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adrianvas12

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Hello everyone.
As I mentioned, I am also a beginner in the wine making process. I started buying wine juice from different farms and start fermenting my own wine.
So last fall I got 2 types – a red and a white; both ended being very sweet and not strong at all. After reading around, I realized that I should have read the SG before fermentation using a hydrometer and add sugar – I will definitively do that with the next batch.
Here are few questions that I have and maybe I missed in my searches:
• Temperature: what is the proper / ideal temperature to keep the wine when going through the fermentation? I keep mine in the basement, by the furnace with the temp usually between 60 – 70.
• Stir – do I need to stir the wine while fermenting? If yes, why?
• Sugar role – I understand sugar’s role in the process. If I need to add, do I just add the sugar into the mix and keep measuring until I get the correct reading? Is this the correct way to obtain the proper SG
• Finally, yeast – is it always necessary? How do I know whether to add or not.
Thank you for your help and advice.
Av
 

sour_grapes

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Welcome to WMT!

Your temperature seems fine. Mid-70's is ideal for most yeast strains. (See http://www.lallemandwine.us/products/yeast_chart.php)

Yes, you should stir the must during fermentation. (See http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/f5/primary-stir-not-stir-44697/)

Sugar: Yes, add until you get the SG you desire. You can figure out how much roughly ahead of time by figuring that 3.3 oz. of sugar will raise the SG of a gallon of must by 0.010. (See http://www.beer-wine.com/learning/how-adjust-specific-gravity)

Yeast: Yes, always add a yeast made for winemaking.
 

zimmer2

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joined today also, reading all the posts is like drinking out of a fire hose. Hopefully us newbies can understand "some" of the info.

GOOD LUCK!
 

JohnT

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Hello everyone.
As I mentioned, I am also a beginner in the wine making process. I started buying wine juice from different farms and start fermenting my own wine.
So last fall I got 2 types – a red and a white; both ended being very sweet and not strong at all. After reading around, I realized that I should have read the SG before fermentation using a hydrometer and add sugar – I will definitively do that with the next batch.
Here are few questions that I have and maybe I missed in my searches:
• Temperature: what is the proper / ideal temperature to keep the wine when going through the fermentation? I keep mine in the basement, by the furnace with the temp usually between 60 – 70.
• Stir – do I need to stir the wine while fermenting? If yes, why?
• Sugar role – I understand sugar’s role in the process. If I need to add, do I just add the sugar into the mix and keep measuring until I get the correct reading? Is this the correct way to obtain the proper SG
• Finally, yeast – is it always necessary? How do I know whether to add or not.
Thank you for your help and advice.
Av

YO ADRIAN!!!!

Welcome to the forum.

temp: I like to get my must to at least to 70 degrees before pitching my yeast.

stir: yes, for two really good reasons.. first, for red wines, you remix the skins into the juice thus increasing color, body, and tannic structure. Also, O2 is important during specific phases of fermentation. A stir will mix more o2 into the wine which will be beneficial.

sugar- if you are using a standard wine grape, chances are that you do not need to add any sugar. Ideally, you would want to start with grapes having a brix of between 22 and 28 brix. Any lower, and I would not use the grapes as they are probably under ripe and very high in acid (too tart).

yeast - YES! you can not have fermentation with out yeast. This does not mean that you need to add yeast, though. Some folks get on this "natural" kick and simply allow the wild yeasts (from the air or from what forms on the skins of the grape in the vineyard) to do the job. This is dangerous as you have no idea what strain of yeast you are using and what types of results you may get. Proper wine yeasts have been cultured over centuries to give great results consistently. You should benefit from this and use cultured yeast!
 

blackspanish777

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joined today also, reading all the posts is like drinking out of a fire hose. Hopefully us newbies can understand "some" of the info.

GOOD LUCK!
I wish it was all in one place. The amount of info is vast. Some days it feels overwhelming LOL.
 

Turock

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If you're doing red wine from grapes, it's helpful to have a fermentation temp around 80 degrees because it pulls the color out of the skins and makes the wine a deep color. If you're making rose wine, use cooler temps so you don't pull as much color.

Whites should done around 70 degrees to retain volatiles that increase the nose and flavor.

Always use known cultures--wild yeast ferments are hard to control because you have no idea if the yeast is a flavorful one or a bad-flavored one. And you don't know the alcohol tolerance of wild yeast either. So it's difficult to know what potential alcohol you should set the brix at.

Well, none of us learned in one day--or even one year. I've been doing this for 25 years---and yet I'm still learning. So don't feel like the Lone Ranger. When you have questions--just ask. I know it's a big hill to climb.
 

adrianvas12

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John does it matter when you add the yeast? My current batch has been working for 2 weeks and is still going. I did not add yeast - can I do it now?
 

sour_grapes

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John does it matter when you add the yeast? My current batch has been working for 2 weeks and is still going. I did not add yeast - can I do it now?
What was the SG when you started, and what is it now?
 

sour_grapes

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Well, what is the SG now? What I am trying to determine is if your fermentation is complete or not.
 

JohnT

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John does it matter when you add the yeast? My current batch has been working for 2 weeks and is still going. I did not add yeast - can I do it now?
My take on it is that it is probably too late to do any good as the wild yeasts have already taken hold.
 

adrianvas12

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Well - the SG is about 1040.
After our discussion I started stirring the juice .... it bubbled all out ... a mess.
Anyway, I learned that I should stir slowly :)

So what do you think? Is it too late for yeast? What about sugar?
Thank you again.
 

sour_grapes

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After our discussion I started stirring the juice .... it bubbled all out ... a mess.
What kind of vessel are you doing the fermentation in? Sounds like it may have been a carboy. If so, get yourself a food-grade bucket or trash can (Brute) to do the primary fermentation in. Then you won't have that problem in the future!

So what do you think? Is it too late for yeast? What about sugar?
Thank you again.
It probably is too late for yeast, but I am of the opinion that you might as well try. (Can't hurt. Only costs a buck or two.) A proper wine yeast might be able to get established and to take your fermentation to completion. Your last batches ended "sweet," so that means the yeast died before they ate all the sugars. That could happen with random strains of yeast. Pick up a pack of Lalvin EC-1118 or Red Star Premier Cuvee.

Without knowing the starting SG, no one can tell you whether you should add sugar or not. What was the source of the juice? Is it from grapes or another fruit?
 
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adrianvas12

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It is a Malbec juice that I bought at a local farm - they are saying from Chile.
Not sure whether grapes or fruit - I would say grapes.
 

sour_grapes

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Yes, Malbec is an excellent wine grape. It is one of the traditional grapes from the Bordeaux region of France, but it has really taken off in South America. I like it very much.

There is no reason I can think of to assume you need to add sugar. The vineyard in Chile probably picked the grapes such that you will have about 12 to 14% alcohol by volume (ABV). Given that you have no idea what yeast you are using, I think you would be crazy to try to add sugar to boost the alcohol -- you have no idea if the yeast are capable of living in high ABV conditions. (A proper wine yeast has been bred to do just that.)

I think you should add yeast as advised above, then sit back and enjoy the ride from there.
 

adrianvas12

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Thank you for you help with this - I will add the yeast and keep you updated. Now that the carboy overflowed there is a little bit of gap on the top of the carboy. Does that matter ? About 6 inches from the top.
 

sour_grapes

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The extra head space does not matter at this time, when the fermentation is still active. Later, when the fermentation is over, you will want to top off this carboy with some similar wine to remove the extra air. But not at this point.
 

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