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First batch of (peach) wine

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MarkMacQ

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Seven days into primary with a 5 gallon and a 2 gallon batch. I did not take an initial hydrometer reading unfortunately and just took one on day 7. The 5g reading is 1.050 at 71F. There is very subtle bubbling around edges of flouting mesh bag. It's been that way since ~ day 3. Should I just let it ferment a bit more and take another reading in a few days or do something else (add a yeast nutrient, increase temp..)?

The 2g bucket is reading 1.010 at 70F. It has much more aggressive bubbling across the surface and has since ~ day 2. I did not use a mess bag, peach pieces are floating. It only has water, peach, sugar and V1116 yeast. I did not add pectic enzyme, acid blend or campden in this one but did in the 5g batch. I don't think I added enough sugar initially. Is it okay to add additional sugar now and should it done gradually, or would you recommend something different? Thanks
 

M38A1

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I'm no expert here, yet from what I understand adding sugar during the ferment process isn't a big deal. I wouldn't add it via a hot invert/simple sugar mix though as that would probably tend to kill off the yeast due to temperature shock.

For the 5gal bucket I'd probably give it a good stir to introduce oxygen/drive off CO2 and stir up the yeast which has probably settled to the bottom. See if that gets fermentation going any differently before doing much more. On that 5gal, how much initial sugar did you add? I'm finding out somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.5-2.0 cups sugar per gallon on not-so-sweet fruits is getting me to a starting SG of about 1.075. That might be a benchmark to ballpark where you started? Without that initial SG reading it's tough to guess where you started and probably hard to determine final ABV.

On the two gallon, not using the bag will make the clearing process a bit messy, but not a show-stopper. What was your initial SG on this batch, or did you not take it here too? If it were me, as an experiment I'd probably mix up 4 cups of sugar with two cups of warm water to dissolve and add it, then take an SG reading to see where it goes.

Did you split the yeast packet or use one in each? That could be why the 5gal is slower - not the volume of initial yeast as the 2gal.
 

MarkMacQ

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I added around 10 lbs of sugar to the 5g batch. It's in a 6.5g bucket and there's actually around 6g in it. Once the fruit is pulled it will be more like 5g. I was shooting for 2lbs of sugar per finished gallon. With the 2g bucket I added ~ 3lbs, which was a lower ratio than the larger bucket. I stir them both twice daily for 5 minutes each. Unfortunately I didn't take the initial SG on either of them. I don't want to introduce too much sugar at once and your amounts seem conservatively good. I think I'll just add the sugar to the small batch initially and check the SG in a couple days. I used the entire yeast packet in the 5g bucket and a little over 1/2 of a second packet in the 2g bucket. I don't know if there is a downside in letting the primary sit for too long while I'm trying to figure things out.
 

M38A1

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10lbs of sugar for the 6g 'probably' put you in the starting SG of about 1.070. At least that's a ballpark where most of my DB/SP winds up. I've actually just gotten to the point of mixing up 10lbs of sugar for the 6gal recipe and call it a day. (i actually measure, but it's pretty consistent)

How's the fermentation going now?
 

MarkMacQ

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I think it's going. It looked like it slowed after adding the sugar.
6g: Primary at 7 days was 1.050, at 8 days 1.045 and then added 1lb of sugar syrup, at 10 days 1.039
2g: Primary at 7 days was 1.010, at 8 days 1.000 and then added 1lb of sugar syrup, at 10 days 1.013

That brings the 6g to ~ 11lbs of sugar and the 2g to about where I wanted it with a total of ~ 4lbs.

Wish I took the starting SG. What SG do you think I should rack from primary to secondary?
 

sour_grapes

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I think you can safely rack anywhere between 1.010 and 1.000. I typically shoot for ~1.005 or less.
 

MarkMacQ

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Could use a little help with primary to secondary for my 6g bucket. Fermentation seems to be moving a little slow. In the past 24 hours SG has changed from 1.031 to 1.029. Not terrible but it's a slower pace than it was going. The cellar temp is 69F. My concern is I've read a couple things that say fruit wine should be racked to secondary 5-7 days after pitching the yeast. The reason given is the chunky fruit lees that collect at the bottom of the bucket can cause problems. It mentions: "If your wine is left on the gross lees for too long you’ll pick up off flavors and aromas. In general you want to rack off of fine lees once it reaches a thickness of about 1/2 inch on the bottom of your fermenter or carboy. Any thicker than that and the yeast at the bottom can start to decay and produce off flavors and aromas."

