No fermenting going on...I think

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BigDaveK

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For future reference, this early in the process you don't have to be crazy worried about oxygen.

4 days? Check it in a month.
Don't even think about back sweetening yet. 4 months, 6 is better. Not what you want to hear I'm sure.

If it was me, this early, I would almost consider pouring it through a mesh bag to get rid of some of that. And squeeze to get as much liquid as possible.

You're doing fine!
 

Raptor99

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That is a lot of sediment, so I would not leave for too long. Maybe leave it for another 4-5 days, then rack it.

It sounds like your fruit was added directly to the primary. I usually put it in a mesh bag to make it easier to remove the fruit pulp. @BigDaveK has a good suggestion. If you have a mesh bag, you could pour the wine through the bag into a sanitized bucket.

When you rack, put the lees in an appropriate sized sanitized bottle and put it in the fridge for a few days. That will cause the lees to settle, and you can use the clear wine on top to top off your carboy.
 

StimVino

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I would rack to avoid off flavors. Problem will be managing the head space. Best to rack into a smaller vessel. If you only have the same size carboy available, you could rack and then add argon gas. I like to keep a cylinder handy for that reason. if neither of those are an option, then you could do your backsweetening now using strawberry sugar drink such as crystal light or even something better depending on your budget. I would only backsweeten now if you know your wine is dry. If backsweetening you will also need to add your potassium sorbet and Camden tablets at the same time. I have a strawberry going now that was at this stage but was stuck. So, i racked and then added heat to get it restarted. I also topped up with a little water, but only had a little head space so didn’t need very much. Good Luck!
 

Earldw

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71B is my favorite for fruit and flower wines.
Adding more yeast won't hurt anything.
Had a thought...you said you started the yeast in 99F water? If your measurement/thermometer was not accurate that could be the problem. I think 100F kills many yeasts. Lower temp, more yeast would be the first thing I'd try.
Good luck!
I was thinking the same about the water temp. It’s a pretty good number for bakers yeast but maybe quite warm for these wine strains. I don’t know but it would be something to consider.
 

heatherd

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My strawberry wine has a LOT of sediment at the bottom. It has only been sitting there since I racked it into this carboy 4 days ago. I don't think I did a very good job straining it. I was so worried about getting too much oxygen in it that I didn't pour it through anything. I just skimmed the fruit off the top and siphoned it over. Should I wait until its been another week or more and is stable, add Campden, and then rack it and try to backsweeten if necessary then? Or since there is so much, just do it now?

View attachment 90911
I'd wait to be sure fermentation is done before sweetening. You're aiming for 0.995 or less and then you'll stabilize. When you're ready to backsweeten, add both camden tablets and potassium sorbate.
 
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I was thinking the same about the water temp. It’s a pretty good number for bakers yeast but maybe quite warm for these wine strains. I don’t know but it would be something to consider.
I agree with @Raptor99, read the yeast vendor info. Quite a few wine yeasts are good to ~104 F, and I've been making starters with water in the mid-90's F. Put the starter next to the fermenter and by the following morning the starter will be the same temp as the must.
 
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Earldw

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Demonstrate that you are an unusual man, and read the instructions first! 🤣

[I've actually done this -- it didn't hurt as much as I was led to believe]
In my past life I taught statistical process control’ aka SPC or 6-sigma to engineering type folks. Getting a firm process then analyzing and adjusting is at least half the fun!
 

DnaNC

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That is a lot of sediment, so I would not leave for too long. Maybe leave it for another 4-5 days, then rack it.

It sounds like your fruit was added directly to the primary. I usually put it in a mesh bag to make it easier to remove the fruit pulp. @BigDaveK has a good suggestion. If you have a mesh bag, you could pour the wine through the bag into a sanitized bucket.

When you rack, put the lees in an appropriate sized sanitized bottle and put it in the fridge for a few days. That will cause the lees to settle, and you can use the clear wine on top to top off your carboy.
That's right - actually the first strawberries were in a mesh bag, and then (I have to admit my boo boo) I found the other strawberries that I had for the wine in my other freezer and realized I had forgotten about 1/2 the fruit I planned. (eek!). So I added the other strawberries, mushed and just floating around in the bucket, about the same time I added the (new and working) yeast. Yes it has been a mess, but here I am now and I kind of think getting it off these very large amount of lees is a good idea. So my next question is if I get as much clear wine as possible and still have too much space in the top of my carboy, what do I fill the space with? I have a little quart I put in a gatorade bottle with an airlock that I can add, and can do this refrigerator trick and get a bit more. But if that is not enough, and I don't want to water it down if possible, what do I do? (I am trying to figure this stuff out without bothering y'all but if I read 10 opinions I have 6 different answers.) I'm thinking maybe a bottle of wine, or sanitized marbles, or just water? What do you do if that is just not enough?
 

