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Last year's mistakes, this year's wisdom (maybe)

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DrStrangeLove

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Oct 23, 2019
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Hey Folks,

So last year I made a batch of Malbec and i ran into some Sulfide problems with it which i cleared up (mostly) w/ Reduless. However I'm sure I tainted the wine flavor itself. Anyhow, when I inquired as to the possible problems that may have caused the Sulfide production which comes with that rotten egg smell, I was told that the yeast often when it's stressed out produces sulfides. I was asked if I added nutrient during the process which I did not do. So here's the question I have. I just started this year with a batch of Malbec and batch of Barbera. The Malbec didn't look really great this year but I got some anyway and the Barbera was full and juicy and sweet. I am about a day into the initial fermentation of the must of both grape variaties and its going well..lots of bubbles...yeast is doing its thing.

Anyhow, I bought some "nutrient" and I was wondering when it is the right time to add it. Does it make sense to add it now or should I wait till after I press everything or what? Again, Im pretty sure that the problems for me last year started during the secondary fermentation in the carboys. After pressing the juice it did not have any kind of off smell but after a few weeks I began to notice it. Is this an exact science or what in terms of adding this stuff.

Thanks in advance!
 

Snafflebit

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Here is what I do:

I keep nutrient and DAP both available, but I likely will not use all that I have earmarked for this batch. I plan on about 2 oz of nutrient and 1 oz of DAP for 250 lbs of grape must but I rarely use all.

Pitch yeast and let ferment start 6 hours, then add 1/3 of the nutrient. Often that is enough. The nutrient is most important during the rapid growth stage of the yeast. If the the Brix goes below 18 and ferment temperature is low (below 80F) add 1/4 of the DAP if you want to heat up the ferment. This is up to you. Use the DAP to adjust the temperature. If I detect some hydrogen sulfide smell, I add nutrient in 1/6 increments once a day until the smell goes away. Do not add any nutrient or DAP if Brix is below 10. Less is more in my experience. I have had leftover nutrient in wine and the batch tastes like a B vitamin. yuck.
 

DrStrangeLove

Junior
Joined
Oct 23, 2019
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Here is what I do:

I keep nutrient and DAP both available, but I likely will not use all that I have earmarked for this batch. I plan on about 2 oz of nutrient and 1 oz of DAP for 250 lbs of grape must but I rarely use all.

Pitch yeast and let ferment start 6 hours, then add 1/3 of the nutrient. Often that is enough. The nutrient is most important during the rapid growth stage of the yeast. If the the Brix goes below 18 and ferment temperature is low (below 80F) add 1/4 of the DAP if you want to heat up the ferment. This is up to you. Use the DAP to adjust the temperature. If I detect some hydrogen sulfide smell, I add nutrient in 1/6 increments once a day until the smell goes away. Do not add any nutrient or DAP if Brix is below 10. Less is more in my experience. I have had leftover nutrient in wine and the batch tastes like a B vitamin. yuck.
Did you only add nutrient during the first phase of fermentation or do you add it during secondary also depending on the Brix? My first foray last year I didn't use or even have a hydrometer... I'll start adding some tomorrow morning. Need to learn to use this hydrometer too. This time out I am doing aprox. 200-210lbs of grapes. Oh and also, are you dissolving in water or just tossing the powder into the must/juice?
 

hugo1236

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Jun 2, 2019
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Hey Folks,

So last year I made a batch of Malbec and i ran into some Sulfide problems with it which i cleared up (mostly) w/ Reduless. However I'm sure I tainted the wine flavor itself. Anyhow, when I inquired as to the possible problems that may have caused the Sulfide production which comes with that rotten egg smell, I was told that the yeast often when it's stressed out produces sulfides. I was asked if I added nutrient during the process which I did not do. So here's the question I have. I just started this year with a batch of Malbec and batch of Barbera. The Malbec didn't look really great this year but I got some anyway and the Barbera was full and juicy and sweet. I am about a day into the initial fermentation of the must of both grape variaties and its going well..lots of bubbles...yeast is doing its thing.

