Newbie need help so urgent please

Discussion in 'General Wine Making Forum' started by MoeJay, Jul 18, 2019.

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  1. Jul 18, 2019 #1

    MoeJay

    MoeJay

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm just newbie at wine making. And I really cooked up . And I really need help to finalize the decision.

    Here is the situation, I started my first 2 5gals red grapes juice batches on 29th June.

    Batch 1: Redstar premier classique at 1170, 3 ts of tannin + 3 ts of nutrient.

    Batch 2: Lalvin c1118 at 1160, 3 ts of tannin + 3 ts of nutrient.

    Basically , I missed reading the hydrometer. I actually was shooting 1070. But because I didn't notice that I had exceeded the 1.100.

    So I added more and more sugar to reach the 70 in the hydrometer ( no idea that I was over the 1.100 )
    I left it for a week then I noticed the mistake on 7th of July.

    So what I did, is I decided to delute the juice and split them to become 3 5gals ( one is mixed of the original two, 3rd and 3rd of the juice) and adding more red grape juice to delute them.

    By dulting the juice I reached approx of 1.070 Specific Gravity for each.

    Originally, the red star yeast did not show activity at the beginning. Therefore, after I added the juice to duliute the must I also added yeast energizer and tannin as well for all the 3 batches.

    after I deluted and added the energizer and nutrients; the 3 batches are showing slow bubbling in the airlock. But foam-wise, only the Lalvin's batch has foam.

    Now, here what is I'm having trouble with: on 13th of July I checked the Specific gravity and the results as follow:
    Red Star (which never foamed neither showed a sign of fermentation at the beginning) is still at 1.070.

    The lalvin's batch, on the contrary, (that is bubbling and foaming)yet, has no changes in the hydrometer either, It still on 1.075 and the mixed is still on 1.055!!

    And they are all sooooooo tart and taste bitter .:m

    Can you help on what I shall do or may be suggest an action to refine the batches please.

    Should I add yeast to restart fermentation? Although they are bubbling steadily, a bubble every 30 seconds.

    Is it stall?

    Should I just leave them this way?
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  2. Jul 18, 2019 #2

    salcoco

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    first guess you are reading hydrometer incorrectly. second guess the yeast has not reached colony size to ferment or is even dead.

    I would review your technique for reading hydrometer go on You Tube and view how to do it. second I would re pitch yeast to the once exhibiting a sg=1070.
     
  3. Jul 18, 2019 #3

    MoeJay

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    You are right in both situations, I had a regular hydrometer at first and have no experience on using it, I watched couple vids and said easy to handle then I cooked up in every reading. Now, I have an electronic hydrometer that I have adjusted to 1.000 using normal tap water then I took the new readings from 13th July.

    Separately, I am too weary of adding yeast just because I dont want to have a yeasty taste in the finished product. Second I have done a great jeopardy to get the yeast to where I am now ( where alcoholic is prohipted) and it means wasting a very valuable sachet!!

    But If this step is necessary then it is just the way!

    I will wait for the agreements before using new sachets!

    Many thanks to you
     
  4. Jul 18, 2019 #4

    Norton

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    When I have needed to add a second yeast packet I didn’t notice a change in taste.
     
  5. Jul 22, 2019 #5

    MoeJay

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    Hi friends,

    Sorry I had trouble replying back yesterday. Thank you for your inputs and great appreciation to you all.

    I have listened to your suggestions and recommendations and I added a yeast sachet for every 5 gal carboy when you told ( the day before). I added Lalvin for the ones I used lavlin to, and Redstar for the one I used Redstar to.

    The thing is that, now it's been the 3rd day since I added the yeast to the 1 month old stuck batches, the bubble still running at the same pace ( 1 per second). Specific Gravity still no significant drop.

    I have already added yeat energizer, tannin and nutrient to the batches when they were 2 weeks old ( and I might added more than enough as I was guessing by the normal dining spoon.... Heeee haaa!!).

    Any suggestions please?


    Moe
     
  6. Jul 23, 2019 #6

    MoeJay

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    Any suggestions, please!

    I'm just stuck just like my batches!!
     
