Poor instructions…. Or a beginners mistake

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Jan 19, 2023
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im making my first ever batch of elderberry wine and the book I’m using said add 1.3G of sugar and leave to ferment for 4 days, stirring daily.

I was packing everything away after day 4 and moving it to a secondary vessel when I read the instructions again and noticed in the imperial column it said 3lb of sugar. So it’s obviously meant to read 3kg rather than 3g of sugar.

I’ve now added the 3kg of sugar and started again on the 4 day fermentation.

Nothing seems to be happening. No bubbles etc.

My question is should i add the yeast again? Or any further advice?

Welcome. I love Scarborough! Also, do you have a hydrometer? When did you add more sugar and did you ever have bubbles?

More yeast won't hurt but more details will help you get better advice.
* if you had active fermentation you will still have yeast floating around. A packet of yeast normally is five grams, which is less than what is floating in your primary today.
* if you racked you will have pulled some nitrogen/ yeast nutrient out. I would be more concerned that you have enough yeast nutrient, as noted details on recipe, a basic recipe adds 1 tsp nitrogen or 1.5 gram organic nitrogen per gallon. ,,, Oxygen is also a nutrient therefore recipes frequently say cover with towel, or stir the crushed grapes every day or rack to a carboy at 1/3 to 1/2 sugar consumption. ,,, Organic nitrogen also instructs adding a second dose of 1 gram per gallon at 1/3 sugar consumption (Fermaid K)
Thanks for the quick response.

the book Is First Steps in Wine Making and im brewing elderberry and runner bean.

1kg elderberries
200ml red grape concentrate
450g runner beans - boil and use the water
sugar 1.3kg
tartaric acid 7g
vit b1 tablet
1 gallon of water
yeast and nutrient for 1 gallon - which my Yeast Nutrient bottle says 1 tsp per gallon.

it occurs to me I’ve not added yeast specifically just the yeast nutrient.

I boiled the runner beans.
added the stock to the remainder of the boiling water (4.5L in total)
add in the bucket with the elderberries
plus tartaric and yeast nutrient

left for 4 days

then as I was moving it to a gallon bottle with trap I read the instructions and spotted the issue with the sugar.
Now thinking I haven’t added yeast either :(

I do have a hydrometer but it’s still in its shrink wrap.
Unwrap the hydrometer and test your juice. Here is a YOUTUBE of how to read. There are many other resources to learn how to read a hydrometer.

If your juice is at 1.070 to 1.100 you can add yeast. I like to start with an SG of 1.085 or 1.090. Any lower than 1.070 you need more sugar any higher than 1.100, you will have to lower the sugar (add more water or juice).
Sounds perfect to me. Let us know how it goes. Give it a good stir once or twice a day and check your reading every day or so. If yo use a good clean cylinder (sanitized) you can dump the sample back into the wine. A gallon is a small amount in a reading every day will deplete your supply fast.
I enjoy CJJ Berry and have some of his books. One of the early "giants". Most were written, what, 40 or 50 years ago? Some things have changed or evolved since then.

I haven't used elderberries yet but last year I made 4 gallons of runner bean. Absolutely wonderful! I'll definitely make it again.

Couple of things-
I'm surprised he used tartaric acid. Most of his recipes use citric acid.
Beans actually have a fair amount of pectin so pectic enzyme would be a good addition, for the elderberries and also to reduce pectin haze.
I write things down immediately after doing them. It's scary how short my short term memory can be sometimes.
Look into making a yeast starter in the future. Among other things you'll know if the yeast is working or not.
You may see signs of fermentation in a few hours but after 24 hours it should be obvious.
I don't know a lot about food safety but having a must for four days and no fermentation and no alcohol for protection would make me wonder. You'll probably be fine.
Good luck!
Dont know what you are using for a fermenter, but if it is a carboy of some kind make sure you have plenty of headspace in it. If you check (search) on here for wine volcanoes that is what I am talking about. Many of us use an open bucket for the first part of the ferment. Makes it easy to stir and have enough headspace. When the ferment gets to rocking, it can make the amount of must grow a lot. Somebody else will probably explain it better then I did, but happy winemaking. Hope your first try is a great success. Arne.