Quantcast

making wine "the old way"?

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

klutz

Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
49
Reaction score
0
Hi!
I thought I would try making wine without adding sugar (except to make the yeast solution) and see what happened.
After 6 days in the bucket with yeast, I strained the juice out, and the SG was 1.000. Then I put it in demi johns, but now, I don't see any activity. There was very little activity already in the bucket, while I had even added a pinch of yeast nutrients. My husband thinks it will just take a lot longer, but really? with nothing happening? Has anyone else done this and had the same experience? Should I have waited longer before I strained the must and put it in demi johns?
Thanks a million for any helpful answer.
 

drainsurgeon

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2016
Messages
420
Reaction score
143
What was your start SG? Just wondering if there was enough food for the yeasts to do their thing.
 

Stressbaby

Just a Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2012
Messages
2,078
Reaction score
830
I would just sit tight. Sometimes the combination of a reduced number of yeast organisms after racking, plus the slight degassing that occurs with racking, means that the remaining yeast gear up more slowly and the wine takes a while to get saturated with CO2 again.
 

JohnT

Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
10,012
Reaction score
5,762
If you are at 1.0000 SG, then fermentation is all but complete.
 

BernardSmith

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
3,405
Reaction score
1,587
Location
Saratoga Springs
What activity are you looking for? A gravity of 1.000 is pretty close to being fully fermented. 1.000 is the density of water , but if there is also alcohol present then the gravity could fall - COULD fall - to about 0.996 but there could be other substances in the liquor that are not sugar , or not fermentable but that increase the density. What was the starting gravity and what yeast did you pitch? Do you know the pH of the wine? If it is close to 3.0 then that might be enough to stall the fermentation especially if you just racked - and so removed most of the yeast...What I would do is taste the wine. Of course it will be green but that taste will suggest whether there is some residual sugar or whether the wine is bone dry..
 

JohnT

Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
10,012
Reaction score
5,762
Did you calibrate your hydrometer?? Could it be off a little?
 

drainsurgeon

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2016
Messages
420
Reaction score
143
Did you calibrate your hydrometer?? Could it be off a little?
All right, I wondered about calibrating my hydrometer. Do you just put it in water and it should be 1.0? Is it really that simple?
 

JohnT

Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
10,012
Reaction score
5,762
It should be in distilled water at the designated calibration temperature (this should be written somewhere on the scale-label).
 

klutz

Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
49
Reaction score
0
What was your start SG? Just wondering if there was enough food for the yeasts to do their thing.
I actually didn't check the SG right at the beginning. How could there not be enough food in the grapes?
 

klutz

Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
49
Reaction score
0
What activity are you looking for? A gravity of 1.000 is pretty close to being fully fermented. 1.000 is the density of water , but if there is also alcohol present then the gravity could fall - COULD fall - to about 0.996 but there could be other substances in the liquor that are not sugar , or not fermentable but that increase the density. What was the starting gravity and what yeast did you pitch? Do you know the pH of the wine? If it is close to 3.0 then that might be enough to stall the fermentation especially if you just racked - and so removed most of the yeast...What I would do is taste the wine. Of course it will be green but that taste will suggest whether there is some residual sugar or whether the wine is bone dry..
I didn't measure starting gravity. Well, know that for next time. The yeast was EC1118, Saccaromyses cerevisiae(exbyanus). The wine tasted sweet, but a bit sharp. Not sour though. The grapes I used were very sweet.
How do I measure the PH? What would happen if I added a sprinkle of yeast?
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,645
Reaction score
2,362
Location
Northwest Arkansas
I actually didn't check the SG right at the beginning. How could there not be enough food in the grapes?

Grapes sugar, acidity, tannin etc varies from season to season. Unless you are making a prepared kit wine that is pre-balanced, you have to plan for adjustments OR if you are going au naturale - live with the outcome. Since you added a wine yeast, you need to make sure that yeast gets the sugar and nutrients it needs to work properly. That's why pre-fermentation measurements are so important - you won't know what results to expect if you don't know where you started. So the biggest issue is - Will your finished wine have enough alcohol and be sufficiently acidic to keep, even enough to age properly.

