LACKING PROPER SG I THINK

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maggly

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Hi,

I'm new to this forum, and new to wine making. I am doing a 6 gallon grape juice batch. I started with 27 Brix and 1.115 SG. Yeast was added on 7-17-22. Primary has continued with the bubbles slowing down to now around 26 seconds between. I measured today and and got a 3 Brix and 1.014 SG. So, with yeast still producing gas, should I rack now? This seems to be way longer than what I have read that PF should be.

Thanks
 

ChuckD

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Welcome to WMT

That’s a pretty high starting SG, so at 1.014 your yeast may have died off (primary fermentation is done). I did the same thing with some of my first wines. The continued bubbling is probably just C02 off-gassing, which will continue for some time. I would rack it and get it under airlock to age.
 

maggly

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Hopefully K-meta is the same as Campden tablets, because that is what I used 24 hours prior to adding yeast, and that is what I have on hand. I plan on adding 5 tablets to the newly racked wine (6 gallons) and then degass immediately after racking. I made oak sawdust and added it with the yeast, and I added grape bunch stems at the same time. I read where both of those will improve tannin content.

I merely started with 100% grape juice with no preservatives, as this was my first go at it and I didn't want to throw away too much money if it didn't work out.

Thanks.
 

ChuckD

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Hopefully K-meta is the same as Campden tablets, because that is what I used 24 hours prior to adding yeast, and that is what I have on hand. I plan on adding 5 tablets to the newly racked wine (6 gallons) and then degass immediately after racking. I made oak sawdust and added it with the yeast, and I added grape bunch stems at the same time. I read where both of those will improve tannin content.

I merely started with 100% grape juice with no preservatives, as this was my first go at it and I didn't want to throw away too much money if it didn't work out.

Thanks.
Yes. Many wine makers just buy the powdered potassium metabisulfite (k-meta) as it’s easier to use than campden tablets.

If you plan on aging for a few months you can skip the degassing. It will do that on its own given time.

How does it taste now?
 
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@maggly, welcome to WMT!

What yeast did you use? That can make a huge difference, as their alcohol tolerance varies a lot.

Bubbles in the airlock doesn't tell you anything meaningful. Trust your hydrometer -- with most wines, if the SG <= 0.998 and doesn't change for 3 days, fermentation is done.
 

ChuckD

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@maggly, welcome to WMT!

What yeast did you use? That can make a huge difference, as their alcohol tolerance varies a lot.

Bubbles in the airlock doesn't tell you anything meaningful. Trust your hydrometer -- with most wines, if the SG <= 0.998 and doesn't change for 3 days, fermentation is done.
After a month in primary it’s likely, given the high starting SG, that this fermentation is “done” at 1.014. I had the same thing happen with my wild grape wine.

@maggly i would check the SG again in a day or two. If it hasn’t changed then your yeast has “pooped out”. The question then becomes do you like dry wine or sweet? Taste it. If you like the sweetness you can work with it as-is. If you want it dryer you may be able to restart fermentation if you use a yeast capable of hitting a higher percent alcohol.
 

Raptor99

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If you are using a refractometer, you should read the Brix scale and ignore the SG scale. That is because the presence of alcohol affects the refractometer reading, so the SG scale is incorrect once fermentation has started.

If you have initial and current Brix readings, you can use this calculator to determine the current SG: Homebrew Refractometer Calculator If your wine started at 22 Brix and is now at 3 Brix, the actual current SG is 0.950.

EDITED to correct typo: The current SG is 0.950, not 0.095.
 
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After a month in primary it’s likely, given the high starting SG, that this fermentation is “done” at 1.014. I had the same thing happen with my wild grape wine.
I agree, it's probably done. But I had a wine quit at 1.000 and resist all attempts to restart, then do so on it's own 3 months later. Mother Nature and Dionysus are in charge, and on occasion they remind us of that.

Knowing the yeast is important. If it's EC-1118, it's not necessarily done. If it's a low potency yeast, then it probably is. In this case, adding an overnight starter of EC-1118 will probably kick start it.

@maggly, you'll notice my frequent use of the word "probably". Yeast is a living entity, and as such it is not fully predictable. Mother Nature and Dionysus like to mess with us mortals, from time to time.
 

maggly

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Thank you for the responses.
- I used Red Star Premier Classique yeast. 2 packets for the 6 gallon batch.
- I racked to SF glass carboy yesterday.
- The wine tastes way better than I thought it might, but I can tell it is very immature. I like extremely dry wine with tongue-grabbing tannins. There is a dry, but immature taste to the wine. I'm hoping that aging will improve this, but again, I only used cheap grape juice for this first try.
- I plan on waiting 20 days in glass carboy to take another reading.
- I used a glass hydrometer for all measurements, and looking at both Brix and SG readings.
- I have probably too much head space in the carboy, and I don't know what to do about that. It only filled up to where the neck starts to narrow, but it is not up in the neck. I hoping that co2 fills the head space and displaces any oxygen.
- I tried degassing with a whip, mainly so I could learn how to do it. It produced hardly any bubbles during the 15 minutes of running the whip in a drill.

Thanks everyone!
 
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So I merely add the EC-1118 and nothing else? Thanks.
Make a starter for best results. Warm 1 cup water to 90-95 F, add the yeast, 1 tsp sugar, and 1/2 tsp nutrient. Let it rest next to the fermenter overnight, then gently pour it down the inside of the fermenter. Yeast apparently reproduces better in a larger group, so this starts with an initially large colony, which rapidly reproduces in the wine.
 
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FYI, most wine yeast likes temperatures up to ~105 F. Wine does not do well at those temperatures.

By using the water in the 90's F, the yeast gets off to a better start. Letting it set overnight enables it to begin reproduction in an environment that is more ideal for the yeast. By the following morning the starter has cooled to room temperature (maybe a few degrees higher), which reduces the temperature shock to the yeast when it's added to the must.
 

maggly

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FYI, most wine yeast likes temperatures up to ~105 F. Wine does not do well at those temperatures.

By using the water in the 90's F, the yeast gets off to a better start. Letting it set overnight enables it to begin reproduction in an environment that is more ideal for the yeast. By the following morning the starter has cooled to room temperature (maybe a few degrees higher), which reduces the temperature shock to the yeast when it's added to the must.
Thanks again, winemaker81!
 

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