushing bubbles through the airlock. If it's in a cool room move it to a warmer spot.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    How cool is cool? It is 72 or better. OK, how warm is too warm? I am never in a hurry but is it better to be cool and slow or warm and fuzzy?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #8
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Although it depends on the yeast variety some will kick or easily at 72 others not so. Usually 80 will get most started. What we need to remember is that yeast first begins to multiply which may not result in the classic production of CO2. Although it may look as it is doing nothing it reality it is. It is not uncommon for some yeast to take 72 hours or more. At the onset of fermentation Oxygen is not a bad thing so stirring the must can help the yeast to preform aerobically and reach maximum potential more quickly.

    D-47 temperature range is from 59F to 86F give it some time you should be okay. I have used it 2 years out of date and it fermented.
    Last edited by Tenbears; 02-17-2016 at 08:10 AM.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    I'm just starting to get a good handle on making mead and experimenting with cooler fermenting in the low 60s, 72 should be plenty warm enough. I started a batch on 10 Dec that took two plus days before I saw any movement in the airlock but once it started it really took off. I usually wrap a bath towel around the carboy to protect it from light and give me the warm fuzzy about the towel helping.
    When I prep the yeast, I sprinkle it over the warm (105 +/- deg F) water surface in a measuring cup and let it sit for a half hour or so. Normally I see some foaming and get a real yeasty smell, I don't specifically know if the smell is simply coming from the wet yeast or the active foaming action or both. I'll then stir to break up any clumps and pitch it.

    Did you add any yeast nutrient or energizer? Those with more experience will be better able to advise but for my $.02; if nutrient or energizer wasn't added and you don't have any, eight of so raisons per gal may help. If action doesn't pick up in another day or two, I'd repitch the yeast.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    I would stick to the recomended temperature range (59-68 F)

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  12. #11
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    did you use a yeast nutrient? Without, the ferment can be slow to start or fail to start.
    Now, here's a shoe in the works for you. Are you certain it didnt' make a real fast ferment? I had a batch of beer ferment overnight once. Drove me crazy until I realized what happened.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Eikel View Post
    When I prep the yeast, I sprinkle it over the warm (105 +/- deg F) water surface in a measuring cup and let it sit for a half hour or so.
    The directions said 15 minutes. We do not use nutrients. Our first batch of mead was fabulous so I wasn't planing on changing anything.

    I am pretty darn sure it didn't ferment. There is no cruddy foam on top.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  14. #13
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    In addition to the above, there is also the fact that the yeast when first pitched require oxygen for the respiratory (aerobic) phase. It helps to shake the container or stir. It also helps to culture the yeast to build up the numbers. I usually culture mine in apple juice which has no preservatives. Of course one should exclude air by utilizing an airlock for the fermentation stage.
    3 years, 8 Langs, Zone 7B

  15. #14
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave H View Post
    In addition to the above, there is also the fact that the yeast when first pitched require oxygen for the respiratory (aerobic) phase.
    So you are in favor of stirring the must when you pitch the yeast mixture? How much apple juice and for how long? We just finished up our apples from last season's harvest.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  16. #15
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    I'm sure the 15 min is the correct amount of time, I just mix it as I'm getting everything ready and it sits for around for a half hour. From what I've read, honey isn't one of the easiest sugars for yeast to digest and the nutrients help the breakdown. The more experienced folks can correct this advise but, assuming the must was vigorously shaken to aerate; I'd throw in some raisons (acts as a nutrient) and give it another day or two. If you still don't have any airlock movement I'd repitch the yeast.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Read the apple juice labels closely, the only "untreated" juice/cider I can find is special ordering from the local orchard.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Eikel View Post
    assuming the must was vigorously shaken to aerate;
    We did not do this. I gently stirred in the yeast because there was conflicting information between the book and the directions we were using. So now my question is, is it too late to agitate the must to aerate it? Or should I just re-pitch?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  19. #18
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Eikel View Post
    Read the apple juice labels closely, the only "untreated" juice/cider I can find is special ordering from the local orchard.
    That would not be a problem for us. We have our own trees and they never get treated. I would use apple juice before I would use raisins because of this.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  20. #19
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Oxygen and aerating are good things until fermentation takes place. I'd pour some out, shake vigorously and recombine. If you have a fish tank, you could use some new sterilized air hose and attach an air pump to it. There are some concerns about "unfiltered" air being pumped into the must but I not sure on the criticality of it.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    I guess I should have asked if you are primary fermenting in a bucket or a carboy? If it's in a bucket just stir the stuffing out of the must

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