  7. Jul 23, 2019 #7

    peterseng

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    This reminds me of a similar mistake I made not too long ago with a batch of apple wine - added way too much sugar in chaptalization and then the yeast couldn't ferment it dry (they hit their alcohol tolerance level of about 13% and shut down). Without some more information I can't be certain this is what happened here, but it seems likely, especially for the Redstar batch.
    Do you know what the SG readings were before you diluted the batches with fresh juice? Do you have SG readings from the juice you used to dilute them?
    The part that really doesn't make sense is that they are foaming (at least the Lavlin) and bubbling through the airlocks for days and show no decrease in specific gravity. Could your electric hydrometer need additional calibration? I've never used one, but I know that my electric pH meter requires calibration at 3 separate points using solutions that came with it, so it's really just a guess, but possibly worth checking.
     
  8. Jul 23, 2019 #8

    tjgaul

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    You have a lot going on with these batches. The big missing piece of information is the amount of SG drop experienced in that first week. Most likely, you already converted a fair amount of sugar to alcohol prior to diluting down to 1.070, which is a normal starting point. Adding fresh yeast and restarting the fermentation was the best option, but you may generate enough alcohol to stall the primary ferment well before you reach an SG of .998 or lower. As long as the airlocks are tight and continue to bubble I would let it run its course for a few more days. As far as adding too much yeast, that should not be a concern. By the time the wine is racked and cleared there won't be any noticeable impact on the taste.

    If the final SG ends up higher than a sweetness level you can tolerate then your only real option is to make another batch fully dry and blend the dry and sweet batches to taste.

    I had a Cabernet Sauvignon batch stall out at SG 1.010 and I couldn't get it going so I made a second batch totally dry and blended the 1.010 batch into this and 2 other kits at the rate of 1 gal to 3 gal to get an off-dry wine. The end result turned out very well.

    Hopefully, with a little more time your batches will ferment down around SG 1.000 and you can move forward as normal.
     
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  9. Jul 23, 2019 #9

    Chuck E

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    What is the temperature there? Yeast prefer a range between 55 F and 75 F. If you are too warm or too cold that may cause stalling. Are you stirring the must at least once a day?
     
  10. Jul 24, 2019 #10

    MoeJay

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    Hi all,

    Tha k you for your positive feedback. I really appreciate it and it is making my day.

    The OG for the first fermentation before deluting was 1.170 for red star batch and dropped to 1.100. As for the Lalvin it started at 1.160 and also dropped to 1. 1 something which I cant recall really, but was somewhere between 1.100 and 1.130.

    Peter, the juice I used to delute the batches is the same juice that I used for the batches, I will make a reading then let you know.

    The hydrometer I started to use lately is tend to be a refractometer which is calibrated using water(tap water to 1.000).

    And the room temp is 22-27 degrees Celsius (the AC is set for auto).

    As for the degasing, I never did. But I meant to splash them into the new carboys when I first racked them. And eversince, I am only giving a big shake and swirl to the carboys( twice a week).
     
  11. Jul 24, 2019 #11

    MoeJay

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    TJ,

    I really appreciate the inspiration you are giving me. I may need to start a new batch, but as a newbie in just not certain about the amount and what alcohol target to hit for this remedy batch.
     
  12. Jul 24, 2019 #12

    MoeJay

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    And by the way GM, I have added yeast energizer yesterday and nothing just happen! I expected a volcano! But literally the batches are running the same!
     
  13. Jul 24, 2019 #13

    sour_grapes

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    Ahh, this may prove to be the problem. A refractometer will not read accurately in the presence of alcohol. The index of refraction of alcohol is different from that of water. Here is a good read for you: http://valleyvintner.com/Refrac_Hydro/Refract_Hydro.htm
     
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  14. Jul 24, 2019 #14

    peterseng

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    Hi MoeJay. I do believe sourgrapes hit the nail on the head. A refractometer will definitely not give you accurate readings once fermentation starts. Go back to using the hydrometer. Based on the SG of your resulting blends and the SG of the original batches when you blended them, I would say the juice had an original SG of somewhere around 1.020. Your ABV after blending in the juice was probably in the neighborhood of 5-6%. This is not high enough to prohibit fermentation. The alcohol tolerance of your yeasts are about 13% for the Redstar and about 18% for the Lalvin. This means that after blending there was likely still some fermentation going on, but since you were using a refractometer you couldn't detect it in the numbers.

