- Nov 5, 2006
- Reaction score
- Raleigh, NC, USA
Is it possible that nutrients were already added to the wine kit juice at the factory? Something has changed in their recipe pre-packaging?@stickman, I've never had runaway ferments like these. It's consistent with the FWK I've done -- counted as 4 or 6 kits, as the Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Merlot are one large batch.
Since it's the FWK, it makes sense to be related to the starter and/or the nutrients, which are specific to FWK. The more I think about it, the more I agree with you and @Swedeman.
The 3 Super Tuscans arrive today -- I'm going to freeze gallon jugs to control the temperature on those, which will be fermented as 1 batch.
I doubt it. FWK appears to be very strict in their process and their honesty. The kits come with 3 nutrient packs -- A for pre-ferment, B for yeast starter, and C for 48 hours after inoculation. I assume A, B, or C contain something the yeast REALLY likes.Is it possible that nutrients were already added to the wine kit juice at the factory? Something has changed in their recipe pre-packaging?
Looking at the timeline for the Rhone, I don't believe Packet C is the one that kicks things into gear, as the Rhone was in high gear by the time I added it. It appears to be A (first nutrient) or B (yeast nutrient).It was C.
I took the time to organize my thoughts regarding the rapid ferments. The TLDR version of my post is that the rapid ferments and huge SG drops caught me by surprise, as they are out of my experience. I analyzed my records (I have detailed records on 98 batches going back as far as 1985), but honestly? While the data is interesting, the differences in ferments prevents me from drawing any reasonable conclusions other than "normal" ferments are typically 6 to 10 days.
At this point, as I read through my records of the 4 FWK I've started, I'm a lot less freaked out. Instead, I believe I've learned much about fermentation. There is more research to do, but I suspect my current thoughts are correct. [Nothing to say yet, as I'm still figuring things out.]
I agree with @Matteo_Lahm's comments regarding temperature. High temperature is not an issue, depending on what the goal is.
My Chardonnay hit the 8o's F, while I wanted a colder, slower ferment to preserve more fruit character. I won't know if I got what I wanted for some months, and it's entirely likely I'll be satisfied with the result, regardless of what it is.
IMO if I like a wine, regardless if that result is what I intended, I call it a win. I have a 10 gallon batch that I don't like (although others do), so any result I like is good. If it didn't come out the way I wanted, then I start another one.
For the Rhone Blend and Super Tuscan, I wanted a longer ferment for better extraction from the pomace (skin packs). However, I used ScottZyme ColorPro and the Super Tuscan is currently much darker than the original juice, appearing much like the Rhone Blend and my grape wines from 2020. I expect the result will be fine.
My conclusions regarding the FWK? I will use a starter for all future wines, as even 12 hours of starter aging produces a rapid start. Keep the starter with the must, so they are (more or less) at the same temperature. This should help getting the batch going.
For the kits themselves, I'm satisfied with the nutrients doing their job, and I have no expectation that H2S will be produced. I will use all nutrient packs as directed.
I'll tone down the ferment time by controlling temperature. These kits were my first time controlling temperature, and for a beginner in this process, I did ok. I've learned things to use in future batches and will pay attention to temperature. For white wines, I will definitely keep the temperature in a range I want. Reds? It will depend.
That makes sense.You just gave me an idea! Maybe the best approach would be to consider the ambient temperature of your fermenting space for how long you should let the starter go before inoculation. If you’re working in a warmer space, shorter. If it’s November or December and your basement is cold, let it go the full duration.
It seems it would be really easy to get too far into the weeds regarding variables and lose sight of what you want the instructions to accomplish. I think your addition of the checklist in the Forte booklet I just got was a great idea. It addresses the concern from experienced users that the detailed explanation is too much info. I read the whole book when I first got the kit to see what had changed. Then when I started putting it together the checklist was very handy.You’re absolutely right about the difficulty issue. It’s hard because on one hand you want to give as much as instruction as possible but on the other, you don’t want to scare the hell out of people either. It’s a tough balancing act to be informative and not cross the line.
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