Is Fermentation ok / can the gas escape due to foam?

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IS my wine OK?

  • Yes

    Votes: 2 100.0%
  • No

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • It will be...but you need to take action now!

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Oct 24, 2016
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Hi all,

Newbie here - I have started fermenting wine yesterday (from grapes) - about 20 hours ago. This morning I have noticed a lot of surface activity (Foam) on the surface of the wine that is slowly bubbling. However, the bung is not bubbling at all. Is this OK?

Is the foam preventing the gas from escaping and therefore fermentation halted?

Ultimately is my wine OK or should I do anything?

Any thoughts or help appreciated. Picture of fermenting wine attached.



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You should be fermenting in an open bucket. Not in a carboy with an airlock. Pour mix into a bucket cover with a lid just resting on top, if you do not have a lid use a tee shirt. The idea is to keep fruit flies out of the fermentation. Stir the must 1 or 2 times a day. This will help the fermentation. When it is done (check with a hydrometer) rack into a carboy with an airlock.
Thanks Tony!

Much appreciate your advice...

I assume we can save the wine then? It isn't ruined now?

I will transfer to bucket immediately and loosely place lid.

Are there skins in your fermenter? If not leave it where it is. Fermenting juice in a carboy is fine and preferable. The only reason to move would be to keep it from bubbling over. I would expect the carboy would prevent the skins/cap from rising which also is fine. I have seen wineries use a grid over their open top fermenters to keep the cap submerged. The reason most home winemakers (and even commercial wineries) use open top fermenters for red must is because you do not need to worry about oxidization during fermentation because the CO2 protects the wine, it's difficult to get crushed grapes into a carboy, the vessels are cheap and can allow for fermentation volumes in proportion to tank volume (my wine equals about 65% of my must volume), punch downs, while laborious, allow for control, and there are many other stylistic or practical reasons. I say this because it might help you to understand the why behind the process so you can make your own decisions. Early on as a winemaker having the right containers sizes is a challenge.

As to your issue, do you have pressure under your airlock? If it's not bubbling it's either because there is not enough pressure to push the liquid in the airlock or it's clogged and eventually the stopper will pop off. If you leave it in the jug you may have some foam over. That's fine. Just avoid the mess by placing it in a sink or bucket. Again, no need to move if it is juice.
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No skins in fermenter. However, due to first post I have now transferred to a bucket with loose fitting lid for primary fermentation.

However advice above is helpful, so thanks!

It was supposed to be a white wine, however when crushing the grapes I think I crushed a fair amount of skins with the juice and then strained, and so the juice is 'heavy blush' coloured.
I do my reds open, whites/rose under airlock, just for added protection, but I'm sure you are fine. It will take a few racking so to get it nice and clear, but looks like you're on track.
Thanks NorCal.

Do you rack through cheese cloth or a strainer to ensure it is clear by the end or will just racking away the wine from the sediment at the bottom do the job? How long will primary fermentation take before I move it into the Carboy?

I am assuming that it will be more of a 'blush' wine rather than white as I think when crushing the grapes it included some of the skins....

I made one batch a few years ago from different white grapes, which ended up being affected by oxygen I think and so tasted a little like nail I am hoping for better results this time round which was why I started fermenting in the Carboy under airlock as was a little scared....I am still however relearning the steps and processes! Maybe last time, it was the secondary stage when it was affected rather than primary!

Thanks to all for help and feedback!
Tony is steering you in the right direction. Cover your primary (bucket) with a cloth, at least the first few days. The yeasts are multiplying at this point and oxygen is beneficial. Stir twice daily will also help bring oxygen and mix the yeast up. When the ferment slows and your SG gets down to 1.02 or so, the yeasts are done multiplying and now doing their job converting the sugar to alcohol and co2 gas. You can put your lid and airlock back on now and let the ferment finish. When your SG gets below .995 and stays there for 3 days, go ahead and rack back into your carboy, add k-meta and start your bulk aging. I would not taste the wine before this point. It will still be far from a finished product and will also be full of co2 gas so don't be worried about the taste too much yet. Most importantly, have fun!
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I, also, agree with Tony. Having your wine sealed up in a carboy and airlock gives you a greater chance of a stuck fermentation.
Let your hydrometer be your guide. When I ferment under airlock, I am also opening daily to stir and take brix readings. In my experience, that was enough oxygen to keep the yeast happy. The foam will eventually fall to the bottom, but if it hasn't by the time brix are at 0 (sg 1.0) I would do my best to transfer without taking the junk on the top or bottom.
This morning I have noticed a lot of surface activity (Foam) on the surface of the wine that is slowly bubbling. However, the bung is not bubbling at all. Is this OK?

The water level in the airlock shows a pressure difference (different water height on each side). That is a good sign. Wait another day to see more activity in the airlock.

Is the foam preventing the gas from escaping and therefore fermentation halted?


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