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KeyLime mels fermenting slowly

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Sammy

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Jul 8, 2016
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Reno, NV
Hi All- another question- among my several 1-gal batches I have two key lime mels- where I put key lime juice in the must for the primary fermentation. Now after a few days my other batches are fermenting happily- dropping 10 or more sg points a day, but the two key lime batches are only dropping ~5 sg points a day, and I'm wondering why and if I should try an adjustment to help them along a bit faster. I'm hoping for a good strong fermentation so these finish semi-sweet not sickly sweet!

To both 1-gal batches I added 2oz. lime juice, one batch at 1.120 sg and pitched 4g 71B with 5g goferm, the other at 1.130 sg pitched 5g 71B with 6.3g goferm. I've been using the TOSNA schedule (now at day 4), but for the key lime batches used 1/2 the calculated amount of FermaidO thinking the juice will make up the difference.

My guesses are 1) the lime juice has made things borderline too acidic, or 2) I have been putting too little Ferm-O in the key lime batches

But I'm looking for suggestions!

Thanks
 

Farmboyc

NewBee
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Sep 2, 2015
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I would think you probably have your issue pegged.
I don't currently use Fermaid O but I understand that it provided a fairly acceptable level of pH buffering. Sooo I would suggest adding the prescribed amount of Fermaid O and it could very well solve both issues.
JM2C
 

zpeckler

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Mar 7, 2014
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Yeah, acidity is probably the problem. Do you have test strips or a pH meter?

Below 3.4-ish is usually the danger zone.
 

Sammy

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Jul 8, 2016
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Reno, NV
Thanks for your advice guys!- I don't have any way to test the pH now, and today was another ~5 point day, so this evening I added an extra fermO addition (sort of extending the schedule) and tomorrow I'll pick up some test strips on my way home and then we'll know if there is a pH issue. Or maybe the extra taste of the fermO will give the little guys the needed boost?!

Would it be smart to pick up potassium (*edit) carbonate while I'm shopping also? Or is there a better way to buffer out the acidity, if indeed there is too much acidity?
 
Last edited:

Swordnut

NewBee
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Mar 26, 2013
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Holland
5 s.g. points is like half the expected speed of an ordinary fermentation. Slow, likely due to acidity like the others said. But you can just stick it through if you manage to keep the temperature very stable and cool. I wouldn't try it because I live up high in a fickle condo but if you have a cellar or some equipment which regulates temperature exactly then it can be done without having to add more than usual chemicals.
 

zpeckler

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Mar 7, 2014
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Newark, De
Either potassium carbonate or potassium bicarbonate is the way to go. Calcium carbonate is also pretty common, but can lend chalky flavors if too much is used.
 

Squatchy

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Nov 3, 2014
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What temps are you running and did you atemperate your slurry/must at pitch?
 

Sammy

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Jul 8, 2016
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Reno, NV
The temps have been 64-67 deg F. I keep them in a few inches of water in a bathtub and change out frozen water bottles- kind of a pain but it seems to be doing the job. At pitch the differential was less than 10 deg C, so I just doubled the slurry volume with some must and waited a few minutes before pitching it into the must proper.

Just measured again now- another 5 point day. And I measured pH with some test strips: ~3.5 I'd estimate. I added another bit of fermO (still not quite up to the "full" TOSNA dose yet) and 1/8 tsp potassium carbonate to each 1 gal batches. Measured again with the test strips and they look pretty much the same- if anything very close to the color for pH 3.6

Not sure where to go from here though? 3.5-3.6 doesn't sound too acidic from what you say. Maybe continue bringing the fermaid-O up to the full schedule amounts and wait and see if things pick up the pace? I suppose it is only day four..

Thanks again everyone for your help and input!

What temps are you running and did you temperate your slurry/must at pitch?
 

Squatchy

Lifetime GotMead Patron
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Nov 3, 2014
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Sounds to me you are just fine. The lower temps are what you want. They will slow down the speed some but that's better than off flavors. Your PH is great, leave it alone. Full fermaid doses are what the doctor ordered.
 

Dwhite

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Aug 31, 2005
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Either potassium carbonate or potassium bicarbonate is the way to go. Calcium carbonate is also pretty common, but can lend chalky flavors if too much is used.
If you do this add a very little at a time. It WILL foam up and WILL be on your floor, counter, whatever.

Ask me how I know.

You've seen vinegar and baking soda? Same thing plus the powder creates millions of nucleation points
for CO2 bubbles.

Acidity is probably your problem.

All the Best,
D. White
 

Squatchy

Lifetime GotMead Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Nov 3, 2014
5,162
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Denver
If you do this add a very little at a time. It WILL foam up and WILL be on your floor, counter, whatever.

Ask me how I know.

You've seen vinegar and baking soda? Same thing plus the powder creates millions of nucleation points
for CO2 bubbles.

Acidity is probably your problem.

All the Best,
D. White
If you degas it pretty well, and then dilute your powder (any sort) into a small cup of must before you toss it in it does a great bit of good to avoid the foam over.
 

Sammy

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Jul 8, 2016
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Reno, NV
I have been stirring a few minutes to degas before adding nutrient mixed with a splash of water and have had no foaming issues at all (edit: I see now D White you were referring to potassium carbonate not nutrients..)

Another question though: after the 1/3 break is there anything to do but wait? I'd like to check the sg but my understanding is that post 1/3 break now you do not want to introduce oxygen, and if I open up the bucket then thats introducing oxygen..? Also I have two test batches with chopped up pears in them- is it worth opening up the buckets to stir the "cap" back down, although its not a thick cap at all?

Thanks!
 

Squatchy

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Nov 3, 2014
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You don't really need to worry about oxidation with mead very much. It's really hard to do that. You would have to really try hard. I have only seen very slight oxidation with a pyment I made. And then only after about a year. I had forgotten to stabilize. The sulfites help to stop oxidation as well as other adjuncts you can add up front if your really worried. I don't even think about it really. Now I'm not sayin go get your drill and crank up the lees stirrer full blast every day for a month. LOL But opening your vessel, stirring, measurements ect wont hurt it one bit.

Even when D White was referring to "other than nutrients" it's all the same.
 
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