hist-brewing: Question

Jerry Harder mastergoodwine at alltel.net
Fri Feb 11 13:09:03 PST 2000

> 1) Fermentation Problem?
>     The 1st batch we used 2 packets of ...and one of champagne yeast.

I am not familiar with the mead kits other than they exist. (I've been making mead for 20 years without them so they pose little interest for me)  I am imagining that several packets came with it and one of those was the champagne yeast.  The others were probably yeast nutrient in the form of diammonium phosphate and the other something like fermaid or yeast hulls or some other form of additional supplement to help the fermentation.

Normally, one package of yeast is enough for 5-6 gallons.  I usually just dump the package in the carboy after the must is below 90 degrees F.  Please note that this is horrendously poor yeast pitching practice.  Yeast SHOULD be hydrated by putting a packet in a cup of 90 to 100 degree F water for 10 min or so.  Manufactures suggest the 100 d F but I'm a little afraid of that high a temp.

My point is that the dry yeast packets seem to be designed to take quite a bit of abuse and still behave consistently if the must has adequate nutrients in it.  If the packages you added initially were nutrients and not yeast, that would explain your problem.  If you got the initial packages with the kit and they were in fact yeast,  and the champagne yeast was bought later maybe the kit was really old and perhaps the yeast got too hot sometime during shipping, or perhaps the must was too hot when you added it.  It is really hard to give you truly sound advise without more information.  Do you have a hydrometer yet.  Readings will help and really give an insight to what is happening.

If you want a sweet mead, you have to have some sugar left over. Champagne
yeast will produce alcohol levels to about 14.5% which is less than most wine
and sherry yeast.  A starting gravity of 1.112 (26.5 Brix) will have
enough sugar to produce this level of alcohol.  If you want your meed to be sweet,
you need more honey and higher gravities than this with champagne yeast.  The other way is to make your mead to a dry at the alcohol you want then when it is completely stopped use potassium sorbate wiich will prevent refermentation back sweeten.

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