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Should I stop fermentation? Should I bottle?

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Copper

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Hello! I am new to wine making. I did a lot of research before making mine but am still a tad confused. I like wines ranging from semi- dry to sweet. I have 4 gallons fermenting in a dark closet with hand picked grapes from my husband's grannie's vineyard. I have used the large punching balloons and the rubber bands for an airlock. I've read they deflate within 5-7 days and are ready to bottle online. However most balloon recipes are for wine made from welches grape juice or similar. This is natural. I used the recommended amount of yeast with a small amount (also recommended amount on the jar) of calcium carbonate to make it a little less acidic and wine flavoring. It's been fermenting for close to two weeks. If I don't want it too dry, should I go ahead and stop the fermentation by putting it in the fridge? Is it too soon? Will it get sweet if I just wait till the balloons go down and then add a conditioner? I didn't poke a hole in the balloon like a lot of posts with instructions suggest as I didn't want air to get in and make it vinegary. I had planned on siphoning it the yeast and bottling it to finish fermentation (leave it alone for about 2 months before trying). But... since the balloons are still decently inflated I don't know.. Again, don't want it too dry. I also don't want to kill the alchohol by doing so too soon. Thanks for your help!
 

Copper

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Ps if there are a ton of typos I appologize I was at work trying to hurry and share this. Thanks so much! <3
 

mainshipfred

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The longer you wait the drier it will get. Stopping the fermentation is difficult and it doesn't appear you have a hydrometer to test how far along your fermentation is. The only way to stop fermentation is to place it in the refrigerator as you said or sterile filter it. Your best bet is to let it go dry and make an F-pack or buy a grape concentrate and back sweeten. Either way you have to add sorbate. The problem with the frig is once it warms back up the yeast will become active again. As far as bottling make sure it is completely degassed and has completely cleared.
 

salcoco

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https://winemaking.jackkeller.net/index.asp please visit this web site and do some reading on fermentation etc. the balloon is old age wives tales. best to purchase the right equipment then fool around and waste your time in developing a poor product. first purchase a hydrometer read up on how to use it and when a fermentation is complete. you cannot successfully stop a fermentation. let it run its course wait util wine is clear( could be weeks) then sweeten with a sugar syrup to taste. sorbate needs to be added to keep wine from fermenting again. please do some research and reading before going any further and being disappointed in results.
 

Copper

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Thank you all so much. I did not know the yeast would become active again after it warmed back up or the best method to sweeten afterwards. I bought a hydrometer from my local wine store but it didn’t work. I will just let it run it’s course and run out of gas and then I suppose I’ll re-sweeten. Should I add syrup or sweetener before bottling or just siphon out and clean my growlers and let them sit for quite some time and then sweeten before I bottle?
 

JoP

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https://winemaking.jackkeller.net/index.asp please visit this web site and do some reading on fermentation etc. the balloon is old age wives tales. best to purchase the right equipment then fool around and waste your time in developing a poor product. first purchase a hydrometer read up on how to use it and when a fermentation is complete. you cannot successfully stop a fermentation. let it run its course wait util wine is clear( could be weeks) then sweeten with a sugar syrup to taste. sorbate needs to be added to keep wine from fermenting again. please do some research and reading before going any further and being disappointed in results.
Be careful with Sorbate, read this article:
http://winemakersacademy.com/potassium-sorbate-wine-making/


 

Scooter68

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I have a little problem with that article from WMA - The author is advising a process he admits he has never done. ??? Additionally the article sort of suggests that only newbies to wine making use sorbate - Rather condescending in tone overall.
In total the article comes across as a total slam on a product that is used a quite a few foods with no problem. While there are potential issues with Sorbate not everyone experiences them, additionally there are ways to mitigate the potential 'aging out' of sorbate once added to a wine. The mitigation is relatively easy - to age your wine in bulk without back=sweetening until just before bottling. That approach also limits the effects of the 'new wine edge' that tends to result in over sweetening a wine.

Certainly there are risks and potential drawbacks to using sorbate and new wine makers should be aware of those. BUT, articles like this one listed from WMA are pretty one-sided stories and have the potential to do more harm than good.

As always I suggest reading as much as possible about additives of any kind before you decided and if you do enough reading you are more likely to get a more leveled headed idea of what that additive can do in terms of the good and the bad.

Trusting One article alone is not always the wisest approach to getting answers. You sort have to act that the scoring rules for diving - Toss out the high and low and look in the middle.
 

Copper

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Yes I hate to say the postassium sorbate article leads me to not want to add it. I'm not shooting for a ton of additives just a tasty unspoiled sweet wine! I will take the advice on a sweetener/syrup though. Thanks.
 

Intheswamp

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You mentioned above that you'd "just let it run out of gas" and later back-sweeten it.

The gas you speak of I suppose (as a rank newbie) would have to be sugar. The yeast will stop fermenting because they have nothing left to eat. If you let the fermentation "run out of gas" and then back-sweeten then you will again present those pesky surviving and dormant yeast with something to eat. If you subsequently bottle it after sweetening it (without adding k-sorbate), well,...it makes me think bottle bombs.
:se
 
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Scooter68

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Unless this is supposed to be a quick drinker like DB or SP you should be aging that wine a minimum of 9 months - IF you want an enjoyable wine. Anything less and you are likely to find it falls short of what you had hoped for.
With that in mind, you don't need to add any sugar or sorbate until it's almost time to bottle. Doing that will do 2 things, 1) Allow you to more accurately back-sweeten the wine and 2) Minimize the time the Sorbate has to age-out and toss any odd flavors or aromas at you. Use your K-Meta for now and age that wine. Buy fresh Sorbate later on so that you know it will be both effective and fresh.
 

Copper

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You mentioned above that you'd "just let it run out of gas" and later back-sweeten it.

The gas you speak of I suppose (as a rank newbie) would have to be sugar. The yeast will stop fermenting because they have nothing left to eat. If you let the fermentation "run out of gas" and then back-sweeten then you will again present those pesky surviving and dormant yeast with something to eat. If you subsequently bottle it after sweetening it (without adding k-sorbate), well,...it makes me think bottle bombs.
:se
What I was referring to was actually the gas produced by the yeast eating the sugar and the yeast dying thus not inflating the balloons anymore with gas. The sweetener I'm referring to is the sugarless sweetener someone mentioned before in another comment, not real sugar lol.
 
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