Fermentation finished early

Discussion in 'Kit Winemaking' started by kuziwk, Mar 17, 2019.

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  1. Mar 17, 2019 #1

    kuziwk

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    I have a passport super Tuscan that is pretty much done fermenting after 7 days, I'm going to leave it for a few more days in the bucket under an airlock and just punch the grapeskin bag down gently twice a day as to not degas too much during the process (thus keeping as much CO2 to protect the wine). Since it finished so early I was really hoping to have the skins in there for the full two weeks. Would it be fine to keep gently punching the cap for the next week to have it on the skins for another week even though fermentation is done? Or am I playing with fire, maybe a few extra days on the skins won't even make a difference? I did try and weigh the skins down with a heavy crystal tumbler but apparently it's not heavy enough.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  2. Mar 17, 2019 #2

    Putterrr

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    I do believe that your instructions call for you to leave it in the primary till day 14. I have not made a kt yet that was not almost done fermenting by the 7th day so yours is not unusual. If you follow the instructions, you will be covered if anything goes wrong.

    However, the part of the instructions to keep punching down the cap till day 14 is where I stray from what they say to do. Every time I open the lid and stir, I allow the CO2 blanket to dissipate so to keep doing that step till day 14 seems wrong to me.

    With Eclipse and showcase kits, I have been removing the skins when then SG goes below 1.000. I then seal the primary bucket and put an air lock on it. It still bubbles for the next few days so I know it is still building up a CO2 layer. I leave it for around 10 days to finish in the pail before transferring to a carboy for chemicals and degassing. Seems to work for me and its a bit easier to rack after compacting for the extra time in the bucket. By doing this, I would not be able to complain to the manufacturer if things dont turn out well but I have never had a kit not work out in a very long time

    cheers
     
  3. Mar 17, 2019 #3

    NorCal

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    Keep your eyes,or more importantly your nose on it and rack if you sense even the smallest amount of H2S.
     
  4. Mar 18, 2019 #4

    kuziwk

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    This is the first time Im actually thinking about this...all other premium skins kits I just remove the skins at day 7 or so...but just thought there was a process I can use to make the wine better. I think if I was properly able to sink the grape skins to the bottom maybe that would eliminate the need for opening the bucket to otherwise punch it down. Just not sure if the skins would start to decay or not.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
  5. Mar 18, 2019 #5

    kuziwk

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    You know it's funny, one time I left a 10l red and white going for 14 days...put an airlock on it and went on vacation (no skins kit). When I came back the red had a H2S smell buit itwent away really quickly. I honestly thought it was bad but when I racked and cleared everything was fine. You're thinking h2s from decaying skins? How are extended macerations done if the skins decay that quickly?
     
  6. Mar 18, 2019 #6

    NorCal

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    H2S can develop from leaving lees on the wine. Contributing factors include the health of the fruity out started with, temperatures it’ being stored, is it being stirred, cleanliness of vessel, etc. H2S is very treatable by a simple racking, if it is caught early enough. I’ve treated light (racking) and heavy (copper sulfate) problems in wine. It is best to prevent it.
     
  7. Mar 18, 2019 #7

    kuziwk

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    Well I just checked the wine this morning (8th day at 23 degree ambient temps) and its forming some small white patches that I thought intitially was mycoderma, at closer inspection though they look to be very small clusters of tiny bubbles...perhaps from trying to weigh down the grape skin pack. Either way I'm not taking chances and I'm going to squeeze the skins and rack since fermentation is done. If it is mycoderma forming racking, and a dose of sulphite should fix that. The fermentation was really quick.
     
  8. Mar 19, 2019 #8

    NorCal

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    I wouldn’t risk it either.
     
  9. Mar 19, 2019 #9

    jgmann67

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    People do extended maceration on the skins for 8 weeks. Personally, I’m cutting mine back to 4-5 weeks.

    I’ll be the voice of dissent here and suggest that you leave the skins on the wine for at least two weeks so that you can benefit from all the goodies the skins have to give - I.e. Tannin, color, body.

    Your wine is packed with co2 right now. So, your risks are pretty low. But, if you’re worried about oxidation, dose your wine with Kmeta (just be sure your fermentation is complete before you do). Continue to punch your skins down at least until they don’t float anymore (likely at the two week mark). Then squeeze the skins, remove and rack.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
  10. Mar 20, 2019 #10

    kuziwk

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    Yeah too late now...I was worried, however I may try it on kits that's not limited edition. The alternative of course is to ferment at a lower temp...6 and 1 and half dozen of the other though because lower temps don't release as much of the grape skins I hear...also not ideal for reds. Honestly though all that squeezing and mixing twice a day, there was not much C02 left...even when degassing really not much left. I was basically using the spoon to hold down the bag at the bottom and twice a day I would use a heavy spoon to press and kneed the skins against the pale for 5-10 minutes twice a day. Maybe that's why there was not much C02 left. I've read about extended macerations for kits ..and I've also read they don't benefit much from the process sinces the skins are cut and processed to release the good stuff in a short time period. Either way has anyone actually done a side by side comparison of extended macerations on the same wine kit?
     
