sugestions on why fermentation failure - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    You most likely aerated it when you poured it in the bucket. And if you didn't, your not going to kill the yeast, so there is no need to re-pitch, if anything you just slowed it down a bit. Aerate it now and you should be fine.

    If your going to try a test starter use sugar not honey, honey takes longer to get going.

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Brian: Yeast nutrients are important to maintain a healthy ferment. Not only will they help get a more vigorous ferment going, but nutrition for the yeast is very important throughout the fermentation. Without Nutrient starving yeast produce H2S(Hydrogen sulfide) which left unchecked can completely ruin the mead. Can you successfully make mead without them, yes. If the must has ample hydrogen at the onset, But why take that risk? sluggish ferments are usually an indication of poor yeast nutrition.

  4. #23
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    You most likely aerated it when you poured it in the bucket.
    We are using glass carboys so there is no pouring. I siphoned the must out of the pots into the carboy. We plan on doing another batch. Would it be better if we took an egg beater to aerate the must in the pots before we siphon it into the carboy and then pitch the must?

    Tenbears can you explain what the difference would be between the apple juice and honey? Doesn't the yeast feed off the sugar in the honey? How are the nutrients different?
    Brian Cardinal
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  5. #24
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Eikel View Post
    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
    Just a thought. I once thought I had bad yeast, but ended up, I just had a bad seal on the pail. It does not take a big leak to make it appear to not be working. How I discovered this was by pushing down on top of pail, creating a negative pressure in pail. When it instantly equaled out, I knew the problem.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    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?
    Its not too late at all if you aren't seeing any fermentation. I have a whip that I attach to a drill and aerate it like crazy. That could be the issue. That and lack of nutrient. Add about 1/4" of your total nutrient when you aerate it and give it another 12-24 hours to see how it does. I had a Cali ale yeast in my last batch of mead that, even with aeration and nutrient, took 72 hours to really get going.

    Also, what was your gravity when you started? did you add all of your honey at the beginning or are you staggering? I'm wondering if you maybe have too high of a starting gravity for the yeast you used.

  7. #26
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Bombus_perplexus View Post
    Also, what was your gravity when you started?
    I knew the question would be asked sooner or later and this is where I am a dooffuss. We siphoned all the must into the carboy and forgot to take a reading. It is all in.

    Anyhow, I shook the bejesus out of the carboy and it nearly popped the cap off. It made a little bit of a sticky mess but it is all right now. The air-lock is bubbling. Slowly. but at least there is some action where there wasn't before.

    Is there such a thing as too much honey?
    Recipe gives 12-18 pounds of honey. We used 5 quarts. That is what we use the last time.
    Brian Cardinal
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  8. #27
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Yes there is such a thing as too much honey when first starting primary. More honey=higher gravity. Certain yeasts can't handle high SG while others can tolerate it. It's why I am fan of staggered honey addition, especially if you are going for a higher alcohol content mead. 5 quarts should give you about 14.44 lbs of honey. How much water did you add? Better yet, what is the total volume of your must?

    Be careful shaking it if you are using a carboy for fermentation instead of a bucket. You can have a Mead geyser occur and, if you store it in a closet like some other mead makers I know, you'll end up doing quite a few loads of laundry afterwards. Ever seen what happens when you drop a Mentos into a 2-liter Diet Coke bottle? If not, shake a carboy-fermented mead during aggressive fermentation and you'll find out first hand. lol

  9. #28
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Bombus_perplexus View Post
    5 quarts should give you about 14.44 lbs of honey.
    In my mind I winged it at 15 lbs, above the 12 and below the 18. 4.5 gallons of water. Total volume should be 5 gal & 1 quart. We did this 3 or 4 years ago and much to my surprise it came out wonderful. Same carboy, same closet and we didn't have any geyser. I screwed up on that first batch too and Ben told me to pitch it again and it worked.
    I really do appreciate everyone's help on this. It is great to hear everyone's take on this and have some reassurance on something when you clearly don't know what your doing. It is like your first year in beekeeping.
    Brian Cardinal
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  10. #29
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Tenbears can you explain what the difference would be between the apple juice and honey? Doesn't the yeast feed off the sugar in the honey? How are the nutrients different?
    I really do not know where the apple juice came from in this discussion I recall someone saying to add raisins, But I think there was a misunderstanding.

    Raisins may be called for because they are an abundant source of body. They can improve the mouth-feel of the wine by increasing its viscosity. This gives the wine a heartier, overall impression. It also causes the fruit flavors to linger on the tongue longer, producing a fruitier impression.

    Raisins also add a caramel element to the wine. This is an effect that is caused by the browning, oxidative effects of sun-drying the raisins. This is the same characteristic found in Ports or Sherries. This can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on the type of wine and preference of the wine drinker. You can reduce this characteristic by using Muscat, or white raisins instead. However I find that using raisins in wine or mead makes a mead that taste like, Oh well Raisins!

    Yeast needs nutrients other than sugar, sort of a balanced diet, in order to produce alcohol without producing undesirable compounds. Nitrogen Is very important in proper yeast growth as well as other compounds. It is often introduce to must by way of food grade urea and Diammoniun Phosphate (DAP). Old yeast hulls can also provide Nitrogen. Yeast starved of this can run a sluggish ferment that may stall. Other compounds are necessary to make a mead well rounded, such as tannin, and a balanced pH.

