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Fermentation died or did the process complete?

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snickg

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Hello,

I am kinda new to wine making and am having some problems with my second batch...
I put 10 grams of Lalvin EC118 yeast (which had already been kickstarted by soaking it in sugar water for about 15 minutes, it began fizzing) into 5.5 gallons of Welch's grape juice, with 3 cups of white sugar per gallon well mixed in (my first batch worked perfectly with this juice/sugar mix, tastes pretty good!) and left it open to ferment for about a week... it was doing great, fizzing quite well.
All of a sudden, I came back at about the 9th day to do its first racking and the fermentation was dead. It appeared to be, as the airlock was no longer bubbling and there seemed to be no sign of fizzing. I tasted the wine and it did have alcohol, a pretty good amount, and when I tried calculating the % with the hydrometer (it is new) I could not get an accurate reading... It seemed to be telling me the alcohol percentage was at about 2-5%, which seems quite low for how it tasted.
So basically, the fermentation lasted for about 9 days, it tastes like it has a pretty good amount of alcohol (but my hydrometer doesn't want to work so I can't confirm this) and I want to know if a full fermentation could have taken place in that amount of time.
If it couldn't, is there a way to restart the fermentation or should I begin again?
 

upper

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I am thinking that is where you are now.It is the possible ABV.If you started at 14 PossibleABV and now you are at 3ABV,then you have 11percentABV.Upper
 

upper

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Boy

Man I can't even understand my last post:slp Upper
 

snickg

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Yeah I had some trouble understanding :) so... did a full fermentation go through? In a week?
Is there any way I can restart the fermentation? I do feel there is a small amount of alcohol that is missing.... maybe I can top it off... If I can start a fermentation with such high levels of alcohol.
 

upper

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Snicky,I had some 6 gallon pails go in 5 days ,dry.I know I sound like a pro, but I am not.If you want to add a little sugar syrup to your sample of must and build a starter?Well Just saying........Upper
 

snickg

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Nice... so I got wine in less than the painful month!
I actually did do that, I got about a pint of the must and added about a spoonful of sugar, then added about 3 grams of the same yeast... it did not start fizzing. Just to make sure the yeast was good, I added the other 3 grams to sugar water, and it fizzed right away. I guess this means the must has reached its maximum alcohol content (or at least, I can't push it up further naturally) so its done...
 

arcticsid

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SNI, you are probably where you want to be and ready to put into the secondary. If you have any bubbles in there then your HYDRO will give you an inaccurate reading. The bubbles will adhere to the sides and cause the hydro to float. Tap it a bit or spin it, give it enough time to settle and take a reading from there.
 

snickg

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Actually the problem with the hydro was something else... I did not have the meter when I had the original must, so I had to take some of the 9 day old must and heat it slightly to evaporate the ethanol... it worked. After cooling down, the hydrometer said it had 0 ABV. However, when I dipped the meter into the must with alcohol, it gave me the same reading... so I'm supposing my meters bad.
 

arcticsid

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We were just talkng about this on another thread. I PERSONALLY seen a must go from 1.090 to 1.020 in 3 days!!! It CAN happen based on a few different factors, only a hydrometer can tell you for sure.

On the other side of the coin, I've seen fermentation take those same 3 days just to see bubbles. Again, visual signs can be VERY innacurate to see whats going on.

Glad to see you are using a starter, it really is the most reliable way to be sure your yeast is alive and ready to go!!

Troy
 

upper

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How old is your hydrometer,better yet I bet you have a meter for the hard stuff.......Upper
 

snickg

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I got the meter today, so it is brand new. It did cost me 5 dollars though... cheap. It does specifically say it measures wine alcohol content.
 

arcticsid

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SNI, when using a hydrometer Potential Alchol can not be measured, it can be calculated though based on the starting and ending SG. Look at the directions that came with it. If that doesn't make sense pop back in, there's a lot of info in here about figuring out your begining and ending ABV. I'd be happy to find one of those threads for you.

For the most part, a starting SG of around 1.085 or so will get you around 12-13%ABV. Some factors may change that but that is a pretty good all around "guesstimate"

Troy
 

cpfan

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The above discussion of meters, hydrometers, and how to use them is driving me round the bend at this early hour of the day.

