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Help! Can I save this mess?

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Old Philosopher

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After enduring extreme trauma, and watching my open first fermenter for a week, I realized I had used "dead" yeast!
Is this mess salvageable? Can I rack off the must and start over again with a new batch of active yeast?
Don't be gentle...just tell me if I should just pour it all down the drain. :(
 

arcticsid

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Old, you gotta tell us more than that! What are you making, what is the temperature, what kind of yeast did you use etc.

This wine is not lost! Don't resort to drastic meausres, fill us in and we'll see what we can do.

Troy
 

Sacalait

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Don't get excited and don't throw it out. What's the S.G. of the must and what are you trying to ferment?
Make a starter with new yeast and a bit of dissolved sugar. After this is going add some of the must and after that has started you can add it all to the main bucket of must.
 

Old Philosopher

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Thanks!

You guys will have a heart attack when I tell you how I'm going about this.
It's an old farm boy's approach, and I don't have a hydrometer, even if I could read it. LOL
I'm making plum "wine". 4 gal of juice + sugar, add yeast, let it set for 7-10 days, rack it into a carboy with a gas check (homemade), and wait until it stops bubbling. Rack it into bottles and drink in 2 weeks to a year.
As long as the bouquet is this side of swamp gas, and it stays down when you drink it, it's good. :s
 

Old Philosopher

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Don't get excited and don't throw it out. What's the S.G. of the must and what are you trying to ferment?
Make a starter with new yeast and a bit of dissolved sugar. After this is going add some of the must and after that has started you can add it all to the main bucket of must.
Thanks for the procedure! Wish me luck! :h
 

St Allie

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Just a thought,

You are using pure juice?

plums are acidic.. particularly wild plums.. not sure where you got your fruit from, however, you don't have any water in this recipe?.. The ferment could be hampered by high acid levels.. particularly if you are using bread yeast?

You may need to dilute the juice down a bit.

Allie
 

Old Philosopher

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Details...details...

Just a thought,

You are using pure juice?

plums are acidic.. particularly wild plums.. not sure where you got your fruit from, however, you don't have any water in this recipe?.. The ferment could be hampered by high acid levels.. particularly if you are using bread yeast?

You may need to dilute the juice down a bit.

Allie
Okay, I didn't mean so sound obtuse.
The juice was made from home grown Italian plums. My wife keeps yelling at me that they aren't prunes until their dried. ;)
It was 1 gallon of water, 1 pound of fruit (crushed), 1 pound of sugar, 1 oz of yeast. Multiply that by how many gallons you're making. Now here's the kicker: mix the water, mashed fruit and sugar together, and bring to a near boil for 5-10 minutes. It dawned upon me that this was a pasteurization process. Grrr... Anyway, too late. After that, the mash was strained out, let sit for 24 hours and the yeast added. The primary fermentation process was supposed to last about a week. I confirmed I used 'dead' yeast.
So at this point, I guess I'm going to filter the liquid, and follow Sacalait's suggestion on re-starting the yeast.
 

St Allie

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sounds like a plan! hehhe

let us know how you get on.

Allie
 

Wade E

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Is this Fleishmans yeast? Did it start to ferment? We treally need more info. You can read a hydrometer no problem, you can read a thermometer right, its that easy. Where ever it floats is the reading and if you plan on making wine you should get one or you are playing darts in the dark! Heres a what a hydro looks like and the specific gravity(sg) of this wine or must would be 1.072
 

Old Philosopher

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Hey! That looks like the thing in my battery tester!
Seriously, I was being facetious. I just don't happen to have one (hydrometer) right now.
No, it's not Fleischman's yeast, but I proofed some and it's viable. It's bread yeast from a restaurant supply outfit.
Plus, this is my first shot at plum "wine", and I'm just hoping for something between prune juice and lamp oil.
We have another quick-and-dirty batch of plum brandy going, and I'm much more confident of that tried and true recipe. This other stuff is the first attempt at mash>sugar>water>yeast>fermentation I've tried. Sounds from the posts above that I'll be able to save it.
 
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Old Philosopher

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Okay, I just filtered the first mess into a second primary fermentation bucket. In the mean time, I found out among brewing yeasts, there are "top fermenters" and "bottom fermenters". Instead of a cap on the bucket, I had a layer of thick stuff on the bottom. Does that mean it was actually working? Now I'm more confused than ever. :?
I'm going ahead with the new, active yeast anyway.
 

Wade E

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That was ayeast for lagering and without being there or you having a htdrometer we cant tell you. Do you have an airlock?
 

Wade E

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Can you hear it sizzling like a soda pop or anything to say its fermenting, any foam or anything.
 

Old Philosopher

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Can you hear it sizzling like a soda pop or anything to say its fermenting, any foam or anything.
I'm still in the process of adding the new "live" yeast, per Sacalait's instructinos (post #3). I'll let ya know!
 

Old Philosopher

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Huston, we have ignition!

Can you hear it sizzling like a soda pop or anything to say its fermenting, any foam or anything.
I started the yeast in a separate container, per Sacalait, and just before it outgrew its new home, transfered the "starter" to the prune juice. It's not only sizzling and foaming, I think it even growled at me once. :r
How long do you think I should let it go in the primary fermenter now, considering it's already sat open for a week, but only shown action since yesterday?
 

mmadmikes1

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your battery tester is a hydrometer. My Italian plum wine did same thing last week It went to fermentation yesterday with .099 hydrometer reading. I did almost what they said but I added the stuck wine into the starter 1/2 at a time then let it sit 1 hour then another and so on. I tried a fresh yeast starter like suggested and it didn't work. nowI will have to go buy plums for a f-pak because I use my f-pak for new starter
 
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Sacalait

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No need to worry about the lost week, just treat it as a new beginning. Without a hydrometer you're shooting in the dark. Depending on the temp. of the must it could be ready to transfer in as little as 3 days to as many as 7. With a hydrometer the transfer would take place when it reaches the 1.010 mark. If you don't get the hydrometer transfer to the secondary when the sizzling has died down to "almost" nothing.
 

Old Philosopher

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No need to worry about the lost week, just treat it as a new beginning. Without a hydrometer you're shooting in the dark. Depending on the temp. of the must it could be ready to transfer in as little as 3 days to as many as 7. With a hydrometer the transfer would take place when it reaches the 1.010 mark. If you don't get the hydrometer transfer to the secondary when the sizzling has died down to "almost" nothing.
Thanks for the help! If there's no activity in the air lock after a couple days, would it be ready to rack into bottles, or is there a specified time in the 2nd fermenter?
 

Sacalait

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Don't rush into bottling, give it a chance to clear. After the sediment has dropped out and the wine is clear rack off of the sediment into another carboy. Allow this to settle for a month or so. Again rack off the sediment (there will be a little) into a bucket then add one crushed camden tablet per gallon of wine. If you're going to sweeten it up then also add 1/2tsp of potassium sorbate per gallon to prevent it from fermenting again and then bottle it.
 

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