RJ Spagnols SG way too low!

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jdammer

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Just started my Washington Merlot. Finished it up and SG was only 1.082. Kit's are supposed to start between 1.095 and 1.110. I called RJ but no answer. Pretty disappointed considering it is my most expensive kit and the only one I've had the sg off. Any thoughts?
 

Tom

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What do you mean finished it up and SG was only 1.082?
One thing that comes to mind is you didnt mix it up good before you took a reading.
 

jdammer

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Adding the rest of the water and the grape skin pack.

I definitely stirred it up well enough. My drill on fast for a couple of minutes when blending in the oak.

The cellar classic online says 1.072-1.110. The winery series instructions I got say different.

The box I got had some red on the inside, but the bag didn't have any holes.

so I don't know.
 

Wade E

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Are you going by the gauge on your bucket ir did you calculate what you needed cause primary buckets arent that accurate. One thing you will learn about making any kind of wine is to use your hydrometer while adding water or sugar, not fill it up and then check after. The gape pack will bring the sg up once the suagrs are released, Take another reading tonight and see what it is.
 

jdammer

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Yah I guess I should have realized that. Hope it doesn't turn into a mistake. Alcohol will only end up at the high 8's. RJS just called me back and they say eh. whatever. Not very helpful at all.

Thanks for the advice Wade. I'll look at it tonight and see what it say.

I'll definitely use the hydrometer while filling and mixing next time.
 

grapeman

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Assuming the must doesn't get any higher in SG, it would finish out right around 11%ABV and if it gets really dry, a bit higher. That is acceptable although a bit low. I agree with Wade, it will probably raise a bit once the sugars goe into solution from the grape pack.
 

Boozehag

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Out of interest Wade could you add some sugar to it to increase that sg or is that a no no?
 

jdammer

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Ok. Thanks for the advice. I whipped it up this morning and the gravity was at just over 1.100. Much better. The yeast got whipped around but I'm sure they will be just fine.

On a side note. Why is the yeast just placed on top and not stirred in? Oxygen?
 

cpfan

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On a side note. Why is the yeast just placed on top and not stirred in? Oxygen?
Because kit companies find that many of their customers do not make a starter solution successfully. Since sprinkling will work, they have chosen not to introduce a possible point of failure to the process.

Steve
 

jdammer

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gotchya. What would be the side effects of stirring it right in from the beginning?
 

Wade E

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I figured this would be in that sg range cause thats where every one of my RJS Winery And EP kits have always fallen, it just takes a little to get the juice mixed in properly and also for the grapes to release their sugars, i assure the grapes did not release all that sugar though and the juices just werent mixed all the way in. The graoes do not contain that much sugar. Glad it is all good. As far as the yeast not being stirred in it hust doesnt need to be, There would be no downside to this unless you used distilled water which is depleated of 02 and you didnt introduce enough 02 while mixing the kit or whatever you are fermenting.
 

cpfan

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gotchya. What would be the side effects of stirring it right in from the beginning?
The yeast is "double-shocked" when it is pitched onto the must. First, the change from dry to wet. Second, the temperature change (probably anyway). Not sure if "agitating" it by vigourous stirring is good, bad or indifferent. Certainly the kit companies recommend not stirring.

Personally I stir vigourously, sprinkle the yeast on top, and unless something is floating (grape skins or oak teabag) I leave it alone. If there is something floating, I do a gentle stir every other day or so. If the ferment is not happening as quickly as I would like (ie the sg is still high after 6-8 days), I will give it a good stir.

Steve
 

jdammer

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Thanks for the reply guys.

The kit says to stir it down everyday to get the juice out of the grapes. So i'll do that for the next week.

You bulk age these kits for a year don't you Wade?

Do you have to add extra meta in these kits for aging long than six months. I know you have to with the cheap winexpert kits I have bought.
 

Wade E

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I bulk age them around 6-8 months typically and then cellar them for another 6-8 months and while they are aging I sulfite them appropriately with a test kit and its usually right around the 3 1/2 month mark and sulfite needed is almost always as stated by many sayingn that 1/4 tsp per 6 gallons is what is needed.
 

jdammer

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Could you just add the 1/4 tsp from the beginning or no? I haven't done anything with testing kits yet.
 

Wade E

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Just add the 1/4 tsp when its done fermenting and then another after 3-4 months and keep doing that until you bottle it.
 

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