Really stuck.... need some help.

Discussion in 'Beginners Wine Making Forum' started by Fencepost, Jan 22, 2020.

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  1. Jan 22, 2020 #1

    Fencepost

    Fencepost

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    I am in the process of making my second batch of skeeter pee. Used lemon juice from fresh squeezed lemons. I have pitched yeast twice, both time with a starter but nothing is happening. Here is my "wine log" activity, trying to capture all details:

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    1/17/2020
    Lemon Wine… batch number 2 started

    Followed Skeeter Pee recipe…. approximately.

    Dissolved 8 lbs of sugar in about 3 gallons of hot water. Added cool water to 4 gallons, added Added 64 ounces of Fresh squeezed lemon juice. SG was only 1.060 added more sugar… the whole 10lb bag in total. This made 5.75 gallons… too much volume in the bucket. Added 1/4 tsp of kmeta to kill wild yeast. Added 3/4 tsp of tannin. Added 3 tsp nutrient and 1 tsp yeast energizer. Stirred and whipped oxygen into it.


    Covered and will wait 24 hours to pitch yeast. Plan to make a yeast starter.


    SG is 1.080 as recommended.


    1/18/2020


    Rechecked Original SG at 1.084. Pitched Premier Cuvee Yeast at 7:30pm after making a small starter. Temp 76F. Yeast appeared healthy i.e. bubbling in the starter. Took out 1.5 L of must because of full bucket. Will add back. Whipped with wire whip to introduce oxygen.



    1/19/2020

    Not too much happening. I changed some water out of the cooler to warm up the must. took it from 75 to 80F in the cooler, this should warm the must. Still no action



    1/20/2020

    9:am…. Decided to go with an another packet of yeast. Used Premier Blanc this time… warmed it up. Mixed as directed. Used must from Lemon Wine to double the amount 3 times. It looked like activity was happening in the starter… then pitched it back in the primary. Tonight still not much happening in the primary. I double checked the SG and it is still at 1.084. Temp was down to 76, and this likes a warmer temp so warmed back up to 80F. Hopefully something will be happening in the morning.

    1/22/2020
    Still no action in the primary. What is going on? ??? Puzzled by no active fermentation.
     
  2. Jan 22, 2020 #2

    cmason1957

    cmason1957

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    I think at this point, I would go for the killer yeast EC1118, make a big starter, like half of your batch in there bubbling around before I mixed it into the rest. It should be, but make sure temps are nearly equal in starter and what you are pitching into. Have you checked your PH to see that it is in a reasonable range?? Generally I make my skeeter pee at white wine PH's 3.2 or so.
     
  3. Jan 22, 2020 #3

    salcoco

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    i think acid is to high. get yeast starter going with EC1118. add a cup of must to starter once fermenting add two cups etc. continue adding twice volume of must as each previous addition reaches fermentation.
     
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  4. Jan 22, 2020 #4

    Fencepost

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    @cmason1957, @salcoco, thanks for the prompt feedback. I wanted to get EC1118 at the LHBS but they were out and told me that the Premier Blanc was the same strain (I'm not sure about their guidance)... Premier Blanc is what I used on the second pitching. I checked pH with some test strips (not the best I know only a rough idea) but it looks to be at around a 3. I have another packet of Premier Blanc, if you say it's the same a Ec1118 I will go with it... if not I will try to get "real" EC1118. I did a starter that was almost 2 liters, but I can go bigger! slowly double it. I may have to use a few 1.5 liter bottles but will plan to do that... it is really stuck. I tried warming up to see if that would make a difference... nada, so far.
    Thanks again, I trust the feedback I get on this forum and appreciate the help and guidance. All the best.
     
  5. Jan 22, 2020 #5

    bshef

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    EC 1118 is the Prise de Mousse strain. Premier Blanc is not the same. Premier Cuve'e is the Prise de Mousse strain for Red Star. Your LHBS was confused about the Champagne yeasts and labels on Red Star yeast.
     
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  6. Jan 22, 2020 #6

    cmason1957

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    I am with @salcoco that your ph is to low. The test papers are somewhat close with a white wine. Around a 3 is much to low. I bet that really means it is below 3.0. I think lemon juice from fresh squeezed lemons may be more acidic than lemon juice from concentrate, I may be wrong. Can you add some water to it (yes it will dilute the taste) I'm not sure how much must you currently have but you may need to add a gallon to 6 gallons, I am really just guessing. You want to get the ph up to around 3.2. Potassium bicarbonate is another choice, amount to be added depends on current PH and ph you are trying to get to and how many gallons you have.
     
  7. Jan 22, 2020 #7

    Fencepost

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    Thanks for the responses @cmason1957 @salcoco @bshef ... I have ordered some EC1118 it should be here in 2 days. I will pull some must out and add water... will do10% or about a half gallon as a starting point. Then I will try to make a big starter... 3 or 4 - 1.5 litre bottles of starter and pitch it. One more question... how long with the must stay good? Temps in the 70's and loaded with sugar. I am sure it has a shelf life, it's covered with heavy towel to keep bugs out, but I am not sure how long I can hold it and still get it fermenting. Thanks again... will keep trying to get it started.
     
  8. Jan 22, 2020 #8

    Fencepost

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    And in trying to figure out why there is an issue on this batch and not the last... the only difference I can note is that on the previous batch I used fresh squeezed juice but it was Frozen first then thawed... on this batch I used fresh juice straight off the tree. Other than that I am making it in the winter and last batch was in the summer, but I am controlling the temp to keep it high enough that it should not be significant.
     
  9. Jan 23, 2020 #9

    Johnd

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    If you like the lemon in the skeeter pee, consider adding it at a different time. Get your batch all mixed up and ready to go without the lemon, and pitch your yeast at a higher pH. Once fermentation gets going, add your lemon over a couple of days, giving the yeast time to adjust to the increasing acidity.
     
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  10. Jan 23, 2020 #10

    Fencepost

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    @Johnd, good idea! That should solve it for future batches.... (I'm slapping my forehead ... why didn't I think of that!). That would be a good idea for the skeeter pee thread... I've read it a number of times and have never seen that suggestion. Will try it next time around for sure.
     
  11. Jan 23, 2020 #11

    cmason1957

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    The original directions call for two bottles of lemon juice, then pitch yeast, once down to 1.050 (or something like that) add the third bottle of lemon juice. So you get the pH into a wine like range, let it go part way, then add some more. I've always made it that way with no problems.
     
  12. Jan 27, 2020 #12

    Fencepost

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    @Johnd, @cmason1957, @salcoco ... just to close the loop, I removed some of the must, added back water, and while waiting for the EC1118 to come in, it started fermenting all on it's own... it looks like the guidance about too much acid were on target as it took off when the pH was raised by adding the water. Slowly, I put some of the must back in, and split the last lemon juice addition over 2 days (16 oz per day). It's appears to be back on track... 1.050 SG this morning so added the last of the lemon juice, added the nutrient and energizer. Should be enjoying this as the weather warms up! Thanks guys, your technical guidance, as well as the overall guidance (be patience) is much appreciated.
     

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