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jclark

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Hi all, I'm new here but not new to the world of fermentation. I am currently having a problem with 10 gallons of a blueberry must that will not ferment. I used potassium metabisulfite 48 hours prior to pitching yeast. The must is in buckets and I covered them but did not install airlocks after adding the sufites. Now my ferment will not start. It has been 5 days. I have pitched yeast twice in those 5 days. I suspect the sulfite concentration is too high in the must due to covering the buckets. Does anyone know any way that I can get those sulfites out of solution now? I am thinking of doing a reverse starter but want to explore all the options before doing so. Thanks in advance for any help.
 

Cher

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How much potassium metabisulfite did you add? Also, did you make a yeast starter or sprinkle the yeast, and what type of yeast are you using? I have heard that stirring or pouring the must from one bucket to another can help to reduce kmeta levels, if that is the problem.
 

NorCal

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You can splash rack and expose the must to as much oxygen as possible to reduce the SO2 levels. It might also be good to get a vigorous and larger than usual starter going, complete with go-ferm and ferm-k (yeast starter and must nutrient) to improve the chances of a healthy and successful ferment.
 

montanaWineGuy

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I've had 7 days go by before fermentation due to cold weather. If it is cold, wait or bring the liquid to a warmer area. I've put an electric blanket over my fermentation bucket with good results.
 

jclark

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Thanks Folks, I initially pitched Redstar Premier Rouge just by sprinkling on the top of the must 5 days ago. 24 hours ago I did the same with Bourgovin RC212. This morning I made a starter with Some Monrochet that expired in 2009 and the starter took right off. I may pitch that Montrochet starter if nothing happens in the next 24 hours.

I initially added 5 grams of kmet. The temp. is holding around 65f. I tried to warm one of the buckets with a water bath this morning and got no results.
 

sour_grapes

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I could be off base here, but make sure you have enough yeast nutrients! Montrachet is a known "stinker" in nitrogen-poor musts, and I believe that blueberries are generally poor in YAN. (Not certain of that last statement, but I would consider adding some Fermaid or the like.
 

Johnd

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What is your initial specific gravity? And pH?

Too much sugar can prevent a yeast from getting started, so can low pH.

5g of KMS powder in 10 gallons of liquid gives you 76 ppm of sulfite. If you really have 10 gallons of must, your volume of liquid is lower than 10 gallons, making the sulfite concentration even higher. Repeated racking will help it dissipate, as @norcal offered.

Yeast takes a day or two to get going in the fermenter. Get your SO2 down, temps above 70, pH above 3.0, and things should progress properly.
 

Stressbaby

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It's always blueberry...

I'd be a little concerned about pH here. My last 2 batches of blueberry started at 2.64 and 2.91 prior to adjustments. How many pounds per gallon?
 

jclark

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3 pounds per gallon. I haven't even tested the ph. didn't really think of that. I've been brewing for 20 years but only doing fruit wines for a few years now. Never had this problem before.
 

jclark

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Quick update: As of this morning, my blueberry wine is fermenting. It's a bit sluggish but there is life. I'm not sure if it was the new yeast, nutrient, or warmer temps over the weekends that brought it to life but it seems ok now. Thanks all for the replies.
 

Redbird1

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Premier Rouge shows a preferred temperature range of 64-86. Given ideal conditions at 65, it would have taken off fairly slowly. Given all the other factors at play (low pH, high sulfite, no nutrients), it probably didn't have enough oomph to overcome the conditions.

I'd make sure to feed it a good nutrient regiment. These are prime conditions for stressed yeast and the associated undesirable side effects.

Edit to add: RC212 shows an optimum range of 68-86, so that was likely a big factor in that one not taking off, and Montrachet of 59-86, so that probably contributed to it finally getting going.
 
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Scooter68

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Have to chime in here. Looking back at my problem wine batches, ones that went stinky, ALL were with Montrachet yeast. Interestingly that is the yeast variety that came as a starter pack in my Master Vintner Fresh Harvest Fruit Winemaking Kit. The kit was good but that's one thing that could have been changed in that kit to make it better for beginners. Have not used it since the and have had no problems with stinky wine ferments.
 

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