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Fermentation prior to adding yeast, and low SG after 8 days

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RiderEh

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Hi all,

I'm new to making wine straight from juice but have over 20+ kits under my experience. I bought a pail of juice locally here from imported California Juice and have had two concerns and 1 question:

1. When I brought it home it was fine but very cool. After warming to our house temperature over night we noticed it started fermenting (wild yeast I assume). We decided to start it right away, and starting SG was 1.060. I racked into a normal primary with airlock and used Lavlin EC1118 hoping it would take control over whatever yeast had begun the fermentation.

2. After 8 days, we checked the SG and it was only 1.002. Typically with kits they are already at 0.996 or so and fermentation is completed. Is this because maybe kits have a yeast energizer/nutrient? I typically make Winexpert kits. It is still bubbling under the air lock so I'm not too concerned but would like to know how long fermentation typically takes with straight juice.

3. Typically with the kits I will rack off primary at one week, at 4 weeks clear and stabilize and rack again, after 7 weeks total rack again, and at 14 weeks bottle. Is this a safe procedure for wine juice?
 

salcoco

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there is no yeast nutrient added to wine kits. just follow the hydrometer readings
 

RiderEh

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Any idea why this is taking so long? Or could this wild yeast be doing something?
 

pgentile

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Hi all,

I'm new to making wine straight from juice but have over 20+ kits under my experience. I bought a pail of juice locally here from imported California Juice and have had two concerns and 1 question:

1. When I brought it home it was fine but very cool. After warming to our house temperature over night we noticed it started fermenting (wild yeast I assume). We decided to start it right away, and starting SG was 1.060. I racked into a normal primary with airlock and used Lavlin EC1118 hoping it would take control over whatever yeast had begun the fermentation.

2. After 8 days, we checked the SG and it was only 1.002. Typically with kits they are already at 0.996 or so and fermentation is completed. Is this because maybe kits have a yeast energizer/nutrient? I typically make Winexpert kits. It is still bubbling under the air lock so I'm not too concerned but would like to know how long fermentation typically takes with straight juice.

3. Typically with the kits I will rack off primary at one week, at 4 weeks clear and stabilize and rack again, after 7 weeks total rack again, and at 14 weeks bottle. Is this a safe procedure for wine juice?
I have had juice buckets fermenting away when I picked them up. Usually they are around 1.070-1.080. Most juice buckets(not fermenting) I have purchased started around 1.090. So if your SG was 1.060 it was a good ways into AF.

Now if the reading stays at 1.002 for 3 days than it is done. Hopefully it goes lower.

If wild yeast did ferment this than it quite possible it could be done where it's at due to alcohol tolerance. EC1118 doesn't need much nutrient and usually finishes dryer than 1.002. And if the wild ferment was strong enough the EC1118 might not have been able to get established.

Take a reading the next two day and see if stays there. Was this a white or red?
 

pgentile

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Hi all,

I'm new to making wine straight from juice but have over 20+ kits under my experience. I bought a pail of juice locally here from imported California Juice and have had two concerns and 1 question:

1. When I brought it home it was fine but very cool. After warming to our house temperature over night we noticed it started fermenting (wild yeast I assume). We decided to start it right away, and starting SG was 1.060. I racked into a normal primary with airlock and used Lavlin EC1118 hoping it would take control over whatever yeast had begun the fermentation.

2. After 8 days, we checked the SG and it was only 1.002. Typically with kits they are already at 0.996 or so and fermentation is completed. Is this because maybe kits have a yeast energizer/nutrient? I typically make Winexpert kits. It is still bubbling under the air lock so I'm not too concerned but would like to know how long fermentation typically takes with straight juice.

3. Typically with the kits I will rack off primary at one week, at 4 weeks clear and stabilize and rack again, after 7 weeks total rack again, and at 14 weeks bottle. Is this a safe procedure for wine juice?
Hit the post reply before finished.

And I read 2 slightly wrong.

8 days is not crazy long. like I said take readings the next couple of days if goes down all is good.

I do my juice buckets in primary until dry then rack, if reds let MLF complete(30-90 days), rack and sulfite every 3 months after. Whites total 6 months usually reds 1 year before bottling.
 

Ajmassa

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Definitely safe to assume starting gravity around 1.090 if a red.
The fermentation timelines haven’t been much different from kits for me . Forget the airlock bubbles tho since that can just be co2 from the ferment. What’s it look like? Still fizzing away with surface activity?
8’days isn’t too crazy. But if mine i’d probably splash rack it to glass now. The o2 can help light a fire under the yeast to finish it up. And then rack off the lees in a few days to a proper vessel and top up. Hopefully by then your dry.
Those suckers can take off quick. Had same same scenario last fall, and my added yeast did not take over. Never went below 1.001. Wine isn’t bad tho.
 

RiderEh

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The pail is a burgundy red. It was still quite fizzy when we checked it Sunday, but I haven't looked at it again. We will check it tomorrow night, and if still above 1 I will likely leave it another week in the primary as we are going on a short vacation.

