Quantcast

Fermentation question

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

Half Life

Junior
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Location
USA
Started my 1st batches of wine this October , only 1 batch is made from fruit ( pineapple chucks & bananas ) the other batches are made from 100 % juice concentrate

My learning came from taking out books at the library and visiting a few wine supply stores before getting into this so I have some basic skills on how to get things going

My main question is how long does fermentation in the secondary usually take before completed, I have batches from October 1 2018 and October 8 still making bubbles and cycling the airlock , not at a rapid pace but still active

The wine was racked off a couple times and there is just a dusting of lees in the 1 gallon jugs that I use , the wine is very clear and actually tastes good when I sampled

I Used red start premier Cuvee as my yeast and made the batches to around 18 % ABV,

Now I was wondering how long this is actually going to take before finishing and I can bottle it, one wine maker told me 3 or 4 months is not unusual for fermentation to complete it self , does that mean it can go on longer or what ....not sure because I don't have the experience yet with this craft and I like to ask questions

So I have just about 3 months on some of my batches and they are still fermenting is this normal to some of you folk....I have also read that 6 months before bottling is normal also

Any thoughts and comments are welcome , I have 24 gallons of different batches going on right now but am going to stop until I get some finished product

Thanks Half Life
 

NorCal

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
3,214
Reaction score
3,411
Location
Sierra Foothills, Nor Cal
Fermentation times can vary a lot. As long as it is an active ferment and the lees are “clean” you should be fine; the CO2 being produced should protect the wine. It could be that there are a lot fewer active yeast still going as you exceed their alcohol tolerance level, so fermentation really slows down. 18% abv is asking too much from yeast (even though it spec’d up to 18%), so I could see how the must would struggle to complete.
 
Last edited:

salcoco

Veteran Wine Maker
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
2,889
Reaction score
1,187
Location
Kansas
I hopeyou have a hydrometer. measure that specific gravity is below 1.00 then the fermentation has stopped.

wine needs to clear in the intervening time to bottling. this can be one naturally or using chemical fining.

Once wine is clear and stabilized then it can be bottled.

Google "Jack Keller winemaking" and visit his site there are some definite instructions on wine making there.
 

Half Life

Junior
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Location
USA
Fermentation times can vary a lot. As long as it is an active ferment and the lees are “clean” you should be fine; the CO2 being produced should protect the wine. It could be that there are a lot fewer active yeast still going as you exceed their alcohol tolerance level, so fermentation really slows down. 18% abv is asking too much from yeast (even though it spec’d up to 18%), so I could see how the must would struggle to complete.
Yeah I had thoughts about that I may have pushed the limit on the yeast but it's fermenting 3 months later so perhaps it will finish out ......think it would help to add a dose of K1-V1116 to push it on or just leave it alone ?
 
Last edited:

Half Life

Junior
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Location
USA
I hopeyou have a hydrometer. measure that specific gravity is below 1.00 then the fermentation has stopped.

wine needs to clear in the intervening time to bottling. this can be one naturally or using chemical fining.

Once wine is clear and stabilized then it can be bottled.

Google "Jack Keller winemaking" and visit his site there are some definite instructions on wine making there.
Yes I have hydrometer and use it when first starting my batches to get an idea of what I am shooting for

I did check a apple batch that was made on 10-26-2018 just the other day and took a reading and it was 1.050 , a lot higher than what I was expecting but it's still under fermentation so we just have to wait it out

I stated that batch with a SG of 1.130 and is crystal clear , still cycles the air lock but the duration is a couple minutes
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,397
Reaction score
1,904
Location
Northwest Arkansas
A wine fermentation begun on 10-26-2018 that still has SG of 1.050 has probably stalled - fermentation has ceased for some reason. it's been almost 60 days and that would be a very very slow fermentation.

Sometimes that can be from lack of nutrients or perhaps, given the amount of sugar you added - you may have exceeded the yeast's limits. If you don't allow the added sugar to fully dissolve before taking a reading and starting fermentation - you may have overloaded with sugar. If you just added sugar stirred and took a reading all in the same day... a significant amount of sugar may not have dissolved before you took that reading. It's normally best to wait at least 24 after adding undissolved sugar before you take a 'final' pre-fermentation reading.

Bubbling can continue for extended period time not necessarily from fermentation but from release of CO2.
 

Half Life

Junior
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Location
USA
The release of c
A wine fermentation begun on 10-26-2018 that still has SG of 1.050 has probably stalled - fermentation has ceased for some reason. it's been almost 60 days and that would be a very very slow fermentation.

Sometimes that can be from lack of nutrients or perhaps, given the amount of sugar you added - you may have exceeded the yeast's limits. If you don't allow the added sugar to fully dissolve before taking a reading and starting fermentation - you may have overloaded with sugar. If you just added sugar stirred and took a reading all in the same day... a significant amount of sugar may not have dissolved before you took that reading. It's normally best to wait at least 24 after adding undissolved sugar before you take a 'final' pre-fermentation reading.

Bubbling can continue for extended period time not necessarily from fermentation but from release of CO2.[/QUOTE
The release of carbon dioxide is the by product of yeast fermentation with the sugar so I would think think things are Ok

Now that I am into checking these batches with the hydrometer I just sampled a couple batches that I just let sit and don't fool with , had a pineapple batch from 10-1-2018 give me a SG reading of 1.006 & another batch from 10-9-2018 give me SG reading of 1.014 ....so that is pretty close to 3 months now and very close to finishing off is it not sir ?
Again I was originally told that 3 or 4 months is not uncommon when making some strong brews but being new to this I am getting a bit anxious after a few months with theses batches but theses low SG reading I just took are encouraging so I am not giving up on anything just yet

Perhaps there is some overloading of sugar in my process and thanks for mentioning that , I don't want to be making wine coolers and never plan to back sweeten anything my goal is make a strong wine that gets your attention, so like everything else that I do my plan is to get right on the edge with limits ......there will be a few failures and had a couple of those already but those batches I just pitched and chalk those up to growing pains in learning a new craft

Thanks for the comments on the subject and you give some things to think about Sir
 

1d10t

stewbum
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
324
Reaction score
150
Location
sitting on a park bench
I'm a beer maker so excuse me if I'm a little confused. You've racked a couple of times off of the primary yeast cake before you got close to your final gravity?
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,397
Reaction score
1,904
Location
Northwest Arkansas
3 Months for fermentation would be extraordinarily long unless you are doing a cold ferment (Fermenting at the lowest possible temperature for the yeast).

Where or who told you 3-4 months ? Weeks maybe, not months) Most wines finish in under 30 days regardless of the ABV. There are exceptions, but normally, unless you try to slow a ferment down, the process doesn't take 3-4 months and certainly to be at 1.050 in 2 months suggests that the fermentation stalled or the yeast died due to an ABV above it's tolerance.
Leaving a wine on the lees (Fruit wines especially), can lead to some harsh or off-tastes.

My longest fermentation was just under 2 weeks. Shortest 3 1/2 days. Even with an ending ABV of 15.5 on a couple of my batches, at two weeks I worry things have stalled or quit.

Most folks ferment down to about 1.020-1.010 then rack off the lees into a carboy to finish the fermentation.

When making a fruit wine with a higher ABV, you will need to back-sweeten a little or you'll find it difficult to impossible taste the fruit. Great for getting your alcohol intake but not so good for enjoying a wine.

One suggestion - Start with and stay with more classic fermentation processes until you get the hang of the routine. A lot of folks go bold too soon and end up unhappy or disillusioned with processes. There ARE certainly many ways to produce a good wine but staying with the mainstream for few batches will pay off in the long term.

One last point - while you can pay too much attention to your wine's fermentation, you can also neglect it end up with less that good results. Basic rule of thumb is that if the SG doesn't change in 3 days, the fermentation has finished or stalled. Checking the SG every 2-3 days is probably a good route to go until you learn how the process runs.

My longest fermentation was just under 2 weeks. Shortest 3 1/2 days. Even with and ending ABV of 15.5 on a couple of my batches, at two weeks I worry things have stalled or quit.
 
Last edited:

Half Life

Junior
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Location
USA
I'm a beer maker so excuse me if I'm a little confused. You've racked a couple of times off of the primary yeast cake before you got close to your final gravity?
Yes you read that correctly , I racked off twice after the primary fermentation to get rid of the lees settling and have been just letting it sit
 

Half Life

Junior
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Location
USA
3 Months for fermentation would be extraordinarily long unless you are doing a cold ferment (Fermenting at the lowest possible temperature for the yeast).

Where or who told you 3-4 months ? Weeks maybe, not months) Most wines finish in under 30 days regardless of the ABV. There are exceptions, but normally, unless you try to slow a ferment down, the process doesn't take 3-4 months and certainly to be at 1.050 in 2 months suggests that the fermentation stalled or the yeast died due to an ABV above it's tolerance.
Leaving a wine on the lees (Fruit wines especially), can lead to some harsh or off-tastes.

My longest fermentation was just under 2 weeks. Shortest 3 1/2 days. Even with and ending ABV of 15.5 on a couple of my batches, at two weeks I worry things have stalled or quit.

Most folks ferment down to about 1.020-1.010 then rack off the lees into a carboy to finish the fermentation.

When making a fruit wine with a higher ABV, you will need to back-sweeten a little or you'll find it difficult to impossible taste the fruit. Great for getting your alcohol intake but not so good for enjoying a wine.

One suggestion - Start with and stay with more classic fermentation processes until you get the hang of the routine. A lot of folks go bold too soon and end up unhappy or disillusioned with processes. There ARE certainly many ways to produce a good wine but staying with the mainstream for few batches will pay off in the long term.

One last point - while you can pay too much attention to your wine's fermentation, you can also neglect it end up with less that good results. Basic rule of thumb is that if the SG doesn't change in 3 days, the fermentation has finished or stalled. Checking the SG every 2-3 days is probably a good route to go until you learn how the process runs.

My longest fermentation was just under 2 weeks. Shortest 3 1/2 days. Even with and ending ABV of 15.5 on a couple of my batches, at two weeks I worry things have stalled or quit.
How are you measuring an ending ABV of 15.5 % ?

A person who runs a wine supply store told me a 3 or 4 months fermentation is not unusual

As a young child I remember my friends parents from Italy making 200 gallons of wine each year and if memory serves me right it was 6 months before they started drinking it ....this was back in the 60's and I may be off on the time for fermenting but they were not drinking that stuff in no couple weeks , can remember they made it in the summer and we had a couple gallons in the winter when he said it ready to go

He parents were from Italy and spoke no English so we called him the " Dealer " as he would let us have a jug now and then
 
Last edited:

Half Life

Junior
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Location
USA
I hopeyou have a hydrometer. measure that specific gravity is below 1.00 then the fermentation has stopped.

wine needs to clear in the intervening time to bottling. this can be one naturally or using chemical fining.

Once wine is clear and stabilized then it can be bottled.

Google "Jack Keller winemaking" and visit his site there are some definite instructions on wine making there.
Thanks
 

1d10t

stewbum
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
324
Reaction score
150
Location
sitting on a park bench
Most folks ferment down to about 1.020-1.010 then rack off the lees into a carboy to finish the fermentation.
Yes you read that correctly , I racked off twice after the primary fermentation to get rid of the lees settling and have been just letting it sit
So, how did you decide primary fermentation was over with an SG that high?
 

NorCal

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
3,214
Reaction score
3,411
Location
Sierra Foothills, Nor Cal
A person who runs a wine supply store told me a 3 or 4 months fermentation is not unusual
1-2 weeks is usual, 3 or4 months is Very unusual, at least from everything I have ever experienced. Not saying it is not possible, but I’m confident that it is not the usual timeframe.
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,397
Reaction score
1,904
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Fermentation is the time during which a yeast is actively creating alcohol from fermentable sugars. A fermentation normally lasts from a few days to a few weeks, not months.