First, the standard triple scale hydrometer (at least standard in the neighbourhoods that I have lived in), believe it or not has three scales. I actually use two of the scales. One shows the current sg. A very important scale (at least to me). The second shows the Potential Alcohol (or PA) if the wine ferments to 1.000. It does NOT show actual alcohol.

So what does one get from a hydrometer??

a) before adding the yeast, it shows the current sg and the Potential alcohol for the batch. At this point, a reading of 1.100 should show about 13.3% Potential alcohol.

b) mid-fermentation, if shows the current sg and the potential alcohol remaining

c) post fermentation (or after the yeast has eaten all the sugars), it shows the current sg (usually below 1.000, probably in the range .990 to .995 depending on numerous factors) and the potential alcohol remaining (zero or less than zero). No I can't explain how the potential is less than zero.

So lets discuss a mythical ferment.

Day 1. sg 1.100 potential alcohol is 13.3%. pitch the yeast

Day 5. sg 1.020 potential alcohol is 2.5%. probably bubbles in the air lock (if using one). Current alcohol level is about 10.8%

Day 10. sg 0.995 potential alcohol is -0.6%. ferment is finished. wine has alcohol percent about 13.3 - (0.6) = 13.9%

Have I seen wines with numbers similar to the above? Definitely!!

So what did Snickg's hydrometer try to tell him/her? It probably said that the wine had sufficient sugars remaining to create another 2-5% (snickg you have to learn to read a hydrometer that is a VERY wide range) alcohol (ie 2-5% potential alcohol). It probably did not say that alcohol was 2-5%, because hydrometers do not show actual alcohol.

Now then if you didn't buy a standard triple scale hydrometer, then the above is a crock, and you wasted your money (at least in my opinion). But your original post sure sounds like that's what you bought.

Hope that the above diatribe helps at least somewhat. Now I'll try to go back to sleep. It's almost 3am here. Steve
 

arcticsid

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Man, think he's mad now! Wait till he sees the tattoo I put on my elbow for him!! Absolutely ROTFLMAO now!:slp

I was thinking Wade or St Allie, but they charged by the letter, spent my money on wine making stuff!! Guess I could have gone with "LUC", wouldn't have been that much more.
.

Steve must have that instant messaging thing where it wakes him up to check the forum in the middle of the night!!!!!:sm

Oh Boy, here we go again!!LOL
Troy

CP tattoo.jpg
 

St Allie

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Hope that the above diatribe helps at least somewhat. Now I'll try to go back to sleep. It's almost 3am here. Steve
Why are you awake at 3am?

Troy may be able to sing you a lullaby...

It wasn't a diatribe btw Steve..It was very helpful.

Allie:p
 

cpfan

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Steve must have that instant messaging thing where it wakes him up to check the forum in the middle of the night!!!!!:sm
Nah, a wife who couldn't sleep accidentally woke me up. Now she's snoring, happily sleeping, and I can't sleep!!

Steve
 

St Allie

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That's not a recent tattoo is it Troy? The writing is very smudged. I hope you didn't pay top dollar.

Allie
 

arcticsid

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Not actually smudged, bad photo quality. I'll make sure when I have the "St.Allie" done I go for the most sober tattoo artist instead of the one who'll do it the cheapest. LOL:)

Troy
 

St Allie

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Not actually smudged, bad photo quality. I'll make sure when I have the "St.Allie" done I go for the most sober tattoo artist instead of the one who'll do it the cheapest. LOL:)

Troy
UHUH!

and you may want to ask my permission first too.... ( it isn't likely to happen)

:p

Allie
 

arcticsid

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Actually that tatto is for a late friend of mine. Just so happens Steves screen name is CP. The CP on my arm stands for Larry Hiser, aka Cabbage Patch. Him and hid dad failed to negotiate a turn in the mountains and the wind ruled. Think texting and driving is dangerous? How about trying to fly through the mountains in a Super Cub and run a video camera filming sheep. Not your kinda sheep G. LOL

LOL
 

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