Oily sheen on top of wine

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

JCBurg

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2018
Messages
121
Reaction score
20
Location
Southern wisconsin
so I wen to check my wine in the garage (first racking after secondary fermentation) it’s been aging for a couple of weeks now. Today I noticed an oily sheen on my wine and it looked like the level had dropped a half inch from where it WAS when I racked it off. I have been checking it every couple days to make sure the airlock is good and filled with water. Does anybody know what I’m looking at here? It doesn’t smell off yet but, being a beginner I just smell new wine and wouldn’t know the difference.
 

cmason1957

CRS Sufferer
WMT Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
4,501
Reaction score
4,565
Location
O'Fallon, MO - Just NorthWest of St. Louis, MO
More than likely nothing to worry about. Has the temp charged, the barometer changed? What kind of wine is it? Generally, if it is topped up into the neck of the carboy things will be good. I assume, since you say racked after finishing fermentation, you have added metabisulphite to it.
 

FXibley

Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2017
Messages
60
Reaction score
71
are you doing a malolactic fermentation? i usually notice an oily sheen when my malolactic bacteria is working
 
Last edited:

JCBurg

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2018
Messages
121
Reaction score
20
Location
Southern wisconsin
More than likely nothing to worry about. Has the temp charged, the barometer changed? What kind of wine is it? Generally, if it is topped up into the neck of the carboy things will be good. I assume, since you say racked after finishing fermentation, you have added metabisulphite to it.
The temp has changed, the wine is cooler than when I racked it, I am cold stabilizing in the garage. No I opted not to add metabisulphite under the instruction of my vines to wines book. I had added at the beginning and the pH was 2.96, and it was VERY tart (sour even) and I was concerned about the flavor.
 

JCBurg

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2018
Messages
121
Reaction score
20
Location
Southern wisconsin
are you doing a malolactic fermentation? i usually notice an oily sheen when my malolactic bacteria is working
I did do a MLF, it's my first one so I don't know what the process looks like. That is encouraging to know that that might be what it is, and cmason indicated that the liquid level may just be because it's cooler. Can I post a picture this evening and have you take a look?
 

JCBurg

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2018
Messages
121
Reaction score
20
Location
Southern wisconsin
Posting a picture is probably a good idea. I am somewhat suspect that your MLF has started. 2.96 PH is really very low. Most MLB won't start with a ph below 3.1. That doesn't mean it hasn't started, but it might not have.
Yeah, the pH was areal bummer, but I didn't have a choice but to harvest late this year, I wasn't in town for peak ripeness
 

JCBurg

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2018
Messages
121
Reaction score
20
Location
Southern wisconsin
Posting a picture is probably a good idea. I am somewhat suspect that your MLF has started. 2.96 PH is really very low. Most MLB won't start with a ph below 3.1. That doesn't mean it hasn't started, but it might not have.
Hey cmason sorry I meant to post this earlier but baby/work/car got in the way... here are pictures I took this morning.
 

Attachments

stickman

Veteran Winemaker
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
1,783
Reaction score
1,871
It looks a lot like tartrates floating on top, they will eventually sink, but I would still top up into the neck to reduce surface area.
 

stickman

Veteran Winemaker
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
1,783
Reaction score
1,871
How much of a difference in temperature? I'm sure temperature is at least part of the reason for the drop.
 

JCBurg

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2018
Messages
121
Reaction score
20
Location
Southern wisconsin
I don’t mean to be SO paranoid over this but, it’s all I’ve been able to make all year and I would be crushed if it went bad. But I haven’t done anything overtly harmful.. I’ve had a good process but I’m encountering things I haven’t seen before. I never have done MLF before nor have I cold stabilized
 

stickman

Veteran Winemaker
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
1,783
Reaction score
1,871
Is this wine one that went through ML fermentation? Did you confirm completion? I ask, because the bacteria need warmer temperatures to remain active. What is the current pH? As @cmason1957 indicated, the ML probably wont move ahead if the pH is still 2.96, and the pH will drop even further during cold stabilization.
 

