Back in August, secondary fermentation of this mead had more or less stopped. Things had been going pretty well, and I assumed that most of the sugar must have been used up by the yeast. As I noted in an earlier post, I broke my hydrometer and therefore had no quick way to measure the specific gravity. (Actually, I could have measured out a volume of mead and measured the mass, from which you can easily calculate density. I have a cute little jeweller's electronic balance that measures to 0.01 g.) So, without knowing the completeness of the fermentation, I racked the mead with the intention to let it age and clarify.
As the mead was "aging", I noticed that there was a constant, very slow rate of gas production in the carboy. In the meantime, the batch of peach melomel was getting to the end stage of secondary fermentation, and it was time to rack it. Last week, I decided to rack the melomel and the mead, checking the specific gravity of each using my new hydrometer. Here's what I found:
Peach Melomel s.g. = 0.990 (Conclusion: fermentation is complete, and it's time to let it age)
Mead s.g. = 1.038 (Conclusion: oh crap, fermentation is stuck)
So, I had to intervene. I added two Campden tablets (crushed and pre-dissolved), 1 tsp of yeast nutrient, and a packet of Lalvin EC-1118 yeast. Bubble formation seemed to pick up within a few hours. The next day, gas production still wasn't as fast I would like, so I raised the temperature in the room using an oil heater, and also added 2 tsp of yeast energizer. Yeast energizer has a slightly different nutrient mix as yeast nutrient. Three days later, the fermentation in the mead was chugging along nicely, and continues:
Gas production after kick-starting the fermentation
with yeast nutrients and higher temperature.