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Blackberry quit working too early

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jlmclean

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Hi; I'm new here and you guys may kick me out when you find out how I make wine. Started out putting frozen juice, sugar, yeast, and water in a gallon jug, stretched a BIG balloon over the mouth of the jug and when it got real big and then got small again (if it didn't burst in between) the wine was ready. I've made like this for years and haven't upgraded a lot except for some 5 gal jugs and some air traps to go on top. I recently started a 5 gal jug of blackberry (cooked and strained blackberry juice) and a 1 gal jug of apple the same day. I set both out in the carport until they settled down in case they wanted to overflow or something like that. When I went to move them in the house this morning, the blackberry had quit working and the apple is still clicking right along. They were started on July 25 so it shouldn't be nowhere near ready to stop working. I read over some of the other post about wine that had slowed or stopped and they talked about checking the SG. I don't have anything to check the SG with. Are there any test I can do without sophisticated equiptment? Anyone have any suggestions for me to try?
 

Tom

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Hi; I'm new here and you guys may kick me out when you find out how I make wine. Started out putting frozen juice, sugar, yeast, and water in a gallon jug, stretched a BIG balloon over the mouth of the jug and when it got real big and then got small again (if it didn't burst in between) the wine was ready. I've made like this for years and haven't upgraded a lot except for some 5 gal jugs and some air traps to go on top. I recently started a 5 gal jug of blackberry (cooked and strained blackberry juice) and a 1 gal jug of apple the same day. I set both out in the carport until they settled down in case they wanted to overflow or something like that. When I went to move them in the house this morning, the blackberry had quit working and the apple is still clicking right along. They were started on July 25 so it shouldn't be nowhere near ready to stop working. I read over some of the other post about wine that had slowed or stopped and they talked about checking the SG. I don't have anything to check the SG with. Are there any test I can do without sophisticated equiptment? Anyone have any suggestions for me to try?
OK lets start from the begining. You should not add yeast to anything thats frozen. Room temp is best
You dont even need a ballon for the primary. But invest in a airlock.
Most important is get a hydrometer. In this warm weather it can ferment dry in a matter of days. BUT, that does not mean that its finished. You need to add finning and clear your wine.
Tell us what equipment you have
 

B-well4200

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If it was warm in your carport then that can really speed up your fermentation and actually finish quite quickly. Did you check your SG?
 

Beta_Grumm

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You can pick up hydrometers for under $10. Really are worth it.
I looks like a big thermometer, only instead of liquid inside that gives you the reading, you put it in a narrow tube of wine must (or whatever you are measuring) and it will float depending on the density of the must.

Basically I'm guessing one of two things happened:
1. your yeast died.
2. it did its job extra fast and is done.
Checking the SG of your must would reveal which it is.
 
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jlmclean

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I'll have to get a hydrometer and check it out. What should the reading be. I really don't think it's done, doesn't have the good wine smell yet. What will be my next step if the SG is not where it should be, add more yeast?
 

Wade E

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You do really have to use a hydrometer so that youknow what you are making. How much sugar did you add to this blackberry approx. and what were the temps in that carport? fermentatins can be doe a lot quicker then that unless you are fermenting cold or dont have the proper nutrients in this wine so that the yeast work properly. We may disagree with soe of your methods only because doing this the better way doesnt cost much. A hydromter is very cheap and wll take all the guess work out of this equation that you are asking right now. Not knowing hat the starting sg was and what it is now and what yeast yo used leaves us with no answers for you. The only thing I can say is if its in a temp below 66* to take that vessel where its warmer and see if it fires back up but Im guessing its done and that maybe you didnt add enough sugar to give it that wine kick you are talking about. Can you be more specific about your recipe and exactly what went in there?
 

jlmclean

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I used 12 quarts of cooked and strained blackberry juice which was pretty thick, but like you said, without a hydrometer, I don't know what the SG was, 25 cups of sugar (I like my wine to be real sweet), 1 1/4 tsp yeast. The temp in the carport probably got in the high 80's several days. I know the recipe works because I'm drinking some that I made two years ago while I'm writing this reply.
 

Madriver Wines

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If it was that warm your berry wine may be done fermenting. The only way to tell for sure is with a hydrometer. I must of missed some of Nubz posts, never saw a reason to kick ya out......yet lol
 

jlmclean

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I changed the air lock this morning after noticing that the water level in both bulbs were exactly level and found that the wine is still working a very small amount, a bubble about every 3-4 minutes. Guess I had a leak in the other trap. I'll give it a little more time and see what happens.


