Primary Fermentation Question - 5 Gallon Sack Sweet Mead

First post here so be gentle :slight_smile:

My brew day was 4/25/2015, I didn’t notice any activity until 5/4/2015. The bubbler was steady around 1 bubble every 5 seconds until 5/12 when it slowed to 1 every 10 seconds. I waited another week and decided to check with the hydrometer.

My OG was 1.130, I checked on 5/17 and it was at 1.100, checked it again 5/19 and it was at 1.091.

Question is how long should I leave it in my conical before moving it to secondary? I’m still seeing activity in there but it’s been almost a month in primary.

Don’t move it to secondary until gravity is steady. Taking it off the yeast will cause it to stall, especially at this rate.

I confess I have never made a mead, but have read a lot about them. With that OG you would need a serious high pitch rate. What yeast and how much did you pitch? I also know that mead is finicky with nutrients. Did you add some? How often?

I got the 5G Sack Sweet Mead Kit from Northern

Wyeast 4184
4 packets of yeast nutrient, one initial then one every 24hrs.

That’s a VERY high OG for a mead. It’s generally a good idea to step feed a mead like that. You added plenty of nutrient, so that’s good. Have you degassed it? The carbonic acid from the CO2 inhibits the yeast, so if you give it a good stirring that will help.

If you can’t get it going again, maybe switch to a yeast like EC-1118. Rehydrate it in some water, add about a cup of your must. Once it ferments, add another cup. Do this a couple of times, and pitch your culture into the rest. That should get it going!

BTW, 4184 is a shame that they label it as a mead yeast. It’s lousy. I’d recommend switching to EC-1118 or K1-v1116 as soon as possible. K1-v1116 is probably better for mead if you can get it.

Thanks for the advice, I just ordered some K1-v1116. I’ll follow your instructions when it gets here.

Also, you should check the pH. pH strips are a pain to deal with, but they are cheap and can tell you if the level is below 3.1, which around the danger threshold that the yeast can work well in. Meads don’t have anything that will buffer the pH, and can drop that low; it depends on the mineral content of your starting water. If you need it, adding a few grams of calcium carbonate can be used to raise it to an ideal 3.3 - 3.5. If you don’t need it, it is better off not to use it, as it could raise the pH too high.

When you get the new yeast, rehydrate it in tepid water before dumping it in, and as there is already alcohol present, it wouldn’t hurt to use two packages instead of one.

Welcome to the forum and good luck - meads are hard to get right; at least in comparison to beers or wines.