Added too much water, now what?

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Apr 22, 2009
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I started a batch of garlic wine (it sounds like a great marinade) on Sept 13.
It was doing perfectly fine, until last night when I transferred it to a secondary. There was a lot of sludge in the bottom of the primary so I lost more than expected and I didn't have enough liquid to fill the jug, . I topped up with water, but this morning, it doesn't seem to be fermenting.
I also transferred a batch of jalapeno at the same time, but it seems to be ok.

Is there anything that I should do for the garlic? Add a little more sugar?

Whats the starting gravity
Whats the gravity now
How big a batch
How much water did you add
You might have left too much live yeast behind and now the batch is struggling. This is one reason I either rack kind of early ordont rack at all until its done fermenting or stir it all up and rack. We do need sg info.
Agreed with all above.

A lot of yeast lives at the bottom of the fermentation vessel. So racking leaves a lot of yeast behind.

Topping up with water dillutes the must and (if you top up with really cold water, meaning not at room temp) may stun the yeast. This of course depends on how much water was needed to top up.

So there are 3 factors that may have hindered the yeast.

If there is enough sugar left (take an sg reading) the yeast might recover and ferment it out. So indeed take a reading, wait a few days and see if fermentation will restart.

Thanks for the responses.

Ok... it's a 1 gallon batch, the starting SG was 1.085, and the SG last night was 1.000.
I'm not sure how much water I added, maybe between 500 - 750 ml (1- 1.5 US pints). Next time I'll measure the water in a jug before I add it.
The water was room temp spring water.

I'm concerned that diluting it so much reduced the alcohol level and it will lose the ability to preservation. The flavor is fine though, it still stinks of garlic!
Good lord thats a lot of water for a 1 gallon batch!!!!!!! seeing as how there is 3750 ml per gallon and you think you added 750ml you have just diluted this batch from about 22 proof to about 18 proof or 9% abv which aint bad by those numbers but Im betting the worst part of doing that was thatyou have greatlt reduced the flavor of your wine and thinned it out pretty bad. Never add water especially if its still fermenting as there is no reason. the fermentation itself is protecting your win by producing C02 which is lighter then 02 and pushes the 02 out the airlock.
Yeah, I know it was a lot of water to add. But I didn't think that I had a choice, seeing how I was transferring it to the secondary. And I don't have or want to use marbles.

So I could have left it low in the secondary while it was still fermenting? At what point would I need to be concerned and top it up?

Diluting the flavor doesn't worry me, since it's a cooking wine, and it smelled so stinky while fermenting that I wondering if I could ever use it.

Next time, I'll make sure that I have more than 1 gal to start, so it doesn't matter if I lose any while transferring.

Still learning... :D
How in the world that you needed that much? I dont add that much in a 6 gallon batch. Seams like you left to much behind trying to rush the wine.
You ont have to worry about topping up until the wine is finished fermenting because then its not producing C02 anymore which blankets your wine and pushes all the 02 out of the vessel. Next time you could transfer to a smaller vessel like a big win e bottl(1500 ml magnum) You will need a few more airlocks and smaller bungs (#3) to do so.
I want to make sure I understand...
Am I better to transfer all of the wine, including a LOT of sludgy stuff at the bottom? And then what, I should wait until the 30 days are up to rack it off of the lees? I know that waiting a month will settle the less and I wouldn't leave as much behind.

The SG was close to 1.000 so I didn't think that I was rushing it...
You are better off leaving it to finish fermenting or racking around 1.020 when its still active and everything is still all stirred up then when you did because evrything is settling and you propbably left 905 of the yeast needed to finish behind. Sometimes a batch will stop where your is now though which is very possible and the only activity you were experiencing was C02 being released and when you racked that batch it degassed it and that could be why you dont see any activity now.
Thanks, everyone, for your answers.

I think I have a better understanding of what I should have done now. Although I'm sure there are many more mistakes in my future. :(
Just don't give up. Live and learn and you WILL make good wines in the end.
Remember it is just a hobby and things might and will go wrong. Your income is not dependend on it.

Try a lot, read a lot and ask a lot.

And be aware that even after years of winemaking things go wrong. I tossed 10 liter plum wine fermenting the natural way that went south. Last year I had the idea of NOT adding sulphite to a batch of dandelion wine. Cost me 30 liter and a week work. I also poured 30 liter (8 gallon) pumpkin wine down the drain as we thought it was undrinkable.

That all sounds dreadfull and it is.
As compensation I have 60 liter more than excellent elderflower wine. 120 liter plum wine clearing at this moment. Very good dandelion-strawberry wine.

So sometimes batches go wrong. Do not make a fuzz out of it. Go on and make new batches. You learn a lot and have great stories to tell :r


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