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blackberry wine slow or non fermentation

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desmoines

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I have a 6 gallon batch of blackberry wine that I started about 6 days ago. Roughly 4.5 lbs fruit, 2lbs sugar, 7 quarts water, 1 campden tablet, and a very small amount of pectic enzyme (maybe 1/4tsp?) to each gallon. The fruit was very sweet and ripe. I washed then mashed the berries, poured boiling water over them, and then waited until room temperature to add the campden and pectic enzyme. After 24 hours I added yeast that had started to bubble in warm water. I've been stirring once a day. There isn't any active bubbling through the vapor lock of the primary, but there is a thick mat of the seeds and pulp that floats on the surface. When I break up the mat there is a fair amount of gas trapped below and within it. It smells yeasty and slightly alcoholic, and foams for a bit. Is it possible that the mat is preventing the gas from escaping? Is it time to strain and remove the solid material? I also had started the batch in the basement where it was likely too cool (maybe 60f), and it is now upstairs at about 70f. Any ideas?
 

oxeye

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It looks to me like you have a two gallon batch in a six gallon fermentor.

If this is accurate, then you have a four gallon void of empty space that has to be filled before you will see airlock activity. This could take some time.

Plus, your fermentor may not have a good tight seal at the top.

Is your primary a bucket or a carboy?

A bucket's lid is a lot harder to seal up than a carboy's bung stopper, so check everything for leaks.

Even a low level of water in the airlock will let the co2 escape.

Pogo
 

desmoines

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Thanks for the reply oxeye. The primary is a bucket with at least 6 gallons of liquid, the quantities I listed were just ratios from the original recipe-they have been multiplied. There is maybe 1 inch of space under the lid of the bucket. The lid on the primary is the type with a rubber ring under the lid, and I am sure that it is tightly sealed. After stirring, if i replace the lid quickly the airlock will bubble vigorously and then slow as the gas from stirring the solids back into the liquid is released. After maybe 10 minutes it stops completely. After further reading I wonder if maybe the yeast never had a chance to multiply? It sounds like it needs oxygenation until it starts going strong, and it was started in the airtight primary at a low temperature. I am thinking that I will get some yeast going and then add a little must, wait until it is started, and then add it to the primary but not fully seal it. Does this sound reasonable?
 
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cpfan

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Desmoines:

Do you have a hydrometer. If so, please give us a current specific gravity readings.

Visual signs of fermentation are notoriously misleading. SG readings are the best way to tell if fermentation is progressing.

Steve
 

desmoines

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I didn't take the sg at the beginning (I know that I probably should have), but it is now at about 1.07. Last night I strained and squeezed most of the solids. The primary is now covered with a few layers of clean towel. I'll check sg tonight.
 
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