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I'm on day 9 of my first attempt at home brewing (1 gallon batch), and based on my measurements on day 5 and today it appears to be stuck at 1.010

Original Gravity was 1.065

Kind of just went gung-ho into it and only read later that a typical mead will have an OG of 1.092 or thereabouts and then finish at 1.010 to 1.000 or less. I expected this with its OG to go very dry with 9-10% ABV

Below is the log of my process. If anyone could have a look and let me know anywhere I went wrong and how to best go about restarting it (if I even should) it would be much appreciated.

Day 1

Boiled 1/4 ounce of cascade hops in about 2-3 cups of water for an hour, leaving 3/4 to add on the last 4 to 7 days before bottling. At the end of the boil mixed in about 0.945 lbs of dark, what I'm assuming is buckwheat, honey. Once cooled, added the hop water to 1/2 filled (with tap water) 1 gallon carboy. Added rest of honey (0.9 lbs raw wildflower honey). Meanwhile, 1/5 a packet of Red Star premier blanc yeast has been rehydrating for 20 minutes in some luke-warm to room temp water. Aerated half filled carboy by shaking it up a good while before topping it off, pitching the yeast, and adding 1/4 tsp of yeast nutrient (urea and DAP). Intention is to add 1/4 tsp more every other day until 1 tsp total has been given.

Sp. Gr. reading: 1.062 which I corrected to 1.065 based on the temperature of the must (86 degrees f)

Put airlock on without water.

Other notes for day 1: burning eyes when I added yeast nutrient to must. I'm guessing the ammonia in the urea reacting to possible residual bleach from sanitizing. I rinsed the carboy after sanitizing with bleach but apparently not well enough.

Day 2

Added water to airlock.

Day 3

Degassed by stirring before adding 1/4 tsp more yeast nutrient.

Day 4

Bubbling in airlock has slowed considerably. Ambient room temp between 77 and 79 degrees. Up 2-4 degrees from previous days. Decided to add yeast nutrient portion 12 hours early.

Day 5

Sp. Gr. 1.010

Day 6

Noticed white "raft" floaties on top of must. Assuming nothing to be concerned about.

Day 7

Didn't add last 1/4 tsp of nutrient as fermentation appears to have stopped.

Day 9

Racked off the lees into secondary carboy.

Sp. Gr. still 1.010

Taste: awful, harsh, bitter. Kind of like stale warm Budweiser. Bitter can be expected due to the hops.


I have some ideas of what I did wrong: Insufficiently healthy yeast colony pitched due to perhaps not using enough, and/or not sufficiently rehydrating and proofing the yeast. If I'm to try restarting should I rehydrate the remainder of the packet with something like Go-Ferm? Insufficiently aerating must (I've read of others aerating with a paddle on a power drill twice a day for 4 days or so).

Goal is to emulate a particular commercial dry hopped mead I had once and really enjoyed, which I know to be 12.5% ABV.

My carboy is now 4/5 full after racking. I'm thinking to top off with water and add about 0.3 lbs of additional honey before pitching new yeast. This is based on some calculation I did with a mead calculator but I did not account for the lost volume.

Other notes: I was expecting at some point to see some foaming but aside from the before mentioned floaties the top of must remained fairly still throughout the fermentation.

Anyway, would be very grateful for any advice.

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    Just a hint for next time: If I see any brewer's activity between day 1 and day 7, I can be reasonably sure taste will be bad. – Mołot Jun 3 '16 at 7:13
  • Good point, you should be able to stick everything in a bucket and come back a week later. This is one of the joys of brewing, the yeast does all the hard work, we just ensure it has everything it needs at the start. – Mr_road Jun 3 '16 at 8:56
  • Hi Mołot, do you mean taste during those days will be bad or end product taste will be bad? Could you expand a little on your comment? Thanks. :) – damo-s Jun 3 '16 at 16:44
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We make a lot of meads and I think the majority of your process looks pretty good. (Including the staggered nutrient additions). You might want to consider using a blend of nutrients like DAP and Fermaid K. They both contribute different vital compounds.

I suspect that the hop additions pre ferment didn't help you much. That yeast is not very hop tolerant as it is a wine yeast. Your title indicates a dry hopped mead. I'd recommend not boiling any hops to create iso-alphas. Just ferment out a great mead and then dry hop for hop aromatics. I haven't found too many meads that benefitted from a hop bittering charge of any sort.

Lastly, at day 9 you should have checked the SG first, then decided to leave it be on the yeast. Now that you've removed the yeast cake its going to be tough to get it going again. 1.010 isn't all that bad. Its probably still going to be drinkable.

If you want to get it going again, you could pitch an active but of yeast. Get get another packet rehydrated (a full packet) pitch it into some honey based starter solution (~1.030SG) and wait for it to truly start bubbling. Then pitch the whole active lot. You need awake and active yeast to move the gravity of something that is already pretty alcoholic.

