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I'm new to wine making. I decided to try rose hip wine. I've never tried anything made from rose hips. But rose petals were unavailable. I kind of made up my recipe based on others I found online. I'm using 1 1/2 lbs dried whole rose hips, 12 lbs of sugar, 5 gal. Of water and Montrachet yeast. I'm now on day 6 of fermentation. My first hydrometer reading was 1.200. Today it was 1.090. Upon more reading I saw you shouldn't leave the fruit in past 7 days. I was going to rack it tomorrow but the reading is still high and I don't want to shock the yeast. Any help is appreciated. I do not know what I'm doing.
 

BernardSmith

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hi girlwithglasses - and welcome. The data don't match the ingredients. If you used 12 lbs of sugar dissolved in 5 gallons of water then that is about 2.4 lbs of sugar in every gallon and at about 40 points (1.040) of gravity for every lb your initial reading should have been closer to about 1.100 and not 1.200. A gravity of 1.200 is potentially off the charts as there is enough sugar to make a "wine" that has more than 25% alcohol by volume but no yeast can deal with that and most yeast would be damaged by "osmotic shock" - the concentration of sugar being so high that this would injure the cell walls as they tried to transport the sugar from the outside to their insides.
CJJ Berry - a classic British home wine maker from the 60's - has a recipe for rose-hip wine where he used about 1/2lb of dried hips for every gallon. I see that he allowed the rosehips to sit in the must for 10 days but he had minced the rose-hips and had poured boiling water over them with the juice of a lemon to make a kind of tea, pitching the yeast when the solution had cooled (see his 130 New Wine Making Recipes, 2011). Berry also suggests that you add yeast nutrient - the rose-hips being nutrient poor for the yeast. If you did not add nutrient then that might explain why it has taken a week for the gravity to drop about 10 points. You can buy commercially made nutrient from your LHBS or you can, at a pinch, make your own by simply taking some bread yeast (say 1 T) and boiling it in a little water (I would proof the yeast first but that does not seem to be something that others do) . Your wine yeast will happily cannibalize the dead yeast cells and take the nitrogen and other organic compounds they need to make the sterols and other chemicals the yeast need to thrive.
 

BernardSmith

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Or - sour_grapes - , the sugar may not have all been properly dissolved and the spot where the OP took her sample may have had a higher concentration of sugar. ... So the reading may in fact be accurate but it may not be a reliable indicator of the total amount of sugar dissolved in the must. .
 
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It is entirely possible I misread the hydrometer. 3 days in it was at 1.100. I did do much of what Barry did, I soaked them for about 16 hrs and mashed them.Then I poured the boiling sugar water over the mashed rose hips, I pitched the yeast about 24 hrs later. I did added yeast energizer, can I / should I add nutrient now 8 days in? It's still bubbleing pretty good. I wanted a sweet wine in the end in hopes of not having to back sweeten. It is now at 1.080.
 

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Energizer is not the same as nutrient and with modern commercial nutrients I don't think you need to add "energizer". The thing about adding nutrient is that it is not good to add nutrient after the point where the yeast will not use it. I am not sure at what that point is but given the fact that many people use a protocol called SNA to add nutrient and given the fact that many add nutrients even when there is 1/3 of the total sugar still in the must then I would think that adding nutrients now should be fine. BUT .. a word of caution - given the fact that your must will have a great deal of CO2 dissolved in the liquid and given the fact that nutrient is powder and will act as points of nucleation and help force the gas out of solution - taking with it all the liquid above the gas - you may want to dissolve the nutrient in a little water or must before adding any to the fermenter. If you are fermenting in a bucket this is less important - but if your primary is a glass carboy the gas will rifle up through the neck and you will have rose hip wine painting your ceiling and walls..
 

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