I'm sitting at 12 days since pitching the yeast (day 2) and suspect, but don't really know, some of the peach in the mesh bag has made its way to the bottom of the white bucket. Should I increase the heat or add a yeast nutrient to get the SG closer to reasonable (1.005ish), leave it alone or rack with a higher than usual SG and if so, at what SG considering my concern?
 

Johnd

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Could use a little help with primary to secondary for my 6g bucket. Fermentation seems to be moving a little slow. In the past 24 hours SG has changed from 1.031 to 1.029. Not terrible but it's a slower pace than it was going. The cellar temp is 69F. My concern is I've read a couple things that say fruit wine should be racked to secondary 5-7 days after pitching the yeast. The reason given is the chunky fruit lees that collect at the bottom of the bucket can cause problems. It mentions: "If your wine is left on the gross lees for too long you’ll pick up off flavors and aromas. In general you want to rack off of fine lees once it reaches a thickness of about 1/2 inch on the bottom of your fermenter or carboy. Any thicker than that and the yeast at the bottom can start to decay and produce off flavors and aromas."

I'm sitting at 12 days since pitching the yeast (day 2) and suspect, but don't really know, some of the peach in the mesh bag has made its way to the bottom of the white bucket. Should I increase the heat or add a yeast nutrient to get the SG closer to reasonable (1.005ish), leave it alone or rack with a higher than usual SG and if so, at what SG considering my concern?
At that SG, I’d try both, adding some Fermaid O, and getting the temps up into the mid 70’s, racking when it got around 1.010.
 

Scooter68

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I would take issue with the points about the thickness of the lees and a set number of days before racking.

If you are stirring the wine during those early days the yeast isn't sitting there buried. Secondly a ferment progresses as it does due to a variety of conditions that we can control to some extent but in some cases most of us don't have the home chemistry lab to do the full gamut of testing that would be required to determine all those conditions.
Temperature
pH/TA
SG
Nutrient levels
Total Yeast Cells and their condition at time on inoculating the wine
Types of Acid present
and more.

As JohnD suggested adding a little Fermaid and raising the temp to the mid-70s might just fire up those yeast beasts and get your ferment perking
.

As long as it's progressing and you don't see any overt signs of spoilage let it go. Peach wine (Not from a prepared canned juice) is a tough wine sometimes due to all the pulp that you have. That 1/2 inch concept is totally useless with peach. My peach wines (From Fresh frozen peaches) start out almost like a pudding consistency. In about 3-4 days they become much thinner and that's because the pulp has begun to break down and you can bet that initially I have at least 3-6 inches of pulp sitting or bubbling away on the bottom of my bucket. The daily stir keeps things going but it still settles out naturally. When it's all said an done I may still have 3-5 inches of pulp sludge on the bottom along with the bag of peach skins sitting in there too. My peach wine ended with the SG at .994 when I racked into a carboy two weeks ago. I had a fat bag of peach skins and course pulp to wring out and another 3-4 inches of pulp at the bottom of the bucket that I ran though a sieve to get another 1/2 to 2/3 gallon of wine.

PS my last peach wine went from 1.088 to .994 in 10 days even with the addition of more simple syrup that raised the SG .015 during the ferment. That also includes the 3 days when I waited and checked to see if it would drop any more down to .990.
 

MarkMacQ

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At that SG, I’d try both, adding some Fermaid O, and getting the temps up into the mid 70’s, racking when it got around 1.010.
Thanks for the Fermaid O tip. Will pick some up and work on getting the temp up.
 

MarkMacQ

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I would take issue with the points about the thickness of the lees and a set number of days before racking.

If you are stirring the wine during those early days the yeast isn't sitting there buried. Secondly a ferment progresses as it does due to a variety of conditions that we can control to some extent but in some cases most of us don't have the home chemistry lab to do the full gamut of testing that would be required to determine all those conditions.
Temperature
pH/TA
SG
Nutrient levels
Total Yeast Cells and their condition at time on inoculating the wine
Types of Acid present
and more.

As JohnD suggested adding a little Fermaid and raising the temp to the mid-70s might just fire up those yeast beasts and get your ferment perking
.

