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Did my fermentation complete?

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Gormless

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hello! I am a new-ish winemaker and could use a second (or third, fourth, and fifth) opinion on whether my fermentation completed. (First post here, woot woot!)

This is 35 gallons of 2018 Cabernet (Lake County, CA) made from grapes. I ameliorated to 25.5 brix and innocated some fermenters with Rockpile15 and others with D254 (each tolerant up to 16% and mixed after pressing). I recently sampled for the first time in a while and it’s VERY fruit forward, maybe almost sweet - I’m worried it might still have some RS.

The deets: The SG is approx 0.994, the refractometer currently reads 9.2-ish. So what do you think, is it just super fruit forward or might I have some RS? (Yes, I know there’s probably some equipment I should buy to test for RS.)
 

Gormless

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Follow up question: if it’s suspected to have RS, what would you do? (I’m leaning towards pitching a ripper like EC1118 to ensure it completes but concerned I’ll lose all my fruitiness I worked hard to keep around.)
 

sour_grapes

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I do not think you have any reason to fear RS. At SG=0.994, you are pretty dry. The refractometer reading means little at this point (due to the refractive effects of alcohol, see here: http://valleyvintner.com/Refrac_Hydro/Refract_Hydro.htm )

I think you are in good shape! Now the hard part: waiting!
 

cmason1957

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That refractometer reading doesn't mean much, once alcohol is present. There are charts you can use to convert, but why bother when your hydrometer says 0.994, 1.000 is what distilled water should read. Anything below that, with the same reading for 3 days in a row, you are done. I am hoping you have that wine under airlock now. It sounds like it is time to start Malolactic Fermentation.

Oh and welcome to the forum. Good first post, plenty of information to give a good solid answer to.
 

pillswoj

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Fruit forward is because it is young, it will change as it ages. Depending on your preferences you may want to consider aging with oak of some sort.
 

salcoco

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alcohol can taste sweet but your numbers say you are done. just bulk age get the wine clear and it will taste differnet in 6 months, one year etc. good luck
 

tradowsk

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I second the addition of some oak (I prefer spirals) to round out the flavor. Oak will reduce the fruitiness a bit and add other secondary and tertiary flavors. Heavy toast french will get you caramel and smoke, medium+ french will be more spices like cinnamon or clove, etc. Just don't overdo it. But whatever you decide, give it some time to age and clear and it will change substantially in flavor profile.
 

topper9520

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hello! I am a new-ish winemaker and could use a second (or third, fourth, and fifth) opinion on whether my fermentation completed. (First post here, woot woot!)

This is 35 gallons of 2018 Cabernet (Lake County, CA) made from grapes. I ameliorated to 25.5 brix and innocated some fermenters with Rockpile15 and others with D254 (each tolerant up to 16% and mixed after pressing). I recently sampled for the first time in a while and it’s VERY fruit forward, maybe almost sweet - I’m worried it might still have some RS.

The deets: The SG is approx 0.994, the refractometer currently reads 9.2-ish. So what do you think, is it just super fruit forward or might I have some RS? (Yes, I know there’s probably some equipment I should buy to test for RS.)
gormless your going off the reservation a little bit what did your brix finish at? what was the temp of your must during fermentation? I take my reds all the way down to 5 or less total dryness, you need to control the ferment at a steady temp 10-14 days , fruit forward does not mean sweet, I don't pitch yeast I ferment off the wild yeast, good luck
 

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