Fermentation temps - Chardonnay kit - Premier Cuvée.

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crabjoe

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I started the Fontana kit, but instead of using the EC1118, I used Red Star Premier Cuvée because that's what Wine Maker Mag said was a good yeast for Chardonnay. They also said to ferment between 50-60.

"Premier Cuvée yeast works well for a Chardonnay fermentation, providing you can keep the temperature to 55–60 °F (13–16 °C). After fermentation taste your wine critically."

My basement temp is currently 65. After I pitched the yeast, I could see bubbles in about 8 hours and the must had gotten cloudy. It's been about 36 hours now and I went to check the SG.

The SG hasn't moved. I know fermentation is happening because of the CO2. I checked the temps.. basement 65, fermentation bucket is 65. The must temp was 66. This was done with a IR gun.

My question is.. should I just let it keep doing it's thing, which seems to be at a super slow pace, or should I try and raise the must temp up a bit. I do have a brew belt I can use.

Thanks!
 

cmason1957

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Let it go. The first 36-48 or maybe even 60 hours the SG doesn't change very much at all. Being that you are at 65, instead of the kit suggested 70 or so, you can expect at least a day or two more of fermentation time. But it is probably a good thing.

I will say that the difference between EC1118 and Premier Cuvee are not very much, both are neutral fermenting yeasts, up to 18% ABV, low foaming. Neither one is bad for a kit wine.
 

Johnd

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As Craig said, just let it go. If you can get down to 60 F or below, give it a shot. Last time I did a Chard, used frozen Chard must and CY 3079 and fermented in the wine room at 55F. It took nearly a month for fermentation to complete. Fermenting at low temps is very good for preserving volatile white wine aromas and flavors which can be blown off at higher temps, just know that your normal timelines are out of the window. Only the hydrometer tells you you have fermentation taking place.
 

crabjoe

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Let it go. The first 36-48 or maybe even 60 hours the SG doesn't change very much at all. Being that you are at 65, instead of the kit suggested 70 or so, you can expect at least a day or two more of fermentation time. But it is probably a good thing.

I will say that the difference between EC1118 and Premier Cuvee are not very much, both are neutral fermenting yeasts, up to 18% ABV, low foaming. Neither one is bad for a kit wine.
Thanks! I was thinking it would be fine if I let it go, but after searching this forum about fermentation temps, it got me worried because it looks like so many had their fermentation stall at the lower temps. The other thing that more so confused me was the SG. In the past, I've seen a drop in SG past 24hrs. This was my 1st where I could see the CO2 bubbles and the must getting cloudy with yeast, although light, were I didn't see the SG drop.

Thanks again!
 

crabjoe

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As Craig said, just let it go. If you can get down to 60 F or below, give it a shot. Last time I did a Chard, used frozen Chard must and CY 3079 and fermented in the wine room at 55F. It took nearly a month for fermentation to complete. Fermenting at low temps is very good for preserving volatile white wine aromas and flavors which can be blown off at higher temps, just know that your normal timelines are out of the window. Only the hydrometer tells you you have fermentation taking place.
I took your advise and move it next to the slider door. Floor temps there were showing 54-62F. Where I had it, the floor temps were consistently 65F. If need be, I can move it to my garage were the temps fluctuate between 50-55 this time of year.

Another question.. With these lower temps, should I get worried about stressing the yeast? Will I need to do anything like add more nutrients or should it be fine?
 
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Johnd

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I took your advise and move it next to the slider door. Floor temps there were showing 54-62F. Where I had it, the floor temps were consistently 65F. If need be, I can move it to my garage were the temps fluctuate between 50-55 this time of year.

Another question.. With these lower temps, should I get worried about stressing the yeast? Will I need to do anything like add more nutrients or should it be fine?
You're using a kit, which reportedly come with nutrients already on board, so you shouldn't need to add anything. Your selected yeast has a temp range which starts on the low end at 45 F, so 55 - 60 shouldn't cause any issues at all. As always, keep an eye (and nose) on your progress, it's easy to drop a little nutrient in if you detect things getting a little off track. My Chard went off without a hitch for nearly a month with just the recommended dose of nutrients
 

ZebraB

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I found an old used apartment refridge on craig's list for $100. I took all the drawers out and put a thick plywood floor board since there are bump outs for the drawers. The primary fermentor easily fits and a six gallon carboy with an airlock fits just fits. I would definitely measure because it is tight but works. A little challenging transferring in & out but a cheap solution for a newbie and works wonders with an ink bird.

I do open up 1 - 2 times each day in primary to make sure there is enough O2 and occasionally check in secondary. Of course there was a lot of cleaning and sanitation to do. Going on 6 months and it has worked well so far. I also have been using it for cold stabilization when I don't have a batch going since our lows are typically around 40C
 
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