At this point you can't determine accurately how much alcohol you have but you can test acidity and adjust that much. Probably would be a good idea to consume it within a years time even though it may lack sufficient aging to mellow out and attain it's full flavor and body.
 
Last edited:

klutz

Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
49
Reaction score
0
Ok thanks. Guess I didn't do my homework. This is all new to me, but it's how I learn --by asking you folks at this forum. So doing it the "old way" is the same as going au naturale, which means I should not add yeast. Is that it?
How do I test the acidity?
 

drainsurgeon

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2016
Messages
420
Reaction score
143
If there was a good rain right before harvest the grapes get bigger and absorb a certain amount. They plump up and look beautiful, but they are now a watered down grape. The sugar content is also watered down and therefor might not be at your target SG. Sugar would have to be added at that point. I'm not saying that there would not be enough sugar to ferment the wine. Just not enough to get to the ABV that you're looking for.
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,645
Reaction score
2,362
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Assuming that this is not your first adventure into wine making (Based on number of previous posts) Hopefully you have some of the basic tools. Unfortunately the folks who sell starter kits to consumers leave out any pH testing tools.

Even a simple package of pH test strips would work for white or light colored wines. So you have at least 3 ways to test the acidity of your wine in the making.
1) pH test strips - you need some made for wine that will measure between 3.0 and 3.8 That would let you know if your wine is within the correct range. The problem is that test strips require you to interpret the color results and that ranges from slightly difficult (white wines) to impossible (Red wines or for the color blind). (Cost -$3.00-$10.00)
2) A TA test kit. They work great but remember that the sample, though small, becomes toxic after the test and has to be tossed out. They are very accurate and relatively easy to use if you follow the included directions. (Cost - $8.00-$15.00)
3) A pH meter. Easiest to use and you can test as often as you like without losing the test sample or running out of material (Test strips or Chemicals) like 1 & 2. You do have to check calibration on them peridically as they can drift off. They require basic care and recalibration solutions to re-calibrate but other than that they are probably the easiest test tool to use. (Cost -$20.00 - $ Hundreds (for the high-class an swell varities)) With a pH meter you can also do a TA test with the most accurate results but again that would require an additional chemical and render the sample toxic just as in thee standard TA test process.

Don't forget that pH and TA test acidity slightly differently but the end results you need are - Is my wine acidic enough to keep or is it over the top acidic and need to be toned down. (If you need help understanding the difference between TA and pH look through the threads on this forum - there are some excellent posts to help you underdstand.

One last point - some folks test both, some only do pH, some only do TA, and some don't test at all. The choice is yours and there is no wrong answer as long as you know the possible end results of your choice.
 
Last edited:

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,645
Reaction score
2,362
Location
Northwest Arkansas
To those with so much knowledge on wine making -
To those with so little knowledge on wine making -

This is for you (And me):

“A determined Yankee book drummer once told a Southerner that 'a set of books on scientific agriculture' would teach him to 'farm twice as good as you do.'

To which the Southerner replied: 'Hell, son, I don't farm half as good as I know how now.”
 

klutz

Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
49
Reaction score
0
If there was a good rain right before harvest the grapes get bigger and absorb a certain amount. They plump up and look beautiful, but they are now a watered down grape. The sugar content is also watered down and therefor might not be at your target SG. Sugar would have to be added at that point. I'm not saying that there would not be enough sugar to ferment the wine. Just not enough to get to the ABV that you're looking for.
Thanks. There had been no rain for quite a long time, and the grapes were very sweet. But I think I understand you to mean to say that I won't get the alcohol content I am looking for? So that means the wine is now done as far as it can be done?
 
Top