IMO, chasing mistakes and trying to correct them often doesn't make for great end results. At least I haven't had a lot of luck trying it. Sure the gravity may move but you've had a stressed ferment already and its not likely that just moving the gravity more will change that aspect of it. I'd say drink this one or let it age for blending later. Start again with the same idea making the critical changes and you'll get 1. a better result and 2. you'll be more the wiser for it.

Good luck.

  • Thanks all for the advice. It sounds like the consensus is to let this one go/age out and that it likely won't yield anything terrific. It seems repitching might be more work than it's worth. Anyway, I'll wait a few days before selecting an answer to see if any more answers/ comments/votes come in. – damo-s Jun 3 '16 at 16:54
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My answer will not be full, but there are some things I can tell:

  1. Splitting half a dollar worth yeast packet in five? Why?! Especially in double-difficult brew, as it is both pretty high gravity (has to be for 10% ABV), and it is mead (no nutrient found in wort)

  2. Nutrient. Why add it in parts? I always understood we want yeast to multiply over as short period as possible. Slowing down nutrient addition is not a way to do it, it only starves your yeast more than usually needed.

  3. Can't really see a point in degassing so soon.

  4. Racking off? When your yeast is on the bottom? This can't help.


Now, as for fixing it. Does it taste like it has unprocessed nutrient? If so, then do not add more nutrient!

Go-ferm might be a way to go. Also, I'd advise you to overpitch this time. It will both increase chance that yeast will metabolize remaining nutrient, and that they will be able to process sugars you have remaining.

You can also consider making a MDE starter. Aerate it well. When it's ready, let yeast settle, get rid of liquid, and add yeast slurry to your mead. Stir well, without aerating.

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    Staggered nutrient additions are becoming quite the norm in mead making. Theses days. Leads to faster and cleaner ferments with the mead ready to drink in weeks to months vs. a year later. Look up Curt Stock and mead making. He pioneered much of that work. youtube.com/watch?v=IwjAZI86bOo – brewchez Jun 3 '16 at 10:46
  • Regarding 1. Wasn't sure if there was any negative to using more yeast than the packet recommends (says 1 packet is sufficient for a 5 gallon brew). Taste of unprocessed nutrient: not sure exactly what this taste is like, but since my yeast nutrient contains food grade urea I'm assuming it might taste like what I imagine urea to taste like. However, the bitterness is overwhelming any other tastes. – damo-s Jun 3 '16 at 17:17
  • @damo-s there are more bad effects of under than over pitching. If you don't need yeast created flavors, bad effects of overpitching are next to nonexistent. Also, package assumes some things about your brew. Obviously, usually this assumption will be unexact at best. – Mołot Jun 3 '16 at 17:40
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I am going to repeat a lot of what Molot has already said but will add a few extra points:

  1. start with healthy yeast, if possible make a starter at least 24 hours in advance. Use a whole packet at once, maybe use 2 packs.
  2. make sure you have cleaned off all bleach, any left will ruin your brew
  3. add all your nutrients at the start when the yeast need them most Stick with your staggered yeast nutrient additions.
  4. leave it to sit on the yeast cake for at least a couple of weeks to get those last few points of attenuation.
  5. Make sure you only use single variety honey, never use blended honey as you will get medicinal off flavour if there is any eucalyptus honey blended.
  6. Hop very very lightly, as mead usually has little residual sweetness unless you use a low attenuating ale yeast such as S04; and as such can end up horribly unbalanced.
  7. I usually add juice of a lemon or orange to my meads to ensure the yeast has some fresh vitamins. Along with the recommended amount of yeast nutrients.

My process at this point would be to ignore fixing it now, but to bottle it up in plastic soda bottle and store it for 1-2 months then re-taste it.

And, secondly start again, with a new batch, thinking on the points above.

Finally have you used brewtoad or brewersfriend or similar brew planing tool to draw up your recipe and pitch rates, also helps you check the sweetness bitterness balance, if not I heartily recommend you do.

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    See my comment on staggered nutrient additions in Molot's post. – brewchez Jun 3 '16 at 10:46
  • Thank you Mr_road, I've not heard of those brew planning tools and didn't use any similar one for this batch. They might very well come in handy with my next brew. – damo-s Jun 3 '16 at 17:04
  • @brewchez, I stand corrected on yeast nutrient additions. You learn something new everyday :) Thanks ...post has been duly edited. – Mr_road Jun 3 '16 at 17:28
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Grats on your first brew!

This has been well answered on process corrections.

The harsh bitter is from the hop tea, if the cascade was 6.6%AA 60min boil you have about 45 IBUs there which is the top end of pale ales and the start to some IPAs. With no malt to balance, it can taste much more bitter.

At your fermentation temp you can expect some fusel alcohols adding to a harsh taste. I would keep 68°-72°F as your top end during the vigorous fermentation.

The cooler temp will force the yeast to work slower and gives them time to build up their cell walls to tollerate the increasing ABV and be able to hang on longer for the whole job. I suspect this was the cause of the stall.

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