Fermentation stuck?

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Kozzie

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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.
Good idea. I would not have known what kit to buy and what you've suggested makes sense for the Pinot Noir. Now I'm excited to try this. It was making me sick to think I would have to throw it out. Now I have a plan. Stay tuned everyone!
 

Kozzie

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@WineMaker
@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.
@winemaker81 - Got the kit wine and I'm ready to go! Fingers crossed!
 

Kozzie

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@winemaker81 - I used ABC crafted series Cabernet Sauvignon - medium-bodied from Amazon - I think it's a Canadian brand. I followed the instructions, starting with 3/4 gal of my wine juice, then adding bentonite and then the concentrate followed by more of my wine juice. I actually had ~4 gal of juice, so I only had to add another 12 cups of water to get to 6 gallons. Stirred it and tested s.g. and got 1.086. Which is somewhat in the low range of their targeted range of 1.08 to 1.11, but higher than your estimate. Then added the yeast and put it by the woodstove. I did taste it and yes it was sweet but tasty. Now we wait. Stay tuned and thanks again for everyone's thoughts and comments.
 

Kozzie

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@winemaker81 - I may have been too optimistic and of course hindsight being perfect, I never should have added all +3 gallons of my existing wine to the new Cab Sav mix. I think I should have only done maybe 1.5. Fermentation has been stuck at 1.06 for two plus weeks now. I only had a couple of days of bubbling and then nothing. Sunday I gave it a good stir and added Yeast energizer - nothing. Now I'm thinking I should just pitch a packet of EC-1118 and the energizer again. Anybody have thoughts.
 

winemaker81

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Fermentation has been stuck at 1.06 for two plus weeks now.
Is the SG 1.006 or 1.060? I'm guessing the latter. [Always use 3 digits to the right of the decimal to ensure no confusion.]

Adding EC-1118 can't hurt, and it guarantees you've got a high potency yeast. SG before fermentation and after fermentation are clear cut. In the middle? The mixture of sugar and alcohol produce inconsistent results, so it's possible the current ABV is higher than expected.

Otherwise, I agree with @winemanden -- rack to a carboy and ignore it for a while. Check the airlock at least once a week, but let it do its thing.
 

cmason1957

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If the SG is 1.006, then you probably won't get it restarted just by pitching a packet or EC-1118 or anything else into the mix. You may have to resort to making a huge (two, three, maybe four packages) of yeast, with the appropriate amount of water and let it really get bubbling, then add about one or two cups of your must to that, let it get bubbling, wait 20 minutes, add twice the amount you added before (so two or four cups maybe), let it get bubbling, wait 20 minutes, repeat. You probably don't want to add any yest nutrients to this case, but I would add GoFerm to help the yeast out as much as possible.

If the SG is really 1.060, then I would do the first step, maybe with just one packet, but let it get going good and then pitch it into your must/wine.
In this case you could also add some yeast nutrients to the must/wine.
 

Kozzie

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Is the SG 1.006 or 1.060? I'm guessing the latter. [Always use 3 digits to the right of the decimal to ensure no confusion.]

Adding EC-1118 can't hurt, and it guarantees you've got a high potency yeast. SG before fermentation and after fermentation are clear cut. In the middle? The mixture of sugar and alcohol produce inconsistent results, so it's possible the current ABV is higher than expected.

Otherwise, I agree with @winemanden -- rack to a carboy and ignore it for a while. Check the airlock at least once a week, but let it do its thing.
Yes, sorry 1.060.
 

winemaker81

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@Kozzie, I'd activate a package of EC-1118 and add nutrient as @cmason1957 suggested. If nothing happens after 72 hours in a warm place, move to a carboy and leave it alone. Watch it on a daily basis, in case Dionysus decides to prank you and kick the fermentation into high gear. But don't mess with it or bother checking SG for at least a month, unless the airlock starts bubbling.
 

Kozzie

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If the SG is 1.006, then you probably won't get it restarted just by pitching a packet or EC-1118 or anything else into the mix. You may have to resort to making a huge (two, three, maybe four packages) of yeast, with the appropriate amount of water and let it really get bubbling, then add about one or two cups of your must to that, let it get bubbling, wait 20 minutes, add twice the amount you added before (so two or four cups maybe), let it get bubbling, wait 20 minutes, repeat. You probably don't want to add any yest nutrients to this case, but I would add GoFerm to help the yeast out as much as possible.

If the SG is really 1.060, then I would do the first step, maybe with just one packet, but let it get going good and then pitch it into your must/wine.
In this case you could also add some yeast nutrients to the must/wine.
Tomorrow I should be getting the GoFerm and EC-1118. I am thinking I'll try three packages. Is there anyplace I can look to read about using GoFerm and how much water to add to get this going. Looking forward to trying this. And yes, the SG is 1.060.
 

cmason1957

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Tomorrow I should be getting the GoFerm and EC-1118. I am thinking I'll try three packages. Is there anyplace I can look to read about using GoFerm and how much water to add to get this going. Looking forward to trying this. And yes, the SG is 1.060.
I think Scott labs, in their fermentation handbook offers instructions on how to restart stuck ferments. You can find that on their website and download it. It's good reference material, even if that isn't where I read about restarting ferments.
 
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Kozzie

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Update, tonight is the night. Real time! Added18 grams of Go Ferm to 12 oz water (heated to 110) stirred, let sit for 15-30 minutes. Added 15 grams of EC-1118 (3 packets) and let sit another 15-30 minutes. Added 12 ounces must and again let sit for 30 minutes. The yeast was bubbling, but not super hard. Added 4 ounces must and am letting that sit again for 30 minutes. So in 20 minutes we'll see what's happening.
 

Kozzie

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An update. I've let it sit in the primary fermenter since my last post. No action whatsoever. Yesterday 4/4, I took a reading at it is still at 1.060. I then racked it off the lees into the carboy and will do as Winemaker81 suggested and let it sit for a month. Thanks everyone!
 

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