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RJ Spagnols Foaming - Australian Cabernet Shiraz Merlot

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rustbucket

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I had 3 inches of foaming that spilled out of the primary fermenter air lock last night. This is the 5th day of fermentation and the SG is 1.035 having started at 1.094 when inoculation took place. The yeast that I'm using is Red Star Pasteur Red. I used this yeast exactly a year ago for a Chianti and it gave me no problems according to my wine making log. The Spagnols Cab Shiraz Merlot blend kit was prepared in accordance with directions with the exception of the yeast substitution. Activity in the air lock was seen about 3 hours after inoculation.

The only other time I experienced this level of foaming was with a juice bucket wine that started fermentation with its native yeast before I picked it up. But I don't think that that could be happening with juice from a wine kit so I'm stumped. :? Pasteur Red is not noted for foaming.

I had planned on adding yeast nutrient today. Although I hesitated due to the foaming, I decided to go ahead with it in the hope that it helps the Pasteur Red overcome any possible native yeast strain.

Fermentation has been slower than usual in my South Florida home throughout the 5 day primary fermentation period. Generally, by the 2nd day activity in the air lock is rapid and by the 5th day, SG readings are 1.005 to 1.010. Air lock activity in this case was steady during the 5 day period with about one bubble per second.

Any thoughts as to the cause of this foaming would be appreciated.
 

dcbrown73

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I don't use airlocks during primary fermentation. I just cover the bucket with the lid and do not snap it down. This allows plenty of air in during fermentation, but no dust, etc from getting in. Fermentation needs oxygen.

I also keep my fermentor (my 7.9 gallon one anyhow) inside of a trash bag and pull the sides up just in case. The only time I ever had a problem was on my cherry wine, but I've heard fruit wines are known to do this from time to time. (I now also have a 10 gallon fermentor which shouldn't ever be a problem on 6 gallon batches)

 

Putterrr

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IMHO the bucket pictured above is not suitable to 23L wine kits. There is not enough room for the foam and or skin bag. They should not even be sold for kits. I would suggest getting a larger bucket and then you will never have to worry about spillage or the need to use a bag around your primary.

cheers
 

Ron0126

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Had the same foaming issue when I used Pasteur Red on a Fontana Cab last month. Used my 7.9 gallon fermenter and only made 5 gallons (it's a 6 gallon kit) and it still foamed up to the top of the primary. I had to stir it about every 4 hours for 5 days to keep the foam at bay. I keep a dishtowel on top of my primary, secured with a bungee cord, and every morning I'd go down to the basement to find the foam stuck to the underside.

Early taste tests, however, are fantastic. I don't know how much that yeast contributed to the flavor but I plan to use it again for my reds (planning a Carmenere and a Malbec).
 

dcbrown73

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IMHO the bucket pictured above is not suitable to 23L wine kits. There is not enough room for the foam and or skin bag. They should not even be sold for kits. I would suggest getting a larger bucket and then you will never have to worry about spillage or the need to use a bag around your primary.

cheers
As I said, I never had an issue except with the cherry wine. The cherry wine also had 12lbs of cherries in it also which made it's mass much more than your average 23L wine kit.

I believe the 7.9 gallon bucket is probably the most common 23L wine kit fermentation container I've seen people using. Those big mouth bubblers are only like 6.5 gallons. Attempted using that once and then bought the 7.9 gallon bucket.
 

SouthernChemist

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I think it can be highly dependent on the yeast strain being used (some are known for producing a lot of foam), your fermentation temperature, and what else is in the bucket. Also, whether the fermentation is open or not can be a factor (especially in beer, in my experience).

My only ever close call in a 7.9 gallon bucket was using BM45 as a yeast.
 

Putterrr

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take a look at what joe from joeswine uses. now thats a bucket. willing to bet he has never ever had an issue with foam

cheers
 

rustbucket

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This has not been only the messiest, as in heavy foam, but also the slowest ferment that I've experience since starting this hobby 3 years ago. The yeast was pitched on June 26th and has been slowly fermenting at a constant 76° F room temperature. I planned on stabilizing it today but found the SG to be 0.997. The starting SG was 1.094 on June 26th.

My initial thought was to add a packet of EC-1118 to kick start fermentation in order to get the SG down to the 0.992 range; but, I decided to reach out to the forum for a second opinion before taking this action. The only action I took today was to rack the wine into another carboy and place it back under an airlock.
 

Putterrr

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the instructions for this kit say:

Proceed with Step 2 (Stabilizing & Clearing) only if you have
achieved a specific gravity of 0.998 or lower

it looks like you have done that with a SG of .997

cheers
 

Mismost

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just for a different perspective....I have a WE Pinot Gris working right now, ave 74 degree temp, and it is making almost no foam EC1118 yeast....I sizzles, goes snap crackle pop, bit no foam.

I worry about that too! It is always something, ain't it??
 

rustbucket

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the instructions for this kit say:

Proceed with Step 2 (Stabilizing & Clearing) only if you have
achieved a specific gravity of 0.998 or lower

it looks like you have done that with a SG of .997

cheers
Putterrr, thanks for pointing that out. I checked my instructions and it does say that at the top in small print. Most of the red wines that I make finish out at 0.994 to 0.992. So that is what I was looking for with this batch.

I had a pinot noir finish fermenting at 0.998 and it turned out terrible. It was way too fruity. That batch cemented the notion that I should let the wine finish out to a much lower specific gravity. I'm going to let this sit few more weeks. If there is no SG change, I'll stabilize and clarify it.
 

rustbucket

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just for a different perspective....I have a WE Pinot Gris working right now, ave 74 degree temp, and it is making almost no foam EC1118 yeast....I sizzles, goes snap crackle pop, bit no foam.

I worry about that too! It is always something, ain't it??
Mismost,

I agree with you, it is always something that makes you doubt yourself. While I often feel comfortable to give sage advice to others on this forum, when it comes to my own wine production, I get panicky at the first sign that something is not quite right.:slp
 

Putterrr

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Putterrr, thanks for pointing that out. I checked my instructions and it does say that at the top in small print. Most of the red wines that I make finish out at 0.994 to 0.992. So that is what I was looking for with this batch.

I had a pinot noir finish fermenting at 0.998 and it turned out terrible. It was way too fruity. That batch cemented the notion that I should let the wine finish out to a much lower specific gravity. I'm going to let this sit few more weeks. If there is no SG change, I'll stabilize and clarify it.
Since I only took a final SG once in the last many years (someone on the forum requested it), i can't comment on where most of my wines finish. All I know is they taste great after sitting for awhile. You could always give RJS customer service a call and see what they say.

cheers
 
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rustbucket

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Since I only took a final GS once in the last many years (someone on the forum requested it), i can't comment on where most of my wines finish. All I know is they taste great after sitting for awhile. You could always give RJS customer service a call and see what they say.

cheers
Thanks, but they'll just tell me that it due to my yeast substitution. I'm using Red Star Pasteur Red instead of the Lalvin EC-1118 that came with the kit.
 
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