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WineXpert Hot Nebbiolo Ferment - Any concerns?

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tjgaul

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I started a Winexpert Selection (16L) Nebbiolo kit a couple days ago. I am fermenting in my basement, which is quite cool. I substituted RC 212 for the provide EC-1118 (pitched dry), added 1 tblsp nutrient and covered the top with a light cloth to allow it to breath (ie: no airlock yet). I started the must at 73 degrees, put it on a heat mat and wrapped it with an insulated sleeve to allow for a moderately warm ferment in a cool location. Last night when I came down the stairs I could hear it fizzing and when I checked the temperature was up to 85. I took it off the heat and removed the sleeve and left it overnight. This morning it was down to 68 and the fermentation seemed to be active. I put the sleeve back on, but left the heat mat off. I did not check the SG today.

I've never had a ferment go higher than 80 before. Is this a concern? Is it likely to change the character of the wine and if so, how?
 

bkisel

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That's happened to me at least twice (80F +) and both times the wine turned out just fine. A difference for me was that EC-1118 was being used not RC-212. However, I suspect you're also okay because you report an active fermentation still going on. Creep the temp into the low to mid seventies and you should be fine.
 

ceeaton

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Tim, that is right at the upper end of the temperature range for that yeast, so you should be okay. As you know if you have used RC 212 before, make sure you feed it, especially now that you have had such large swings in temperature. If it was going once it cooled down I can only imagine it will be fine. I think a higher temperature might blow off some of the aroma of the wine, but most red kits don't have a whole bunch of that anyway. I know in beer making yeast at higher temperatures like that will produce more fusel alcohols which make for a fruitiness and hangovers...

Here's a older discussion I just found on this forum:

https://www.winemakingtalk.com/threads/for-the-experts-fusel-alcohol.32294/
 

Trick

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it is time to invest a temporature control device. temperature swing can be a good cause of stuck fermentation.
the device is not expensive at all from ebay or amazon.
 

tjgaul

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Thanks for the advice. I was able to bring the temp up to about 72 and switched to a lid and airlock (SG 1.026). The ferment was alive and kicking. Yesterday the SG was below 1.010 so I racked to carboy and I'm still seeing steady bubbling through the airlock. I think this batch will finish dry without issue. So far there are no off aromas so I believe I'm pretty good shape.

I admit that my temperature control system is a bit on the simple side. I should look into something which would allow for more consistency and less human intervention.
 

tjgaul

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Last update on this batch. SG .997 last night at 62 degrees (trying to warm it up a bit before de-gassing). I gave it a mild stir and it was still pushing gas through the airlock, albeit very slowly. It will probably be ready for the next steps this weekend or soon after.

Now comes the fun part. Due to carboy availability I'm going to need to break this down into 2 separate 3 gallon batches. This gives me a great opportunity to do half by the book with only oak and tannin additions while the other half will get the full tweaking treatment. I'll most likely hit it with a raspberry F-pac, some shaved dark chocolate, vanilla bean and a little invert simple syrup. Decisions on tannin and oak additions will be made at the 2nd racking. What fun!
 

Regmata

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Tim, how is this kit going so far? Any new info? I am about to start the kit myself and am trying to figure out what tweaks I want to make.
 

tjgaul

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I split the batch into two 3 gal carboys. The standard batch got bottled this summer after only a few months aging and light oak and tannin additions. So far I have tapped 2 bottles. Both had good underlying flavor, but were definitely young tasting and rough on the finish. The 2nd half got a homemade raspberry F-pac, vanilla bean and chocolate as planned. At the next racking some of those flavors came through. I just racked it again on 10-23 and it tasted more like the Montepulciano I normally buy (see pic) and the flavor additions were hardly noticeable and it's definitely not sweet. This carboy is also youngish and rough on the finish, but not so much as the wine that's already bottled. While I like the prominent berry flavor, I felt it could handle more oak so that went in with a dose of Tannin Riche Extra.

The jury is still out as to whether this will be a good daily drinker or something better. I am optimistic that it will come around, but I think it will likely be at least a year (maybe 2) before it mellows and integrates. I'm hopeful that the doctored up batch will begin to exhibit notes of chocolate and raspberry over time. I got this kit to make an early drinker. It's not. However, the potential is there after some time on the shelf.

I don't think the temps during fermentation affected anything. I do note some underlying spiciness and I don't know whether it comes from the kit or the heat in the fermentation. Even at this stage I think this kit is similar, but superior to the Montepulciano I did last year.

Good luck & happy fermentation!
 

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