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No bubbles in secondary ferment

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kcas

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Hi there everyone,

My partner and I have transferred our Shiraz into our carboy for the secondary ferment. It was at the Goldilocks temperature the whole Primsry and was at 1.000 SG when we transferred. It's been in the carboy for 4 days but there is no bubbling, nor is there bubbling in the airlock. We decided to do a hydrometer test (1.000). BUT it is still has the fermenting smell like Sulfur or rotting eggs... we were going to rack again off the lees in a few days but should we be doing it earlier and adding SO2 to clarify, reduce the smell and improve the wine? We had an active and seemingly spot on primary, so we are concerned...

In other words, can it be saved and where did we go wrong?
 

Arne

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First, welcome to the forum. Next, we probably need a bit more information. What was your starting specific gravity.? What is the goldilocks temp? How long did the ferment take? At 1.000 it could possibly be done, but I don't like the sound of a sulfur or rotten egg smell. That usually tells us the yeast is stressed, probably because it didn't have enough nutrient during the ferment. Draw a glass, pour it back and forth between two glasses and let it sit for a few minutes. Does ttat help the smell? If it doesn't, try putting a clean shiny penny in the glass and stir it for a bit. Or try stirring with a nice clean piece of copper wire. If that helps there is a product called redulles{not sure of spelling} That you can add to it to help get rid of the oder. Arne.
 

kcas

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Thanks for the prompt response!

Our starting specific gravity was 1.100.
The temperature was between 24-30 Celsius for the primary ferment.
The primary ferment took 5 days.
Just poured it between the glasses and let it sit - it definitely smelt better.
What are redulles?
Also what may the smell be - since secondary ferment the airlock hasn't bubbled? Yeah
 

kcas

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We'll rack the wine off ASAP and find some Redulees (thanks for the tip!)

If that works, is there a way to restart the secondary ferment?
 

NorCal

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Before adding anything to the wine, I would rack off the lees and then splash rack it really good. This should aerate the wine and hopefully the H2S will blow off.

If you are doing "secondary" fermentation, I'm assuming you mean malo lactic fermentation, you do not want to be careful with the SO 2 level, as it can inhibit mlf.

A few things to note. Have you added the malo lactic bacteria yet? A healthy fermentation does not smell like rotten eggs. MLF is very slow and not a big CO2 producer. You will see tiny bubbles around the surface of the wine, but don't expect to see the bubbles like you did in the alcoholic fermentation.
 
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skeenatron

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I would not add any SO2 because if you are actually having issues with secondary fermentation, SO2 is only going to make it worse. SO2 isn't going to make it smell any better either. I have had very high H2S stankin' wines blow off during secondary, and during aging. Usually once you smell H2S it's already too late to do a whole lot about it so try not to stress too much.

Your main task now is to get through the rest of fermentation. NorCal is right about the low CO2 production from MLF bacteria, you won't see much. If you can get your ear to the bunghole and listen for crackling, that would be a good indication that CO2 is still being produced by either your yeast or bacteria. Getting a malic acid test of some sort to check your actual levels every few days would be even better. Keeping that fermenation around 65-70F will be the best thing to get through secondary fermentation.
 

heatherd

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Hi there everyone,

My partner and I have transferred our Shiraz into our carboy for the secondary ferment. It was at the Goldilocks temperature the whole Primsry and was at 1.000 SG when we transferred. It's been in the carboy for 4 days but there is no bubbling, nor is there bubbling in the airlock. We decided to do a hydrometer test (1.000). BUT it is still has the fermenting smell like Sulfur or rotting eggs... we were going to rack again off the lees in a few days but should we be doing it earlier and adding SO2 to clarify, reduce the smell and improve the wine? We had an active and seemingly spot on primary, so we are concerned...

In other words, can it be saved and where did we go wrong?
Hi @kcas, welcome to the hobby and the forum. Bubbles are not an indication of fermentation, so no worries there.

One question: By "secondary fermentation" do you mean that you racked into a secondary/carboy to let the yeast finish alcohol fermentation? If that is the case, then I would rack again while splashing the wine around to try to get the smell to go away. Then I would let it try to get to 0.995-ish to be "dry," meaning that the yeast is done fermenting. At that point you'll stabilize with kmeta. If the smell is still there, you can treat with Reduless. Then you'll add clearing agents.

If by "secondary fermentation," you mean malolactic fermentation then that's a different situation. I don't think you are based on what you've written, but if so: splash rack, let yeast fermentation finish to dry, do not add kmeta until the MLF is done, then stabilize with kmeta, if the smell is still there add Reduless, then add clearing agents.

I find that that smell comes sometimes when I don't add yeast nutrients or malolactic bacteria nutrients.

Heather
 

kcas

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Thank you!

We racked it the wine and the smell has mostly gone.

Should we add malolactic bacteria then potassium metabisulfite?

We were worried about adding the potassium metabisulfite if it prevents MLF.

That said, were equally worried about having oxidised the wine last night.

Thanks again.
 

skeenatron

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Thank you!

We racked it the wine and the smell has mostly gone.

Should we add malolactic bacteria then potassium metabisulfite?

We were worried about adding the potassium metabisulfite if it prevents MLF.

That said, were equally worried about having oxidised the wine last night.

Thanks again.
Only add sulfur if you want to kill the bacteria, because it will. You are protected from oxidation from the co2 and the sulfur that's in there already, and what's been produced by the yeast.
 

Arne

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Arne was speaking of a product called Redulees: http://www.scottlab.com/product-119.aspx

The smell is from hydrogen sulfide, H2S. It binds readily to copper, which is why Arne suggested using copper as a test. Redulees contains a controlled dosage of copper.
Thank you for explaining and making what I was trying to say plainer>:h Arne.
 

Reluctant Chemist

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Hi, Low bubbles might mean just a slow fermentation. Accuvin has an L-Lactic Acid test kit that is used to confirm that MLF has actually started. It might be what you need to determine just where you are with regard to MLF. They also have an easy strip test used to monitor and confirm the completion of MLF when you get there.
 
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