Darn Skeeter Pee!

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Ivywoods

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I started a 5 gallon batch a while back. I added two bottles of the realemon at the start. It only started to ferment and then stalled. I divided it into two carboys, added water and sugar to dilute the acid and ended up with 11 gallons. It was not doing much and I wasn't sure what to do. I finally got out and got another food grade bucket. It's all divided in the bucket and I've stirred it. It doesn't appear to be doing much. I'm not sure what to do. It tastes slightly of lemon, still too sweet (1.068 SG) and alcohol content is not strong enough to even notice. What next? I'm thinking of dividing farther, adding other juices for flavor such as elderberry, raspberry and tart cherry, adding the rest of the lemon and then just fortifying at the end like I read on here. I'll give it a little more time in the bucket before I do anything, but I refuse to give up on this batch!
 

Johnd

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Folks sometimes have trouble getting SP to start when all of the lemon juice is added up front, it drives the pH down and makes life difficult on the yeast. Best bet is to prepare your must without the lemon juice and get a good strong ferment going with a workhorse yeast like EC-1118, and slowly step feed the lemon juice in over a couple of days time. It also helps if you use proper nutrients and to keep your temps up in the mid 70's.
 

Ivywoods

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My Skeeter pee saga continues. After adding too much lemon, stuck fermentation, diluting, adding more sugar and nutrients and placing in buckets it started to ferment more. I finally went ahead and bought the flavorings I wanted since I ended up with more pee than I really wanted. It's now divided into elderberry skeeter, raspberry skeeter and tart cherry skeeter and a gallon of plain skeeter pee. Now I have new questions to ponder. To tell the truth, I lost track of my SG readings with all the additions and haven't checked it since adding flavors, so I have no idea what the alcohol % would be. They have all started slowly fermenting again, so at this point I an thinking I might just try to go by taste, maybe add a LITTLE sugar to boost fermentation of the juices added, then if it doesn't finish go ahead and fortify it.

My questions now are-
When do I add the rest of the lemon?
Will it ever clear if it doesn't ferment completely?
If I fortify it what would be the best to use?
 

Ivywoods

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The 3 carboys I added the flavoring to are all fermenting nicely now.

When should I add the rest of the lemon?
 

Bossbaby

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Primary fermentation is best done in an open container with a cloth cover to help oxygenate, I usually add the lemon slowly every other day or so once fermentation is moving along nicely.
 

stickman

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Similar to the above comment, carboys filled to the neck with fermenting juice are prone to foaming over (volcano) if any dry material is added directly.
 

Ivywoods

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Primary fermentation is best done in an open container with a cloth cover to help oxygenate, I usually add the lemon slowly every other day or so once fermentation is moving along nicely.
I only moved these to the carboy when I added the juices with the flavoring. I've been trying to get this Skeeter Pee going for weeks now. I didn't think it would ferment that much more, but it really took off with the added juices. So should I move it back to the buckets and start adding the lemon a little at a time? It sounds like it might be the best Idea, but I'm just not sure. I'm such a newby at this stuff.
 

Bossbaby

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You can leave your primary in a bucket until SG is about 1.000, Degass really well with a spoon or a paddle attachment on a drill and then transfer to your carboys with an airlock, rack after 3 days and again at 3 weeks if needed. skeeter tends to clear up quickly.
 

Ivywoods

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Thanks Bossbaby. I will move it back to buckets and hopefully get the rest of the lemon added before it quits again.
 

BernardSmith

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The lemon is really only for flavoring. Not sure how much fermentable sugar is in the LJ. In other words, you can add the juice to the secondary even after all active fermentation has ended and I doubt that there will be much more fermentation going on - which is to say that at that point you may want to rack the SP into carboys to remove headroom.
 

Ivywoods

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When you add the lemon at the end does it clear or stay cloudy?
 

hounddawg

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When you add the lemon at the end does it clear or stay cloudy?
it clears fairly quick, i use way more lemon then most 1 qt per gallon , i ferment using 1 qt, then just before i do my from ferment barrel to carboy i add the other 5 qts, in a month they are clear, i don't ever use finings, but i do filter at every racking, 5 micron spun polypropylene for reds and 1 micron for whites, i make mine taste like old fashioned lemonade, i ferment my SP using EC-1118 to about 20% ABV but you can taste no bite, i'm not a numbers wine crafter, i learned from the old timers and joined here to marry the old with the new, IE. vacuum pump, whole house housing and 2.5 by 10" filters i got my housing from steve, but you can buy the anywhere, just make sure there is no relief value, the valve won't work with vacuum,
Dawg
'"
 

Ivywoods

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Hounddawg do you have a picture of your setup? I'm having trouble picturing what you mean about a relief valve.
 

Bossbaby

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It's a sometimes red button on top of the filter housing to release pressure when changing filters .
 

hounddawg

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Hounddawg do you have a picture of your setup? I'm having trouble picturing what you mean, about a relief valve.
I'll send some today Ivy, first when i describe something, most times i don't know what i said,, lol,,, so today I'll send some, i have mild dyslexia, meaning when tired what i write has gaps of information, I've learned to outdo it but, i notice a lot of the times when i have to clarify things i just posted, @Bossbaby is 100% correct, all it is is just a little button on top of the filter housing, it is meant to work under outward pressure , but vacuum is inward pressure,, @vacuumpumpman , sells one like you need, i use spun polypropylene filters, if you buy one ore two at a time they can be expensive, but i know a couple companies on Ebay one sells a case 50, that you can wash, lay on a rack put a towel or rag to let dry, then put in freezer baggies, make sure to write 1 or 5 so you know which is which, 1micron for whites and 5 microns for reds, i also keep a few 25 microns to pull your wine from the ferment barrel, but in cases they run about $1.40 each by the case, but buying singles run $5 to $7 each, that's nuts, if you need the eBay number i can look it up for you from my purchase history, oh i use 2.5" x 10" filters, so any filter housing you get get one that uses 2.5" x 10" filters, and only spun polypropylene, paper filters tend to leave a soapy taste, i have never had a single problem with them
Dawg, , ,
 

Ivywoods

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Ok. I have the All In One vacuum pump but not the filter set up. I'll have to look into that. I was thinking that filtering it was only done once it had totally cleared, like just before bottling.
 

cmason1957

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Ok. I have the All In One vacuum pump but not the filter set up. I'll have to look into that. I was thinking that filtering it was only done once it had totally cleared, like just before bottling.
You are exactly correct about when filtering should be done. If you try to filter cloudy wine you will use up lots of filters. Filtering is not to clear a wine, it is to polish a wine. And I recommend folks not put the filters into the freezer, water freezing increases the size of the holes, in other words that 5 micron filter becomes a 7 micron filter eventually. I wait until I have about 5 or 6 caboys to filter do them all at one time, starting with lightest color. But that's just me.
 

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