Fermentation crawling

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
17
Reaction score
8
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa
So this will be the first winter I've made wine in my apartment. I've been messing around trying this and that for years. But this time I've come to a head scratcher. So first off, I don't mind the cold I keep it at 62 in my apartment. I am a mixture of cheap and cold blooded. So we currently have a three one gallon batches of trial stuff going, 2 five gallon batches of the super sweet Welch's recipe, my girl loves that stuff, and a 3 gallon batch of pumpkin. Oh, and a one gallon of beer. We kind of went crazy and started most of this around Christmas and right after the new year. So we are looking at on the longer side 8 weeks, shorter side 4-5 weeks. Now to the problem, we will use the Welch's for example. My SG was 1.110, used a started of D-47, and pitched it. 3 weeks in drop was to only 1.070, I kind of panicked and thought well hell somethings not right...I checked all of the brews besides the beer, and all were the same very small drops, moving but slowly. So made a EC-1118 starter....one packet and starter for each. Re pitched it, left it go showed all kinds of sign it was happy. Decided to check again last night, again a small drop across the board. Maybe on average only another 20 points, so the Welch's was at 1.050. This is after 7 weeks. I did rack it off the original D-47 Lee's before pitching the 1118, idk if it was right or wrong, but I did it anyway, haha. My thoughts are that since it is a problem with every brew it would be the temp in my apartment. But....the beer which was started two weeks ago seems perfectly fine, I have yet to take a reading on it. But it's bubbling furiously. So I wanted to see any opinions on things, or just to confirm my suspicion that it's just the temp. Also, I have never used yeast nutrients or goferm or anything like that, everythings always been good without it. Any thoughts from you guys?

Thanks, Gavin.
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
546
Reaction score
319
Location
midwest
Fermentation is quite dependent on temperature. Reproduction of yeast is also temp dependent, what I have been doing when I drop the temp is to let the population increase at basement temp/67F for a day.

At 61F I would expect about a two to three week fermentation. The risk of going seven weeks is getting an infection. You are there so it is what it is. I would try to get the population up and get it closer to 70 for a day. You started with D47 so you will have some of that strain floating in the batch till the end. A last option is to put a lagger yeast in, they take cooler temps. It will be dirty and die off at 8% alcohol but since you have two other strains in the pot it should ferment dry.
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
17
Reaction score
8
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa
Ok, I mean thats do able, I'll just raise the temp up to 70 or 72 in the apartment. I mean, I'm ok with a long slow ferment on some things but the Welch's is usually done in two weeks or so. I'm not so scared of a infection. I don't have anything going that's really any investment other then time. Also, we joke that my girlfriend is OSHA when it comes to sanitization. If it is it is. But I tasted everything, from the Gravity sample nothing's really off other then being way overly sweet obviously. I just wasn't sure that when it came to slow, how slow is a problem or if it's even worth letting it go. Its just the first time I started something in the dead of winter like this I geuss, haha.
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
17
Reaction score
8
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa
I geuss I just wanted to confirm that the temp could drastically slow down yeast, and a stuck fermentation and a slow fermentation weren't the same thing.
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,031
Reaction score
1,431
The problem you may have is that Alcohol is one of the key elements that protects your wine from spoiling. A very very slow fermentation such as you have described runs the risk of not having enough produced enough alcohol in combination with acidity to protect the fruit. In a ferment as slow as you have described, an airlock is going to become much more important than for a ferment that starts and finishes withing 2-3 weeks.

You haven't stated what the current SG. Starting at 1.100 and with that one earlier SG of 1.070 - you would have had only about 4% ABV.
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
17
Reaction score
8
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa
The problem you may have is that Alcohol is one of the key elements that protects your wine from spoiling. A very very slow fermentation such as you have described runs the risk of not having enough produced enough alcohol in combination with acidity to protect the fruit. In a ferment as slow as you have described, an airlock is going to become much more important than for a ferment that starts and finishes withing 2-3 weeks.

You haven't stated what the current SG. Starting at 1.100 and with that one earlier SG of 1.070 - you would have had only about 4% ABV.
The one I am using for example out of all of them is currently 1.058 and it started at 1.110. That's around 7-8% right? The rest follow suit. Would you think that's enough to let it keep rolling? Ya, I always check airlocks to make sure they are staying topped up with starsan.
 

cmason1957

CRS Sufferer
WMT Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
3,446
Reaction score
2,471
D47 says it is good 59-78 or so. I wonder if you got some that is just a little bit more temp sensitive. I think I'd warm it up to 65 or 68 and see if it takes off.
 

bstnh1

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2012
Messages
440
Reaction score
179
Location
In the woods of New Hampshire
The one I am using for example out of all of them is currently 1.058 and it started at 1.110. That's around 7-8% right? The rest follow suit. Would you think that's enough to let it keep rolling? Ya, I always check airlocks to make sure they are staying topped up with starsan.
The ABV in the example you cited would be a bit under 7%. That should be enough to protect the wine. Your best option, imo, would be to kick the thermostat up to 68-70 when you start your next batch and drop it back down, if you prefer, after fermentation is well underway.
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,031
Reaction score
1,431
6-75 ABV should protect your wine for now but you really need to get that temperature up closer to 70. You can do that with a heating pad, heating belt, or the thermostat. Once the temp is up there a good blanket around it can help it retain the heat the fermentation itself generates. just don't over-do-it. Anything above 75 - 80 is not needed at this point.

