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Lemon Wine Won't Start

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ryankelley

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It's been a week and my Lemon Wine (Skeeter Pee) hasn't taken off. I started it with a cup of warm water, a bit of sugar, and a packet of yeast. It was foaming pretty good before I added it to the must. A week has passed and nothing is happening.

Do you think I should try to get it going with a new starter? What if I give it some heat and stir the primary for a few days?
 

Tom

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Need more info...
Whats the temp?
What was the starting gravity
What is it now
did you test the TA
etc
 

ryankelley

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It's about 70 degrees
SG 1.08
Current SG 1.08
Not sure what TA is...

I wonder if the Yeast I added still has a chance, or if I need to start over.

Need more info...
Whats the temp?
What was the starting gravity
What is it now
did you test the TA
etc
 

cpfan

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I haven't made a Skeeter Pee, although I have been thinking about it. I seem to recall that others have had a difficult time getting it started. Don`t they typically start it using the lees from the primary of another wine. I would think that yeast energizer, acid balance might be important too.

I need to read up on it.

Steve
 

ryankelley

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I haven't made a Skeeter Pee, although I have been thinking about it. I seem to recall that others have had a difficult time getting it started. Don`t they typically start it using the lees from the primary of another wine. I would think that yeast energizer, acid balance might be important too.

I need to read up on it.

Steve
Steve,
What happened to the Wine Press US forum? I haven't been able to bring it up for several days.
 

Wade E

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Can you post exactly what you did with this batch including sulfite additions, lemon juice ingredients such as sorbate or benzoate on the label? It sounds like either too high an sg, too much sulfites or to much acid which is my guess. Winepress is doing more updates I guess but why its been down for the last few days doesnt make sense.
 

St Allie

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lemon is a pig to get started..

do a really strong starter with a good strong yeast such as lalvin 1118, add nutrients and energiser if you have energiser.

you will have to add bits of the must to the starter and build it up really well before adding back into the carboy..

it took me three days to get mine started.. but once it's going you're fine.

Allie
 

ryankelley

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Can you post exactly what you did with this batch including sulfite additions, lemon juice ingredients such as sorbate or benzoate on the label? It sounds like either too high an sg, too much sulfites or to much acid which is my guess. Winepress is doing more updates I guess but why its been down for the last few days doesnt make sense.
I pretty much used the recipe below. The changes I made: I squeezed enough lemons to make the required juice. I added 1/2 pound of chopped golden raisins. I increased the recipe to 6 gallons, upping all the ingredients by 20%. I didn't have a yeast slurry, so I started a new packet and let it foam for an hour or so before adding it. Finally, I thought it would be wise to add 5 campden tablets and wait 30 hours to add the yeast.

This is my second batch. The first one was started when the house was about 79 degrees and fired up right away.

I just don't know if I can try to salvage the existing yeast...or should I get a new packet and start all over trying to get it started.


Skeeter Pee

For a 5 gallon batch

3 bottles of 32oz 100% lemon juice (e.g ReaLemon in the green plastic bottles or equivalent)
7 lbs sugar (or 16 cups)
3/4 tsp tannin
6 tsp. yeast nutrient

2 tsp. yeast energizer

Approx, 4 ¾ gallons water

Yeast Slurry


Potassium metabisulfite (Kmeta)

Potassium sorbate (sorbate)

Sparkolloid



Many people have difficulty getting lemonade to ferment. This is due, I believe, to several factors. The high acidity, the lack of natural nutrients, and preservatives that are often included in the lemon juice. Therefore, I do whatever I can to assist the process.


I use reverse osmosis water (this is by choice and tap water should work fine since much of the chlorine should evaporate out during the initial steps). Make invert sugar by adding your 16 cups sugar to a large stainless cooking pot along with 8 cups water and 14 teaspoons lemon juice. Stir sugar to dissolve and heat to just below boiling while stirring. Hold at this temperature for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and pour it into your primary along with 2 of the bottles of the lemon juice (reserve the last bottle until later), and enough additional water to make 5 ½ gallons. Add the tannin, 3 tsp. of the yeast nutrient and 1 tsp. of the yeast energizer. Stir.

Test S.G with hydrometer and record. I shoot for an SG of around 1.07 which yields a beverage of around 10% alcohol if it ferments dry. Vigorously beat the mixture with a wire whip for a couple of minutes to introduce oxygen and purge it of artificial preservatives. I then cover the bucket with a dish towel and let the sit for 24 to 48 hours.


After 24-48 hours, give it another quick whip and then pour in yeast slurry from the first rack of another batch of wine. It sometimes takes a while, but you should have active fermentation within a couple of days. It helps to keep this must warm (70-80 degrees). You may need to occasionally whip in some additional oxygen with the whip if fermentation seems to be progressing slowly.
 

