Author Topic: Mead Stuck Fermentation  (Read 1185 times)

Offline stumpfcr@gmail.com

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Mead Stuck Fermentation
« on: June 13, 2016, 11:58:50 PM »
I'm trying out a variation of mead using beer yeast that was listed in the previous zymurgy release. My OG was 1.110. I aerated and added 1tsp of nutrient 24/48/72 hours after the start and I'm using WLP041. After two weeks of moderate activity, the gravity is at 1.080; much higher than I was hoping to finish with. All activity has pretty much ceased. I've added Wyeast dry mead along with 2tsp of nutrient, but there's been no activity, at all and it's been three days. Is there anything I can do to get activity started, again?

Offline toby

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Re: Mead Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2016, 03:47:27 AM »
I'm just in the beginning stages of my mead learning, but from what I understand, degassing and nutrient additions are important for the first 5-7 days.  CO2 build-up from fermentation will drop pH to the point where the yeast get majorly stressed or die.

Offline GS

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Re: Mead Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2016, 06:15:55 AM »
I would wait a few more days. It's good for the soul.

Then, I would try adding 1/2 tsp/gallon of yeast energizer, aka springcell, yeast hulls, or yeast ghosts. Its basically the outer shells of yeast cells. They clean up by-products that are toxic to yeast, and it is good for restarting a stuck fermentation.

Another variable could be your yeast pitch rate. If you made a 1 gallon batch, the pitch rate for the beer yeast would have been fine (I assume you didn't make a starter). But if you made a 2 gallon or more batch, then a starter would be required. If you didn't make a starter, that likely contributed to the fermentation stalling out.

It could still be a function of yeast pitch rate. Now, I have used Wyeast mead yeast only once, in a 5 gallon batch. I was told that a starter was not necessary, so I didn't make one even though I was nervous about it. It did ferment out in two weeks and frankly I think I got lucky. If I were ever to use a liquid yeast for mead again, I would use a starter calculator like I do for brewing beer, and prepare the appropriate starter.

Offline pete b

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Re: Mead Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2016, 12:08:15 PM »
At this point it does seem you are stuck. If it were beer I would make a huge starter (like one gallon) and pour in the slurry. If I were you I think I would add two rehydrated packets per 5 gallons of mead of lalvin k1-v1116 after aerating and proceed to add nutrient and Degas as if you are starting from the beginning.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline kramerog

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Re: Mead Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2016, 02:21:57 PM »
Assuming you are using a hydrometer to measure your current gravity, you should definitely degas with a mixstir or by swirling your carboy and add K2CO3 or KHCO3.  See http://beerandwinejournal.com/potassium-ph-mead/.

Offline toby

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Re: Mead Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2016, 02:30:58 PM »
Did you do any sort of degassing?  Did you check your pH?  What type of vessel are you fermenting in (bucket/carboy, size, etc.)?  Finally, what volume of mead do you have?

Like I said, I'm just starting my learning, but according to the guys at the Mead Panel at NHC (Steve Piatz, Michael Fairbrother, Curt Stock, and Ken Schramm), you need to pitch a healthy yeast, and baby it for 5-7 days with nutrient additions and degassing at least once a day.  Their recommendation was to ferment in a bucket at least twice the size of your batch with the lid just sitting on top (not sealed) to keep things out.  Degassing recommendations were either a sanitized stainless spoon or something like a mix-stir on a drill at a moderate speed.  Lots of foam will be produced, hence the recommendation for a container twice the size and not a carboy (since the neck will concentrate the foam and potentially erupt like a mead volcano).

Offline pete b

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Re: Mead Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2016, 06:14:42 PM »
I assumed degassing since there was a nutrient schedule and that's usually in the same memo, but yes.
I think the problem is likely a not big enough pitch of ale yeast. Regardless of the cause of the stall a big pitch of a bad ass wine yeast like K1-v1116 is what I think is called for.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline stumpfcr@gmail.com

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Re: Mead Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2016, 09:45:20 PM »
My final volume was 5 gallons, in a carboy. I had created a starter with the WLP041 (~2000ml, 1.5tsp nutrient, honey). I aerated the wort..sorry, must, twice a day for the first five days. I'll look into degassing and verifying the pH. I've got some extra energizer sitting around, so I might try tossing that in, too. It looks like the new yeast is finally starting to affect the airlock. In hindsight, I probably should have made a starter with the mead yeast to completely avoid this. I should have also realized that WLP041 couldn't have come close to 1.010 or even get in the ballpark of finishing. In the article, I just didn't see a mention of any other yeast being added, but I believe that was just wishful thinking.