Low s.g. From juice pail

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Tahdi

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Hi, I picked up a pail of merlot juice. Brought it to room temperature. Grabbed the hydrometer. It read 1.054. Seems low. Can I go ahead and pitch the yeast? Do I need to make some corrections first? Thanks for helping a NOOB.
 

richmke

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A starting SG of 1.054 implies an ABV of 7.61%, which is low. You want an ABV of about 12% for a Merlot. I would want a starting SG of 1.085 to 1.100. Adjust before you pitch the yeast.
 

Ajmassa

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1/2 quart of simple syrup raised my SG from 1.091 to 1.102. I should have added it a little at a time so i didn't go too. 1 qt of sugar and 1/2 qt of water will make 1 qt of simple syrup
 

Tahdi

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It was cold when I picked it up. The pail of Pinot Grigio I picked up at the same time came in at 1.082. I think it started the party without me. There's quite a bit of fizz. Should I just pitch? I know I'll never know the abv. Or, should I add some simple syrup? Thanks
 

Ajmassa

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That's tough. Hopefully someone else can shed some light.
I would normally. At least a 1/2 pint or more. But the natural yeast already taking off is one giant question mark. Because if it goes all the though then great. But if it stalls out it'll just be that much sweeter.
With that said I think I would err on the side of caution and let it ride as is since I don't think cultured yeast can take over an already active fermentation.
Unless you find out that you can successful add yeast l, that is.
 

Tahdi

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I could call them tomorrow. I'm pretty sure it started fermenting already. Other pails from them have been on target. Trying to find out if I should just pitch the yeast and see. Thanks
 

Tahdi

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That's tough. Hopefully someone else can shed some light.
I would normally. At least a 1/2 pint or more. But the natural yeast already taking off is one giant question mark. Because if it goes all the though then great. But if it stalls out it'll just be that much sweeter.
With that said I think I would err on the side of caution and let it ride as is since I don't think cultured yeast can take over an already active fermentation.
Unless you find out that you can successful add yeast l, that is.
What are your thoughts on trying to knock down whatever yeast is in it with Camden tablets? Or adding more yeast? It fermenting fully is probably the biggest concern.
 

Ajmassa

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I think that's a good idea. And the sooner the better so the new yeast has as much sugar to work with as possible. But amount of k-meta and how long to wait? Couldn't tell ya. And I wouldn't feel comfortable giving advice on it. Although I've been making wine a lot of years, I'm also a noob in terms of knowledge and making wine "the right way"
 

stickman

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Does the bucket smell good? Don't try to kill the existing yeast, it will only cause problems. If the bucket was pre-inoculated, it will be fine, if not, adding some EC1118 or other strong yeast probably wouldn't hurt. I wouldn't bother adding any fancy yeast as it isn't going to do much good at this point.
 

pete1325

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I read on this forum that store bought (cultured yeast) will dominate/take over any natural/wild yeast. Although the SG appears low, and without knowing if it started to ferment already, I wouldn't hesitate to pitch more yeast....and maybe some yeast nutrients as well. Either way, I think it will ferment dry. I'm not sure a vineyard would ship juice that wasn't at least 1.090 or higher.....that's around a 26-27 brix.....i think.
 

sour_grapes

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I agree with stickman on all counts! And pete, too, for that matter.
 

Johnd

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I'd sprinkle a pack of EC1118 on top, betting it will take over, or at least finish up if the natural yeasts stall.
 

Boatboy24

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My approach would be similar to the others, though I'd let the current fermentation go and if it started to show any signs of stress, THEN pitch the EC-1118. That way, if there is a more suitable yeast in there, you at least give it a chance to finish before the EC-1118 just takes over.
 

Stevelaz

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Since we are on the subject of low sg, is it ok to add sugar to juice buckets to bump up your PA, or is it not advisable? I always thought not to because the buckets are balanced already. Last year my Merlot started out with a sg of 1.086 which gives a PA of a bit over 11%. I thought that was a bit low at the time, but i left it alone.

This year I was thinking of bumping it up a bit. However, this years Merlot started at a sg of 1.090-3 which i believe give a PA close to 12%. My Carmenere also started the same...I would have liked to see it at 13% PA but i decided to leave it alone also because it was close and i wasn't sure if you should mess with juice buckets.

Also, to anyone who checked the Chilean juice this year (especially the BELLO brand), how was it balanced? Did you need to make any adjustments? I do not have anything to check, other that hydrometer, so i wing it and hope its been balanced properly.... Thanks!
 

Johnd

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Since we are on the subject of low sg, is it ok to add sugar to juice buckets to bump up your PA, or is it not advisable? I always thought not to because the buckets are balanced already. Last year my Merlot started out with a sg of 1.086 which gives a PA of a bit over 11%. I thought that was a bit low at the time, but i left it alone.

This year I was thinking of bumping it up a bit. However, this years Merlot started at a sg of 1.090-3 which i believe give a PA close to 12%. My Carmenere also started the same...I would have liked to see it at 13% PA but i decided to leave it alone also because it was close and i wasn't sure if you should mess with juice buckets.

Also, to anyone who checked the Chilean juice this year (especially the BELLO brand), how was it balanced? Did you need to make any adjustments? I do not have anything to check, other that hydrometer, so i wing it and hope its been balanced properly.... Thanks!
You can certainly boost the BRIX in your juice buckets if you like, even if it has been acid balanced, the effects to the acid will be minimal. Word of caution though, as we see in the posts above, make sure that you are not boosting on a bucket that has already started fermentation. If fermentation has started already, you just don't know what the original SG was, and boosting could produce a wine with too high of an ABV, out of balance rocket fuel, or a wine that ends up with residual sugar when the alcohol kills the yeast as it reaches the yeast's alcohol tolerance.
 

Stevelaz

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Thanks john, that is why i decided to leave it alone. I have enough rocket fuel with my dragon blood...lol
 

Floandgary

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The practice of pre-inoculation/ph adjustments by many distribution companies has been very helpful for many. However there have been just as many complaints of fermentation "underway" at purchase which has led to abandonment of that practice by a number of companies. That said, one could make the argument that wild yeasts have been given free reign. If a first read Sg appears low, I'd suggest a second read a day or two later to verify fermentation or stability. You could extrapolate (guess) what an original Sg might have been. In any case you could do no harm in adding a custom yeast to take over and get a flavor result more to your liking. Go ahead,,,, be a mad scientist!!:db BUT KEEP NOTES!!!
 
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