Anyhow, I bought some "nutrient" and I was wondering when it is the right time to add it. Does it make sense to add it now or should I wait till after I press everything or what? Again, Im pretty sure that the problems for me last year started during the secondary fermentation in the carboys. After pressing the juice it did not have any kind of off smell but after a few weeks I began to notice it. Is this an exact science or what in terms of adding this stuff.

Thanks in advance!
Hi There,
I also had this problem a few years ago. I'm into my 5 or 6th season of wine making with a my fare share of mistakes or i should say "wisdom". I believe that this may be the problem
- insufficient yeast nutrients. Use DAP. I have used WYEAST yeast nutrient. What I have done is take the dosage and divide it in half. I do half the amount required at the beginning and then I add the other half when the SG is between 1.05-1.03 to give it that boost to finish off fermenting.
- Punch downs. your wine needs oxygen at the beginning so that the yeast reproduces. 5-10 minutes of punching down the wine 2- 3times per day.
- Temperature- Red must does not like cold temperature. It stresses out the yeast and can cause that awful smell. If it's getting too chilly at night, use a space heater. Be careful though you don't want the must to get too hot as well. anything over 30degrees Celsius is too hot. A tip that my father in law (many years of experience) gave me, is to cover the the top of the fermenter with a plastic bag. It traps the heat. Again, make sure you're managing the temperature. Invest in a food grade thermometer.

Last year I made a petit syrah and merlot blend and it was fantastic. I finally made a good wine that I'm not embarrassed to share
 

GR!

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Alexandria, VA
Did you only add nutrient during the first phase of fermentation or do you add it during secondary also depending on the Brix? My first foray last year I didn't use or even have a hydrometer... I'll start adding some tomorrow morning. Need to learn to use this hydrometer too. This time out I am doing aprox. 200-210lbs of grapes. Oh and also, are you dissolving in water or just tossing the powder into the must/juice?
Get on YouTube and learn to use that hydrometer! It may be the most important tool in winemaking, especially when talking about adding nutrients in different phases of the ferment. I personally add half a dose of Fermaid K at the beginning of the fermentation and the other half at aprox 1/3 of the way through the fermentation (as determined my hydrometer)
 

DrStrangeLove

Junior
Joined
Oct 23, 2019
Messages
26
Reaction score
4
Hi There,
I also had this problem a few years ago. I'm into my 5 or 6th season of wine making with a my fare share of mistakes or i should say "wisdom". I believe that this may be the problem
- insufficient yeast nutrients. Use DAP. I have used WYEAST yeast nutrient. What I have done is take the dosage and divide it in half. I do half the amount required at the beginning and then I add the other half when the SG is between 1.05-1.03 to give it that boost to finish off fermenting.
- Punch downs. your wine needs oxygen at the beginning so that the yeast reproduces. 5-10 minutes of punching down the wine 2- 3times per day.
- Temperature- Red must does not like cold temperature. It stresses out the yeast and can cause that awful smell. If it's getting too chilly at night, use a space heater. Be careful though you don't want the must to get too hot as well. anything over 30degrees Celsius is too hot. A tip that my father in law (many years of experience) gave me, is to cover the the top of the fermenter with a plastic bag. It traps the heat. Again, make sure you're managing the temperature. Invest in a food grade thermometer.

Last year I made a petit syrah and merlot blend and it was fantastic. I finally made a good wine that I'm not embarrassed to share
Oh ok, that I didn't know either-- I didn't really monitor the temp last year.. my must is out in a back room where there is no heating and it does get quite chilly at night.. I have a space heater i will bring it into that room. Thanks!
 

Snafflebit

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2013
Messages
243
Reaction score
113
Location
San Jose, CA
Did you only add nutrient during the first phase of fermentation or do you add it during secondary also depending on the Brix? My first foray last year I didn't use or even have a hydrometer... I'll start adding some tomorrow morning. Need to learn to use this hydrometer too. This time out I am doing aprox. 200-210lbs of grapes. Oh and also, are you dissolving in water or just tossing the powder into the must/juice?
I simply dump the powder onto the skin cap and punch down well into the mixture. A ferment over 80F will extract more color from the skins. A cooler ferment keeps the wine flavors fruity, or so the story goes. Do what makes the yeast happy, I say.
 
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