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Twinstacks

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Hi folks.
Just joined this forum as it seems a wealth of knowledge.
I recently bought a wine started kit and have been bitten buy the making bug and went and bought a few more items to help me.
I bought a Chardonnay kit and put it into a demijohn and followed all the instructions so far. At the time of making the wash I did not have a hydrometer to take starting gravity but the kit says it will be around 12%abv. It has been bubbling away for about 12-14 days and have just took a reading this very minute and it shows 1.012. The bubbling on the airlock is now very very slow and I have so many questions but don't want to burden to many with massive amounts of questions. Can anyone give me any hints. Thank you most kindly.
Colin
 

rustbucket

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Twinestacks,

Welcome to the forum!

Once the specific gravity gets below 1.010, you should rack it to another carboy in order to get the wine off off the sediment in your demijohn. If you don't have another carboy, just rack it to a cleaned and sterilized bucket, clean and sterilize your demijohn, then rack the wine back into the demijohn. Continue to follow the instructions that came with your kit and you will end up with a good drinkable wine.

Don't hesitate in asking questions on this forum. We all learn from the answers as different people, experienced in wine making, provide the methods they use in making the best wine possible from a kit.
 

Bodenski

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Welcome! I've asked several dumb questions in the short time I've been on here. Folks are nice, and they love to help. So ask away!
 

Twinstacks

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Thanks guys. I am keeping an eye on the airlock as it is now still bubbling but very very slowly. I take it that when the bubbling stops then the yeast has done its duty or can it still be fermenting when there are no bubbles rising in the airlock? From what I have read always go with what the hydrometer tells me and rack it off the yeast when it's around 1 on the SG.
 

bkisel

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Welcome to the forum!

Hints...? Don't eat yellow snow!


Joking aside, you really ought to just start asking us questions. We thrive on answering questions especially for folks just starting out. [We could give you hints for stuff you'll never do or encounter.]
 

rustbucket

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Twinstacks,

It could still be fermenting. The slowness you're seeing in the fermentation could be due to the temperature of your wine. If it is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it would ferment slowly; too slow to show in your fermentation lock. The best guide is the specific gravity reading. The SG of a fully fermented wine should be 0.996 or less.
 

Twinstacks

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Ok thanks guys. The wine in my demijohn now seems to be getting a head on it like beer ha ha is this normal. I have a heat belt around it and it's near the top keeping the wine at 24 degrees since the start.
 

Bodenski

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Ok thanks guys. The wine in my demijohn now seems to be getting a head on it like beer ha ha is this normal. I have a heat belt around it and it's near the top keeping the wine at 24 degrees since the start.
You can stop seeing bubbles for a couple of reasons.
1. Gas escaping by another means (i.e. poor seal)
2. Yeast have stopped working

Yeast can stop working for a couple of reasons.
1. No more food (i.e. sugar) for them to munch on
2. Alcohol level is too high (i.e. too toxic of an environment for the yeast to keep working)
3. Other causes of "stuck" fermentation. (I don't know all of these. Temp is one, but other things can also cause yeast to quite premature as well)

So yeah, getting an SG is the way to know if it's "done" or if the yeast just quit working early for some reason. And check the seal to make sure gas isn't escaping another way!

(Disclaimer - I'm still new at this myself, so take everything I say with a grain of salt!)
 

Twinstacks

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Ok. Thanks very much. Can I over ferment it if I leave it for another couple of days. It's still bubbling all be it very slowly now and was just wondering if the bubbles slow down as it's nearing its end of fermentation when all the sugars have been turned to alcohol. Does anyone know why the wine has a frothy head on it now. Also I sterilise everything before I take a sample but can I leave test jar and hydrometer in the sanatiser or must I replace it every time I reuse the equipment. Thanks guys.
 

Amanda660

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Welcome! Found this forum 2 years ago and the people here have saved gallons and gallons of my wine from a sad journey down the drain.
I rack my wine when it is at or just under 1.010.
I use my test equipment, wash it, sani it and put it away (then wash and sani it again before the next use) so I'm not sure on the last question.
You have a lot of experience at your finger tips so use it without concern. The more information you can attach to your question the better - it will reap you the best assistance! Enjoy :)
 

Johny99

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Welcome to the forum. Many good comments above, but my two cents.

No, you can't "over ferment" unless you were thinking of stopping for a sweet wine. However, as fermentation slows, the CO2 protecting the wine gets thin and you leave yourself open to bad bugs. Also, as noted above, the gross lees can be an issue unless you go for sur lees, which is a whole different thing. So, racking and topping off somewhere around .996 to 1 or a bit more is OK. As it is a white, erring on the "too soon" side would be my instinct. However, you don't have to panic as long as bubbles still come, just the risk increases.

I expect the white froth is the foam created by the fermentation. As it slows you need less headspace for the foam, and thus can rack it to a smaller vessel with less air, like very little. Put the airlock back on as it will continue for a while longer.

Good luck and enjoy.
 

Johny99

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PS if your sanitizer is meta in water, you can keep reusing it till it looks too ugly. I fill my hydrometer jar after cleaning, drop in the hydrometer and let it sit that way until the next test. I do rinse it before use as I don't want to pu any extra meta in the wine at this point. The meta just goes back in the jug for reuse.
 

Twinstacks

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As I am about to rack my wine from the demijohn with all the yeast and stuff in it into a clean sterilised empty demijohn do I add the other chemicals that came with the kit. According to kit instruction I have to add the wine stabiliser chachet and a wine finings chachet and leave for 24 hours but to mix it reqularly in that time. Is this correct or is there a better way. Thanks again.
 

jburtner

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I would rack off the sediment into another sterilized demijohn and just add the kmeta if you havent yet. Let it sit for a while under airlock and topped up. You probably dont need to add anything else yet but waiting is usually a good idea.

Best luck!
-johann
 

Twinstacks

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Thanks johann. Excuse my ignorance but is the kmeta the stabiliser or the finings?
 

jburtner

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Potassium sorbate is the typical stabalizer but you only need it if you are back sweetening. That prevents further yeast activity so that you can add sugar without referment. KMETA is potassium metabisulfate. K being the periodic table element for potassium.

Best to slightly diverge from the instructions and just let it sit. Kmeta helps to protect
The wine from oxidation. Add 1/4tsp every three months at racking.

You might givie it some time to clear and degass naturally and add finings later if needed.

Cheers!
-jb
 

Twinstacks

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Thank you. As I am now letting it clear and degas do I leave the airlock off or still on the demijohn?
 

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