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Stalled fermentation or very good fermentation?

African Bronze Honey - 50% off for GotMead members

SrdjanIljic

NewBee
Registered Member
Sep 19, 2018
2
0
0
Posavina
Hello all,

This is my first batch and I am not sure if it went really good, or really bad :D

I went through about half of youtube videos avaliable on the mead topic, got interested, read a lot about it (from this site as well) and this is what I did...

Ingredients:

Wildflower Honey (springflowers) - 1.64kg - about 3.5 pounds
Water - 4.5l - 1 Imp Gallon
Youngs yeast nt./DAP - 1 tsp
Lalvin EC -1118
SG: 1,108-1,111 (according to got mead calculator) Hydrometer on the way*
All equipment sterilized with no rinse cleaner


*Most of the brewing equipment is not easy to aquire here and you have to wait 4-5 weeks to get it delivered or travel 150 miles to get it. I read up about the yeast that I just got delivered and wanted to start because of the great temperature conditions. The honey I got is from a local beekeeper and got a great quality seal at the local mead fair.

Process (so far):

Kept yeast under the specified temperature and after aclimating pitched into the container. Must was shaken vigourously both in carboid and when cleaning out the jars. The mistake I believe I made is that I rehidrated the yeast in 250ml (8.5 ounces) of water and with the entire teaspoon of the youngs nutrient. Got some activity in there and pitched. So I am not sure if that was too much to put in the yeast hydration phase. Although the fermentation was really clean from start on (has some foam on top maybe first 3 days, after that just a small layer of fine bubbles).
-8. September - start of the fermentation - It took some 6 hours but it started very strong after that.
-9th: I added a small nub of chopped ginger bud and maybe 10-15 mint leaves (ginger still in mead- mint removed after 24h)
11th: fermentation going well, it was releasing a lot of CO2 and I degased it the third time (read: stirred the top of the caboid with a long plastic chopstick). Also took a glass of the must and aerated it with the small latte maker thingy, did that for 5-10 minutes then poured the glass back in.
12th: Same process as on the 11th, ambient on all days is ~22C (71F) and must is ~24C (75F). Fermentation seems like slowing down and I discover that my airlock may be leaking. After replacing it airlock happily bubbling away again.
14th: It seems even my new cork is leaky (looks like pressed low grade natural cork), fermentation now much slower.
17th: Airlock water visibly under pressure, but not bubbling, weak carbonation/ fermentation signs in the must. Added about 10 dried cranberries to the must for additional nutrition and shook it up a bit.
19th: Brew looks the same. Managed to find a long and thin enough stirrer to fit into the carboid. Stirred the must up and made the sediment rise from the bottom.
21st: Barely visible signs of fermetnation, water level in airlock still under some pressure. Shook up the container a bit stronger, upper layer of sediment rose up.

The brew has a strong alcohol smell to it, so it fermented to some degree. I will know more when I get the hydrometer delivered, but for now, some thoughts from folks who have multiple successful batches under their belt would be appreciated. I aim to get as close as possible to the ABV for this yeast (18%), and will let this sit in my basement through the winter to age and mellow out. Going to start a larger batch of pear melomel when the rest of the equipment arrives, using the Lalvin K1V-1116 yeast for that.

-Is it possible that the bulk of the fermentation finished so fast and so clean (just 4-5 days)? I read all over that EC-1118 is a special beast, but still...
-It should be safe to leave it at least 3 more weeks before racking, is that correct (I will do the taste test then and hopefully measure SG)?
-If you would consider this a stuck fermentation, do you have any suggestions to get it going again (like shaking it up a bit more, lowering or rising the temperature, etc.)?
-Any additional advice and should I change something in my process for the melomel? Plan to add a third of total pears at start and the rest after about two weeks.

Looking forward to your feedback. Thank you.
 
African Bronze Honey - 50% off for GotMead members