Degas or dont?

Discussion in 'Country Fruit Winemaking' started by Okie Parrish, Oct 3, 2018.

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  1. Oct 3, 2018 #1

    Okie Parrish

    Okie Parrish

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    Ok so started a gallon of blackberry the other day and since this is my first batch of wine ever (started 5gal of strawberry same day) im a little conffused on the steps. Iv already racked it to secondary and its been at SG 1.004 for 4 days now so im assuming fermentation is complete and i need to rack it again is that corect? But my main question is do i need to degas this wine or not? And if so do i do it now or wait tell later? I not in any hurry so if the only advantage is time im ok with just letting it sit 6 months.

    Also if you can think of anything i might run into in the future that is usually confusing in the begining im all open for the advice
     
  2. Oct 3, 2018 #2

    Johnd

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    We usually consider AF complete when the SG is below .998 for three days running, you still have some sugar in there at 1.004, you might try keeping it in a warmer area if you have it stored below 75F and see if it'll eat a bit more. If you intend to sweeten the wine later, probably not much to worry about anyway, and if that's the case, you can rack it and see if you get any further action. If it doesn't do anything in a week or so, go ahead and sulfite the wine and let it sit (topped up and under airlock) as you suggest for a few months. It will degas and clear on its own over a period of time, a few months may do the trick.

    When it's clear and gas free, if you want to sweeten it, you'll need to add another dose of sulfite as well as some potassium sorbate to prevent fermentation from resuming with the sugar you have added to sweeten it. After sweetening, if it's not fermenting and is still nice and clear for a week or so, you can bottle it safely.
     
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  3. Oct 3, 2018 #3

    Okie Parrish

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    Thank you thats exactly what i needed to know....kinda what i thought in the beging tell i reasearched it and just got more confused...
     
  4. Oct 3, 2018 #4

    mainshipfred

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    This is just a possibility but you could have used a yeast that did not tolerate the amount of alcohol produced which would have stopped it at 1.004.
     
  5. Oct 4, 2018 #5

    Scooter68

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    I don't see any mention of the pH at start of fermentation. That can be an important factor. Too acidic and the yeast may not even start fermentation or it may stall as the pH numbers drop even further during the ferment (It's normal for the acidity to increase during fermentation) If the pH numbers were too high (Low acidity) the ferment could also be affected but more importantly, if the Alcohol level doesn't increase enough with a low acid must, then the batch could spoil (not real common but...)

    Fruit wines can have significant variations in the acidic due to the variety of fruit and how ripe the fruit was when picked. Those variation can play havoc with the fermentation process. Since you don't mention the source of the blackberry (juice?) it would be important to determine the acidity before starting fermentation. Most commercial juices (Wine base concentrates) are checked and adjusted to an acceptable acid level. If you used store bought or wild blackberries - then there is no way to know the acidity without measuring it.

    Sorry to sound harpy on this but many folks find certain fruit wines difficult to start or keep fermenting due to this issue. (Most folks have this problem with Blueberry wine)
     
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  6. Oct 4, 2018 #6

    Okie Parrish

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    I used frozen blackberrys from Wal-Mart. Unfortionatly I did not get a ph reading like I said this is my first wine and I just didnt know I read several books and websites about wine making for beginners and non of them said anything about checking the ph or if they did they made it sound like it was only professional laboratory kinda places that used it. It wasn't until recently that I discover how useful that reading is......and actually your the first one to actually break it down and explain what that reading could tell me if I had it thank you for that
     
  7. Oct 4, 2018 #7

    Scooter68

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    When making most fruit wines - You want to start with a pH between 3.4 and 3.6
    NEVER start over 3.6 unless you have some recipe that calls for that clearly. Above a pH of 3.8 point you begin to enter conditions where bacteria can spoil the juice/must
    Some fruits (Blueberrry especially) tend to be much more acidic. In those cases you want to try to adjust the acidity to a pH of something over 3.00 preferably over 3.2
    Personally I have started several Blueberry batches with pH at just over 3.0, but that could potentially prove to be more acidic than some yeasts will work with.

    Measuring pH during fermentation is not worthwhile unless you have some strange things going on. It can also freak you out when the reading comes out at something like 2.76 (Been there done that) CO2 can cause that. Unless fermentation totally shuts down, I wouldn't bother to measure during fermentation.