Madriver: What Nubz was refering to was the statement I made on the first post that you guys may kick me out after you find out how I make wine. I'm not into the "Kits" and all the addatives. Just want the juice (from some kind of fruit I've grown), a little yeast, some sugar and let it do it's thing. My point of view is kinda like my grandpa made wine as long as I can remember and he never used anything but juice, yeast, and sugar. He didn't have fancy wine yeast and if you'd said something about specific gravity, he'd probably have looked at you and said "what you talking about boy". To the best of my knowledge, after I was old enough to be allowed to taste it, I don't know of him ever making any that wasn't delicious. I read one post where a guy was describing making wine without a hydrometer was like a mechanic working on a car without a wrench. No, a wrench is a tool and a hydrometer is test equiptment. The old mechanics before cars were so complicated could tell you what was wrong by just listening to them, didn't need test equiptment. Same thing with the wine, old winemakers kept it simple. That's me, simple. I've just never had a jug to quit working this early but I realize now I probably allowed it to get too warm.
 

Madriver Wines

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No problem. I got the joke and tried to play off of it...poorly i quess.:h One of the great things about making wine is you can do it your way. No true set of rules here. I would recommend a hydrometer though so you can calculate the alcohol content. I use it at the beginning and at the end, not much in between.
:b Steve
 

jlmclean

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Yes, I think I'll invest in a hydrometer. I can see where they would be helpful, even though I'm making wine cave man style ha ha.

Thanks to all who helped on this problem. Great site.
 

Wade E

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We may disagree on different things but either way wine could be made but doing it that way will lead to many more mistakes and trial & errors. Adding more sugar up front doesnt necassarily mean you will end up with a sweeter wine as it could easily ferment out further leaving you with a dry wine that is very high in alc. Wild yeast back then wasnt covered with all the polutants and oversprays of insecticides like it is nowadays. Knowing what your yeast strain can tolerate and what to expect from it is a golden example of progress in the world unlike other stuff in this world where I totally agree with you that simpler is better. A hydrometer is a tool just like a torque wrench so you know your limitations.
 

Nubz

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maybe you could try making a yeast starter and see what happens
im not exactly sure how to make one but its yeast nutrient(or use a multi vitamin like i do maybe not a hole one depending on the size of the batch though) and yeast hydrated in some of your must
look around on the forums someone has posted exactly how to do it i cant remember off the top of my head
 

jlmclean

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Nubz maybe you could try making a yeast starter and see what happens
That sounds like what I'd like to try. I'll try to find a little more info on it.
Thanks
 

Nubz

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your welcome

im surprised no one mentioned it
 

Ceegar

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Yes, I think I'll invest in a hydrometer. I can see where they would be helpful, even though I'm making wine cave man style ha ha.

Thanks to all who helped on this problem. Great site.
I wouldn't worry about it. My next door neighbor is an old, full blooded Italian, speaks with real broken English, and is actually in Italy right now for a month with his wife. He doesn't know a thing about Sg and hyrdometers, yeast, etc and makes his own Concord wine in big barrels. He turned me on to some a couple months ago and it was brownish in color so it must have oxidized. I swigged it and said, damn, that's pretty good Joe, but it really wasn't. :D

I didn't want to hurt his feelings, but ya know what? He likes it, and that's what matters. I haven't made fantastic wine yet, except from kits. I want to give him some of mine to try but then I think he'll realize how bad his is afterwards if I do. ::

If you like it, that's all that matters.
 

St Allie

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I wouldn't worry about it. My next door neighbor is an old, full blooded Italian, speaks with real broken English, and is actually in Italy right now for a month with his wife. He doesn't know a thing about Sg and hyrdometers, yeast, etc and makes his own Concord wine in big barrels. He turned me on to some a couple months ago and it was brownish in color so it must have oxidized. I swigged it and said, damn, that's pretty good Joe, but it really wasn't. :D

I didn't want to hurt his feelings, but ya know what? He likes it, and that's what matters. I haven't made fantastic wine yet, except from kits. I want to give him some of mine to try but then I think he'll realize how bad his is afterwards if I do. ::

If you like it, that's all that matters.

That's so nice .. you're a sweetheart Ceegar.

I have a lovely polish neighbour.. he offers to help in the garden because he always goes home with a couple of bottles of my apple wine.. he's a friend for life hehehhe.

It's all about the people you meet through your hobbies..


Allie
 

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