Help with SG

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Hoonakwa

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Guys, I am making my first 5 gal batch, using DD Dragon Blood recipe. The SG started at 1.090, it is now at .992. There was very little foam on the top today. How much lower could the SG go. Should I try and stop the fermentation or let it keep going and stop on its own? Any tips would be appreciated.
 

crushday

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Your SG might go down a few more clicks but it’s basically done. There’s really nothing to stop. You can move on to the next stage, however.
 

mhopkins

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My practice is to let the fermentation run until I get the same reading three days in a row. With DB, my batches typically stop ~0.990. That said, you're not going to hurt anything by stopping the fermentation now.
 

mhopkins

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First to clear up a misconception, you (as a home winemaker) can do very little to "stop the fermentation" ....
@cmason1957 I've only been at this a couple of years (~30 batches), so I confess to still being a neophyte to wine making. So, help me please. Cannot one stop fermentation with the addition of potassium sorbate to stop the yeast from reproducing?
 

sour_grapes

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@cmason1957 I've only been at this a couple of years (~30 batches), so I confess to still being a neophyte to wine making. So, help me please. Cannot one stop fermentation with the addition of potassium sorbate to stop the yeast from reproducing?
This will stop the yeast from reproducing, but it doesn't kill them. They still can eat!
 

cmason1957

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What Paul Said. 👍👍👍👆👆

It's a very common misconception many have when we start making wine that the addition of KMeta and Potassium Sorbate "Stops the Fermentation". Kmeta does stunt the yeast somewhat, but if you just add that, it will just make the yeast made, it will keep working, but probably produce off flavors. Potassium sorbate is more like birth control for yeast, it prevents them from budding (reproducing) and yes, they eventually die off, but until they do, they do their job, which is eat sugar, produce alcohol and Co2. How long they do that is indeterminate. To "stop fermentation" the yeast must be removed from the wine, that's filter down to 0.45 micron (or tighter) absolute filter size. It can be done, but for the amount of wine we generally deal with as home winemakers is probably cost prohibitive.
 

mhopkins

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Alrighty then. The neophyte learns a bit more. Guess I never ran into the issue since I have always let my batches go all the way to dry.
 

Hoonakwa

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Thanks for all the tips guys. The SG read .990 tonight. I will keep an eye on it for the next 3 days and most likely rack it off into a carboy this Saturday. Hope all comes out good. My grape is down to the last bottle, everybody drank it all! Got lots of complements so I hope this DB comes out good as well.
 

winemaker81

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Most wines will ferment down to 0.996 to 0.990, and as stated above, if the SG is in that range and remains the same for 3 days, it's done.

If the SG is above 0.996, unless the alcohol content exceeds the yeast variety's alcohol tolerance, it's not done, even if the SG remains stable. Last fall I had a wine stop at 1.000 and ~7 weeks later it started fermenting again.

Choice of yeast is important -- Lalvin EC-1118 will go to 18% alcohol so unless your initial SG is crazily high, this isn't a problem. OTOH, some mead yeasts will max at 11% or less.

Wine Maker Mag has a yeast chart that may help with decisions.
 

GaDawg

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What Paul Said. 👍👍👍👆👆

It's a very common misconception many have when we start making wine that the addition of KMeta and Potassium Sorbate "Stops the Fermentation". Kmeta does stunt the yeast somewhat, but if you just add that, it will just make the yeast made, it will keep working, but probably produce off flavors. Potassium sorbate is more like birth control for yeast, it prevents them from budding (reproducing) and yes, they eventually die off, but until they do, they do their job, which is eat sugar, produce alcohol and Co2. How long they do that is indeterminate. To "stop fermentation" the yeast must be removed from the wine, that's filter down to 0.45 micron (or tighter) absolute filter size. It can be done, but for the amount of wine we generally deal with as home winemakers is probably cost prohibitive.
Doesn't alcohol kill yeast?
 

cmason1957

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Doesn't alcohol kill yeast?
Yes, high enough alcohol will kill yeast cells, probably should have pointed that out. Exactly what that level is, isn't a clear line. EC-1118 has a posted alcohol tolerance of 18% ABV, I think. I have seen it ferment up to 22%ABV, if you keep it well feed and happy it can do pretty amazing things. That being said, I stand by the statement adding KMeta and Potassium Sorbate doesn't "kill the yeast"
 

GaDawg

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I had a DEA agent friend tell me that wine has to be 18% or under for the government to classify it as wine.
That's in Georgia.
 

winemaker81

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I looked for the US BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) site to get the legal definition of "wine". The dept has changed, now it's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which is abbreviated "TTB".

According to their glossary, the US Federal government defines "wine: as having a maxmum ABV of 24%.
 
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