Stalled Fermentation?
Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,034

    Default Stalled Fermentation?

    I made a couple of one gallon batches of mead in August. They are both basic. Honey and water. One I made with 3# of honey and the other with 4#. Both used the same batch of honey and the same yeast (Lalvin D47). The same process of making the must.

    The day after we made the must the 3# batch was bubbling away in the little one gallon carboy. The 4# batch was bubbling, but a bit slower. Over the course of a few days it caught up. Both bubbled visibly approximately the same amount of time. I racked them, but didn't measure the SG a second time then. Measured recently and found something that didn't make any sense.

    The 3# batch SGs were before 1.118 and after (I can't remember the exact number, I don't have my notes handy) but the ABV calculates out to 12.8%.

    The 4# batch SGs were before 1.128 and after 1.092 which comes out to 4.8% or so. I repitched yeast the other day and wrapped the bottle in a grow mat that I use for starting seeds. It keeps the carboy around 80 degrees F. We left town the next morning, but there was a little foam on top and I could see some little bubbles coming up. So I figured it might have taken. But after coming back last night... no bubbling going on.

    Can anyone shed some light on what might have gone wrong? Thanks!

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Yuba County, California, USA
    Posts
    6,551

    Default Re: Stalled Fermentation?

    So the yeast is not thriving, not eating the sugars, so what might cause this? I'm thinking they need a nutrient pack added. Either that, or the batch is contaminated with something, somehow.

    I made a few rounds of Cyser Meade back in the early 90's, and I always added some pollen to the batch as I made it up. I counted it as yeast nutrients. I'd say it gave the finished product a more "earthy" taste. Anyway, I'm no expert by a very long shot, but I'm thinking that adding some yeast nutrients might get them going again.
    Live real time bee chat, most evenings...
    https://www.rumbletalk.com/client/chat.php?4%40HY_hmJ

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,097

    Default Re: Stalled Fermentation?

    Are those gravity the volume of the must (4 # honey plus water to make one gallon) or a gallon of water PLUS 3 and 4#? I suspect your gravity readings may be off which is not unusual. If the honey isn't completely dissolved you can get an artificially low OG. For example 4# o' honey plus water to make a gallon would be around 1.144 and three pounds around 1.108. With that high an OG especially for the 4#er the yeast would be slow as that's a more osmotically stressful environment.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,034

    Default Re: Stalled Fermentation?

    Honey + water to make a gallon (more or less fill the little carboy). I was thinking that the gravity readings might not be correct originally. The difference of the floating of the hydrometer now is significantly different. The 4# batch is floating pretty high. The 3# batch is sunk down pretty close to the top of the scale.

    Ray, I'd imagine there's at least some pollen in there, all I do with my honey is run it through one of those stainless mesh nested strainers. But I might try something else.

    Can anyone tell me if something "bad" could have happened at this point? I don't see any mold or anything, I can't imagine mixing honey with water and not having a mess in whatever container it is in by now.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    4,646

    Default Re: Stalled Fermentation?

    You may need yeast nutrients, Fermaid O is a good one, with no DAP. I have use pollen as a nutrition before. I have some pollen comb in the freezer will be use shortly for brewing.

    If warming did not work I would stop, a warm fermentation can make a bad batch of mead. Look up the idea temp for your yeast, 68 and lower is used for most meads.

    When I first stated I made a batch that stalled around 5% due to no nutrients, It turned out very good, it did start to re-ferment a little in the bottles that added a little carbonation. None of the bottle exploded, could be cause they were around long. I have thought about try to replicate that batch. If I do I will not bottle it just pour in to gallon jugs from the carboy one at a time.

    I think I read it needs to be 10% or it could spoil. If it spoils you will know it, it will taste bad.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,034

    Default Re: Stalled Fermentation?

    Thanks to everyone here, I appreciate the insight. Have the nutrients on the way and will make sure to add them as directed for my next batch.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: Stalled Fermentation?

    Too Much sugar for the chosen yeast can surely stifle the ferment. D47 has a ABV potential of 14% with moderate fluctuation. Starting SG for this yeast to finish to dryness should be 1.095 I would not go above 1.110 to start leaving 15 points residual sugar is all goes well. Even if it finishes the final SG will be around 1 040. a very sweet mead.
    Honey is notoriously known for being poor in yeast nutrients, The fermaid is a good place to start. Quite often it does not help a burdened ferment (when the yeast is stifled by sugars). By all means try the nutrients first. and raise the temperature also that often helps. Making a starter in a separate vessel helps also. To do so take about 6 oz of your must add a bit of spring water to reduce SG. Then a pinch of nutrient and yeast it should take off over night but can take a few days. Once going strong add this to your must and cross your fingers. If this fails you may find it necessary to try some lalvin EC-118 It is a workhorse yeast and often used to restart a stuck ferment.
    In the future do not start with a SG so far above the yeast alcohol tolerance If you want a sweet wine or semi sweet it is less hassle to back sweeten.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,034

    Default Re: Stalled Fermentation?

    Tenbears, is it odd that the ferment would start at all in this scenario? Maybe it's just my feeble brain, but I guess I thought if there were an issue like that it would be a problem at the outset, not 'down the road'. Unless the nutrient issue eventually did the ferment in.

    Regardless... these were small test batches for learning, and I've certainly learned some. Do agree that I'll back sweeten if I want a sweeter mead, seeing now how that could certainly be easier.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,034

    Default Re: Stalled Fermentation?

    Forgot to add, repitched yeast with nutrient about 30 hours ago and I am finally seeing some bubbles rising. Will see what happens in the next couple of days.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: Stalled Fermentation?

    JW sorry I lost track of the post. I don't come to beesource much anymore. Yeast can be funny excessive sugar, alcohol presence O2 depletion can all add to a stalled ferment. On can never be truly sure of the role each plays in any given stall. so it is best to follow procedures that diminish possibilities of a fermentation becoming stalled. How did this turn out

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,034

    Default Re: Stalled Fermentation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    JW sorry I lost track of the post. I don't come to beesource much anymore. Yeast can be funny excessive sugar, alcohol presence O2 depletion can all add to a stalled ferment. On can never be truly sure of the role each plays in any given stall. so it is best to follow procedures that diminish possibilities of a fermentation becoming stalled. How did this turn out
    It never took off, it's just sitting in the basement now. I'll eventually dump it out and make a new batch.

    I don't show up on beesource particularly often anymore either.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Penobscot County, ME, USA
    Posts
    1,206

    Default Re: Stalled Fermentation?

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    It never took off, it's just sitting in the basement now. I'll eventually dump it out and make a new batch.

    I don't show up on beesource particularly often anymore either.
    Don't just dump it!

    Taste it first...it might still be worth drinking.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
    Zone 4a/b

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    UAE
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Stalled Fermentation?

    I hope the dump ones are not a waste.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lambton Shores, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: Stalled Fermentation?

    I'm late to the game, but your issue was a lack of nutrients when you started the mead. Higher gravity meads will not ferment well without nutrient; and unfortunately, adding nutrient after the yeast stalls generally won't rescue the mead.

    But don't dump it!

    I would add an equal volume of water and fresh yeast. It should ferment out quite quickly, giving you a nice session mead at 6-8% abv.

    Bryan

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •