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Fermentation stuck?

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Wheelman

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I have a fermentation of Petite Syrah, Syrah, and Malbec field blend of my own grapes.

About 6 gallons of must. It has been at 1.004 for 2 days, is it stuck or finished?

I have never had my fermentation stop here, usually it goes to 0 or below.

Any help, advice, suggestions appreciated
 

salcoco

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I would go ahead and press . the added oxygen while pressing will charge the yeast to finishing.
 

Wheelman

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Thanks, I was considering that, but didn't want to end up with a sweet wine. So sounds like I should be good
 

Kozzie

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Here's my question on stuck fermentation. On 10/3, I took 50 lbs of frozen red grapes, St. Croix, Marquette - three years worth, mashed the grapes and followed EC Kraus' recipe for medium body Concord wine. SG was 1.12, Acid 5.5. Added pectin enzyme, yeast nutrient, wine tannin, camden table. 10/5 added sprinkled 71B yeast. Starting 10/6 - 10/10 I had great fermentation, stirred 3x a day to push cap down, looked good. On 10/11, there was no bubbling, so I removed and pressed the grapes and added 1 gal of water to get it back up to 5 gals. Good flavor and the S.G was 1.01. Since then, there's been zero fermentation, I've wire whipped it and moved it next to the stove to get up to 73 degrees. On 10/17, with still no bubbling, I followed instructions for a stuck fermentation and added 2.5 tsp yeast energerizer. It's now 10/24 and still nothing. SG is 1.01. What should be my next step? Any advise would be great appreciated!

I should also add on 10/11 I racked from the 5 gal bucket to a carboy.
 
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sour_grapes

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May I ask how your original SG go up to 1.120? That is VERY high for the grapes you are speaking of.

Is it at all sweet right now?
 

Kozzie

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The EC Kraus recipe had me add 6.5 lbs of sugar! And yes, still a bit sweet, good flavor.
 

salcoco

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an additional method is make yeast starter as suggested using EC1118 yeast. ounce starter is foaming well take one cup of juice and add to starter, once it is foaming add two cups, continue to double the volume each time the fermentation restarts until all in.
 

stickman

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@Kozzie Based on Fermcalc the ABV is already around 15%, so 71B is likely out of the game as expected. A restart may be difficult, but possible if care is taken to follow procedures indicated by others above.
 

Kozzie

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Sounds good, all ! Should I rack it before I add the starter to get it off the lees on the bottom?
 

Kozzie

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An update. I made a yeast starter with EC1118 and thought I'd use a pint of the must along with the sugar and yeast nutrient. Well that didn't work at all - totally dead. I had to leave it sit while I was out of town. Last night I racked it off the lees and the SG is exactly 1.00 and I added a gallon of water to pump up the volume. Then I took another packet of yeast EC1118 and added 16 oz of Welch's apple concentrate with no preservative along with yeast nutrient and sugar. I did add a little water. The fermentation started quickly and tonight, I did as Salcoco suggested. I put the yeast starter into a gallon jug and added a cup of wine must. Fingers crossed that this works.

All thoughts and ideas welcomed!
 

Kozzie

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Since my last post (11/5), I've just let it sit and it's still at 1.0. It's not tasting all that great. Since I've tried two different yeast starters that didn't work, should I call it a fail and toss it or is there something else I can try? Your comments/thoughts have been and continue to be most welcome! Happy New Year!
 

VinesnBines

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You have several options other than dumping.
1. You can let it age and do nothing more than add K-meta every three months - minimal cost.
2. You can oak it and let it age - little more cost.
3. If if did not go through malolactic fermentation, you can try that though pricy for 5 gallons.
4. Since you were about 30 lbs short of the recommend poundage for 5 gallons and have added at least a gallon of water, you have a thin, fairly sweet wine, you could either add some concentrate and try to referment or make another batch of something and blend.
Example: Get a cheap kit of concentrate (Amazon has Fontana, Wild Grapes or Wine Lovers for $60) and either add to the 5 gallons and make 10 gallons or just make the 6 gallon kit to 5 gallons and blend to age (result will be 10 gallons).

If it was mine I would do either # 2 or # 4.; if I did # 4, I might consider # 3 to finish.
 
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winemaker81

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@Kozzie, I agree with @VinesnBines -- you started with a low amount of fruit and later diluted it by 40%. At this point you have alcoholic Kool-Aid, and SG is 1.000 in part due to the high amount of water (which has an SG of 1.000). If the wine is sweet, I'd expect it to continue fermentation, but yeast is a living organism and other things in the environment may have stunted it.

I'd go with Option #4. Given the amount of dilution, I don't expect you'll be happy with other options. My suggestion:

Buy a 6 liter kit, doesn't matter what brand. The kit should be diluted to 6 gallons, meaning you need to add ~4.5 gallons of water. However, you've already added 2 gallons of water and started with low fruit, so let's call that another gallon, e.g., treat it as having 3 gallons of water added. So in addition to your existing wine, you only need 1.5 gallons of water.

If you dilute the kit to it's normal level and then mix with your diluted wine, the result will be diluted -- not as much as the original, but at a point you may not like.

Mix the concentrate bag into your existing wine, add 1.5 gallons of water, stir well, and taste it. It's gonna be sweet as it's full of unfermented concentrate, but the overall richness of flavor should be much improved. Add the yeast that came with the kit, and put the wine some place warm, 75 to 80 F. I've had fermentation stick when at somewhat lower temperatures (67 F) that restarted when warmed up.

I don't have a clue what the SG should be -- my best guess is in the 1.050 to 1.060 range.

If anyone has adjustments on this, please chime in.

Couple of points:

Very few grape wines need added water. Grapes are used for wine as they are a complete package, with all constituents in the skin. In some cases the balance isn't optimal for wine, so we adjust, typically sugar and acid. Rarely water. Other fruits and vegetables do not have the proper water content, so adding water is required. Kits are concentrated, so the added water dilutes them to the correct level.

Once a must is set and the SG is in the correct range (typically 1.070 to 1.100), do not add water. Kit instructions say to add water to topup -- do this only as an absolutely last resort. Once you add water, removal is not an option.

Ok, adding 1 to 2 cups to a 5 gallon carboy doesn't have much effect. However, adding 1 gallon (20%) will impact the wine. When necessary, top up with a similar or complementary wine whose quality is at or above the wine you're topping up.
 

VinesnBines

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I like winemaker81's plan. If you grew the grapes you don't want to throw out your efforts; this is a reasonable plan. It should turn out nicely.

I suggest you try a Pinot Noir kit since Marquette is a grandchild of Pinot Noir. The next choice would be the old standby Cab Sav. The Cab will give you a dry, dark berry flavor that will blend nicely with both the Marquette and St. Croix grapes. I think either choice will be a success.
Either way you can buy a commercial wine to top up if you don't have enough for a full carboy. Or if you have extra from the new ferment, save the extra in an smaller container to use to top up.

Let us know what you decide.
 

Kozzie

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You have several options other than dumping.
1. You can let it age and do nothing more than add K-meta every three months - minimal cost.
2. You can oak it and let it age - little more cost.
3. If if did not go through malolactic fermentation, you can try that though pricy for 5 gallons.
4. Since you were about 30 lbs short of the recommend poundage for 5 gallons and have added at least a gallon of water, you have a thin, fairly sweet wine, you could either add some concentrate and try to referment or make another batch of something and blend.
Example: Get a cheap kit of concentrate (Amazon has Fontana, Wild Grapes or Wine Lovers for $60) and either add to the 5 gallons and make 10 gallons or just make the 6 gallon kit to 5 gallons and blend to age (result will be 10 gallons).

If it was mine I would do either # 2 or # 4.; if I did # 4, I might consider # 3 to finish.
I like this a lot! I will do 4.
 

Kozzie

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@Kozzie, I agree with @VinesnBines -- you started with a low amount of fruit and later diluted it by 40%. At this point you have alcoholic Kool-Aid, and SG is 1.000 in part due to the high amount of water (which has an SG of 1.000). If the wine is sweet, I'd expect it to continue fermentation, but yeast is a living organism and other things in the environment may have stunted it.

I'd go with Option #4. Given the amount of dilution, I don't expect you'll be happy with other options. My suggestion:

Buy a 6 liter kit, doesn't matter what brand. The kit should be diluted to 6 gallons, meaning you need to add ~4.5 gallons of water. However, you've already added 2 gallons of water and started with low fruit, so let's call that another gallon, e.g., treat it as having 3 gallons of water added. So in addition to your existing wine, you only need 1.5 gallons of water.

If you dilute the kit to it's normal level and then mix with your diluted wine, the result will be diluted -- not as much as the original, but at a point you may not like.

Mix the concentrate bag into your existing wine, add 1.5 gallons of water, stir well, and taste it. It's gonna be sweet as it's full of unfermented concentrate, but the overall richness of flavor should be much improved. Add the yeast that came with the kit, and put the wine some place warm, 75 to 80 F. I've had fermentation stick when at somewhat lower temperatures (67 F) that restarted when warmed up.

I don't have a clue what the SG should be -- my best guess is in the 1.050 to 1.060 range.

If anyone has adjustments on this, please chime in.

Couple of points:

Very few grape wines need added water. Grapes are used for wine as they are a complete package, with all constituents in the skin. In some cases the balance isn't optimal for wine, so we adjust, typically sugar and acid. Rarely water. Other fruits and vegetables do not have the proper water content, so adding water is required. Kits are concentrated, so the added water dilutes them to the correct level.

Once a must is set and the SG is in the correct range (typically 1.070 to 1.100), do not add water. Kit instructions say to add water to topup -- do this only as an absolutely last resort. Once you add water, removal is not an option.

Ok, adding 1 to 2 cups to a 5 gallon carboy doesn't have much effect. However, adding 1 gallon (20%) will impact the wine. When necessary, top up with a similar or complementary wine whose quality is at or above the wine you're topping up.
Yes, excellent points. Amazing advice. Will do
 

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