WineXpert Luna Rossa stuck???

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jdeere5220

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Hello all you experts... couple of questions:

I have a W.E. Luna Rossa kit in secondary. When I racked from the primary, it was at SG 1.002 and bubbling slow but steady (every 30 seconds or so). It had previously fermented very hard for about 4 days. Once I racked to the carboy, the bubbling quickly died out within a day or so.

A full two weeks later, my SG is 1.001 near as I can read it. Am I ever going to make it to 0.996 like the instructions call for? Is there any way to get things moving again?

I measured the temp tonight and it's exactly 72 degrees with my brew-belt. What could I have done wrong to cause this to stall??

Last question: The SG started for this kit started at 1.082. The ABV for this kit is claimed by W.E. to be 13%. How is that possible? It doesn't seem possible to me. I'm not complaining really, I tried a bottle of this wine from my retailer and thought it was excellent. I'm just wondering how a 1.082 starting SG can turn into 13% ABV. Marketing magic??
 

cpfan

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Just wondering where you saw the 13% claim for this kit. It's not in their printed catalog and I couldn't see it online. But since the web-site update the search mechanism is poor. Actually it's good in some ways, but I just want to type in Luna Rossa and get all the hits, not just the short description.

BTW, I don't really care about the LR, but was wondering about another product.

Steve
 

MN-winer

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On my instructions it says that Mezza Luna will not ferment below .998, so I think you are very close. I would not worry. The 13% is not on the instructions. It could be that maybe you needed to stir it more initially before you took your reading. Those concentrates are hard to mix.

I think you are fine.
 
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I'm doing the Cabernet/Semillion kit myself and have the exact same problem as jdeere5220. It was actively fermenting and then I racked from primary to 6 gal carboy and it slowed down tremendously. After the 10 day mark, I'm at .998 and should be at .996. I know the Mezza Luna says it won't go below .998.

It's only a few .003 points for each of us. Does it really matter if it doesn't go right down to those SG's? How long should we wait because it might have eaten up all the sugar and no more fermentation is possible?

BTW, I also used a brew belt so temps were constant.
 

rawlus

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are you temp-adjusting your SG readings?
if you get three days in a row of the same SG, then you can probably consider it finished and proceed onto the next step.
the inexpensive hydrometers bought with most equipment kits are okay but not exactly precise - they can be off 0.002 +/- either through calibration error or user error in reading it, must with particulate can also affect the reading slightly.
narrow-range hydrometers are substantially more accurate and far easier to read.
the earlier comment about mixing the concentrate and the water well is a good one - this step is very important and can have some impact on the final outcome if not done thoroughly too.

your hydrometer in distilled water at whatever the calibration temp is (it'll say on the hydrometer scale) should read 1.000, sometimes the little paper inside slides up or down in the tube a bit and produces a consistently off reading that you have to manually adjust for.
 
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I forgot about the temp adjustment! Great catch! I'm using a plastic carboy and have the brew belt on. I have a feeling the brew belt was to be used only for the primary fermenter, which is a thicker plastic and using n the plastic carboy might actually increase the temp of the wine. I have to find a temp adjustment chart somewhere. There's probably one on this forum
 

cpfan

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I forgot about the temp adjustment! Great catch! I'm using a plastic carboy and have the brew belt on. I have a feeling the brew belt was to be used only for the primary fermenter, which is a thicker plastic and using n the plastic carboy might actually increase the temp of the wine. I have to find a temp adjustment chart somewhere. There's probably one on this forum
You also need to know what temperature your hydrometer is calibrated for, so it's best to have the chart that came with your hydrometer.

Many people on the forums mention 60F as the calibration temperature, but the ones I am using are calibrated at 68F.

Steve
 

Wade E

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The instructions that come with wine kits are just guies so dont take them so literally. They will not usually go down to a specific sg just because they are written on a pce of paper. Most of the W.E kits Ive sen usually stop a little earlier then stated which is another reason I dont particularly care for them cause they usuqally leave a little residual sugar and I dont like that in red grape wines. I have made a lot of the higher end RJS and they all seem to ferment very dry like .996 or even sometimes a little lower.
 

cpfan

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The instructions that come with wine kits are just guies so dont take them so literally. They will not usually go down to a specific sg just because they are written on a pce of paper. Most of the W.E kits Ive sen usually stop a little earlier then stated which is another reason I dont particularly care for them cause they usuqally leave a little residual sugar and I dont like that in red grape wines. I have made a lot of the higher end RJS and they all seem to ferment very dry like .996 or even sometimes a little lower.
Wade:

I'm a bit surprised by your comment. I haven't done many Winexpert kits but they usually drop down to .992-.994 for me. Last year's LE NZ Merlot actually dropped to .990 for me. Perhaps part of the difference is that you usually make the Crushendos and I haven't made any of those yet.

