Other FWK - very fast ferment

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I degassed and fined the Chardonnay on Friday, 12 days after the first racking. I was surprised, as the wine did not clear as much as I expected -- it looked hazy, but the SG was reasonable -- I first racked at 0.999 and it's currently 0.998.

This morning the wine is clearer yet and more sediment has dropped, but it's still hazy. (see below)

The situation may not be a problem -- the wine may continue to clear just fine. It's simply not working according to MY expectations! 😄

I'm following my own advice and exercising patience. While it may be a pectin or protein haze, it may simply clear with time. I'll rack off the sediment in a week or so, and may add pectic enzyme at that time. It may not help, but it won't hurt.

If it's still a problem a month after that, I'm considering bentonite.

Does anyone have other ideas?

fwi-chardonnay-2021-11-28.jpg
 
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My Sauv Blanc and Riesling are both taking their sweet time to clear as well. I left them in the fermenter for 8 days and racked, degassed and fined on the 21st. 0.996 and 0.994 respectively. I do see clearing progress so not too worried. The Sauv Blanc is still pretty dark too. I plan to filter these through a 1 micron filter so hope that helps.
 
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We racked, degassed, and fined my son's Riesling kit a short while ago. It's lighter in color than the Chardonnay, but is opaque/translucent like the Chardonnay. He's going to follow the same general plan as me, so we'll see.

The Riesling, pre-degassing, was a bit sharp tasting (which is expected). We tasted another small sample as we racked back into the carboy (post-degassing) and the sharpness is gone -- it has a nice apple/pear taste. My son is very pleased and has good expectations from it. He's going to wait-n-see regarding the sweetening pack. Like me he prefers his sweet wines to be on the dry side, so we'll bench test before adding anything. Anything he doesn't use will go into one of my upcoming fruit wines.

While we were at it, I drew a small sample from the Barbera carboy. I've never tasted a straight Barbera so I have no idea what to expect, but we like the taste. I added 1 oz medium toast Hungarian cubes 2 month ago, and have not stirred it, so we didn't get a true taste. I expect to bulk age another 3 or 4 months -- we'll find out then; my expectations are good. The true tasting will be 6 to 12 months after that.
 

oppyland

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I'm glad you started this thread! I started a Forte Petit Syrah kit this afternoon, and I plan to add the yeast starter tomorrow late morning. I was concerned that the instructions said to keep the ambient temperature at least 70* and my basement is a cool 63 right now. Guess I won't add any heat to the must!
 
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My "in detail" posts regarding the Barbera, Chardonnay, Rhone blend (my blend, not FWK), and Super Tuscan go into a LOT of detail, things I had not considered recording before this. Especially with the Super Tuscan, I pay a lot of attention to temperature.


At this point, it appears that a combination of a good starter (e.g., let it go overnight) and good nutrients is the key. As @Matteo_Lahm said, his kits don't have slow or stuck ferment problems, and I agree with that. The fast ferments freaked me initially, but as I said above, I've come to terms with that and don't see it as the problem I originally thought it was. I'm still processing this (mentally) and don't have any firm theories.

BTW - the niece I've mentioned visited for Thanksgiving, and she and her husband got a chance to assist in racking/pressing the Super Tuscan, and racking/degassing/fining the Chardonnay. A lot of the process was unclear to her from just reading it -- seeing it made a lot of sense. She'll be starting her first kit in the near future. 🙂
 

David Violante

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If it's still a problem a month after that, I'm considering bentonite.

Does anyone have other ideas?
I would try Chitosan and Kieselsol before Bentonite, unless there’s a reason you can’t use them~ it’s far easier than mixing the Bentonite. I’ve read that Bentonite may strip some color and flavor as well. I don’t have any experience with that however. For me, CK has worked quite well~
 
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I would try Chitosan and Kieselsol before Bentonite, unless there’s a reason you can’t use them~ it’s far easier than mixing the Bentonite. I’ve read that Bentonite may strip some color and flavor as well. I don’t have any experience with that however. For me, CK has worked quite well~
I've already added K & C. The wine dropped a lot of sediment, but has the haze that may, or may not, clear on its own.

