several problems - need some advice please :-)

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Jan 30, 2017
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I have a few questions which I hope will start (and will appreciate!) some lively discussion and help me with a couple of problems I'm seeing.

Some background. I've been making (mainly floral based) wine for several years, and more recently in larger quantitites (5 gallon batches). My main source of flowers is from foraging (gorse flower, elderflower, hawthorn) and any fruit also in the same way. I usually freeze the flowers or fruit and use from frozen but have used fresh also and see very little difference. I usually start with an SG of 1.095 which will give me approx 13% wine assuming fermenting to an SG of 1. I use Youngs Active yeast - 1 teaspoon per gallon (though have tried others with no differences seen) and just normal sugar.

Here are my questions:

1. I've always had a problem with the amount of time it takes from start to finish. It can take 6 months at least to have the SG at 1. is there any basic thing I can do to speed up the process?

2. Related to 1/ I've seen big variations in the time taken between different kinds of wine. I have two possibly hypotheses: a/ the type of flower or fruit being used affects the time taken b/ the amount of flower/fruit being used affects the time taken. The second hypothesis in particular is interesting as when I upped the amount of flower being used for one batch, it sped up considerably. Could this be because there is less contact with air by the yeast?

3. By bottling at SGs of over 1 (for example 1.010), what is the risk of re-fermentation and what is the best way to minimise this risk? Is adding campden and potassium sulphite a sure-fire way of ending the fermentation process or is there are a better way of minimising this risk?

4. What is the ideal room temperature to ferment at (first week or two and later)? I've started using a warm room (around 22 degrees C) for all processsing (from start to finish) but have seen a slowdown of fermentation in the first two weeks and I think it could be that the room is too warm and the must is not able to rid itself of its heat (i.e. it's overheating). Any ideas if this can happen at a constant room temperature of 22-24 degrees C?

Thanks in advance all for your responses :)


Senior Member
Dec 27, 2011
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Saratoga Springs
Hi thombelli, and welcome. A couple of thoughts: I wonder if the problem you have in getting the fermentation to complete is in part to do with a possible lack of needed nutrients and a possible lack of oxygen. Do you aerate the must? Do you stir it vigorously a couple of times a day to incorporate oxygen and remove CO2? Are you adding anything that would provide the yeast nitrogen and other critical organic material. I am unfamiliar with this yeast but one teaspoon would seem like a very little amount. Is that the recommended amount for this volume of wine? Have you tried doubling or tripling the amount of yeast you pitch?
I will leave to others the risk of continued fermentation if you bottle with residual sugar and an active colony of yeast, but again, being unfamiliar with the yeast you use it should offer you a range at which this yeast prefers to ferment. I would tend to work at the lower end of that range to inhibit the production of fusels and certainly fermentation is a process that produces heat so the wine will be a few degrees warmer than the room


Veteran Wine Maker
WMT Supporter
Jan 1, 2007
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Jack Keller at his website has many flower recipes. I would suggest visiting that page to get some of your answers. I will try to suggest some know.

Yeast requirements are usually 1 gram per gallon. Also yeast nutrient such as Fermaid-k or Fermaid-O would help the fermentation. I would use an all around yeast such as EC1118 to perform fermentation. yeast does enjoy some air during ferment . I would recommend stirring the must at least once a day, twice is better.

Bottling without stability is a hazard. if a sweeter wine is desired I would suggest fermenting to a sg below 1.00. stabilize the wine with K-Meta and have wine clear. then sweeten with sugar syrup using bench trials to find the best level. once selected add sugar syrup, k-meta and potassium sorbate to the wine. wait a few weeks to insure fermentation does not occur and then bottle. sugar syrup is one cup water to two cups sugar mix in a blender for best integration.
Temperature of fermentation can be a low as 60deg F. If fermenting in a carboy one method for cooling is using a wet towel over the carboy and directing a fan onto the wet towel. the evaporation will keep the fermentation to 65 deg F. if using a bucket place the bucket into a larger bucket fill with water and add frozen bottle of water to water bath. replace twice daily. the water bath will keep the ferment cool. stirring daily will distribute the cool must as well. a cool ferment will also sustain the floral qualities of the wine.
an additional thought is the use of acid. Jack Keller's recipes give a suggested level of acid blend to floral wine.

Good Luck

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