Steve
 

rawlus

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agree, the WE kits ive done have gone to 0992-0994.
but most know there is some bias against WE here and rabid support for RJS.
prob because george stopped selling WE, so they must crap right? :)
 

Wade E

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I actually like the W.E. wines except for their reds, I love their specialty wines and like their whites, I just dont like their reds as I find them sweeter then other brands and they excude a kit taste to me much stronger then any other brands Ive tasted. I maybe the reason that George doest sell them anymore due to arguing a post by Tim Vandergrift on Georges site and immediatelty after tat W.E. sent George a message telling him to make a decision that was very foolish on their part but thats the way the cookie crumbles. Of all the kits out there being made this brand has the most problems. I do like thier products and most of their wines eb=ven a lot of their reds also but they seem to need the most aging to rid themselves of the kit taste. I aklso like the customer support way better from rjs then W.E., they both will get back to you pretty quick but RJS usually replaces your kit without so much back and fourth emails on what you did and if it can be fixed. CP, as you know I am on a lot of forums and answer almost every kit problem out there as do you and you must have oticed that almost every thraed with a kit stopping early is W.E. kit. Ive only made 5 red wine kits from W.E. to date and three of them were Selection International, one Selection Origina and one Crushendo and 3 of them went down like yours did but 2 stopped around 1.000 which I wasnt crazy about and the only one that didnt taste to "kitty" was the Crushendo which was an excellent wine by the way. The Stags Leap stopped a little earlier then I wanted it also. Please realize that I just advertise the brand that I feel makes a better kit with far less problems. I stronly recommend anyone who likes a chocolate wine to do the W.E. kit over the RJS Orange kit cause I think its a much better tasting wine even though that kit is a bear to ferment all the way down. Lots of people prefer the Ornange Chocolate over the W.E Rasp. and I have made both and IMO the W.E. kit is miles above the RJS on that 1!
 

cpfan

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Wade:

I agree that there are a lot of problems reported on the forums with WE kits. BUT I think that there are many more WE kits being made than the other brands, so there will be more people having problems with them.

On this forum, there are 145 WE threads, 49 RJS threads, and 38 Cellar Craft threads. More WE problems but also more "I'm making this kit, what should I tweak" posts.

So you advertise RJS, and I'll advertise Vineco. BTW, I have no problems with RJS kits, but the local store doesn't seem to want my business.

Steve
 

Wade E

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I also advertise the RJS kits because thats what I buy because thats what I can get locally and cheap. Many places are really not selling the W.E. kits around here anymore for some reason, everyone has switched to RJS and Mosti. I would really like to try some of those kits that you get but am not willing to shell out tye extra for shipping when I know I can make a good kit without paying shipping. I dont even really buy any kits from George, basically just supplies and beer kits.
 

jdeere5220

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Sorry if I started a red/green type debate. It's pretty clear that some prefer certain brands, and if you didn't share your views here how would a newbie like me who only knows W.E. even know there were options? So it's all good, share your views, and we are free to agree or not.

I've been lurking on the finevine site a bit trying to pick a kit that I will like, since my local retailer only carries WE. My biggest complaint is it's hard to get much of a detailed description about the RJS varieties.

Back on topic, thanks everyone for your advice. I was also wondering about my hydrometer accuracy and I'm going to pick up one of those that has an expanded scale around the 1.000 mark for more accuracy.

Yes, the instructions say .998, but my retailer told me it should to .996 (I was asking him about the ABV question). I certainly would like it to at least get below 1.000.

After reading here and at finevine, I also splash-racked (I think that's the term) into another carboy, and guess what it seems to be active, just a bit, again. Maybe a bubble every 15 minutes, but it's something. I'm thinking ( I could entirely wrong!) that when you rack our of the primary at the < 1.010 reading, the yeast is still in the active/multiplying stage, and it needs some air. I was trying to do a "no air" type racking, and that might be a mistake. I watched my retailer do a rack from primary to secondary and he just barely puts the hose into the secondary, so the wine falls through a lot of air. Maybe I'm all wet just taking guesses why my secondary might have stopped a bit early.

Should you attached the airlock during primary? My first kit (Island Mist) told me explicitly to attach the airlock, but this kit just says to "cover the primary fermenter" and doesn't actually say to attach the airlock. I'm thinking that since it kicking out so much CO2 at this stage anyway it doesn't really matter either way?

Anyway thanks again, great forum and it's a really big help to me as I'm getting started. Will be starting the WE Lodi Ranch Cab Sav later this week!!

Oh regarding the 13% ABV, that came from "Tim's Wine Blog" on the WE site. I can't seem to find that blog now, but I know I read it there.
 
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rawlus

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austin homebrew has a good selection of narrow-range hydrometers which are very easy to read.
i have two, the 0980-1020
and the 1060-1130

with my aging eyesight, these prove much easier to use as the entire scale isnt crammed into a small space.. very easy to see down to .0005 resolution.

they do not fit into a fermtech combo thief tho, you need a test cylinder as these are wider and overall larger than the cheap hydrometers.
 

rawlus

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that's a good article. we were discussing the very same topic at the BU wine school last night as we were tasting several popular sonoma and napa area AVA wines, whites and reds, most of which were alcohol dominant from 14.1% to 15%+ - and this was for very typical chardonnays, sauv blancs, zins, pinots and merlots. the alcohol had an unpleasant effect on the palate and crushed the fruitiness and threw everything off balance. i don't know why americans in particular equate more alcohol with more quality but i look forward to the trend subsiding a bit so that we can get back to more balanced, nuanced and delicate wine choices instead of each wine trying to one-up the other with heat and alcohol.

there is absolutely nothing wrong with a red in the 12.5-13.5% range and if made well it will not be "thin" tasting or "watery", it's all about balance.

higher taxes for producers and distributors kick in over 14% which ultimately just raises the prices for consumers too. i think part of this high-alcohol trend is also related to the overripeness trend, vinting raisin clusters.
 

jdeere5220

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Couldn't agree more. As I tried to state, I'm not complaining if the Luna Rossa isn't > 13%, I'm just trying to match up Tim's claim with my initial SG reading, just to check my understanding, and they don't match up. I suspect maybe they have changed this kit a bit, who knows. As long as it tastes good I'll make another right behind it!
 

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