  11. Mar 20, 2019 #11

    cmason1957

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    Most of us first heard of extended macerations with wine kits when this guy from Canada Tim Vandergrift first put out a series of videos doing exactly that with an Amarone wine kit. The big difference as I recall was that the extended maceration one was better drinking, fuller, tasted older sooner. I didn't ever see one at the two of three year mark to see if the differences had dropped off or not.
     
  12. Mar 20, 2019 #12

    jgmann67

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    You will be surprised at how much co2 is still in your wine. Typically, I do 4 rackings over time with my aio before my wine is sufficiently degassed for bottling. That first racking off the lees with my reds looks like a big red beer in a carboy.

    I’ve done a handful of EM’s now. The WE SE Amarone is more mature, smoother, darker, fuller-bodied wine as an EM at one year than a non-EM was at 2.5 years. I also did an EM on a MV French Merlot (a badge engineered RJS RQ French Merlot) and found similar results. My wife likes the RJS non-EM version, but loves the MV EM.

    That’s good enough for me. I’m an EM convert for my kits.
     
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  13. Mar 22, 2019 #13

    kuziwk

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    How does one actually perform one? And for how long?
     
  14. Mar 23, 2019 #14

    jgmann67

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    An extended maceration is simply added time on the skins. Some pointers:

    * Best if you can close the wine up in a container with limited headspace (to preserve that blanket of co2 on the wine).

    * Keep the skins wet - the first two weeks, you’ll need to punch them down, but after that you can leave your vessel sealed and just gently slosh the wine over the skins.

    * Consider dosing with Kmeta once fermentation is done (usually occurs at the 2 week mark).

    * Some will do “free range” skins, others put them in the muslin bag. Personally - I go: wet skins bag, dry skins free range.

    * Plan for at least 4 and no more than 8 weeks on the skins. My target is 5 weeks for my next EM.

    * Keep a nose on your wine (through the bubbler) for off smells.

    * Recover what you can from your skins (squeeze the bag) and rack to a clean vessel.
     
  15. Mar 25, 2019 #15

    kuziwk

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    Has anyone actually performed any side by side comparisons with the same wine kit? One would think that these kits with the skins would give up all they had by the time fermentation is done. Furthermore do any commerical wineries perform post fermentation extended macerations?

    I think my biggest concern would be having the wine on the gross Lee's for such a long period of time. I also hate the bready yeast taste in wine, not sure if that would happen with EM.
     
  16. Mar 25, 2019 #16

    jgmann67

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    I have and will only do EM’s on my reds anymore. Here’s a wine folly link on the subject:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/winefolly.com/review/winemakers-red-wine-secret-extended-maceration/
     
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  17. Apr 1, 2019 #17

    Dugger

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    Hi Ron - been a while since I've been on here and don’t recognize many members. I’ve used the 2week bucket ferment for many years without any issues - I generally put it under a tight lid with airlock when it hits 1.010 or so and then remove the airlock and push down the skins (in a bag) with a spoon handle through the bung hole. It works quite well and minimizes air exposure. The skins usually sink before the 2weeks is up.
    Cheers .. Doug
     
  18. Apr 1, 2019 #18

    dmguptill

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    As I recall from Tim Vandergrift's explanation on the side by side EM test he did, it does more than just extract all the goodies from the skins. There are other chemical/biochemical reactions that take place in the presence of the skin, gross lees, seeds, etc during the extended period. Those factors soften and smooth out the wine such that it tastes more mature sooner.
     
  19. Apr 1, 2019 #19

    dmguptill

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    I'm sure many folks here have seen this but here's his first of several YouTube videos on the subject, where he discusses this phenomenon.

     
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  20. Apr 1, 2019 #20

    Putterrr

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    Hi Dugger.

    it has been awhile since i've seen you here but then again, i"m not on here much of late either. Since I have never done the 14 day method, you are saying the whole bag will eventually sink?. How does that do for racking. I find the eclipse and now showcase (since i've done a few of those) a real pain to rack out of the primary. It seems a bit easier now that I'm racking at about 3 weeks. Things are a bit more compacted at that stage.

    cheers
     

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