No fermenting going on...I think

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BigDaveK

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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?
Smaller containers - and time - would be preferable.

I know waiting is difficult. I bottled a strawberry after 4 months that was crystal clear. After a month there was sediment in the bottle. As a result I wait 6 months if I want to start drinking soon (a month or so). If not, I leave it in bulk.

I just checked your original post. Your wine isn't even a month old. Smaller containers and time would certainly be my plan. Perhaps think about starting another batch?
 

Jovimaple

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To avoid confusion, it's good practice to write your s.g. to three places after the decimal point. You stated your s.g. is down to .99. If you mean .990, it's done fermenting! It's ready to be stabilized with kmeta and sorbate. If you don't plan to backsweeten, you can skip the sorbate, but most fruit wines benefit from at least a little sweetener to bring out the fruit flavor.

As others have noted, 2 key points are not letting it sit on the gross lees for more than a week or two, and minimizing headspace. Beyond that, wine is a great hobby for procrastinators! Just keep the airlocks full (the water can evaporate over time), and dose with kmeta every 3 months or so during bulk aging.

Like others, I have pretty much moved to a rack-fewer-times methodology. The directions for the kits I have done said to rack it once after 2 weeks of fermentation, then leave it alone until it's time to bottle 4 to 6 weeks later. (Those kits did not have skins with them, so no gross lees to deal with, but my point is kit makers don't suggest you rack a bunch of times.)

For fruit wines, I agree with @BigDaveK - let it bulk age for several months after clearing. I, too, bottled too soon on my first few batches that looked clear, and ended up with sediment in the bottle. Not a huge deal - just have to pour carefully.

As a new winemaker, you are probably going to be anxious to consume the fruits of your labor, so I suggest you look at the Skeeter Pee (lemon wine) and Dragon Blood (fruit + lemon wine) threads for quick drinkers. They do smooth out over time, but they are delicious almost as soon as they're done fermenting and they are cheap to make!!

Edited to add a warning: carboys breed like rabbits. "Honey, I need 2 more 3-gallon and another 5-gallon. Oh, and another fermenting bucket - then I can do another batch at once! But wait, now I need another carboy ..." 😇

Edited to add one more note: one US gallon is approximately 5 regular size (750 ml) bottles or 10 splits (375 ml bottles). If you plan to collect used bottles, start now and clean them. It's much easier to clean and delabel a few at a time than 25 to 30 bottles at once.
 
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DnaNC

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Thank you all so much! I relate to this carboy multiplication post! And I'm going to start a dragons blood I think - great idea! I am actively gathering bottles.

One more question and I will maybe leave you alone. I promise I am not ultra-anxious to consume this I am just truly wanting to not screw it all up after all this effort. But here is my question: I went to the local homebrew store thinking I would get a 4 gallon carboy and move it to that to take up the headspace. Turns out there is no 4 gallon carboy :rolleyes: so i would have to get a 3 and a 1 (you guys spelled that out) but in our discussion the man there told me I could just add simple syrup to top off my carboy. He said the yeast would just start right up and all would be well. So i came home and topped it up with simple syrup, but no activity. I guess that is ok because it is definatly done but now I am worried that maybe it shouldn't age with this extra sugar in there. Everyone says to wait until many months have gone by and its ready to bottle before adding sugar to backsweeten. Did I mess it up adding the syrup in there? (It is still not sweet at all and the SG didnt come up, it is still at .990 or a bit lower. I added 4 cups sugar in 2 cups water.) Or is it just best practice to add sugar much later rather than now, and it won't matter, and relax? And should I add K-meta now? It is not doing anything at all and it has been 2 days. Not even a bubble. It is a bit cloudy so there is settling left to be done I'm sure. Do I have to worry about bacteria?
(OK thats more than 1 question...)
 
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Raptor99

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Simple syrup is for back sweetening, not for topping off. That is just bad advice, unless you want to raise the ABV of your wine.

When you back sweeten you, need to stabilize first with Potassium Metabisulfite and Potassium Sorbate. If you did not stabilize, fermentation might eventually restart. I would leave it for a month or two to see what happens.

How much simple syrup did you add? It should have raised the SG at least a little bit, depending on:
* the volume of the wine
* the volume of simple syrup added
* the concentration of sugar in the simple syrup (1:1? 2:1?)

That can give you an idea of how much this might raise the ABV
 

DnaNC

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Simple syrup is for back sweetening, not for topping off. That is just bad advice, unless you want to raise the ABV of your wine.

When you back sweeten you, need to stabilize first with Potassium Metabisulfite and Potassium Sorbate. If you did not stabilize, fermentation might eventually restart. I would leave it for a month or two to see what happens.

How much simple syrup did you add? It should have raised the SG at least a little bit, depending on:
* the volume of the wine
* the volume of simple syrup added
* the concentration of sugar in the simple syrup (1:1? 2:1?)

That can give you an idea of how much this might raise the ABV
I used 4 c sugar in 2 c water (2:1) in an almost full 5 gallon carboy.
Can I use Potassium Metabisulfite and Potassium Sorbate now or just have to wait?
I just retested it and the SG is at .994, so it went up a smidge.
What am I looking for as I wait - for the SG to come back to .990 or lower? Is this going to ruin it?
 