    As for the taste, I have not tasted grape wine during fermentation, but the bitterness may have to do with the amount of tanin you added. 3 teaspoons for a five gallon batch is probably good, but if you added more after two weeks, it may be a bit more tanic than you like. TJ's suggestion of making a new batch to blend with these is a good one! In fact this is what I am doing with the batch of apple wine that I over-sweetened myself. Making a fresh batch and blending it with what you already have could help ameliorate any excess of tanins as well as residual sugar or excessive alcohol content.

    The most important thing at this point is probably to get some readings of your wine batches with a hydrometer so you can really see where they are at. Once you have these readings I can help you calculate the ABV of the 15 gallons you have working now (though I would estimate you will be somewhere in the 14-15% range as you probably had about 5-6% after blending and the potential alcohol for an SG of 1.070 is around 9%). Once you have a good idea of the ABV of these batches then you can calculate a target ABV for the new batch based on it's volume and what ABV range you want for the final blended wine.

    I imagine this situation is quite frustrating, but by the time you are done with this you will have learned quite a bit about making wine and you will likely be able to tackle any problems you encounter in the future!
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
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  15. Jul 27, 2019 #15

    MoeJay

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    I see, but do you think the difference is going to be that huge? I mean if the refractometer is showing 1.070 for example, will it be below 1.020 on the hydrometer? I will test it perhaps today and see the results. I will let you know of course.
    (that was my Thursday's comment)


    ( you are both right Gents)!!!



    I have tested the batches with a hydrometer and guess what!!

    The Lalvin batches appeared to be at 1.000, and red star is at 1.030. You amagin!!!!!!!! What a big difference!

    I have tasted the Lalvin batches and they still too tart. Do you think that if I blend the Redstar batch 1.030 with one of the Lalvin batches 1.000 would help reduce the tartness? In case of yes ( do I need to add campden tablets before blending?).
    If no, what is the amount of the new batch and what to add to it?)


    When can I start bottling and enjoying my first wine

    Speaking of my campden tablets they are potassium metabisulfite. Is there any worry in terms of taste if I added them? How long to wait before consumption?
    Will it help to clear my powdery wine?


    I think im just falling in love with this messy hobby, I think I will quit practicing piano and focus on this LOL. It is a frustrating learning curve thu!

    Thank you so much for your help Gents, Big salute to you all
     
  16. Jul 28, 2019 #16

    Scooter68

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    While I have read comments that there are adjustment charts for refractometers that can be used once fermentation has begun, I have to believe that each time you have to 'interpret a reading by a translation chart of doing a calculation, there is that slight loss of accuracy - Reading straight from a hydrometer is going to be accurate enough for over 90% of the folks on this board. (There's always pretty good chance of an initial SG reading from undissolved sugars Unless you are using straight juice and prepared simply syrup)
     
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  17. Jul 29, 2019 #17

    peterseng

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    Hi MoeJay. Glad to hear your batches have fermented decently! It seems like you may have a bit of residual sugar (assuming fermentation is complete) but unless you wanted a super dry wine, it should be fine. Now that your SG is down to 1.000 (or close) your next step would be racking to carboys (if you haven't already), and ensuring it is stable. My process at this point is to rack the wine off the lees and into a carboy (top it off - don't leave too much head-space so you can minimize contact with air) and put an airlock on it. Then I check the SG each day until I get three identical readings in a row - that tells me it is truly done fermenting. At that point I add some K-meta (campden tablets are the same thing, but I don't know what dosage to recommend as I use powdered K-meta). As far as how they will affect taste, in my experience the recommended dosage will not affect taste, but can protect your wine from things that can spoil it.

    Once the wine is stable and in a carboy with a bung and airlock, the next step is (in my opinion) the hardest of all... next you wait. Your wine needs time to clear and mature before you consider bottling. Do you have any kind of instructions or resource to follow as far as what steps to take and when you can know to take them?
     
  18. Aug 1, 2019 #18

    MoeJay

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    Hi mates,

    I actually have racked the Lalvin's, but due to the leftovers with sedemints the carboys have not fully filled. I presume there is a fifth or a quarter left unfilled, am afraid. Now left for a week or so, would there be any spoilag, I'll go crazy!!

    I think I shoke the carboys after racking and airlocking (to help degasing). I saw the bubbles. Do you think expelling co2 pushed the oxigen out?