Bentonite strips color from reds, but has the advantage of removing protein haze, so it's used more in whites. I figured if the haze doesn't clear on its own or if it's not a pectin haze, the next candidate if protein haze.
 
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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.
Thank you for posting your thoughts and tweaks. This is my first FWK and I chose the Forte-Bordeaux. I'm glad I read about the fast 'primary' fermentation in this string, as I would have been surprised. As such, here is my documentation from a 6 gallon single batch with a 7.9 gallon fermentation bucket and loose lid laid on top with an open airlock (no water barrier):
Day 0 - Combined juice/H2O/Oak/Skins/seeds/and Packet "A" Nutrient (SO2?) Separately, started the yeast and nutrients "B" Temp: 65 degF. Room Temp 68 degF. SG: 1.104 (@24.6 Brix) PH: 3.72 (little higher than I expected)
Day 1: Pitched the Yeast/Nutrient blend: Must (67.2 degF) 6 hours later Must (68.7 degF) - probably just a rise in must temp via room temp unrelated to the yeast activity.
Day 2: Punched down morning and night. Pitch plus 24 hours: SG: ? I missed this reading Temp 73 degF (Room Temp 70 degF)
Day 3: Punched down am & pm. Pitch plus 48 hours (Added 2nd dose of yeast Nutrient "C"): SG: 1.086 Temp 77.2 degF Room Temp 69 degF) Nice 'normal red wine foam.
Day 4: Punched down am & pm. Pitch plus 72 hours: SG: 1.022 Temp 80 degF Room temp 69 degF) - Vigorous CO2 foam. Of note, I did see more foam from a 6 gallon WineExpert Super Tuscan I fermented-but not much and it had cooler max temp of 78 degF)
Checked again around 8 hours later (SG 1.010 and 79.9 degF) These are fast drops!
Day 5: Punched down am & pm. Pitch plus 96 hours (SG 1.001 and 76.1 degF) (This fermented to a SG of 1.001 1 day earlier than the SuperTuscan at 1.002)
This is where I am now. Smell is fantastic! And the taste is 'good' from a yeasty, barely born wine perspective.
My plan is to follow the instructions and I have sealed up the lid and filled the airlock with distilled water. I am concerned with not punching down the skins until day 14, per the instructions, and may crack the lid in a couple of days to carefully punch down again and again a couple of days later (the counter argument is oxygen getting into the wine...and I may forego that thought and let it sit).
 
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I'm happy my reports are useful.

Your experience closely matched mine.

My plan is to follow the instructions and I have sealed up the lid and filled the airlock with distilled water. I am concerned with not punching down the skins until day 14, per the instructions, and may crack the lid in a couple of days to carefully punch down again and again a couple of days later (the counter argument is oxygen getting into the wine...and I may forego that thought and let it sit).
Once you seal the container, don't open it. Extended maceration needs to be done in a CO2 environment, else you are inviting oxidation and mold growing on the cap.

One suggestion I read is to shake the fermenter daily -- not enough to blow wine/pomace out the airlock, but enough break up the cap.
 
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My plan is to follow the instructions and I have sealed up the lid and filled the airlock with distilled water. I am concerned with not punching down the skins until day 14, per the instructions, and may crack the lid in a couple of days to carefully punch down again and again a couple of days later (the counter argument is oxygen getting into the wine...and I may forego that thought and let it sit).
I did a Sangiovese FWK a month or so back and followed the 14th day instruction. Seemed to be fine like that and is clearing now in a carboy. I did the Bordeaux as a double kit in a 20 gal. Brute can so didn't trust the seal. I used hydrometer readings to move it into Big Mouth Bubblers when it got down to 1.010 on day 8. I'll do my EM there and plan to keep it there for 4 weeks total.
 
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I did a Sangiovese FWK a month or so back and followed the 14th day instruction. Seemed to be fine like that and is clearing now in a carboy. I did the Bordeaux as a double kit in a 20 gal. Brute can so didn't trust the seal. I used hydrometer readings to move it into Big Mouth Bubblers when it got down to 1.010 on day 8. I'll do my EM there and plan to keep it there for 4 weeks total.
Thanks for that feedback. Based on @Old Corker and your suggestions, I will keep the lid closed....and like James Bond recommends...."Shaken, not Stirred." But, shaken gently and I won't be shaking them the last 5 days to allow settling.

