Is it ok if wine tastes bad during fermentation?

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Tink

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I don't mean bad as in 'not very nice', I mean bad as in literally gone off or something. I'm on day 5 of fermenting a Beaverdale Shiraz kit - I tasted some today and it is vile. I can't describe how it tasted but it's just really, really horrible. I know that it won't taste anything like wine yet, but the other wines I made tasted like grape juice at this stage and certainly didn't taste like there was something wrong with them. There is a definite sulphur smell coming from it so maybe that's something to do with it? (I've done a bit of Googling around that but the only advice I see about this refer to making from fruit, not from a kit so I'm not sure what, if anything, to do about it.)

Any advice gratefully received, thank you!
 

StevenD55

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No, that's not good. Rotten egg syndrome will taste bad. To me, this seems too early in the fermentation to be getting that smell, that strong. You might check with the supplier of the kit.

Regardless, racking and treating with Reduless from Scott Labs will likely be about the only recommendation you'll hopefully get from the experts herein. I do not claim to be one of those. But, if you start doing a search on rotten egg syndrome and/or check with the supplier of the kit, you will learn more about it and perhaps figure out what you may hve done to cause it....like additives at the correct times and so forth.

But, if it is truly that awful, I'm not sure that will help.

Good Luck!
 

JimmyT

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What is your sg now? Depending on the sg you might be able to add some nutrient to help the yeast out and stir it up to get rid of the smell. Or atleast help it out
 

Tink

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Thanks, both of you. Steve, the smell isn't that strong, it's fairly mild - but it is definitely there. It's the taste that's so bad - like a really nasty medicine!

The SG - a bit embarrassing but I don't understand how to read a hydrometer yet. It's over 1.000, halfway between the 20 and 30 mark - so it's either 1.250 or 1.025!

I will contact the manufacturer for advice as I followed the instructions to the letter :(
 

sour_grapes

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Thanks, both of you. Steve, the smell isn't that strong, it's fairly mild - but it is definitely there. It's the taste that's so bad - like a really nasty medicine!

The SG - a bit embarrassing but I don't understand how to read a hydrometer yet. It's over 1.000, halfway between the 20 and 30 mark - so it's either 1.250 or 1.025!

I will contact the manufacturer for advice as I followed the instructions to the letter :(

That would be 1.025. Here is a video to help:

[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty7PAJaBsts"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty7PAJaBsts[/ame]

I'm not an expert, but I believe you are sort of on the border with whether it is too late to add nutrient or not. If it were my wine, I would stir it to aerate the stinky H2S out :f and I would add some yeast nutrient.
 

Tink

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Thanks, Paul.

Can anyone confirm what wine actually tastes like during the fermentation phase? It's still supposed to taste pretty much like grape juice, yes?
 

StevenD55

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Tink,

For wine I've made from my grapes, half way thru fermentation the stuff is at it's worst in my opinion. I think it's because there are a lot of floaters in the punch bowl that consist of left over particulates partially consumed and what the yeast cannot consume that can add some real nasty tastes. Those have to be removed before it will start to taste better. Maybe others have different experiences....but I wouldn't expect it to taste great at this point.
 

sour_grapes

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Personally, I really like half-fermented kit wine. It tastes like a Graph Nehi! Lots of carbonation and sweetness. (I don't like sweet wines, in general, but I was a child once! :) )
 
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Hey Tink..
your still good dont worry about the SG it wont harm nothing if anything it will just make your wine dryer but not by much trust me. Don't worry about the taste it just came from the primary you still have to let it have its time in the secondary and let it age after you bottle it.
If it tastes like vinegar then you have a problem. If you are racking it by syphoning with your mouth you are endangering your wine to bacteria, you should try filling your racking hose with sanitizer (preventing the sanitizer from coming into contact with your wine of course), then with your hose connected to the racking cane, and racking cane submerged in your wine let the sanitized solution drain into a throw away container, the gravity will drain your sanitizer then naturally draw your wine up through your racking hose down into your secondary or bottles what ever phase you are in. You should never use your mouth to syphon it puts bacteria onto your hose and may come into contact with your wine and contaminate it...

