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Floaters after 1st Rack

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Clawhammer

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Hello Everyone, Im Eric, nice to meet you. I have been bitten by the brewing bug and you will likely see me here often!

This is my first post about my first attempt. Yesterday I did my first rack of my 5 gallons of blackberry wine from the primary fermentation bucket to a 6 gallon carboy. Fermentation is still going strong (2 belches a minute).

My issue is I don't know what I am looking at and I have some floaters. They congregate at the surface of the must but drop and rise as well. I am hoping this is yeast due to the strong fermentation still ongoing, but I thought it prudent o get advice from you fine people. Here is a pic.



Thanks so much!
 

Johnd

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No worries, when fermentation completes and the CO2 production ceases, this stuff will settle to the bottom as your wine clears. Degassing/sulfiting/clarifying activities will promote this process.
You are in good shape, just keep following the road map.
 

salcoco

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it sounds like you racked to soon and fermentation is not complete. there is a risk of a stuck fermentation. in future I suggest use of a hydrometer to monitor complete fermentation.
 

Clawhammer

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it sounds like you racked to soon and fermentation is not complete. there is a risk of a stuck fermentation. in future I suggest use of a hydrometer to monitor complete fermentation.
Thanks for your comments, I am trying to glean as much wisdom as possible from the experts, so I have a few follow up questions in response to your point. Thanks in advance for your patience with my newbie status!

1.) The instructions I was following said to strain and rack after one week of primary fermentation. Was this wrong? Is it always best to wait until fermentation stops before straining out fruit and racking?

2.) My fermentation was a little slow to restart after racking, but now its on. My airlock belches every 15 seconds, does this make it less likely that my fermentation will be stuck?

3.) I used a little too much sugar, my OG was 1.12. Could this be the reason for prolonged strong fermentation?

4.) Is there anything I can do to fortify the yeast to prevent a fermentation stall?

Thanks!
 

salcoco

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I am sorry I did not wish to alarm you as to your actions just to provide caution in the future.do you have a hydrometer. time spent in fermentation is not an indicator that fermentation should be completed after a set time nor are bubbles in the air lock a good indication, the hydrometer is the tool. your instructions were correct except for the 7 day period. yes the amount of sugar you added did prolong the period so that a specific gravity reading was definitely required. premature racking can sometime remove all of the yeast and cause difficulty in completing fermentation but in your case it seems to have restarted and you should be okay. commence tracking hydrometer reading each day when the reading is same for three days then the fermentation is complete. stir the must or juice each day and this will prevent the fermentation from stalling. a complete fermentation should have a sg reading of .995-1.000 good luck
 

Clawhammer

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Thanks Salcoco, no apologies required, I solicited advice and that is what Im here for! I now will do things a little differently on my second batch, which I just got going this weekend.

I do have a hydrometer and know how to use it, I will employ it to guide fermentation going forward.

Thanks for the stirring tip, I did this during primary fermentation, but was not planning to do it during secondary. It makes total sense to stir daily as long as fermentation is ongoing.

Thanks again!
 

garymc

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Well, if you want opinions, I doubt you transferred it too early. I usually transfer from primary to secondary at 1.020 to 1.000 and have fermentation still going in the secondary. That's why it's called primary and secondary fermentation. You got some oxygen during the transfer, so that's likely to be enough to finish it off. If you have plenty of gunk riding the bubbles up and down, you might want to rack it again in a couple or three weeks when that dies down. No way to be sure without using a hydrometer. I don't stir during secondary unless I'm trying to dissolve something I've added to the wine. But normally, if I'm adding potassium metabisulfite, I do it by dropping the powder into the empty carboy in what would be your next rack and pumping the wine on top of it. Different strokes. So, I do primary in a bucket, transfer after a few days after the fermentation slows, but hasn't stopped. Then it still knocks the airlock on the carboy for a while. Then after it gets below 1.000 and stops, it's in a carboy with a small surface area, safe from getting oxidized. If you started at 1.120, then if it completely ferments, it should end up at .988 or .990 or so. That's because it has lots of alcohol, which is less dense than water. If a hot wine like that stops at 1.000 or .996 or so, it probably couldn't consume all the sugar. Nothing wrong with that. Especially if you want to drink it like wine instead of sipping whiskey. Lots of opinions and lots of options in wine making.
 

Scooter68

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Learned my lessons on when to move from bucket to carboy - as late as possible when you have a high foam ferment.

Lately I've had several batches that produced a lot of foam. On two of those I transferred based on the SG rather than the activity. Cleaning up the foam, leaving airlocks off for several hours, all not fun. Now I will wait until the foaming action is way down AND the SG is in the range of 1.015 or lower. Leaving the airlock off was safe because the foam kept pushing out of the plastic cap for fitting the airlock. BUT I had to keep checking back until the foaming died down - About 5 hours later.

Losing the yeast during the transfer from primary bucket to the carboy shouldn't be a problem if you aren't filtering or really trying to separate the lees from the wine at that point. I just pull the fruit bag and perhaps strain out the gross lees.
 
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Clawhammer

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Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts, it definitely helps me get my head around what I should be thinking.

My first batch has been sitting in secondary fermentation for about a week now still going strong. I got a wine thief today and finally took a SG reading and was surprised to see it at 1.03. I tasted it and it is quite sweet and a prominent but not overpowering alcohol flavor. The current carboy is 6 gallon and it is at the 5 gallon mark. Would it make sense to top it up with water to dilute the alcohol and sweetness?

I made some adjustments, picked a bunch more berries, and got a second batch going. I used less sugar and OG was 1.09. After 6 days of primary fermentation the bubble rate slowed big time. It is already at .99. Should I do the first rack now? Should I add kmeta to the secondary since fermentation looks about done?

Thanks again! All opinions highly valued
 
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Clawhammer

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Bump / Update

1st batch - still fermenting away, no action taken to top off yet since its going strong
2nd batch - The hydrometer reading was stable for 3 days and the wine tastes great, so I went ahead and rack it and added kmeta.
 

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