Quantcast

Help!

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

oxocube

Junior
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
2
Location
UK
Hello wine makers!

So I'm a newbie brewer and would like a professional to help me out with what has gone wrong with my first batch!

I followed a Rhubarb wine recipe and didn't cut any corners. Two days ago it was time to rack from the first tub (is this called the 1st fermentation?) into the demijohn. I thought I'd take a hydrometer reading before racking off and the reading was very odd - 0.995. I thought maybe as I skimmed the top of the batch I may not have taken a correct reading. So in it went into the demijohn, air lock on, water in airlock. I watched, nothing happened, no bubbles. After a few hours I decided to check the hydrometer was working so tested in water and the reading was perfect. So as you do I called my dad, wine brewer specialist of the 1980's. I remember as a child watching people lose the ability to walk and speak after drinking his potions. He told me if nothing happens for 24 hours to make up a small batch of boiled but cooled water/yeast and sugar up and put that in the demijohn. I did that and swished it around a bit... 24 hours later... no bubbles! :(

I've read that the fermentation may have happened in the first week? If so, have I just ruined it adding more yeast and half a teaspoon of sugar?
Is my batch dead? Should I carry on with it?

HELP!

Photos below of hydrometer reading and the batch. The photo of the demijohn doesn't have water in the air lock (before some clever clog responds).
 

Attachments

mainshipfred

Junior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
3,884
Reaction score
2,481
Location
Centerville, Northern Virginia
Why do you think .995 is an odd reading, it's the range most of us strive for. As far as the small batch you are describing if you brought the yeast to a boil you probably killed it. I would recommend just adding K-meta, top up the carboy and let it clear. I think everything is fine.
 

sour_grapes

Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
11,280
Reaction score
9,272
Location
near Milwaukee
As best as I can tell, congratulations, you made wine!

Did you happen to take a hydrometer reading right when you mixed it up?

As @mainshipfred says, 0.995 is a normal reading. In general, you add sugar to water, and it makes the solution denser. Then, as the yeast eat the sugar and excrete alcohol, the density goes down. (Ethanol is less dense than water.) Your final product will be in the range of 0.990 to 0.998, broadly speaking.

Bubbles are "for amusement purposes only." Go by the hydrometer reading.
 

oxocube

Junior
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
2
Location
UK
The water was boiled and cooled before adding the yeast and sprinkle of sugar. But thank you for responding. I didn’t realise you could ferment wine that quickly.
So I buy this K stuff and add to the demijohn and then what? Rack off after a few weeks and bottle after a few more?

thanks
 

oxocube

Junior
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
2
Location
UK
As best as I can tell, congratulations, you made wine!

Did you happen to take a hydrometer reading right when you mixed it up?

As @mainshipfred says, 0.995 is a normal reading. In general, you add sugar to water, and it makes the solution denser. Then, as the yeast eat the sugar and excrete alcohol, the density goes down. (Ethanol is less dense than water.) Your final product will be in the range of 0.990 to 0.998, broadly speaking.

Bubbles are "for amusement purposes only." Go by the hydrometer reading.
IVE MADE WINE 🍷!!! If that’s the case I’ll be over the moon. Maybe the next batch I’ll have bubbles for amusement. I’ll take another hydrometer reading when I put the K stuff in.

thanks 😊
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
989
Reaction score
650
Location
Midwest
Welcome to WMT, rhurbarb is one of my favorites.
My concern at this time would be rushing, back sweetening without sorbate (stabilizer) and yeast refermenting the new sugar.
 

oxocube

Junior
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
2
Location
UK
Welcome to WMT, rhurbarb is one of my favorites.
My concern at this time would be rushing, back sweetening without sorbate (stabilizer) and yeast refermenting the new sugar.
Hi rice guy. As a Rhubarb fan, what would you do in this situation?
I took another hydrometer reading today and it was still .995
I’m very new so you can literally make a list and I wouldn’t be offended!
thanks
 

BernardSmith

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
3,221
Reaction score
1,324
Location
Saratoga Springs
Here's the thing . The density of water is given a conventional number of 1.000. Alcohol is LESS dense than water and so it's density on this same scale is below 1.000 and so a density (AKA specific gravity) of alcohol AND water will be less than 1.000 and your reading of .995 is exactly what a wine maker is looking for.