You just need to get that fermentation wrapped up soon. Keep in mind that most wines are 10% ABV or higher for a reason - to protect the wine itself. ( Of course the intoxicating effect are better with a higher too but that's not why we drink wine right.) :d :)

As mentioned once a ferment is well underway and going strong you can drop the thermostat back down. That self-generated heat helps the process but a blanket isn't bad idea in a low temp range either.
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
546
Reaction score
319
Location
midwest
For those that like staying cool, all you need is a closet with a small heater or big box with incandescent light bulb or as scooter says a heating pad.
For elevated temp I have a 30” high box made of foam board with a $4 st. Vinnies electric heater in the basement.
 

Steve Wargo

Enthusiast DIYer
Joined
May 24, 2019
Messages
40
Reaction score
26
Location
Michigan
So this will be the first winter I've made wine in my apartment. I've been messing around trying this and that for years. But this time I've come to a head scratcher. So first off, I don't mind the cold I keep it at 62 in my apartment. I am a mixture of cheap and cold blooded. So we currently have a three one gallon batches of trial stuff going, 2 five gallon batches of the super sweet Welch's recipe, my girl loves that stuff, and a 3 gallon batch of pumpkin. Oh, and a one gallon of beer. We kind of went crazy and started most of this around Christmas and right after the new year. So we are looking at on the longer side 8 weeks, shorter side 4-5 weeks. Now to the problem, we will use the Welch's for example. My SG was 1.110, used a started of D-47, and pitched it. 3 weeks in drop was to only 1.070, I kind of panicked and thought well hell somethings not right...I checked all of the brews besides the beer, and all were the same very small drops, moving but slowly. So made a EC-1118 starter....one packet and starter for each. Re pitched it, left it go showed all kinds of sign it was happy. Decided to check again last night, again a small drop across the board. Maybe on average only another 20 points, so the Welch's was at 1.050. This is after 7 weeks. I did rack it off the original D-47 Lee's before pitching the 1118, idk if it was right or wrong, but I did it anyway, haha. My thoughts are that since it is a problem with every brew it would be the temp in my apartment. But....the beer which was started two weeks ago seems perfectly fine, I have yet to take a reading on it. But it's bubbling furiously. So I wanted to see any opinions on things, or just to confirm my suspicion that it's just the temp. Also, I have never used yeast nutrients or goferm or anything like that, everythings always been good without it. Any thoughts from you guys?

Thanks, Gavin.
I ferment white wines with D47 in a temp controlled basement room 60-61-F. I usually make a yeast slurry if using an unopened pack of yeast. Or ladle lees from a previous wine batch, add to the new main must. Lager yeast, enjoy the cold temps down in the 40's. 60 deg-F is bikini weather for lager yeast. lol So it's apples and oranges comparing the two.

I had one white wine 6-gal batch take 4 months to complete. I too became anxious and pitched EC1118 when the Gravity reading was 1.030 and not moving after 4 weeks. Well, after that it sat there not doing a thing. Luckily I had racked the wine to the secondary carboy under airlock so I wasn't worried about it spoiling. Two weeks later the must started up and began fermenting for two weeks and stopped (that was with the EC1118 already in it. Now Gravity reading was 1.010. I figured it was done. Three months into the process the fermentation started again. I thought maybe that was MLF. When that completed 1 month later, I took another hydrometer reading. 0.990 bone dry. It began to clear on its own. After two weeks I racked it again. It cleared again, never refermenting.

It's still sitting in an airlocked glass carboy. Start of original fermentation 9/1/2019. Good ABV about 14 % or more. The wine tastes good and is aging in the carboy.

Currently, I have two more batches of white wine in the secondary and one batch in the primary stages. All doing well, none of the secondary stalled and last gravity read was 1.010 and both continuing to ferment, slowly. No added nutrients except some roughly diced dates, and sliced pineapple.