Will the wild yeast give off flavours or should I not be too worried about this? Also, I read somewhere you can sorbate to kill the wild yeast, wait a few days, and try adding wine yeast again. Maybe could try adding some nutrient or energizer at that time? Hopefully it doesn't come to this.
 

Ajmassa

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There’s so little sugar in there that trying to stun/kill the native yeast and re-inoculating or even using a proper yeast starter isn’t realistic if just above 1.000
And I’d think better in a carboy during the vacation. It can still ferment in there and it’s more protected. Plus the transfer can possibly kickstart back up the ferment too.
 

cmason1957

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The pail is a burgundy red. It was still quite fizzy when we checked it Sunday, but I haven't looked at it again. We will check it tomorrow night, and if still above 1 I will likely leave it another week in the primary as we are going on a short vacation.

Will the wild yeast give off flavours or should I not be too worried about this? Also, I read somewhere you can sorbate to kill the wild yeast, wait a few days, and try adding wine yeast again. Maybe could try adding some nutrient or energizer at that time? Hopefully it doesn't come to this.
You don't want to add sorbate to kill the wild yeast, if you do, you probably will be drinking a lot of grape juice and no wine. You want to add Potassium Meta-bisulphite (Campden tablets).

Sorbate will act as birth-control for any later yeast you would add. K-Meta will at least stun the wild yeast, might not kill it.
 

Ajmassa

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Also there’s a very good chance this is a non issue anyway. Since your fermenting in an airlocked bucket and not stirring it daily (which helps) your not able to easily see the activity.
At last check on Sunday the surface was still foamy, airlock was bubbling away, and SG was down to 1.002. Now 2 days later- I’m betting donuts to dollars that this has fermented dry and ready to transfer into glass.
And if still 1.002 , then still transfer to glass. Leaving in bucket at that point is unnecessary. And after some time would oxidize the wine.
 

RiderEh

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Well it's stalled. I just checked and still 1.002. What are my options now? Can I try adding more of the same EC1118 plus yeast nutrient or energizer? Or only nutrient or energizer?
 

cmason1957

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No nutrient or energizer. The yeast can't use it at this late stage and it gets left in your wine. Spoilage bacteria can use it. What I would do is mix up about two or three packets of yeast with water. Let start for at least 30 minutes. Now add in about the same amount of your stuck wine, wait 30 minutes to see if it starts fermenting. If it does, add twice as much stuck wine as you did the first time. Repeat, until you have all your wine in the new mixture. You might be able to get it fermented to dry.
 

RiderEh

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Well it was getting late and I did a quick google, and ended up using these instructions:

https://blog.eckraus.com/making-a-wine-yeast-starter-to-restart-a-stuck-fermentation

Hopefully everything still works out. I did use a bit of nutrient as it called for it. This morning there was no significant fermentation yet, hopefully there will be when I get home and I can pitch it tomorrow before we leave for vacation.
 

RiderEh

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I should add I also stirred up the bottom to see if I could raise the yeast and get it going again. This has worked for me before with beer.
 

salcoco

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I would be very surprised if you will restart. not enough food left . the fermentation is finished. i would rack over to a carboy off of the gross lees. oxygen addition during racking may wake up yeast and let it finish the last few points.
 

Ajmassa

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There’s so little sugar in there that trying to stun/kill the native yeast and re-inoculating or even using a proper yeast starter isn’t realistic if just above 1.000
Yea it’s a long shot. Last fall. Chateunuff du pape juice pale. Native yeast started without me. Added my yeast hoping it would take.
Stalled at 1.002
Killed myself to try and finish it. Went through all the same steps with making starters and the whole 9. Never moved.
The wine is turning out to be very good in spite of some RS. Actually probably benefitted the wine.
 

Boatboy24

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Yea it’s a long shot. Last fall. Chateunuff du pape juice pale. Native yeast started without me. Added my yeast hoping it would take.
Stalled at 1.002
Killed myself to try and finish it. Went through all the same steps with making starters and the whole 9. Never moved.
The wine is turning out to be very good in spite of some RS. Actually probably benefitted the wine.
Did you MLF?
 

ASR

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I have a similar question. I called a juice distibutor for a bucket of juice (reisling) and he said I didn't need to add any yeast at all - it would ferment as soon as it hit room temps. Is wild yeast enough to get it fully fermented?
 

sour_grapes

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I have a similar question. I called a juice distibutor for a bucket of juice (reisling) and he said I didn't need to add any yeast at all - it would ferment as soon as it hit room temps. Is wild yeast enough to get it fully fermented?
Often, juice buckets are inoculated with wine yeast before distribution. You could check with your distributor to see if that is what he meant.
 

Ajmassa

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Often, juice buckets are inoculated with wine yeast before distribution. You could check with your distributor to see if that is what he meant.
I’ve specifically asked this question to all of em. Even went on a little crusade a while back to get some real answers.
None claimed to have any added yeast to the juice. All of em (mosto, Regina, toro) start fermenting extremely easily on their own. Very common for late season pickups to already have Brix dropping at purchase.
I just chalked it up as the processing/macerating, and lengthy time at cold temps just makes native yeast more eager like a rodeo bull
waiting for the gate to open.
*The one bucket I did with “native” yeast stopped at 1.002.
 

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