  11. #30
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    It is often introduce to must by way of food grade urea and Diammoniun Phosphate (DAP).
    Ah yeah, that is what I remember reading. The trouble with phosphates is it gives my wife extreme head aches which is why we avoided them when we made our first batch of mead. The whole purpose of trying mead was so we could have a wine without them if we made it ourselves. If we are going to put them in we might as well just go buy what is already bottled at the liqueur store.
    I really do not know where the apple juice came from in this discussion
    Post 13 Dave H
    I usually culture mine in apple juice which has no preservatives.
    Brian Cardinal
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  12. #31
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Acebird,
    I hate giving incorrect or "tainted" information or advice, the raisin recommendation being an example. I've conducted more research on the subject and found a significant amount of information referencing adding raisins for their yeast nutrient contribution along with lower levels of tannin for mouth feel amount and other characteristics. Also tons of recipes listing raisins as an ingredient and folks swearing by the practice of adding them. Bottom line, a gentleman on the 'gotmead" website summed it up best which dovetails directly with Tenbears input on raisins and yeast nutrient. Sorry for the "right idea but bad approach" recommendation (I guess I could use the "I read it on the internet" defense")

    Mostly the raisins are a holdover from the "dark ages" of meadmaking. They are used because mead was made in a way that winemakers understood (so tannin and acid additions become important) and it was known that honey needed...something...to support the yeast health. Raisins do have some nutrient content, but you'd have to add a ton of them to get to the recommended levels for "modern" meadmaking.

    A lot of recipes out there on the interwebs, including here, are taken directly or slightly modified from the original playbooks of the 1970s-1990s. Much has changed since then, so take a look at some of the more recent recipes. The best ones are in the Patron section, but you can find good ones in the Mead Log section as well.

    Mead with honey, raisins, and a scoop of acid blend do ferment and can make good products; so don't think that you have to throw out all the old recipes. But definitely take the new information into account as well. Generally the newer recipe formulations will give you a faster, cleaner, more predictable outcome. Whether or not that means "better" is up to you.

    Copied from Gotmead.com - Read More at:http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthr...or-making-mead
    With all that said, how's the mead fermenting?

  13. #32
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    It is going along fine now. I just checked it an hour ago. I have also been on the gotmead site and have found that the yeast I used Lalvin D-47 results in a low foaming fermentation.

    Now I am going to field one of my hair brained ideas. I was thinking of dropping the hydrometer into the carboy. It is such a pain taking a reading because I have to siphon out a sample of must and get it into a tall skinny bottle and almost fill it to the top so the hydrometer will float. Of course all this stuff has to be sanitized and then what to do with the sample pour it back into the carboy? It would be so much easier if I just left it in the carboy. But then I am screwed when I make a second batch. I suppose I could buy another hydrometer.
    Brian Cardinal
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  14. #33
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Today we made another batch and it started right away but again slowly. This time I took a SG reading 1.104 I suspect the other batch is the same. Looking back on our first mead it started at 1.102 so not much different. This time I made sure everything was measured accurately. I made up process sheets so I can keep track better.
    Brian Cardinal
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  15. #34
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Back in the 90's I made a few batches of Cyser... Treetop apple juice with honey and water. I used Pollen for the nutrient. I used a tablespoon or so per gallon and it turned out pretty good.
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  16. #35
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    I used Pollen for the nutrient. I used a tablespoon or so per gallon and it turned out pretty good.
    That is interesting. If pollen works I would think there is a tablespoon in 5 quarts of honey already. Would the hot water do anything detrimental to the pollen? When we made our first mead we made two gallons of hard cider just encase the mead was a flop we would have something to fall back on.
    Brian Cardinal
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  17. #36
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    If you want faster starts (especially with a high-grav mead), try building up a big starter a few days ahead- start with a small volume with a low SG to get them going, pitch that into a slightly bigger volume, then pitch that into your main fermenter.

    I always start in a 7gal bucket, then rack to a carboy after it's going good. (I also always use some fresh fruit, so there is no problem with nutrition, haven't done a straight mead).
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
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  18. #37
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    I am still trying to figure out how fruit = nutrition for yeast. It seems like I would be better off throwing Miracle Grow in the batch.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  19. #38
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post

    Now I am going to field one of my hair brained ideas. I was thinking of dropping the hydrometer into the carboy. It is such a pain taking a reading because I have to siphon out a sample of must and get it into a tall skinny bottle and almost fill it to the top so the hydrometer will float. Of course all this stuff has to be sanitized and then what to do with the sample pour it back into the carboy? It would be so much easier if I just left it in the carboy. But then I am screwed when I make a second batch. I suppose I could buy another hydrometer.
    I rarely use a test jar...

    I use a sanitized turkey baster to remove some liquid from the neck of the carboy, placing the baster in a sanitized glass. And then I lower the hydrometer into the carboy.
    BeeCurious
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  20. #39
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    The baster won't fit through the neck will it? Do you add a tube to it and then will the bulb pull up enough must to float the hydrometer? It must (no pun) because you doing it. My hydrometer is quite long. I don't think it will fit in the turkey basters that I have seen but I will look into it.
    Brian Cardinal
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  21. #40
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    Default Re: sugestions on why fermentation failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    The baster won't fit through the neck will it? Do you add a tube to it and then will the bulb pull up enough must to float the hydrometer? It must (no pun) because you doing it. My hydrometer is quite long. I don't think it will fit in the turkey basters that I have seen but I will look into it.
    My first explanation was very clear but I'll try again...

    1. Remove liquid from carboy (I use 3 gallon carboys)

    2. Lower hydrometer into the neck of the carboy.


    If you are calling a gallon jug a carboy, then it may not be deep enough for the hydrometer to sink into...

    Your idea of putting a hydrometer into a turkey baster is original...!
    Last edited by BeeCurious; 02-26-2016 at 03:31 AM.
    BeeCurious
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