JCBurg

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2018
Messages
121
Reaction score
20
Location
Southern wisconsin
Is this wine one that went through ML fermentation? Did you confirm completion? I ask, because the bacteria need warmer temperatures to remain active. What is the current pH? As @cmason1957 indicated, the ML probably wont move ahead if the pH is still 2.96, and the pH will drop even further during cold stabilization.
I did so much research and prep work for this batch, basically to find out in this thread that I still have no idea what I am doing. I don't understand why cold stabilization would drop the pH further, so I will look it up. I will be doing some testing this weekend, but if this thing is boogered up I am unsure what I can do about it.
 

Ajmassa

just a guy
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
4,214
Reaction score
4,493
Location
S. Jersey/Philadelphia area
I did so much research and prep work for this batch, basically to find out in this thread that I still have no idea what I am doing. I don't understand why cold stabilization would drop the pH further, so I will look it up. I will be doing some testing this weekend, but if this thing is boogered up I am unsure what I can do about it.
That kinda proves you DO understand tho. Because the ph thing is weird. It’s some scientific anomaly that defies logic.
Dropping acid in theory would also raise ph. But when under the 3.65 threshold the ph drops with the acid dropping out during cold stabilizing.
I dont get it either.

I get that oily sheen too sometimes. Every once in a while I give the surface a nice full spritz of sulphite sanitizer solution and plug back up.
 

JCBurg

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2018
Messages
121
Reaction score
20
Location
Southern wisconsin
That kinda proves you DO understand tho. Because the ph thing is weird. It’s some scientific anomaly that defies logic.
Dropping acid in theory would also raise ph. But when under the 3.65 threshold the ph drops with the acid dropping out during cold stabilizing.
I dont get it either.

I get that oily sheen too sometimes. Every once in a while I give the surface a nice full spritz of sulphite sanitizer solution and plug back up.
What's your sanitizer solution made of? I just mixed campden tablets and water, but i've seen folk stalk about citric acid additions also, you just put it in a spray bottle? The answers about the oily sheen have made me feel better for sure and I have a MLF test kit on the way. I coinoculated this wine so hopefullymost of the MLF completed before it got cold but, the fermentation went at light speed this time.

And forgive my pity party, I think I said earlier that we had a kid a few months ago, just before the summer, so I only got to make one batch this year (wife's orders) and I am extra sensitive about it. I really wanted this to be well crafted.
 

Ajmassa

just a guy
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
4,214
Reaction score
4,493
Location
S. Jersey/Philadelphia area
I’m sure if you ask 10 winemakers their sulphite sanitizer mix you’ll get 10 different answers.

I use the powder form. And I keep a gallon jug of sanitizer using
3tbs kmeta
1tbs citric acid

And I mix just k-meta into the squirt bottle since I’m spritzing the wine surfaces at times with it.
32oz bottle = 1 tbs Kmeta.

And congrats on the baby!
 

JCBurg

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2018
Messages
121
Reaction score
20
Location
Southern wisconsin
I’m sure if you ask 10 winemakers their sulphite sanitizer mix you’ll get 10 different answers.

I use the powder form. And I keep a gallon jug of sanitizer using
3tbs kmeta
1tbs citric acid

And I mix just k-meta into the squirt bottle since I’m spritzing the wine surfaces at times with it.
32oz bottle = 1 tbs Kmeta.

And congrats on the baby!
I like the idea of a santizing spritzer. I think I will use your 1 gallon recipe. I usually have a pre-mixed solution but a little acid wouldn't hurt to give it some extra punch. And thank you, he's awesome, and my favorite fermentation so far!
 

Ajmassa

just a guy
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
4,214
Reaction score
4,493
Location
S. Jersey/Philadelphia area
I like the idea of a santizing spritzer. I think I will use your 1 gallon recipe. I usually have a pre-mixed solution but a little acid wouldn't hurt to give it some extra punch. And thank you, he's awesome, and my favorite fermentation so far!
Tartaric can be used instead of citric too. The acid helps keep the sanitizer’s ph down and to keep longer.
Tho we’re getting into wreckless territory here. My thoughts always have been One spritz into 54L isn’t enough to do any damage. Tho I still can’t recommend spritzing with acid included.

I got my dosage straight off the bag.
It says - “for use as a sanitizer mix 2oz per gal.”
Which is just about 3tbs. And I just add 1tbs of acid to keep the dosage simple.
 

Latest posts

Top