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@DnaNC, I don't usually insult people I don't know, but your LHBS guy is clueless. Adding on to @Raptor99's comments, adding sugar syrup provides food for the yeast, but not flavoring. If the yeast kicks back in, the yeast will eat the yeast and emit CO2 and alcohol, but the flavor is diluted by however much volume of syrup you added. "Topping up" is done with a yeast-neutral liquid, e.g., nothing that contains yeast food (sugar). This is typically a compatible wine, although other neutral liquids can be added if necessary.

One more question and I will maybe leave you alone.
No. No. No. ASK questions! It is far easier to point you in a good direction than it is to fix a problem. If you were bothering us, we'd not bother to reply. In my case, this is entertainment (helping with success).

Is your wine ruined? No.

At this time, you have several choices. First -- do you like the current flavor / sweetness? If you like it, then add Sorbate + K-meta to stabilize it, and bulk age another couple of months. Taste test again at that time.

If it's too sweet, make another yeast starter and add it. This should kick the fermentation back into gear. In a month or so we'll address the situation at that time.
 

BigDaveK

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The advice from the brew store wasn't really wrong but it certainly wasn't the best advice. I think it's a good example of "try to get information from multiple sources." (And not from that guy.😄 )

Personally, I wouldn't add kmeta or sorbate because I'd be curious to see what happens.

How much syrup did you use? 4 cups sugar is approximately 2 lbs. I would have expected a bigger SG change if you used it all.

No you didn't ruin anything.

As far as leaving us alone - don't you dare! Ask questions!
 

DnaNC

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Its definitely plenty dry.. this makes so much more sense now. Thank you all so much! I decided to try to stop the fermentation now, so I can relax! I added the k-meta and sorbate and tomorrow I'll add a few tablespoons of white wine on top to make it just right in the carboy, then on the back burner for a while. Can't wait to see how it turns out!
 

ChuckD

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Having you folks to ask questions of, and you're nice to me despite my foibles, really is great. Thanks for making this a fun learning experience instead of a painful one.
Don’t tell anyone, but You have found one of the few places on the internet where a simple mistake won’t result in a half dozen people mocking you and threaten to burn down your house. 😉 🤣

Seriously, it’s a great group of people and I assume the admin’s have a low tolerance for BS. Many thanks to them!
 

DnaNC

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Hello again friends. This strawberry wine problem has only gotten worse. It's truly terrible wine. It's currently a super sweet, syrupy, cloying, annoying wine that might only be good for making wine slushies.
I had already added potassium sorbate and meta-k and its been sitting in bulk to clear. It's ready to bottle but I don't want it.
Can I add yeast again to try to restart fermentation to lower the sweetness? Or anything else I can do to fix it?
 
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Hello again friends. This strawberry wine problem has only gotten worse. It's truly terrible wine. It's turning into a super sweet, syrupy, cloying, annoying wine that might only be good for making wine slushies.
I had already added potassium sorbate and meta-k and its been sitting in bulk to clear.
Can I add yeast again to try to restart fermentation? Or anything else I can do to fix it?
Sorbate + K-meta are birth control for yeast. You don't want to add them until fermentation is done, and only then if you are backsweetening the wine.

A good starter might kick the fermentation back into gear, but it's iffy. If it were me, I'd continue to let it bulk age, and plan on using it for wine drinks.

On the plus side, your wines is drinkable, even if it's not what you were intending. One option is to make another wine, ferment it dry, and blend with this one.
 

ChuckD

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One option is to make another wine, ferment it dry, and blend with this one.
I like that idea. I have been buying a few highly rated wines to try them out, when I get one that’s too dry or tannic for my taste I mix in a little “too sweet” wine and it usually makes a very drinkable product.
 

VinesnBines

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My suggestion is to either make another strawberry batch and ferment completely dry or (my preference) make a good blender for strawberry. Rhubarb make s a real dry wine and when blended with strawberry makes a really nice wine. The best thing to do is make the next wine and do bench trials to decide how much of each to blend. You may have to make two batches of another wine to dilute the sweetness.

You just started the strawberry in June? You have plenty of time to make a couple more batches to blend. Strawberry does need sweetness but it can be overdone.
 
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Rhubarb make s a real dry wine and when blended with strawberry makes a really nice wine.
That sounds really good! However, pretty much any berry wine will work -- look at pie recipes -- if strawberry/blackberry pie is a thing, then I'd consider strawberry/blackberry wine. There are a lot of good options to recover the situation.

@DnaNC, before you start another wine, post the recipe for comment. A huge number of recipes floating around the internet, and in books, are from times when folks didn't have the equipment nor understanding of winemaking. Recipes that worked were recorded and passed down, but that doesn't mean they were good recipes. Getting feedback before you start will help you produce a pleasing result.
 

BigDaveK

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@DnaNC keep in mind you didn't fail. Too sweet? So what! I agree with the others, a perfect blender!

Think about your back sweetening procedure to avoid this situation in the future. I love my back sweetening days - add syrup, taste, add syrup, taste...I always get a little tipsy!:D
 

VinesnBines

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A thought; a Dragon Blood quick wine and NO back sweetening but blending with the strawberry. The options are endless.
 

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