Regarding your racking on day 8 with a SG of 1.010, that seems to be a long ferment for the Bordeaux's as those yeast cells seem to really like all those nutrients in the kit. I'll likely keep the batch in secondary for a period of time, then rack and age for at least 4 months or more.
 
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I did a Sangiovese FWK a month or so back and followed the 14th day instruction. Seemed to be fine like that and is clearing now in a carboy. I did the Bordeaux as a double kit in a 20 gal. Brute can so didn't trust the seal. I used hydrometer readings to move it into Big Mouth Bubblers when it got down to 1.010 on day 8. I'll do my EM there and plan to keep it there for 4 weeks total.
Thanks Winemaker. Shaken, not stirred. Gently! You also taught me about bentonite reducing the red wine color. That is definitely something for me to keep in mind.
 
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Thanks for that feedback. Based on @Old Corker and your suggestions, I will keep the lid closed....and like James Bond recommends...."Shaken, not Stirred." But, shaken gently and I won't be shaking them the last 5 days to allow settling.

Regarding your racking on day 8 with a SG of 1.010, that seems to be a long ferment for the Bordeaux's as those yeast cells seem to really like all those nutrients in the kit. I'll likely keep the batch in secondary for a period of time, then rack and age for at least 4 months or more.
Sorry, I misspoke. It was day 4 that I reached SG 1.010 and racked into the BMBs. And I did all I could to slow it down. On day 6 I took a reading and it was at 0.998 so I added the one gallon I had pulled out. I will not open again for at least 3 more weeks.
 

Matteo_Lahm

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Excellent commentary. Don’t be concerned with not punching down the skins when you reach the point of sealing the fermentation bucket. As one of you already stated, longer maceration needs to happen in a CO2 environment. If you open the bucket during the extended maceration period, you risk contamination. Also, alcohol is a very powerful solvent. Letting those skins sit on the wine will do plenty to extract additional color and flavor. By the time you get to the point of sealing the container, those grape skins are already saturated with wine that has almost finished fermenting. It’s also a very humid closed environment so you don’t have to worry about the skins drying out. The cellular material is being broken down which is why you squeeze them out thoroughly before transferring to secondary fermentation. And rest assured, even though you can’t really measure the incremental changes of your sugar content at the very end because they are so small, there is still activity going on in there. Fermentation in its entirety takes weeks. I think we have a tendency of presuming that skin extraction happens most “during“ fermentation because of the vigorous activity and because we are used to transferring when fermentation finishes. That said, you actually get a lot of extraction afterwards because of higher alcohol percentages. I’ve done month-long maceration making wine from grapes. What happens after fermentation is pretty remarkable.
 

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After my FWK Petit Syrah went wild and was overflowing the airlock, I split the batch into 2 buckets and delayed the addition of the nutrient pack by 2 days. Now it seems stuck at 1.02 for 3 days. Be patient, or is some kind of action needed on my end? Should I recombine into 1 bucket again? Thanks for any help!
 
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After my FWK Petit Syrah went wild and was overflowing the airlock, I split the batch into 2 buckets and delayed the addition of the nutrient pack by 2 days. Now it seems stuck at 1.02 for 3 days. Be patient, or is some kind of action needed on my end? Should I recombine into 1 bucket again? Thanks for any help!
Is your SG 1.002 or 1.020?

Starting the wine under airlock prevents the yeast from getting O2 that it needs to reproduce. Yeah, I know the ferment was wild, but that may contribute to the problem at this time.

If it were me? I'd give both a good stirring to agitate, then put back into 1 bucket, covered by a towel, then give it a couple of days.
 

globalnavigator

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Is your SG 1.002 or 1.020?

Starting the wine under airlock prevents the yeast from getting O2 that it needs to reproduce. Yeah, I know the ferment was wild, but that may contribute to the problem at this time.

If it were me? I'd give both a good stirring to agitate, then put back into 1 bucket, covered by a towel, then give it a couple of days.
It was 1.02 and I followed your recommendation last night. It had actually dropped down to, coincidentally, 1.002 by then so the good news is that it kept fermenting, just slower. Now in one bucket - thanks!
 

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