Frozen Strawberries

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s w

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On my 4th wine ferment. First one-blackberry- fermented fine and I fixed the odd smell and taste with copper pennies in the bottle for about an hour or so and it's like magic- a very tasty blackberry wine appeared. Second strawberry must did not ferment- I got frozen berries from store brand X. Third one, strawberry, is great- I got the frozen berries from store brand Y. Fourth strawberry batch also did not ferment- got the frozen beries from again store brand X. I'm thinking that one store brand X gets berries that've been sprayed or gassed and that does not allow yeast to take hold, while store brand Y has untreated berries. Both packages have only strawberries listed as ingredients. I've tested my yeast and slowley added must a little at a time and at a point the fermentation stopped in the starter glass. I added it anyway to the must and watched as nothing happened after 10 hrs. Is this a thing that some frozen fruit is gasses or sprayed and it isn't listed and could it affect fermentation? I controlled for variables of temperature and additives. The unfermented must had a beginning SG of 1.097. I also used EC-1118 and tested it and it was good in the starter. Any ideas? I've let the must open ( towel covered) to air and stirred a few times a day to ensure enough O2. Any ideas? Thank you.
 
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Scooter68

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Hard to give you good advice without more information. SG readings, pH readings, List of what additives and how much you added and when you added them to the strawberries. What recipe did you use? Post that info and we can probably give you some help. Most processed fruits use a little perservatives as possible especially frozen fruit as it far less prone to spoilage. Even bottled juices contain so little preservative that most folks have no problem getting a ferment started. The fact that your first batch, blackberry, developed the off smell would suggest that the yeast was stressed significantly as EC-118 is a pretty tolerant yeast. Did you add any yeast nutrient before you added the yeast?
 

KCCam

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Hard to give you good advice without more information. SG readings, pH readings, List of what additives and how much you added and when you added them to the strawberries. What recipe did you use? Post that info and we can probably give you some help. Most processed fruits use a little perservatives as possible especially frozen fruit as it far less prone to spoilage. Even bottled juices contain so little preservative that most folks have no problem getting a ferment started. The fact that your first batch, blackberry, developed the off smell would suggest that the yeast was stressed significantly as EC-118 is a pretty tolerant yeast. Did you add any yeast nutrient before you added the yeast?
And temperature. And even taste.

SG, temp, and pH are 3 critical variables affecting fermentation that are easy to obtain and important for troubleshooting. As a beginner you most likely do not have a pH tester. Even I don't (although that is soon to be rectified), as I am just getting into non-kit wine-making. But tasting your must before pitching yeast can give a tremendous amount of information too, although subjective. How sweet? How sour? How bitter? Your tongue is a very sensitive scientific instrument, and might give some clues about the differences between the berries. As @Scooter68 said, it is very unlikely to be anything on the berries. There are many variables involved in preparing a starter too, maybe you did something slightly differently. To eliminate variables, you could try just sprinkling the yeast on top of your must, then use a starter if that doesn't work. Give it 3 or 4 days before deciding it has failed. Or prepare your starter as described in a link that @sour_grapes posted a little while ago that was very informative: Using Yeast Starters For Improved Fermentation. You might have better success following those directions.
 

s w

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Thank you. Excellent wine for thought comments. I used the recipe from Handcraft Winemaking Guide, except I used 4 lb bag of berries and not 3.5. Maybe the K meta prior wasn't out. I waited 22 hrs instead of 24. Anyway, I dumped the strawberry as it's already been 4 days with multiple yeast additions. I've ordered a fruit base and will try again. Yeast stress is definitely a real thing and should be considered, I haven't done that. Will now. Always new things to learn.
 

Scooter68

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I started with the same book (Came with my "Country Wine Making Kit" While helpful that recipe with 3.5 or even 4lbs per gallon - is a bit light on fruit. Should be using along the line of 6-7 lbs per gallon. As to using a fruit base - just be aware that some of those fruit bases (Vintner's Best) are part Strawberry but mostly Apple, White Grape, & Pear with Strawberry content coming in 3rd or 3th. (And that hold true for whatever fruit is on that label for the most part. Others contain 100% fruit on that label. It might cost a little more but you getting the real fruit not a blend.

Be sure to use all the additives they recommend on the recipe that comes with the fruit base (If there is one) Vintners Harvest (100% for the Fruit on the Label) gives a 3 and a 5 gallon recipe - ALWAYS go with the 3 for the best outcome.
 

hounddawg

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good solid advice,from @Scooter68 & @KCCam as for fruit bases i use at times homewinery.com
each concentrate is good for about 4 gallons, but if you call your order in they will sell you extra pints, what i do is buy 3 concentrates and use 12 gallon water that will make enough for 12 gallons finish wine, i keep 1 gal jugs half gallon jugs and pints all 38-400 thread that way a 6.5 bung will fit and airlock your extra top off as well if you have any small universal bungs you can turn them up side down to airlock wine bottles,
Dawg
 
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s w

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Thank you. I was sure to get single fruit puree. I've also bought half gallon jugs and bungs fitted for wine bottles. Great idea actually calling and talking to sellers. I started another ferment today using canned berries and tried a couple more new things. After, 6 hrs it is fermenting very well with a starting SG of 1.080. I may try to add a it more sugar later in the primary ferment since I used EC-118 a supposedly can handle more sugar. And I will rack more ofte during secondary and not let the wine on less time.
 
