Fermentation Apparently Stopped

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DrStrangeLove

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All,

I'm sure many folks have seen this from time to time (except for me)... So this year I got two different kinds of grapes. The majority of my pick was a nice juicy Barbera and a smaller batch of Malbec. In retrospect, I think perhaps I should have not bothered with the Malbec. The grapes were not looking all that great and some of the pick had a lot of white presumably wild yeast on them. But nevertheless, I did pick some up.

Primary fermentation of the Barbera was perfect.. But with the Malbec I have run into a problem (I think) which as I said I'm sure many folks have seen from time to time. It looked like the Malbec was fermenting. At least at first. The level of activity in the Malbec though, compared to the Barbera was really no comparison. I did dose all the must containers w/ nutrient too.

Some time around day 5 I started to notice the Malbec must was no longer forming any kind of cap to punch down. It looks like fermentation stopped at that point.

Here is what I have noticed which is causing a bit of concern. First, I put some of the "juice" into a large vial and tested it. The meter came up with somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.02. This is my second year making wine and first time I am employing the Hydrometer (FYI). My concern is whether that reading is even correct because of all the suspended solids in there and moreover if something is going wrong.

Anyhow, the "juice" doesn't look very juice like. It seems to be very saturated with solids. Not sure if that's within the range of normal. Also, the color is a weird pupleish the just looks off to me.. I have never drawn juice from the primary fermentation container for testing before so I may just have no frame of reference here. I can also still smell fresh yeast in the Malbec must/juice.

So is something majorly wrong here? I mean the very thick "juice" and fermentation just stopping like that and a purple color? I have some Yeast Energizer I can try to add along w/ some additional yeast if need be. I was about to head over to a friends to put everything to the press and into secondary containers but this Malbec I'm not really sure I should do that now.. Any opinions would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 

salcoco

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take your "juice" and strain it use a coffee filter or mesh cloth to remove solids then take the sg measurement. the solids will hold up the hydrometer giving a error in reading. you may be finished.
 

sour_grapes

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How does it taste? Is it sweet?

Suspended solids do, in fact, affect the hydrometer reading. However, the effect is (usually) minor. If the suspended solids are quite dense (enough to change you SG appreciably), they would sink to the bottom and no longer affect the reading.
 
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tradowsk

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If your SG reading really is 1.020 with all those solids, then that's a good sign. Did you take a starting SG reading? If not, always do that. But 1.020 is fairly low compared to typical starting SGs for grapes (usually 1.080-1.120), so it seems like fermentation is happening.

But you will see a whole bunch of things floating around during fermentation, that's very normal. There's a bunch of yeast (dead and alive) in there, as well as particles from the fruit flesh and skins, and a host of other things. Once fermentation subsides, those things will gradually settle and leave you with clear wine.
 

DrStrangeLove

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Finally getting a chance to reply.. The juice tastes and smells fine. I am so paranoid this year because of the mistakes of last year that I'm already panicking at the stupidest thing. Yes it appears that the yeast finished the job (I've never seen it finish that quickly). Anyhow I have placed all the wine, both the Malbec and the Barbera into their secondary carboys now. The solids in the Malbec are sinking fast. To be honest I've never seen so much suspended solids :) And my Barbera is still fermenting a bit can see that working away too. Thanks folks.
 

montrealweb

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Bought a 20L must pail of Chardonnay, 2 days ago Brix was at 23 (Wednesday). Opened lid, to get fermentation going. Took another measuremnet today, (Friday) Brix still at 23. Temp of the must is at 17C. I was thinking of adding some yeast. Is this a good idea, how much should i add? Thank you.
 
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