You never mentioned what the starting gravity was so we cannot say how much alcohol is in your wine. What we can say because the specific gravity is as low as it is , is that your wine will be very "dry", that is to say, very unsweetened. Rhubarb is often quite acidic and so a dry , acidic wine might taste a little harsh. If you want to make it sweeter you need to prevent the yeast that are still alive and well and in your wine from attacking any sugars you add with gusto as if it is for them to transform into more alcohol and not for you to enjoy as a sweetener.

You prevent the yeast from such action by adding two chemicals in tandem - one, potassium meta-bisulfite (often abbreviated to K-Meta) and the second potassium sorbate (K -sorbate) The first essentially kills the yeast while the second prevents any yeast that are not killed from reproducing.

After "stabilizing" your wine with these two chemicals you can add sugars to sweeten it.
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
989
Reaction score
650
Location
Midwest
My first focus is taste, if there is anything that puts you off I would be concerned.
A gravity of 0.995 may be your end point. Grape folks like to end at 0.900, I basically never reach that goal and I don’t worry about it.
. Stage two in our process is clearing the wine so that it looks pretty. We have additives as bentonite which is used in kits, but time also does the job. I sometimes say I don’t drink enough since I typically age about nine months (I am not anxious to bottle/ use it up). Our main effort is to minimize oxygen in stage two. Part of this is accomplished with adding an antioxidant called campden (meta). CO2 from stage one yeast respiration slowly is released also.
. Stage three is to continue cleaning by carefully racking off the yeast gunk/ cell debris (lees)
. Final stage is to decide if it needs more sweetness and bottle. Young wines probably have live yeast so potassium sorbate is added to keep em from popping corks.
And now the fun part, having a party or giving out as thank you gifts. , :pty
 

oxocube

Junior
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
2
Location
UK
My first focus is taste, if there is anything that puts you off I would be concerned.
A gravity of 0.995 may be your end point. Grape folks like to end at 0.900, I basically never reach that goal and I don’t worry about it.
. Stage two in our process is clearing the wine so that it looks pretty. We have additives as bentonite which is used in kits, but time also does the job. I sometimes say I don’t drink enough since I typically age about nine months (I am not anxious to bottle/ use it up). Our main effort is to minimize oxygen in stage two. Part of this is accomplished with adding an antioxidant called campden (meta). CO2 from stage one yeast respiration slowly is released also.
. Stage three is to continue cleaning by carefully racking off the yeast gunk/ cell debris (lees)
. Final stage is to decide if it needs more sweetness and bottle. Young wines probably have live yeast so potassium sorbate is added to keep em from popping corks.
And now the fun part, having a party or giving out as thank you gifts. , :pty
Thanks Rice Guy for all this info, I will do all the steps! One last question - I had a sip yesterday and I couldn't imagine drinking a whole glass of the stuff. It was alcoholic but not pleasant to taste. Once I'm ready to bottle, what would you suggest I use to sweeten the batch? I love a dry crisp wine but I do think it will need something to help. Will the flavour get any better with age?
 

oxocube

Junior
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
2
Location
UK
Here's the thing . The density of water is given a conventional number of 1.000. Alcohol is LESS dense than water and so it's density on this same scale is below 1.000 and so a density (AKA specific gravity) of alcohol AND water will be less than 1.000 and your reading of .995 is exactly what a wine maker is looking for.

You never mentioned what the starting gravity was so we cannot say how much alcohol is in your wine. What we can say because the specific gravity is as low as it is , is that your wine will be very "dry", that is to say, very unsweetened. Rhubarb is often quite acidic and so a dry , acidic wine might taste a little harsh. If you want to make it sweeter you need to prevent the yeast that are still alive and well and in your wine from attacking any sugars you add with gusto as if it is for them to transform into more alcohol and not for you to enjoy as a sweetener.

You prevent the yeast from such action by adding two chemicals in tandem - one, potassium meta-bisulfite (often abbreviated to K-Meta) and the second potassium sorbate (K -sorbate) The first essentially kills the yeast while the second prevents any yeast that are not killed from reproducing.