As long as it's progressing and you don't see any overt signs of spoilage let it go. Peach wine (Not from a prepared canned juice) is a tough wine sometimes due to all the pulp that you have. That 1/2 inch concept is totally useless with peach. My peach wines (From Fresh frozen peaches) start out almost like a pudding consistency. In about 3-4 days they become much thinner and that's because the pulp has begun to break down and you can bet that initially I have at least 3-6 inches of pulp sitting or bubbling away on the bottom of my bucket. The daily stir keeps things going but it still settles out naturally. When it's all said an done I may still have 3-5 inches of pulp sludge on the bottom along with the bag of peach skins sitting in there too. My peach wine ended with the SG at .994 when I racked into a carboy two weeks ago. I had a fat bag of peach skins and course pulp to wring out and another 3-4 inches of pulp at the bottom of the bucket that I ran though a sieve to get another 1/2 to 2/3 gallon of wine.

PS my last peach wine went from 1.088 to .994 in 10 days even with the addition of more simple syrup that raised the SG .015 during the ferment. That also includes the 3 days when I waited and checked to see if it would drop any more down to .990.
 

MarkMacQ

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I would take issue with the points about the thickness of the lees and a set number of days before racking.

This is excellent information and some relief from my worries. The sources didn't specifically address peach, just fruit wine. This is my first batch and I was a bit nervous.

In anticipation of not being able to top off the carboy and not wanting to change the must by adding liquids, what would you use to bring the must up to the neck, clear marbles or food grade HDPE high density plastic balls, something else or do you add a liquid? I have a bit of a bad back and would prefer to minimize the 5g carboy weight unless marbles are best. Thanks for your help.
 

Scooter68

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As far as what to add to raise the volume.... it depends in part on how many lbs of prepared peaches you used per gallon. It's possible that between the two batches 2 and 6 gallons you might have enough fill your 5 gallon carboy completely and then use a 1 gallon or smaller carboy for the rest. Starting with 8 gallons of volume a loss down to 6 1/2 gallons is possible. In any case I'd use the 2 gallon batch to top of the 5 gallon carboy and then see what you have left. You might get 7 gallons from the two but you might end up with something less.

I find it worthwhile to pick up a variety of odd size glass containers for just this sort of thing. I have on hand a 12 oz, 4 x 16oz, a 1.5 liter, 2 liter, & 3 liter glass containers. All of them will accept either a silicone drilled stopper or screw on airlock cap. That way the odd amounts of wine you have at the end of a fermentation can be handled just as you do a full carboy.
You might even give some thought to getting 3 gallon carboys to save your back. That way you could break up a 6 gallon batch, or in this case the 6 and 2 gallon gallon batch in to smaller carboys. Few carboys is better up to a point - where the back give out.
 

MarkMacQ

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Good idea with all the smaller sizes for that extra amount at times, and not having to deal with the filler element and cleaning it. I have a few 1g and a 5g, I'll grab a 3g too. I also have a bunch of 1/2g and Qt mason jars that I can adapt by drilling into the lid and adding a grommet and airlock. The 2g bucket is pretty raw with no additives and the 6g has additives that I mentioned earlier so I was really hoping to see how they compare in the end. Mixing them would dilute the results. The 2g is ready for secondary. Yesterday it was at 1.001. Well ahead of the 6g.
 

MarkMacQ

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I just ordered the Fermaid O and forgot that I picked up some Wyeast wine nutrient blend a little while back, made: May 22, 2019. Would this have been comparable?
 

Scooter68

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I would avoid any metal lidded jars.

As for combining and losing your comparison test. I guess it comes down being able to break up the racked wine into carboys that you can fill to the neck OR combining. You may have some options if you don't mind breaking those two batches into more than just two carboys.
 

MarkMacQ

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I would use the white food grade plastic storage lids https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MVPPGRF?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share&tag=forumyield-20 instead of the conventional metal lids and rings, which should be easier to drill a hole into for the grommet. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/drilling-hole-in-mason-jar-lid.668641/ I may not need to use this now but would have it for backup and at some point would like to experiment with small batches. I have plenty of canning jars up to 1/2 gallon size. As far as headspace goes in the carboy, I also ordered some 3/4" Food Grade Delrin (Acetal) Balls https://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=126144 as an alternative to marbles, not always knowing the source of marbles and if they are lead-free, to lessen the headspace in the secondary. The Acetal balls are heavier than water and would sink in the carboy. Just a few options that I think would work okay if my assortment of secondary containers don't allow the proper headspace.
 

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