    Not to worry at this point - just lessons you learn along the way. Sometimes painfully or with extra work required, sometimes things just work out and you move on.
     
  8. Oct 4, 2018 #8

    Stressbaby

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    I'm echoing JohnD above - At 1.004 you have some residual sugar. Taste-wise no problem, as most blackberry wine needs a little residual sugar to balance the acid. But you don't want it to ferment later and pop corks. So be sure before you bottle you stabilize with KMS plus sorbate.

    Also, pH doesn't have a linear correlation with sourness or acidity by taste. Taste acidity is more correlated with TA. Your fermentation went far enough - don't go out and get a pH meter and start mucking with it. Let it degas and see how it tastes. Keep sulfites up as blackberry has a tendency to get a brick color pretty easily.
     
  9. Oct 4, 2018 #9

    Scooter68

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    "Your fermentation went far enough - don't go out and get a pH meter and start mucking with it. Let it degas and see how it tastes. Keep sulfites up as blackberry has a tendency to get a brick color pretty easily."

    You can over-do things and you can neglect things and both come to bad results.

    Not having a pH meter or a method for checking acidity either TA or pH = playing loose and fast.
    For checking TA a pH meter makes it a LOT easier than traditional kits. Checking the TA of a blackeberry must/wine with a traditional TA kit - good luck with that. With a pH meter very easy!
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
  10. Oct 4, 2018 #10

    Scooter68

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    "But my main question is do i need to degas this wine or not? And if so do i do it now or wait tell later? I not in any hurry so if the only advantage is time im ok with just letting it sit 6 months.

    Also if you can think of anything i might run into in the future that is usually confusing in the begining im all open for the advice"


    Degassing can be done manually OR you can just let time do it for you. In most cases aging a wine for 10-12 months will result in the same thing as manually degassing it with a whip or splash racking. I prefer to let time do the job for me and so far it hasn't failed me yet.

    By the way most times I rack from my primary fermentation bucket at about 1.010, The following is the schedule I normally follow unless I'm getting a ton of lees during the first month or two after racking. Blackberry wine normally doesn't do that too you.

    1st Racking - When SG is at 1.010 or lower and activity has clearly diminished (A lot less foam)
    2nd Racking - End of fermentation - Add K-meta at that time
    3rd Racking - Within the first month from 2nd racking or when lees appear to have pretty much stopped settling out. (Do NOT add K-Meta at this time)
    4th Racking - 3 months from 2nd Racking - Add K-meta

    Then every 3 months after that point.

    Blackberry wines seem to clear pretty quickly but let the age anyway - to 1) Degas naturally and 2) Age well and take that edge off.
    If you wait until at least 9 months to back-sweeten there will be less edge to the wine and you are less likely to over sweeten the wine.
     
  11. Oct 4, 2018 #11

    Okie Parrish

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    Thank you....so far iv fallowed pretty close to this i put in primary at 1.012 about 2 weeks later (last night) its held a constant SG of 1.004 for 5 days now so i added Kmeta and racked again put it in the back of the closet ill see it again in a month
     
  12. Oct 4, 2018 #12

    Scooter68

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    A key point is NOT to let it sit on dead yeast lees for very long. Since you've hit it with K-Meta I'd check it in about week probably rack it then to get it off the dead yeast. Just a safety measure.
     
  13. Oct 4, 2018 #13

    Okie Parrish

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    Yea i just didnt know any better i will be gettng ph meter on payday
     
  14. Oct 4, 2018 #14

    Scooter68

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    We live and learn and improve our methods and just as the quality the wine improves with age, so do our methods.
     
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  15. Oct 5, 2018 #15

    Stressbaby

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    It's great to get a pH meter. It improved my wine almost as much as the Ai1. But for this batch, you've provided enough of a favorable environment for the yeast that it fermented down to 1.004. That's good enough. If you get the pH meter now, for this batch, pH is only about assuring microbiologic stability - how much SO2 to use - and preventing oxidation. The pH reading is not going to tell you what to do to make it taste good, as taste is more related to the TA.

    This is somewhere between misleading and wrong. Letting the wine sit on gross lees is not recommended. Fine lees are dead yeast cells and extended time on fine lees can be beneficial to the wine.
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