Author Topic: Mead dying?  (Read 1854 times)

Offline jaredkent

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Mead dying?
« on: September 04, 2011, 04:36:11 PM »
I went away for the weekend, and came back to a troubling sign. I'm afraid my yeast may have died. The air conditioner in the same room as my carboy had been turned off for the weekend, which I hadn't realized. Due to that my mead has clarified considerably and now sits at a temperature of 81°, my airlock has also jumped from a bubble every 0:23 to a bubble every 1:25 over the course of 2 days. It's not looking good. Is there anything you recommend I do to maybe salvage this batch. I'd hate to have to start over at this point, though I'm only 3-4 weeks into it, it's time and money to start over.

Offline stlaleman

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Re: Mead dying?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2011, 05:42:36 PM »
First, pull a sample and take a gravity reading. Then taste your sample. All may (and quite likely) be good.

Offline jeffy

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Re: Mead dying?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2011, 05:48:36 PM »
If the bulk of the fermentation was complete, or if it had been fermenting for more than a couple of weeks, than you probably did not sustain much damage.  Have you taken a sample yet?
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Offline punatic

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Re: Mead dying?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2011, 06:20:16 PM »
What yeast strain are you using?
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Offline jaredkent

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Re: Mead dying?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2011, 08:14:12 PM »
I am using Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead, two packets, 5 gallon batch. I took a sample after posting this. My OG was 1.121 and the sample I pulled was around 1.056. The recipe I'm following has a final gravity between 1.030 - 1.045, so I'm sure it will continue to go down. It very well may be better off than I originally was worried about.

Just concerned because the recipe I'm following has me Primary for around 6 weeks until I get 0:30 between bubbles, then move to secondary and stay there for a few months until 1:00 minute bubbles. Now I'm at 1:25 bubbles, from 0:23, in the course of a couple days. Throwing me off my game I guess. I guess I'll just let it sit in secondary for a few months and disregard the bubbles at this point.

Offline hokerer

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Re: Mead dying?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2011, 08:31:06 PM »
and disregard the bubbles at this point.

Best advice yet.
Joe

Offline punatic

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Re: Mead dying?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2011, 10:09:50 PM »
and disregard the bubbles at this point.

Best advice yet.

+1 
Bubble frequency is a function of airlock geometry.  Bubble frequency on your particular fermenter can be used for trending fermentation activity in your fermenter. It is almost irrelevant as a standard guide.  Specific gravity is the measure to watch.

Wyeast's spec sheet on 4184 states ideal temp range is 65 - 75 degrees F.  I would not be overly concerned about 81 degrees.  Although the higher temp will contribute to an accelerated fermentation.

Just let it clear and age, and taste it along the way.  If it turns out to be unappealing as a mead you can always make it into mead brandy.
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Online tschmidlin

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Re: Mead dying?
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2011, 01:59:55 PM »
Definitely ignore the bubbles.  81F isn't going to kill any yeast, do you think it ever got above 100f?  Then I might worry.

Also, as you slowly lower the temp to where you want it, expect the bubbles to slow down even more since the cooler must will be able to hold more CO2.  Yet another reason to ignore the bubbles.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline jaredkent

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Re: Mead dying?
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2011, 02:12:53 PM »
So approximately a week later. It's been in secondary containers since I last posted. I know you guys mentioned to ignore the airlock bubbles, but I haven't seen any bubbles anymore. The sweetness in the mead, as of today, is very strong and the OG hasn't dropped at all since last time.

Is this something I should be concerned about? I know mead has to mellow out for around a year before drinking, but what exactly is mellowing? Will this sweetness die down during the aging stage? Should I try and boost the yeast again with Nutrient/Energizer, or even add another yeast packet distributed amongst my five 1gal jugs?

First time making a mead, and honestly not a lot of experience drinking them, I've only experienced 3. Just curious is all. Don't want to open the first bottle a year from now and find out that it didn't turn out right.

Offline woadwarrior

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Re: Mead dying?
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2011, 05:11:10 PM »
It sounds like fermentation has stopped. If it's too sweet for your taste, I'd pitch more yeast. If you like how sweet it is, leave it to clear and then bottle. Just my opinion though. YMMV.

Offline dbeechum

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Re: Mead dying?
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2011, 05:14:24 PM »
The other question is not seeing it in your recipe - what about yeast nutrient.

A honey must is very poor from a nutrient standpoint and you need to supplement the wort in order to have a healthy ferment.

If you re-pitch, use a dried yeast like a Cotes dBlanc and some yeast nutrient.
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Offline jaredkent

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Re: Mead dying?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2011, 07:20:52 PM »
The recipe is the 2009 Mead Day recipe in the Wiki on here. So I made a yeast starter with 1/4 tsp of nutrient and 1/4 tsp of energizer. In addition to that I used 1 tsp of yeast nutrient during the "boil". Then I finished with 1 tsp nutrient and 1/2 tsp energizer every 24 hours for the next 3 days.

Now if I were to repitch do you recommend dry or liquid yeast. I see you recommend the dried dbeechum, why go with dry this time instead of using the same yeast as before? Would I have a problem using a strain for a Dry Mead instead of a Sweet Mead?

Also how much nutrient should I use?
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 07:36:51 PM by jaredkent »

Offline punatic

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Re: Mead dying?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2011, 09:17:33 PM »
Check your pH.
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