BigDaveK

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That's right - actually the first strawberries were in a mesh bag, and then (I have to admit my boo boo) I found the other strawberries that I had for the wine in my other freezer and realized I had forgotten about 1/2 the fruit I planned. (eek!). So I added the other strawberries, mushed and just floating around in the bucket, about the same time I added the (new and working) yeast. Yes it has been a mess, but here I am now and I kind of think getting it off these very large amount of lees is a good idea. So my next question is if I get as much clear wine as possible and still have too much space in the top of my carboy, what do I fill the space with? I have a little quart I put in a gatorade bottle with an airlock that I can add, and can do this refrigerator trick and get a bit more. But if that is not enough, and I don't want to water it down if possible, what do I do? (I am trying to figure this stuff out without bothering y'all but if I read 10 opinions I have 6 different answers.) I'm thinking maybe a bottle of wine, or sanitized marbles, or just water? What do you do if that is just not enough?
I wouldn't use a bottle of wine this early. Later, sure. If you didn't make it you don't know what it contains - it might affect your fermentation.

Your original recipe said 10lbs sugar for a 5 gallon batch. It's enough but not too much. You could easily top up with sugar water or simple syrup. It will ferment and bump up the alcohol but not that much. I would NOT use sugar water/syrup for later topping up, though.

Strawberry wine usually isn't a real strong flavor. I wouldn't dilute with plain water.

And don't worry about bothering us.
 
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But if that is not enough, and I don't want to water it down if possible, what do I do?
Use a mild tasting white wine. It may lighten the flavor, but it won't lighten the body and mouth feel.

I agree with Dave, ask questions. As I've said, it's easier to set you on a good path than it is to fix a problem
 

Raptor99

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Or divide it into several smaller containers. I have 3-gal. carboys, 1-gal. carboys, 1/2-gal carboys, 1.5 L wine bottles, 750 ml wine bottles. It's good to have a variety of sizes. All will take an airlock.

Some of my earlier batches were about 30% Chardonnay due to topping off with another wine. I have learned to:
1. Make a larger batch to start with, to provide enough for topping off
2. Have lots of containers of different sizes
 

DnaNC

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I wouldn't use a bottle of wine this early. Later, sure. If you didn't make it you don't know what it contains - it might affect your fermentation.

Your original recipe said 10lbs sugar for a 5 gallon batch. It's enough but not too much. You could easily top up with sugar water or simple syrup. It will ferment and bump up the alcohol but not that much. I would NOT use sugar water/syrup for later topping up, though.

Strawberry wine usually isn't a real strong flavor. I wouldn't dilute with plain water.

And don't worry about bothering us.
so i'm planning to add simple syrup tomorrow, but the SG has been .99 for several days. Is the yeast still alive enough to add sugar now? seems like it has quit.
 

G259

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Before you add simple syrup, add potassium sorbate, but you may want to wait a couple days to get near .995.
 

BigDaveK

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@DnaNC the rule of thumb is 3 days with no change in SG, then a dose of kmeta and sorbate to stabilise, then back sweeten, wait about a week to make sure fermentation doesn't restart, bottle.

Keep in mind it's a "rule of thumb" not a law.
 

DnaNC

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@DnaNC the rule of thumb is 3 days with no change in SG, then a dose of kmeta and sorbate to stabilise, then back sweeten, wait about a week to make sure fermentation doesn't restart, bottle.

Keep in mind it's a "rule of thumb" not a law.
I racked mine over and it looks a lot cleaner, but even with keeping every bit of wine off the lees that I could, and adding some glass stones, there is too much space at the top in my 5 gallon carboy. So, if it is too stable to be adding sugar water to it and have it restart fermentation, because it has been at .99 for over 4 days, then my only choices are to either :
  1. treat it with kmeta and sorbate, backsweeten and bottle - or -
  2. find smaller carboys and let it continue to clarify in those.
Given those options I think I will find smaller carboys because I am sure there is more settling to do yet. Am I picking up what y'all are laying down?
 

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