Hydrogen Sulfide Problem

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Jul 7, 2009
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Hello All,

I am currently doing a batch of raspberry and peach fresh fruit wine. Everything smelled and tasted great when I moved the wine to the secondary fermenter. As my recipe suggested, I waited three weeks before racking again. This time when racking though, both wines reeked with the stench of hydrogen sulfide. I've read up on how to treat this problem, but I am mostly interested in how to prevent this from happening again. I feel like something must be wrong with my process if both batches had the same problem.

One of my major questions is regarding racking. I initially racked to the secondary at around 6 days for each, after the specific gravity dropped to below 1.040, like my recipe asked. What I noticed though is that after I moved to the secondary, in less than a week or so there was a good, thick layer of sediment that settled at the bottom. I often read two seemingly contradicting pieces of advice: 1) don't rack too often (no more than once every 3 weeks) and 2) don't leave wine on the lees for too long. If I noticed that there was a substantial layer of sediment about a week after racking, what is the best course of action? I am mainly asking because I'm wondering if my decision to leave the sediment in there for so long contributed to the build-up of hydrogen sulfide.

Here are some other quick facts in case they are relevent:

- when preparing the juice, I used 1 campden tablet per gallon
- When racking to the secondary, I used 1/2 campden tablet per gallon
- I used Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast
- The specific gravity was 1.090 for both. The acid was around .6% for both.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
My thoughts are..

It's usually a combination of the yeast type and the yeast running out of nutrients in the must, that causes the sulpher problem.

I use the lalvin EC1118 champagne yeast for my fruit wines.

Allie is right on about the yeast needing nutrients and producing SO2. I would not of added the half tablet when you racked the first time either, no need.

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