Aging is that time during which a fermented wine is permitted to degas (Release CO2), clear, and mature. CO2 may be released relatively quickly during aging, in a few weeks or months. The Aging process is normally considered to begin after fermentation and for most wines, should be several months or even as much as 2-3 years. Some folks prefer to age their wine in bulk (In a Carboy or Wine Cask, others prefer to bottle their wine as soon as it's de-gassed and cleared. Aging in bulk permits you to keep tabs on the wine as it ages and, if back-sweetening, do that closer to the time you bottle so that you are less apt to over sweeten the wine. Bottling earlier frees up the aging vessel but once bottled, you can't make any changes to that wine.

The above are general times and vary from wine to wine. When wines are drunk before they have aged adequately they typically have a harsher taste, 'edgy' 'Sharp' and not as pleasing to the palate. As the wine ages those edges disappear and the wine rounds out becoming more complex and enjoyable.

The fact that your friends relatives drunk wine within the first year is not uncommon but nowadays more home wine makers let their wines age 1-3 years before consuming them. The differences can be dramatic. Some wines are certainly drinkable within a year or a few months but for most home-wine makers the art is knowing to be patient and let the wine de-gas, clear, and fully age into an thoroughly enjoyable wine. That is part of what you will see discussed on this site. Each of us has our own approach and you will find yours if you take good notes and practice consistent steps.

As to finding that 15.5% - I use an online ABV calculator and by entering the starting and finishing SG I get the resulting ABV. This is the site I use. https://www.brewersfriend.com/abv-calculator/
 

Half Life

Junior
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Location
USA
So, how did you decide primary fermentation was over with an SG that high?
I did not decide primary fermentation was over just following a procedure to get the wine off the lees

The steps were to get out of primary vessel after 10 days and then rack again when lees started to settle in the secondary vessel ( 1 gallon Jugs )
 

Half Life

Junior
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Location
USA
1-2 weeks is usual, 3 or4 months is Very unusual, at least from everything I have ever experienced. Not saying it is not possible, but I’m confident that it is not the usual timeframe.
Well I don't disagree with you and thought the whole process was odd myself , kind of the reason I originally started posting in the first place , I appreciate your constructive thoughts
 

Half Life

Junior
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Location
USA
Fermentation is the time during which a yeast is actively creating alcohol from fermentable sugars. A fermentation normally lasts from a few days to a few weeks, not months.

Aging is that time during which a fermented wine is permitted to degas (Release CO2), clear, and mature. CO2 may be released relatively quickly during aging, in a few weeks or months. The Aging process is normally considered to begin after fermentation and for most wines, should be several months or even as much as 2-3 years. Some folks prefer to age their wine in bulk (In a Carboy or Wine Cask, others prefer to bottle their wine as soon as it's de-gassed and cleared. Aging in bulk permits you to keep tabs on the wine as it ages and, if back-sweetening, do that closer to the time you bottle so that you are less apt to over sweeten the wine. Bottling earlier frees up the aging vessel but once bottled, you can't make any changes to that wine.

The above are general times and vary from wine to wine. When wines are drunk before they have aged adequately they typically have a harsher taste, 'edgy' 'Sharp' and not as pleasing to the palate. As the wine ages those edges disappear and the wine rounds out becoming more complex and enjoyable.

The fact that your friends relatives drunk wine within the first year is not uncommon but nowadays more home wine makers let their wines age 1-3 years before consuming them. The differences can be dramatic. Some wines are certainly drinkable within a year or a few months but for most home-wine makers the art is knowing to be patient and let the wine de-gas, clear, and fully age into an thoroughly enjoyable wine. That is part of what you will see discussed on this site. Each of us has our own approach and you will find yours if you take good notes and practice consistent steps.

As to finding that 15.5% - I use an online ABV calculator and by entering the starting and finishing SG I get the resulting ABV. This is the site I use. https://www.brewersfriend.com/abv-calculator/
So perhaps what I am seeing then is De-gassing of the wine then and not really a fermentation correct ?