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hounddawg

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Thank you. I was sure to get single fruit puree.
homewinery.com is cheaper then venters and my 2 cents is better, much better, their concentrate it reduction concentrate where other brands you're buying water as well, now some on here use walkers sour_grapes can give you the link but i feel they are to high, but i'm just letting you know a couple options homewinery.com sells 53 different types, both traditional grape wines and country fruit & berries wines
Dawg
 

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legally if the label says “strawberry” THAT IS ALL the processor can put in the bag.

From a process point of view strawberry would be typical to be received off the field, washed/ drained, stemmed, frozen in a blast tunnel and then packaged.
! Yes,,, Commercial berries have been sprayed in the field unless they are “organic”. The sprays have been timed to meet preharvest interval, ie they are edible for people. Yeast are more robust than FDA regulations so there shouldn’t be anything that would kill yeast.
! NO,,, Gas treatments are more typical in cereals for insects (or a whole house for termites).
frozen beries . . I'm thinking that one store brand X gets berries that've been sprayed or gassed and that does not allow yeast to take hold, while store brand Y has untreated berries. Both packages have only strawberries listed as ingredients. . . . . Is this a thing that some frozen fruit is gassed or sprayed and it isn't listed
 

Scooter68

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legally if the label says “strawberry” THAT IS ALL the processor can put in the bag.
He was talking about using a Fruit Base "I've ordered a fruit base and will try again. " Fruit Wine bases are NOT neccessarily 100% the name of the fruit on the label. (See image from the Vintner's Best Strawberry wine base) that means that while they may make an excellent wine, it will not be a wine of 100% strawberries, or blackberries. The exception might be with Apple and Pear since those are the lower cost juices they use for their other wine bases.
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G259

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I have done an apple before, and was wondering about a pear/apple wine. I'm thinking it might be more complex, and was wondering about successful recipes.
 

hounddawg

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I have done an apple before, and was wondering about a pear/apple wine. I'm thinking it might be more complex, and was wondering about successful recipes.
I do a 40-lb pear 20-lb granny smith and 20-lb yellow delicious, and 3lb sargents yellow crabapple , then bulk age for 2 years, that makes 8 gallon or just over 6,5 gallon finished wine,,,
Dawg
 

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yes post number five and seven in this thread switches away from “four pound bag, , 100% strawberry“ to fruit base in a can

Legally the producer of canned fruit base has the same requirements, ie the ingredient list portion of a label has to state what is in the can, YES there are large print descriptions which can be misleading, yes it is cheaper buying apple and pear concentrate in a thousand pound tote so we/ industry use lots it. My requirements if writing a Vinters harvest label started with the vendors delivering to me a “label of ingredient“ and if said vendor hides reality by delivering corn syrup with a apple or pear WONF (with other natural flavors), ,,, I am not liable for his deception.

I find It weird that store A and store B were both selling 100% strawberry in a bag and it would not ferment. It should have worked!
A guess on my part is there is a part of the process which needs to be discovered, ,,, otherwise @sw will have problems again in the future. A bag of 100% berry should be equal to what I picked in my garden and put into my freezer

He was talking about using a Fruit Base "I've ordered a fruit base and will try again. " Fruit Wine bases are NOT neccessarily 100% the name of the fruit on the label. (See image from the Vintner's Best Strawberry wine base) that means that while they may make an excellent wine, it will not be a wine of 100% strawberries, or blackberries. The exception might be with Apple and Pear since those are the lower cost juices they use for their other wine bases.
 

Scooter68

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I find It weird that store A and store B were both selling 100% strawberry in a bag and it would not ferment. It should have worked!
A guess on my part is there is a part of the process which needs to be discovered, ,,, otherwise @sw will have problems again in the future. A bag of 100% berry should be equal to what I picked in my garden and put into my freezer
I agree - seems like something weird was done perhaps outside of normal fruit processing?
 

s w

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I agree. It's coincidental that the two bad batches were from the same store brand. I'm thinking that two factors that I may not have paid required attention to and could coincidentally affect outcome are heat and k- meta. Lesson there for me! Current ferment of canned blackberries and blueberries is doing fine using Lalvin EC-1118. I sanitized equipment with k meta and boiling water and only used boiling for fruit and did not treat fruit with k meta. I added pectic enzyme, acid blend and yeast nutrient as per recipe. I also did not airlock it right from the start and stirred twice daily. So far so good. It hasn't produced any odd smells as all of my other ferments have done. The starting SG was 1.080 and still tastes sweet today I spite of the vigorous fermenting so I won't any additional sugar. I don't want to risk a misstep. I will rack into carboy and add k meta and sorbate at that time if the SG is .99 or lower and let it sit for a while. Thanks to all for the comments and insight.
 

Rice_Guy

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just for laughs, when you visit store A and B check the packages for “country of origin “ The US is a high labor market and the two may not have been grown with the same insecticide/ fungicides.

I agree. It's coincidental that the two bad batches were from the same store brand. I'm thinking that two factors that I may not have paid required attention to and could coincidentally affect outcome are heat and k- meta. Lesson there for me!
 
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