After "stabilizing" your wine with these two chemicals you can add sugars to sweeten it.
Hello Bernard, thanks so much for the info! I never took a starting gravity reading unfortunately, but I will from now on. I will add the K's and sugars. What sugar would you recommend?
Thanks
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
989
Reaction score
650
Location
Midwest
Sugar is magic, and in the US market table sweet has more volume than dry/ bone dry. NOTE all young wines should be protected from refermentation as with sorbate (9 months for my experience). In general crisp flavor implies higher acid in the product and if you don’t like straight sweet you can tweak the flavor with a trace more acid. . . . I always take a yuck reaction and test a pinch of sugar, and if still yuck, another pinch.
Early aged wines have a lot of CO2 which contributes bitter and crisp flavors.
. The number one sweetener is table sugar, cheap, readily available, clean. Fructose is similar with the difference of higher cost.
. Honey adds more flavor, is cloudy, more resistant to refermentation, contains some less sweet sugars so the end gravity looks high.
. Wine conditioner is a sugar syrup which already has sorbate in it,
. Frozen juice, is clean transparent adds more fruit aromas like a F-pack, can add blush color to create interest or be transparent as apple or white grape.
I had a sip yesterday and I couldn't imagine drinking a whole glass of the stuff. It was alcoholic but not pleasant to taste. Once I'm ready to bottle, what would you suggest I use to sweeten the batch? I love a dry crisp wine but I do think it will need something to help. Will the flavour get any better with age?
,, I am a big believer in flavor trials ,,75E342D4-CDCF-44B6-B336-EF6D28ACBE18.jpeg
 
Last edited:

oxocube

Junior
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
2
Location
UK
Hi everyone,

so my Rhubarb wine is going well but I’m having issues clearing it. The recipe I used did not call for Pectolase before fermentation so I’m guessing this is why I’m still here waiting for clarity. I’ve racked three times and the last one I added Pectolase but three weeks later I still have a misty wine. Any thing else I can do?
Photo attached shows the Rhubarb demijohn on the left hand side. Right hand side is an elderberry I made a month or so after the rhubarb. This is clearing faster.
A2F82ECF-5C1E-4A5A-90E5-314AECA4B9E4.jpeg
 

Chuck E

Supporting Members
WMT Supporter
Joined
Dec 8, 2018
Messages
456
Reaction score
378
Location
Chicago burbs
Two things...
You really need to get the air space above the wine out of the jug. The wine should be up in the neck of the bottle.

You can add a little more pectinase to help clear the wine, but more time is your friend now. A good racking procedure is every 3 months.
 

oxocube

Junior
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
2
Location
UK
Cheers rice guy. My dad said it was fine to have that gap in the top. Wait till I see him again. What do I top it up with?
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
989
Reaction score
650
Location
Midwest
Agree with Chuck:b
I don’t add pectolase (Pectic enzyme) with rhubarb. The turbidity is largely suspended yeast, you should gain more by a clarification agent, ,,, bentonite is the only one that I have used and not on rhurbarb since time does it. In winter I have moved hard wines to the garage. Others can chirp in about their favorite way to get yeast to settle.
Most of us would try to get to an inch of head space. I have close to 40 liters of rhubarb in the freezer for pie/ wine etc which I WILL use since the sugar is low (1.020) and there isn’t a lot of risk of refermentation. We are in the growing season you can pull a few stalks yet and freeze then juice. For small lab test quantities, I will press out juice with an OXO potato masher.
 

oxocube

Junior
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
2
Location
UK
Agree with Chuck:b
I don’t add pectolase (Pectic enzyme) with rhubarb. The turbidity is largely suspended yeast, you should gain more by a clarification agent, ,,, bentonite is the only one that I have used and not on rhurbarb since time does it. In winter I have moved hard wines to the garage. Others can chirp in about their favorite way to get yeast to settle.
Most of us would try to get to an inch of head space. I have close to 40 liters of rhubarb in the freezer for pie/ wine etc which I WILL use since the sugar is low (1.020) and there isn’t a lot of risk of refermentation. We are in the growing season you can pull a few stalks yet and freeze then juice. For small lab test quantities, I will press out juice with an OXO potato masher.
Hmm 🤔 Excuse my lack of knowledge but do you freeze the rhubarb and then after thawing you squeeze the juice out?
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
989
Reaction score
650
Location
Midwest
Hmm 🤔 Excuse my lack of knowledge but do you freeze the rhubarb and then after thawing you squeeze the juice out?
Yes, ice crystals break cell walls (fiber) so that juice weeps out, ,,, kinda like squeezing water out of a paper napkin
 
Top