I never really used the hydrometer after start up and it looks like a step that I ignored along the way, my thought was to just let it sit until the bubbles stop and no more air lock cycling
Now I have went back and started checking things with the hydrometer and I don't think I am real bad shape as I did not make everything at 18% ABV

So it looks like I may have overloaded a couple of the batches but a few are going to OK and letting things sit in 1 gallon jugs de-gassing is not really hurting anything right ?

Now when I started all this my goal was to not use any chemicals other than the pectin enzyme and everything will be keep in cold storage when completed , actually finished product will sit in 35/40 degree temps for a couple weeks then moved into a constant 55 degree storage area.

I have canned food for close to 40 years and grow all my own food as I have 5 gardens on my hobby farm and we do not use any chemicals to control weeds or insects and no chemicals ( even salt or sugar ) gets added to the canning process it's a lot of work and a lifetime of learning but is our way of life and a good one , we heat will wood and raise some nice fish out here so starting the wine making was just another way to stay busy and control what we consume , if I cannot control the wine process without chemicals then that's OK , i'll just buy more beer then LOL

Thanks for your help
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,397
Reaction score
1,904
Location
Northwest Arkansas
"So perhaps what I am seeing then is De-gassing of the wine then and not really a fermentation correct ?" Yes - the bubbles are smaller normally.

"I never really used the hydrometer after start up and it looks like a step that I ignored along the way, ..." Very experienced wine makers may not need to use one but for the majority of us it's an indispensable tool.

"Now when I started all this my goal was to not use any chemicals other than the pectin enzyme and everything will be keep in cold storage when completed , actually finished product will sit in 35/40 degree temps for a couple weeks then moved into a constant 55 degree storage area." Without chemicals sanitization of equipment and work area becomes key. Hopefully you don't mind using chemicals for that purpose. The key impact on your wine, even with cold storage, is that it will not age well in that cold an area and it's still going to spoil sooner than a wine with basic preservatives.
 

Half Life

Junior
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
22
Reaction score
1
Location
USA
"So perhaps what I am seeing then is De-gassing of the wine then and not really a fermentation correct ?" Yes - the bubbles are smaller normally.

"I never really used the hydrometer after start up and it looks like a step that I ignored along the way, ..." Very experienced wine makers may not need to use one but for the majority of us it's an indispensable tool.

"Now when I started all this my goal was to not use any chemicals other than the pectin enzyme and everything will be keep in cold storage when completed , actually finished product will sit in 35/40 degree temps for a couple weeks then moved into a constant 55 degree storage area." Without chemicals sanitization of equipment and work area becomes key. Hopefully you don't mind using chemicals for that purpose. The key impact on your wine, even with cold storage, is that it will not age well in that cold an area and it's still going to spoil sooner than a wine with basic preservatives.
Yes I realize that keeping sterile is critical and we compensate for that with a food grade no rinse cleaner but many times boiling water is used depending on what I am doing , In canning if we don't do stuff right we can be in lot of trouble so I understand fundamentals of keeping things sterile but I would believe the wine process is more sensitive because we are not using pasteurization as part of the process like we do in canning , none the less we keep things straight on this front.

As far as aging that's not going to be part of my plan , much respect to you and fellow wine makers but I doubt if anything I will ever make lasts 6 months but that's how I see thing now but that may change , I will keep a few bottles and let sit for a year or so and then make a decision on how I proceed with this

Seems like a real nice craft and can see why people get into this but I am into making things that are consumable now and long storage for me is maybe a little over a year , we try and keep a running cycle of things and use everything within a years time but will stretch a bit over that but again we are talking a different process all together with wine making , sorry for going off on a rant but just talking about good stuff and much appreciate your input on my concerns with this subject so Thanks

By the way I took that 1 gallon batch of apple that I made 10 26-2018 which gave me that SG reading of 1.050 and dumped out 4 oz and put in a new 4 oz mix of yeast so we will see what happens , actually I drank the 4 oz and not so bad really just to sweet for my liking and needs a more alcohol punch ....we screwed around this long with it so a little longer will not mean anything just trying to find the right results and learning how to control a process , all very cool stuff

Half Life
 

Latest posts

Top