Julie

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Steve,
What happened to the Wine Press US forum? I haven't been able to bring it up for several days.
I believe they are down because of server issues. Joel said he needed to do another major upgrade but I believe the server had other issues that he is trying to resolve.

If anyone here has not tried making Skeeter Pee, you just have to. OMGosh is it good. Just follow the recipe exactly and you will not have any issues. Actually Skeeter Pee has it's own website, www.skeeterpee.com

ryankelley, you can probably reach Lon, who created the recipe through the Skeeter Pee website. I am sure he will be able to help you.
 

Wade E

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How much sulfite did you add? Do you have an acid test kit? I would imagine that this is the problem. Do you have any wine that needs to be racked off its primary lees in the near future?
 

ryankelley

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How much sulfite did you add? Do you have an acid test kit? I would imagine that this is the problem. Do you have any wine that needs to be racked off its primary lees in the near future?
Other than the 5 campden tabs, I didn't add sulfites... I don't have ph paper or an acid test kit. Maybe I should get one. I don't have anything to rack off.

My thought is starting this with a new pack of yeast that's foaming and adding a cup of skeeter pee to the must 1-2 times per day...

Do you think there's a chance the yeast I added a week ago can still make this wine?
 

Wade E

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I highly dought the yeast you added a week ago stands any chance at all if it isnt fermenting at all.
 

St Allie

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Other than the 5 campden tabs, I didn't add sulfites... I don't have ph paper or an acid test kit. Maybe I should get one. I don't have anything to rack off.

My thought is starting this with a new pack of yeast that's foaming and adding a cup of skeeter pee to the must 1-2 times per day...

Do you think there's a chance the yeast I added a week ago can still make this wine?
read my post above ryan,

the previously added yeast has been overpowered by the acidity and natural preservatives in lemons, plus a lack of nutrient, it's just not available in the must and sugar won't cover it..

lemon is a pig to ferment.

you need to make a huge starter.. not a litre.. not 3 pints.. at least a gallon for a 6 gallon batch.

Allie
 

arcticsid

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Raisins really need to be soaked and rinsed first, then chopped. They are heavily sulfited.

Just a thought.
If you didn't do this I'll find the link for you.
 

vvolf34

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I have not done a lemon yet, but have read about it, because it is something I won't to do. I have read about two ways of getting your yeast started. Make your must, start your yeast, once it's going for a day, add 1 cup of must, if it's still going strong the next day, add another cup, do this about 5 times.

The other way, make your must but only put about 25% of the required lemon juice, start and pitch the yeast. If it is going good, add some more lemon juice the next day, if it's still going strong add some more juice the next day. It is a slow process either way and takes several days to get the yeast going strong.

Both ways are almost exactly the same, you slowly add lemon juice to the yeast so they can build up a tolerance to it.

Good Luck!!
 

ryankelley

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read my post above ryan,

the previously added yeast has been overpowered by the acidity and natural preservatives in lemons, plus a lack of nutrient, it's just not available in the must and sugar won't cover it..

lemon is a pig to ferment.

you need to make a huge starter.. not a litre.. not 3 pints.. at least a gallon for a 6 gallon batch.

Allie

Allie,
Thanks for the advice. I bought a new package of Pasteur Champagne and a 1 gallon jug. I will get the thing started tonight.

I'm following Jack Keller's recommendation on making a starter. It seems like it's moving around in there. I'll keep adding must to the starter until it's a gallon.
 
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Tom

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Let us know how it works.
I also had a problem with my Cranberry wine getting started. Had to do the same as what Allie suggested make a big starter
 

e-wine

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The best thing to do is test for acidity. This could help to identify the issue for further reference and take away the guessing game. As the must ferments, it become more base. The ideal of a large "starter" makes sense since you are basically deluting the acid content. As the fruit ripens and the sugar content increases, the acid content decrease so the difference between the last batch starting and this batch presenting difficulties could all come down to the ripeness of the fruit. I think I paid $10.00 for the acid test kit and it's very easy to use. I found out my last two batches were too base so I had to increase the acid level. It's good to find out what's going on now instead of trying to figure it out later.

e-wine

"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results."
~Sir Winston Churchill
 

xanxer82

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Could be the amount of sulfite... what was it? 5 campden tabs.
Perhaps a new starter with yeast nurtrient would help.
The acidity is a factor too.
I clean my pans with lemon halves if that has anything to tell you about the acids and essential oils of lemon.
 

ryankelley

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Could be the amount of sulfite... what was it? 5 campden tabs.
Perhaps a new starter with yeast nurtrient would help.
The acidity is a factor too.
I clean my pans with lemon halves if that has anything to tell you about the acids and essential oils of lemon.
It seems to be working away in there. The foam looks like a rootbeer float. I have it up to about a 1/4 gallon of yeast starter. I'll keep adding a cup or so of must to the starter until it's a gallon.
 

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