:b
 

Tink

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It definitely doesn't taste like vinegar so I'm safe on that point at least! It tastes like medicine is the only way i can think of of describe it with an aftertaste that sort of burns/makes you cough.

I'm not at the siphoning stage yet but that was another thing I was wondering about! Everything I read said to start the siphon with your mouth but I was wondering why you have to sanitise everything that touches your wine but then it's ok to have a good old lick of it :h My siphon has a tap so I wondered about starting it off by mouth, then closing the tap and sanitising the tap before letting the rest flow out?
 

JohnT

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I often taste wine straight off the press. It should NOT be "off" and should NOT have sulfur issues.

In both Austria and Germany, Actively fermenting wine is a favorite late fall beverage. The Austrians call this "Storm" (English) as the drink is actively churning from fermentation. I have had this several times and have to say that it is yummy.

As others have said, the best thing to do right now is give your wine another shot of yeast nutrient. It is most likely that you are suffering from yeast breakdown or some sort of bacterial infestation.

Do you know the strain/brand of yeast that was used and the sanitation practices you employeed?
 

Tink

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Do you know the strain/brand of yeast that was used and the sanitation practices you employeed?

I don't know what the yeast was, no. Sanitation-wise, I used sodium meta on everything that touched the wine. I'll shove in some yeast nutrient and see if that helps - thanks.
 

TonyR

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Tink, try this before you go nuts. Take a small glass of the wine and put some sugar water in it and taste it. If it still taste vile to you ask someone else to taste it. If both think it's vile I would pitch it. Because life is way to short to drink bad wine.
 

JohnT

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I don't know what the yeast was, no. Sanitation-wise, I used sodium meta on everything that touched the wine. I'll shove in some yeast nutrient and see if that helps - thanks.

I would definitely research the yeast you used. It could be that you yeast (cultured) was spent and wild yeasts took over. This could explain how you wine is off..

Other than a sulfur smell, could you try to explain what the off taste is like? Does is taste like chemicals? perhaps like bubble gum or geraniums?

When you added your nutrient, was there an immediate reaction? Did your wine "Fizz up"?
 

Tink

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Other than a sulfur smell, could you try to explain what the off taste is like? Does is taste like chemicals? perhaps like bubble gum or geraniums?.... When you added your nutrient, was there an immediate reaction? Did your wine "Fizz up"?

I haven't added any nutrient as the sulphur smell has now almost gone so I thought I'd leave it and see what happens.

As for the weird taste - it's now only an aftertaste, how odd (yes, it's a chemically taste) - I'm now wondering whether it's the CO2 in there as it has a definite fizz to it and a sort of soda-like, sightly bitter taste. It's quite long-lasting though - I tasted a teaspoon about 5 minutes ago and I still have a horrible taste in my mouth.
 

jswordy

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I dunno, reading through this I'm thinking you are good. The test glass with a bit of sugar added might be a good thing to try.

I have made wine out of strong grapes that tasted lousy for the first year. I have some now that is just starting to taste good after two years. Still, certain smells and tastes, like wet cardboard, mold, or sulphur can indicate serious problems.

Also, don't forget that many people are very sensitive to tastes/smells from active fermentation. What smells wonderful to me smells awful or troublesome to them. For example, I love beer fermentation smells, but my wife hates them. But then she's OK with wine.

I would continue on and see what you think after you have racked and maybe racked again.

BTW, using a piece of copper, like a piece of copper pipe, to stir sulfuric wine has been said to reduce or eliminate sulphur taste and smells. Otherwise, I would not use metal anything in contact with my must or wine.
 

Tink

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Thought I'd come back to update. It's finished fermenting and I've just added stabiliser and started to degas and it tastes fine, yay! I'm now fairly sure it was the CO2/carbonic acid I was tasting - the same aftertaste is there but very mildly now. It definitely tastes like soda water to me (which I hate) so I think I am just sensitive to the CO2. Initial degassing lessened the taste a lot so Im fairly confident that after all the CO2 is gone it'll be fine, phew.

Thanks for your advice everyone!
 
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