    But I actually thought about it, therefore I had to purchase 10 1-gallon demijjons and airstopper to transfer it but I'm just waiting for the stoppers to arrive (perhaps next week).




    Speaking of clarification, I did not actually addcampden tablets neither any additions at this point. But I actually have ordered today, many other things to preserve and clear the product. They will arrive around next week.

    I have ordered: bentonite, potassium sorbate, potassium metabisulphate and sparkoliod powder. They actually are all in powder forms except for the campden (tablets).

    Honestly speaking, I know what they are but no idea of which can go with what and the taste effects. ( I will start a new thread today for this purpose :).)

    Scooter,

    You are totally right. I do agree with you. Why bringing more hussel to my self while I still have the hydrometer, in addition I'm a very very apprentice in math and calculations.

    The refractometer's only advantage, in my view, is "not wasting" must or wort thu. Other than that is a hussle.


    Cheers all for your help.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
  19. Aug 1, 2019 #19

    peterseng

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    Hi MoeJay. I have never had negative experiences with the affects of those additives on flavor, but to be honest I've never made a wine without at least using Potassium metabisulphate (aka K-meta). I have used Potassium Sorbate often, but only to stabilize wines in which there will be un-fermented sugars (which it seems like you may be dealing with here) and only as one of the last steps before bottling. Sparkaloid is my clearing agent of choice in most wines. Bentonite can also help with clearing wines, but I have really only used it in white wines, personally. I have never heard of any of those causing faults in the wine, so long as you follow the manufacturers dosing instructions. I am sure you will get a number of "other" opinions if you do start a new thread for that. If there is one thing I have learned regarding wine-making it is that if you ask 5 wine-makers the same question, you're liable to end up with 6 answers :)
    The biggest concern I have for your wine at this point is oxidation. It am hopeful that no lasting fault has occurred yet, since it is still releasing CO2, but you really can't count on that alone to protect your wine. I would recommend eliminating the head space in your carboy(s) as soon as possible. There are a number of ways to do this. My preference is to top off the carboy with a similar wine (e.g. if you used concord juice to make your wine, top off with some concord wine). If that is not available, you can also top off with water (though with the amount of space you describe, I would strongly recommend not adding that much water). Another option to eliminate head-space is to add cleaned and sanitized glass marbles. They will sink to the bottom and displace wine as they are added, eventually lifting the wine to the neck of the carboy. Yet another option would be to flood the carboy with some sort of inert gas. Many wine stores sell canisters of inert gas to fill opened bottles of wine with gas in order to prevent them from oxidizing before you get around to drinking the rest (never used these personally as I've never had a problem finishing a bottle quickly enough :) ).
    Using smaller carboys or demijohns is a good solution as well, but I am concerned that your wine may absorb too much oxygen by the time you can use them next week (assuming it hasn't already). How can you tell if your wine is oxidized? According to this article I found (https://vinepair.com/articles/what-is-oxidation-in-wine/) "Well, if the juice is slightly brown in color, with zero aromas of fruit and a lackluster palate, potentially displaying notes of vinegar, then yep, sounds like you got yourself a fully oxidized wine."
     
  20. Aug 1, 2019 #20

    Chuck E

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    Let's review... You had 3 pieces of 5 gallon carboys. You are a quart short on each of them. Correct?

    2 of the carboys are made with Lalvin yeast; so you should be able to take a quart from one of the carboys to top off the other. That leaves us with a full 5 gallon carboy made with Lalvin and one with 2 quarts missing. Take another quart from low Lalvin carboy and put it in the Redstar carboy. One quart into 5 gallons should not make a big difference. Now you have two full 5 gallon carboys, one from each yeast. Your partially full carboy should have close to 4 gallons in it. Rack this into 4 one gallon jugs or a 3 gallon carboy and a one gallon jug. The next time you rack you can use a one gallon jug to top off the carboys.

    Bentonite and Sparkoloid are clarifying agents. I suggest you use one or the other. Campden and potassium metabisulfite are the same thing. Make sure your dosage is correct. Usually 1/4 teaspoon to 5 gallons is about right. Dissolve the Campden tablets before putting in your wine. You should let the carboys settle down now. Don't rush!

    The potassium sorbate will be used before bottling.




     
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