Another option next time is to warm up your main must. by warming a quart of juice along with any sugars added to 110-115 and dump into the main must before pitching yeast that should bring temps up some, and allow the yeast to get a good start. You most likely know all this. Good luck
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
17
Reaction score
8
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa
Thanks everyone for your suggestions and advice. So right now, I cranked the thermostat up to 70. My girlfriend nearly fell over when she saw that, haha. It's been about 36 hours or so with the heat up so I just took another reading on the two 5 gallon batches, they dropped from 1.058 to 1.054 and 1.060 to 1.052. I also amazingly remembered to take a temp reading of the must itself, I don't know why I always forget to do that. With the thremostat up the must was hovering around 62°....so I'm probably gonna be investing in a brew belt or heatpad. I know the small drop in SG itself could just be the temp difference and since it's only been 3 days since I took the last reading. But it's nice to know that some times it will take a while to drop dry. I'm ok with waiting, I wasn't ok with wasting time on a hopeless cause. I also had racked them off the original Lee's around week four before taking a reading which, I admit could definitely be a contributor to the slow fermentation. But in my defense a couple including the pumpkin and a mead had pulp and fruit in it, I didn't like the idea of it just sitting on. Which is why I added another yeast starter of 1118 after that rack. Anyway, I'll leave it go for a while and see what happens. Just need some confirmation that tying up carboys was worth the wait. I was not apposed to dumping it and starting over if it was a lost cause.
 

sour_grapes

Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
10,197
Reaction score
7,640
I know the small drop in SG itself could just be the temp difference and since it's only been 3 days since I took the last reading.
Not really. The changes in SG due to temperature changes are an order of magnitude smaller than the changes you observed. I think you have fermentation happening.
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
17
Reaction score
8
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa
So I've been curious to see if the temp changes helped and interestingly. The couple of one gallon batches all dropped alot. From the room temperature increase to 70° a average of 1.070 to 1.024. they started at on average 1.090. But, weirdly the 5 gallon carboys are still dropping slow. In the last week, still only a few point drop. From 1.054 to 1.044, my thoughts are because the air temperature was more easily able to warm up the one gallon jugs and is taking long to warm up the 5 gallon carboys. Must temp is still 62° when I checked it last night. Would you guys assume that also? I think I'm gonna stop and pick up a heating pad or brew belt tonight and see if that helps. It's nice to have have a brew shop only a mile or two away from where I work, haha. It's weird to be messing and checking these as much as I have been. I've typically been a set it and forget it type. I've never taken this many readings and notes before. It's makes the whole thing a little more fun actually.
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
17
Reaction score
8
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa
@scruff_farrier Are you stirring the 5 gallon bucket everyday? I stir my ferments twice a day on average.
I've honestly have never stirred anything after adding the yeast. Unless it has fruit on it, then I just punch the cap down. But I only airate once when I mix ingredients together and add the yeast. I never learned to stir during primary, so I've always been hesitant to do so. Then after the first or second racking I might degas, but I never learned the benefits or draw backs of stirring it. So I didn't want to mess with what was working, admitly was, haha. Maybe it's something I should look into doing.
 

cmason1957

CRS Sufferer
WMT Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
3,446
Reaction score
2,471
I like to stir, it is almost the first step in degassing for me and it gets done oxygen into the mix, which for red wine s is seldom a bad thing.
 

Lorraine Link

Junior
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Good evening, NEW at this, have made a few kits.I started a batch of Cabernet Sauvignon with a kit, (S.G. starting was 1.050) all was well, until our electricity went out and it got rather cool in the house. At that point the fermentation quit,(after 5 days). Today, SG is at 0.999. It says it should be at .098 or lower. Any recommendations, where do I go from here, don't
want to ruin it.
Thanks,
Lorraine
 

cmason1957

CRS Sufferer
WMT Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
3,446
Reaction score
2,471
Good evening, NEW at this, have made a few kits.I started a batch of Cabernet Sauvignon with a kit, (S.G. starting was 1.050) all was well, until our electricity went out and it got rather cool in the house. At that point the fermentation quit,(after 5 days). Today, SG is at 0.999. It says it should be at .098 or lower. Any recommendations, where do I go from here, don't
want to ruin it.
Thanks,
Lorraine
It's all good. The yeast cooled down. Not the best thing in the world, but not the worst. I do think perhaps you missed your instructions, I'm almost certain that it doesn't say .098. it can't get that low. It probably says 0.998. let your ferment warm up and it will probably start back up again. If it doesn't, it isn't the end of the world. Maybe just a tiny bit sweeter than they intended, but carry on. It will be fine.
 

Lorraine Link

Junior
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
It's all good. The yeast cooled down. Not the best thing in the world, but not the worst. I do think perhaps you missed your instructions, I'm almost certain that it doesn't say .098. it can't get that low. It probably says 0.998. let your ferment warm up and it will probably start back up again. If it doesn't, it isn't the end of the world. Maybe just a tiny bit sweeter than they intended, but carry on. It will be fine.
 
2

Latest posts

Group Builder
Top