I’m confused!

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Copperlion87

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I am new to making wine so I had a friend of the family help me make my first batch of Elderberry wine. I used vintners best fruit wine base. At that point I didn’t know anything about making wine- my knowledge has increased since, but I am still stuck in this. He wrote down that my hydrometer reading OG was 1.16.
since then I bought an acid titration kit and a refractometer. So, my readings to date since March 14th (1.16) OG- on April 11th it was 4 weeks, that gave me 2 weeks for 1st fermentation, 2 weeks for second and I measured specific gravity with the refractometer at (1.100) 24% brix, so I let the fermentation go a little longer, my acidity was at 4% hydrometer reading was (1.062) today on the 21st (5 weeks and 4 days) these are my calculations.. acid titration is at 5%, refractometer specific gravity is at a 1.098, hydrometer is at 1.064. I used an online ABV calculator and got this-
OG 1.160 FG 1.064 and it gave me a specific gravity of 12.6% ABV
This recipe says it doesn’t need an added acid blend. Do I have a stuck fermentation? I read somewhere that it’s “dangerous business” bottling wine until it gets to a certain FG reading. What do I do?! So, I’m thinking my yeast couldn’t tolerate a high ABV and stopped fermenting.
 

FlamingoEmporium

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Not familiar. With elderberry. Initial SG was a little high, if I recall from all ive learned so far a refractometer is good for initial calculations but not as accurate as a hydrometer reader in later stages. Don’t worry another more experienced person will chime in shortl. And you can’t really go by time when fermenting. Frequent SG checks let you know when fermentation has slowed to where it’s time to move into secondary.

is it still actively working under airlock ? When did you move to secondary ? How long has it been at 1.064 ?

there is great information in the beginners forum here. Read read read all you can. Search for elderberry threads etc
 

FlamingoEmporium

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6 days ago. What is reading now ? Has it moved at all ?
if it is still fermenting it will have changed some in 6 days.
bubbles could just be co2 gassing and not fermentation

hopefully someone will chime in on stuck fermentation

 
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wineview

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Stuck fermentation is no fun. It looks like you made a one gallon batch so if it goes south there won’t be much of a loss. Does it taste sweet at 1.064? What yeast did you use? What is the temperature of the wine? My advice for beginners is not to get too exotic your first time out. Get a basic grape kit. They are most forgiving. Also, at this stage keep your equipment simple. A probe thermometer and hydrometer will be most useful. All this is my opinion only.
 

FlamingoEmporium

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Yeah, more questions need to be answered. Did you use pectic enzyme and yeast energizer when fermenting ? What kind of yeast ? When was it added ?
was it started in a bucket or has it always been under airlock ?
 
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BigDaveK

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I'm confused also.
The Vintner's Best products I'm familiar with come in 128 oz containers to make 5 gallons of wine just by adding water and yeast. Your picture looks like a 1 gallon container. Did you use all 128 oz or a portion? When diluted the starting SG will be around 1.080 according to the manufacturer.
 

Rice_Guy

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welcome to Wine Making Talk

* your starting gravity at 1.160 is extremely high. Most wines start at 1.090/ about 11% finished alcohol. A few yeast will ferment to 18% ABV but a lot stop at 14 to 15% alcohol.
* wine is a multi variable preservation system. Normal is that alcohol keeps lots of micro out and metabisulphite keeps another fraction out and osmotic pressure (high sugar) keeps more organisms out, low oxygen keeps aerobic organisms out etc, etc, etc,. ,,, kinda like building one fence on top of another till everything is killed off. The fence called osmotic pressure is higher than normal, so you probably have a stuck fermentation.
* a TA of 4%. The numbers I am used to seeing are 4 grams of acid per liter (4/1000 AKA 0.40%) A dry wine usually is 0.50% TA. A lightly sweetened grape wine normally is 0.70% TA. My guess is that your wine is extremely sweet, similar to a formulated slushie kit that one adds a bottle of red wine into.
* some theoretical numbers. If you started with a gallon of liquid (3.79 liters) that is about 50% sugar you had at least 1.9 kg of sugar in the juice (must). Possibly closer to 2 kg of sugar since the volume and sugar weight doesn’t add uniformly. , , , , IF a normal 11%alcohol wine starts at 30% sugar, a good liquid volume for that weight of starting sugar would have been 6.6 kilos, ,,, roughly 1.75 to 2.0 gallons.

IF I wanted to try to ferment a dry wine I would dilute 1:1 with something as white grape or red grape or apple juice and reinoculate with yeast. What else some acid likely is needed to get the TA above 0.5% (est. a teaspoon/ 4 grams) and some yeast nutrient (approx one teaspoon DAP or two teaspoons Fermaid K).
Option two would be to freeze this wine and make a slushie for drinking by the pool.
Another option I might do is to make a sangria with a high acid juice as unsweetened cranberry or unsweetened concord or unsweetened cherry juice.
(, ,,,, I grew up on a farm, ,,,I hate to toss food out
)

Wine is forgiving. The “rules” can be totally ignored. ,,,, except for one rule, wine is a food which needs to be enjoyed. My bias is food industry so I have lived with “rules” about what would sell, but rules translates into “average” food, ,,, not necessarily the best tasting food or beverage.
 
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Copperlion87

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Thank all of your for your advice. My friend that helped me with the first batch basically did everything for me and of course not knowing what I was doing then, he confused me even more. So that being said, I am pretty positive that the fermentation is stuck having had a high ABV and it killed the yeast. I think I’ve learned my lesson. I am taking Rice_Guy’s advice and I’m going to freeze it. I love this forum. It has helped me tremendously.
 

Bossbaby

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You might find a wine kit a great way to understand the basics of making a wine which can be consumed early if you wish, but I found it interesting at first to allow some of it to age more than a year to taste first hand the benefits of aging, even in a bottle can have. A decent home wine making book is a must to help you along with the steps in country or grape wines. Dont let it overwhelm you, just go step by step and learn from every batch you make. This is the place to ask questions.
 
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Speaking of books, MoreWine! as free manuals:

 

G259

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Yeah, that SG is way high, I think that you probably didn't add water to it. I would dump it into a food grade bucket (~2 gal.), add water until the hydrometer reads 1.030 and pitch EC-1118 yeast, or Premium Rouge, and let it sit with a loose cover on top until it slows. I did note that you had a lot of head space in that jug.
It might finish a bit hot, but you can tick the 'high alcohol wine' off of your bucket list (yeah, it's on everyone's list in the beginning!)
 

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