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Stuck fermentation?

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ajdearment

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 15, 2010
4
0
0
I made a 2gal batch of mead three days ago using champagne yeast, and I can tell it's fermenting because the airlock is bubbling, but it's only bubbling once every 1:15-2 minutes. I've read on some other sites that mead normally ferments slowly and that champagne yeast ferments slowly also, but I'm kind of uncertain. Should I assume the fermentation is stuck, or is this no cause for alarm?
 

Medsen Fey

Fuselier since 2007
Premium Patron
Welcome to GotMead ajdearment!

The first thing to do when you have a question about the progress of a fermentation is to check the gravity using a hydrometer. You cannot reliably judge the progress of fermentation by bubble rates through an airlock. Most bucket lids leak a lot, and I have some that won't allow any bubbling to occur at all (not a big deal). Even with a carboy, it is common for the stopper not to seal tightly, or even for small cracks in the airlock itself to diminish the bubbling. The gravity measurements will give you a much better picture of what is happening and where you are - when watching bubbles if they stop, you don't know if you are done or stuck.

If you are seeing bubbling you aren't stuck, but you may have a slow fermentation - again, the gravity readings will give you great information.

The next thing to do is provide us with the details of your recipe and process. If you use the format in the FAQ it is helpful. We need to know things like batch size, type of honey, type of yeast, other ingredients, nutrients added, temperature, starting gravity and current gravity. With this sort of information, folks here can give a much better assessment of the state of your fermentation.

Medsen
 

ajdearment

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 15, 2010
4
0
0
Hmmm, okay... Well, here goes:
Yeast: Lalvin champagne yeast
Nutrient: ~2tsp Wyeast nutrient from a mead yeast activator pack (I used the unopened packet of nutrient inside upon discovering that I hadn't ordered simple nutrient)
Honey: Clover (a little more than 5lbs)
OG: 1.085
Size: 2gal

When checking the current gravity, is it safe to open the fermenter or should I use a racking cane and hose to siphon some out?

Anyway, this is my first time making alcohol of any kind, so I won't be surprised if I catastrophically screwed something up :\
 

akueck

Certified Mead Mentor
Certified Mead Mentor
Jun 26, 2006
4,958
10
0
Ithaca, NY
It's safe to open the fermenter. Just make sure everything that touches the mead is sanitized.

What kind of fermenter are you using? Bucket with lid? Glass carboy?

The nutrient pack inside the Wyeast packages is only meant to "wake up" the yeast. You will probably need additional nutrients.
 

ajdearment

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 15, 2010
4
0
0
It's a bucket fermenter...That's good to know, and I suspect the lack of nutrient is a major reason.

Thanks!
 

ajdearment

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 15, 2010
4
0
0
Assuming the yeast nutrient is the problem (which it probably is), should I repitch the yeast, or is it fine the way it is?
 

Medsen Fey

Fuselier since 2007
Premium Patron
Anyway, this is my first time making alcohol of any kind, so I won't be surprised if I catastrophically screwed something up :\
Fear not! a simple recipe like this is very forgiving and as long as you give it some time for aging, you're most likely going to wind up with some good mead.

You won't need to repitch yeast. You just might want to feed them a bit.
 
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