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Obligatory: This is my first batch of Mead and I'm still learning the ropes. If I've made any critical mistakes, please point them out but do know: odds are, I had no idea of that particular issue.

I'm brewing a batch of traditional mead, following every step and ingredient used by these guys City Steading on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ildRSUSWmc8

My issue:

I'm almost two weeks in, and my hydrometer reading has almost not changed whatsoever. For the one gallon batch, my OG is 1.109 and current is 1.105. The carboy almost always has bubbles in the carboy, the airlock is bubbling about once every 10 seconds as of yesterday morning, and I've been shaking it to aerate for the past week. The room it's in is generally kept at 65F, deviating slightly above during the day and below during the night by about 2 degrees.

Should I repitch my yeast? Or am I making any stupid mistakes?

  • What yeast did you use, and how many packs? My bet is you underpitched and just need to add another couple packs of yeast. – dmtaylor Mar 7 '19 at 11:25
  • @dmtaylor I used about 1/3 a Nottingham Ale Yeast package. I know that the recipe calls for less, it was a pretty big pour and was totally by mistake – Macmoholic Mar 8 '19 at 18:54
  • That....... is a definite underpitch. Try 1 whole pack. – dmtaylor Mar 9 '19 at 3:54
  • Could it really be an underpitch for 1/3 of an 11g packet? In the directions I followed to make this recipe, it was recommended to use about 1/5 of the packet. Again, I'm brand new to this so I'm not saying you're wrong by any means. I'm just making sure you've got all the details in case I left something out. As a side note, if it's been an underpitch, can I pitch more immediately? – Macmoholic Mar 10 '19 at 4:11
  • Just look at your original gravity... 1.109. A standard pitch rate of 1/5 the packet is fine for an OG of 1.050. But twice that much deserves at least twice as much yeast, if not more. Yes, go ahead and add the rest, unless it's finally taken off now. – dmtaylor Mar 10 '19 at 4:43
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My bet is you underpitched and just need to add more yeast. Pitching 1/5 the packet into 1 gallon is fine for an OG of 1.050, but at a gravity of 1.109 you need at least twice that amount. I would have pitched a whole pack or at least 1/2 a pack in 1 gallon to ensure sufficient yeast growth and health.

Beyond that.... often times with mead, all you really need is patience. Lots of patience. Give it a month or three. It's going to take time.

I don't worry much about aeration and my meads turn out great anyway. Time is the biggest thing.

Cheers, good luck, enjoy.

  • 2
    Slight update: I'd pitched more yeast that day, and then checked the SG two days ago: smells good and I'm down to 1.064. It was 5 weeks in but hey, not too bad. Hoping it'll be close by Easter, but who knows? Cheers for the advice. – Macmoholic Apr 3 '19 at 6:10
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It is not stuck if the air lock bubbles. Wait 1-3 days between successive specific gravity measurements.

Raise the temperature to 70F. That is an ideal yeast temperature. (Show us the manufacturer's link to your yeast strain.) For example

https://www.lallemandbrewing.com/en/united-states/product-details/lalvin-ec-1118/

enter image description here

Here we see a temperature of 20C (68F) is ideal for fermentation (for this strain). If it's colder, it will be much slower and sluggish. You can get a heating pad with a temperature control to keep it at this temperature.

Stop shaking it. It should be aerobic for the first 3 days, then anaerobic. It also allows the dead yeast to fall to the bottom for racking.

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Let it ride. Chances are at that high of an original gravity you weren't able to aerate it ideally unless you injected straight oxygen in for a hot minute, but it's nothing to be too concerned about. A mead at that high of a gravity is going to take a while to ferment. Just give it time, or if you are paranoid because honey is bonkers expensive, an additional bit of yeast and a tablespoon of yeast nutrient shouldn't hurt it either. Either way, time is the best answer.

Edit: I should recommend, shaking it now to aerate it isn't a bad idea, and likely won't be for a couple of days, but I'd recommend discontinuing the practice unless you want your mead to stale quicker than usual.

  • Understood. Thanks a ton for the advice. I aerated it today but I'll leave the little guy alone for a while. Guess I'm just anxious about my first attempt. Is there a nutrient recommendation you would make? I probably won't do that but I suppose it's worth having a backup plan if, when I check in two weeks, it's still barely active. – Macmoholic Mar 7 '19 at 6:54
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given the other replies, consider making a yeast starter for next time - weak beer + yeast + nutrient in a 1L flask (borosilicate) prepared 2-3 days ahead of time, giving you way more cells to operate on the mead

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My guess is the yeast is just being a bit slow to get up and running given the high gravity, and you under pitched the quantity of yeast, I have used 2 packs before for a mead to give it a boost at the start.

I would pitch some extra yeast. No need to make a starter, just add a whole extra pack of dried yeast to the top and leave it for a few days. It will start slow, most meads do as there tends to be a low level of free nitrogen and other nutrients, but give it time and it will usually get there.

In future I would suggest adding half the honey on day 1 then adding the second half 3 days later, it helps reduce the stress ont he yeast. You can do it with mor eincremental additions if you wish.

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