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farmhorse62

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Could some of y’all pros give me some advice? I have a 5 gal batch that when taken out of fermenter and put in carboy the readings were-SG-1.050, % sugar-13 %, Alcohol protential 6%. Now after adding yeast and 2 weeks later the numbers are-SG-1.030, sugar 7 %, Alcohol protential 5%. Do these numbers look right or do I need to add something?
 

sour_grapes

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A few questions, rather than one answer:
These numbers are from a hydrometer, right?
Did you take a SG reading before fermentation began?
Why did you transfer to a carboy at 1.050? That seems quite high. I generally wait until the must is below 1.010.
Is it actively fermenting, to your eye? I.e., is it fizzing and creating bubbles?
 

farmhorse62

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A few questions, rather than one answer:
These numbers are from a hydrometer, right?
Did you take a SG reading before fermentation began?
Why did you transfer to a carboy at 1.050? That seems quite high. I generally wait until the must is below 1.010.
Is it actively fermenting, to your eye? I.e., is it fizzing and creating bubbles?
From a hydrometer yes sir. Yes the first numbers was before fermentation began. It fizzled and worked vigorously for about a week and now it has slowed down but still putting out a bubble through the check valve on top. The 2nd reading of numbers were taken today.
 

farmhorse62

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From a hydrometer yes sir. Yes the first numbers was before fermentation began. It fizzled and worked vigorously for about a week and now it has slowed down but still putting out a bubble through the check valve on top. The 2nd reading of numbers were taken today.
The reason I did it this way is because this is the way a wine recipe I found online said to do it. I am a novice. I have made wine in the past by crushing muscadines and putting juice straight in the carboy along with sugar and yeast topped off with water. Wine turned out ok. I’m just trying to learn how to do it the correct way. Thanks for your help.
 

buzi

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Hi farmhorse, what are you fermenting? Is it from fresh fruit or juice? What yeasts are you using and how much? What are the temperatures like where you are fermenting? How does it taste now? There are a lot of things that could be going on, but we need a little more data. I have always referenced Jack Keller's website. It is a wonderful resource!
 

KCCam

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the readings were-SG-1.050, % sugar-13 %, Alcohol protential 6%.
The SG is the only reading you need to note. The others are to help you get the right amount of sugar pre-fermentation for the ABV you want.

I’m not sure if I understand the sequence right. You said the first SG (1.050) was before fermentation, but you transferred to carboy at 1.050. Are you saying you mixed everything in the fermenter and transferred to the carboy before adding yeast?

I agree with @buzi. More info would be helpful, including maybe the recipe.
 

farmhorse62

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No sir. i put the juice from the fermenter in the carboy and then added yeast and sugar. From the reactions i am getting that must not be correct. Here is the recipe i used.
Crush grapes and put in bucket for 9 days. i put cheescloth over bucket to keep gnats out.
Strain off juice and put in carboy.
Add 3lbs sugar for every gallon of juice
Add yeast
Leave in carboy until fermentation stops (usually 3 months)
Rack off and enjoy.
I found this procedure online. Looks like all my work is going for naught. i also added campden tablets.
 

KCCam

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Looks like all my work is going for naught.
It’s never for naught! Even if you dump it, you learn a lot, especially when you make mistakes. It is very rare that you would ever need to dump a batch tho.

But something isn’t lining up. Adding 3 lbs of sugar to 1 gallon of juice should give you something like 1.130 SG or more, depending on the SG off the juice, which is way too high, producing over 18% ABV, unless the idea is to create a port-style wine. But that much sugar is stressful for most yeast, and step-feeding it is usually more successful.

Adding 3 lbs of sugar to 5 gallons of juice would more likely give you closer to 1.050 SG that you are reporting, which is too little, producing only about 7% ABV.

What temp were your crushed grapes at for 9 days? I haven’t made wine from grapes myself, but I think the recipe should have said to add the sugar and yeast to the primary fermenter (that’s why it’s called a fermenter), and to rack into the carboy after 9 days to finish fermenting and to clear for 3 months.

And time is a very poor indicator of when to do anything when making wine. Everything should be done based on SG.

Does it smell OK? If it didn’t develop any mold during the 9 days without yeast, you can probably fix this. And I think I can find a couple of posts to give you a better idea how things should be done.
 

farmhorse62

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The temp was probally close to 75 to 80 degrees. It smells ok and taste ok. i agree i should have added yeast and sugar to the fermenter. i will know better next time. Unfortunately it will be next September before i have scuppernogs again.
 

farmhorse62

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i used wine yeast i bought at a brew store. 18% or something. came in a red package.
 

KCCam

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Did you add 3 lbs of sugar, total, to 5 gallons of juice? Did you happen to take an SG reading of the juice before adding sugar?
 

farmhorse62

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i think i actually put about 12 lbs in it because i couldn't get the whole 15 lbs because the carboy was full.
 

farmhorse62

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i had about 3 gallons of juice, added 1 gallon of water and sugar and yeast.
 

KCCam

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I’m stumped. Can you check your hydrometer in water? Adding 12 lbs of sugar to 3 gallons of juice and 1 gallon of water should give an SG between 1.125 (if juice was 1.020) and 1.150 (if juice was 1.060). Even if your grapes fermented completely from wild yeast during the 9 days in the primary, adding the sugar you did should have brought it up over 1.100. Unless the sugar sank to the bottom and didn’t dissolve giving you a false reading.

As for the peach colour, maybe post a pic? It sounds like it might be oxidized. But if it tastes OK, I’d keep going. Does it taste like there’s lots of alcohol? If it really went from 1.050 to 1.030, there should only be 3% alcohol. If you added 12 lbs of sugar, and it is 1.030 now, it would be closer to 15% or more. Maybe someone else has some ideas.
 

farmhorse62

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i will check hydrometer when i get home tonight in water. i will also take new SG reading. and do a smell and taste test again and let you know the results.
 

winemaker81

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I agree with @KCCam, that is a LOT of sugar. You'll get a very strong wine and it will likely have residual sugar.

@farmhorse62, it appears you did not record the original specific gravity (OG). If I understand correctly, the readings you posted are after fermentation started. Off hand, if the wine tastes ok at this time, you're probably going to get a successful batch. Jet fuel may be jealous of the potency of your wine, but as long as it tastes good!

Next time, change your procedure:
  • Crush the fruit, press out the juice (this assumes you don't want to ferment on the skins).
  • Check the SG of the juice. If it's between 1.080 and 1.100, you don't need to add sugar. If you need to add sugar, for 3 gallons of juice? Add a cup, stir well, check SG. Repeat until the SG is where you want it.
  • I wouldn't add water -- I see recipes that call for adding water, but that dilutes your juice.
  • Fermentation typically takes 5 to 8 days when the temperature is 65 F to 75 F. Once the SG gets below 1.010, you can rack and move to a carboy or other jugs. IF there is activity, leave a few inches of head space so you don't overflow the container.
If you want the wine stronger, add more sugar than I indicated. If you want to back sweeten (scuppernong tastes stringent when dry, so a bit of sugar changes the taste), ferment it out dry. After the wine clears, add sorbate and sulfite (to prevent a renewed fermentation) and sweeten to taste.
 
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