Hydrometer reading has increased after fermentation...

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misilithios

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Hi, I'm new to wine making and I've come across a problem.

I started off with 20 litres of orange juice and 3kgs of white sugar, some cinnamon sticks and whole green cardamom pods, I added 20 grams of champagne yeast and have been letting it ferment for, now total, 3 weeks.
I measured the original gravity at 1.025 (which I didn't know was strange at the time, looking back at it, it should have been around 1.090) and then after 2 weeks I measured the gravity again and it was 1.035 and now for the 3rd time (at 3 weeks) I just measured the gravity again and it is at 1.060. (and yes I did correct for temp each time, but even without doing that the readings wouldn't have been that different right?)

I do not understand how this is possible, any suggestions would be extremely appreciated.

Also, I have noticed a vinegary / rotting vegetable smell, not sure if my fermentation has gone bad or if there is a way to fix it...
 

stickman

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My first guess would be that the sugar wasn't fully dissolved and uniformly blended before taking the original gravity reading. Gently stir to ensure the bottom layer is fully blended into the batch.
The off odor may be from low nutrients, so a yeast nutrient addition may be beneficial.
 

misilithios

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Thank you very much for that, I'm just wondering that surely after 2 weeks the sugar would have been fully dissolved? maybe I'm being silly but thats just my thought. I will give it a good stirring now to make sure everything is completely dissolved.

I don't have access to commercially available yeast nutrients at the moment. Is there anything that would normally be in peoples houses that I can use in the mean time while I wait to get the yeast nutrients?
 
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From what I'm able to research your sugar added should have put you around 1.090 and 20 grams of champagne yeast is definitely plenty. The conflicting thing I can't seem to determine is the pH of orange juice. I'm seeing anything from 2.3 to over 4. If it was on the lower end of the scale it's possible it was too low for the yeast to start. Even with a powerful champagne yeast a pH near 3 sometimes causes problems. Just a thought but otherwise I have no idea unless the yeast itself was no good. Hope someone comes up with a solution to your problem.
 

misilithios

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Interestingly enough, it has been bubbling away happily since the very beginning and is still bubbling even now. This is also hugely confusing to me because surely if the yeast is active then it should be producing alcohol and eating the sugars..
 

Scooter68

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Just a personal opinion here - Go back to the basics. For example - There is no need for a home wine maker to bother with temperature corrections At the high end of things it might affect the reading by .002 with an extreme difference between your hydrometer reference temp and your actual temp. (See Image inserted)

As to the bubbling - Yes something is fermenting but sadly after 3 weeks, assuming a room temperature environment, it very likely your juice has spoiled. given a low initial SG (As stated probably due to undissolved sugar) it's most likely that no true fermentation has occurred and while it might be fermenting now, bacteria has probably already gotten a strong foothold in that juice.

Call it a lesson learned.

For an new batch start with something with a little more balanced state and a fruit a little more commonly fermented, even a few cans of concord or white grape juice would permit you to cut your teeth in the process with less risk of issues.
If you add sugar make sure it is totally dissolved, in a cold liquid even 5 minutes of stirring in by no means a guarantee that all the sugar is dissolve. So if you start with a juice concentrate - make a simple Syrup with a 2-1 one ration of sugar to water. I typically heat one cup of water for 3 mins in a microwave then stir in 2 cups of sugar. Sometimes I have to heat the solution once more for a bout a minute after a couple mins of stirring, then stir once more.

An accurate SG reading is pretty important for a successful reading and by your initial comments yours was way way off.'

A pH reading is also important if you are dealing with unusual juice. As already mentioned any pH lower than 3.00 is going to be be very tough on the yeast and any reading above about 3.8 is also not a good starting point. (So a good digital pH meter is close behind that hydrometer in importance to keep you batches out of trouble.)

Don't be discouraged though. Many of us have made worse mistakes with bad results even after several years and many batches of wine made.

It's easy to get caught up in the details and forget the basics so I'd take a step back and try again, just go with a little more mainstream fruit choice and stick to the essentials of a basic wine. Every extra ingedient or step you add makes a mistake more likely so keep it simple for a batch or two until you get the hang of who things normally work.






1628627382197.png
 

misilithios

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Just a personal opinion here - Go back to the basics. For example - There is no need for a home wine maker to bother with temperature corrections At the high end of things it might affect the reading by .002 with an extreme difference between your hydrometer reference temp and your actual temp. (See Image inserted)

As to the bubbling - Yes something is fermenting but sadly after 3 weeks, assuming a room temperature environment, it very likely your juice has spoiled. given a low initial SG (As stated probably due to undissolved sugar) it's most likely that no true fermentation has occurred and while it might be fermenting now, bacteria has probably already gotten a strong foothold in that juice.

Call it a lesson learned.

For an new batch start with something with a little more balanced state and a fruit a little more commonly fermented, even a few cans of concord or white grape juice would permit you to cut your teeth in the process with less risk of issues.
If you add sugar make sure it is totally dissolved, in a cold liquid even 5 minutes of stirring in by no means a guarantee that all the sugar is dissolve. So if you start with a juice concentrate - make a simple Syrup with a 2-1 one ration of sugar to water. I typically heat one cup of water for 3 mins in a microwave then stir in 2 cups of sugar. Sometimes I have to heat the solution once more for a bout a minute after a couple mins of stirring, then stir once more.

An accurate SG reading is pretty important for a successful reading and by your initial comments yours was way way off.'

A pH reading is also important if you are dealing with unusual juice. As already mentioned any pH lower than 3.00 is going to be be very tough on the yeast and any reading above about 3.8 is also not a good starting point. (So a good digital pH meter is close behind that hydrometer in importance to keep you batches out of trouble.)

Don't be discouraged though. Many of us have made worse mistakes with bad results even after several years and many batches of wine made.

It's easy to get caught up in the details and forget the basics so I'd take a step back and try again, just go with a little more mainstream fruit choice and stick to the essentials of a basic wine. Every extra ingedient or step you add makes a mistake more likely so keep it simple for a batch or two until you get the hang of who things normally work.






View attachment 77401

Thanks a lot for this, all extremely useful and informative. This is a great forum, I honestly didn't expect so many responses and so quickly.

Frustrating when things don't go as planned, but I'll learn from it and do better next time and do some more reading before I attempt a new batch.
 

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