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shurt

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Long time listener ... first time caller! Although I just officially joined, I've been a lurker on this sight for a long time trying to get ready for my first and second wine making.

I bought the Vinters Best 128 oz fruit wine base, dissolved an extra 3 cups of sugar to give it an alcohol boost with four gallons of water. At 76 degrees I pitched my Red Star Premier Cuvee yeast (5 gr)

started with a specific gravity of 1.080 and the directions told me in 14 days to rack it off into my carboy. HOWEVER, at the end of 14 days my SG is only 1.045 with bubbles still coming out of my airlock every 13-15 seconds.

Looking through the past posts, it appears its ok that my fermentation is taking longer than expected although my directions told me to rack after 14 days. How long should I wait for this first fermentation to end .... keep checking my SG until its below 1.010?

I did not have these issues with my first batch.

Thanks for any advice
Scott
 

drainsurgeon

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Not really sure what's going on. At first I thought you might have stressed the yeast out with the extra sugar, but at 1.08 that shouldn't be the case. I looked up your yeast to check the temp range and WOW....50 to 104 degree temp range....I don't think you could kill that yeast with a hammer! 14 days into your ferment and still at 1.045, you have a stalled ferment for some reason. DO NOT RACK YET! Did you check the date on the yeast packet? If old enough you might have to re-pitch the yeast again. If your must is still in the mid 70s, give it a good stir twice a day and cover your primary with a cloth or towel instead of the cover and airlock. What this will do is get more oxygen to help the yeast along. Also a little yeast nutrient might help.

You shouldn't really have to go to extra measures like this with a kit. I've brewed about 80 kits now and did have one a few years ago that bubbled for 2 days and quit. Went back to my wine store and she gave me another yeast to pitch and that got it going again. I'm guessing it was not a healthy yeast.
 

shurt

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I didn't think about letting it get some air ... thanks for the advice!
 

stickman

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I would get new re-hydrated yeast in there as soon as possible. The longer you allow sluggish conditions to exist, the more likely the fermentation will stall near the end. This is due to the build up of VA and other contaminants released by stressed yeast.
 

TonyR

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For starters I would have used 3 cans of base. What you are going to end up with is a VERY WEAK thin tasting low alcohol (10.5%) wine. You are fine, there is absolutely NO guarantee in the whole world as to how long fermentation will take. Remember directions are just someone else's opinion. I would dump it into a 6 gal fermentation bucket, add some yeast nutrient and just rest the lid on top so it can get air, if no lid cover it with a tee shirt to keep bugs out of it. Stir it a few times a day, when fermenting oxygen is your friend, after fermentation, oxygen is a bad thing. When your Sg gets below 1.010 transfer to a carboy with an airlock. Let it sit for a few weeks till the lees drop to the bottom, rack to a another carboy add kmeta and forget about it for a few months :fsh
 

drainsurgeon

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Sorry shurt, I saw Vinters Best and "read" Vinters Reserve. I thought it was a kit. It's a base and I haven't made a batch from a base yet, but I think it would be similar to using fruit or fruit juice. I would defiantly get some yeast nutrient and maybe even some yeast energizer in there too. Go to a cloth cover and stir twice a day. Record temp and SG daily so you can really see whats going on. Like Tony said, when you get down to 1.01 get it under airlock. I let mine ferment out in the primary before 1st racking but some rack right away. I like to leave as much yeast in the must until it's done fermenting before I rack. Personal preference but either way will work. Once your SG gets down to .990-.994 and stays there for 2-3 days, your ferment is done. Then I rack, add Kmeta and let her sit for a few weeks.
 

shurt

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Thanks so much for the good advice. I tried to do as much reading on this site as possible before I started but sometimes you need that reassurance of what to do! I'll keep you updated.
 

ceeaton

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For starters I would have used 3 cans of base. What you are going to end up with is a VERY WEAK thin tasting low alcohol (10.5%) wine. You are fine, there is absolutely NO guarantee in the whole world as to how long fermentation will take. Remember directions are just someone else's opinion. I would dump it into a 6 gal fermentation bucket, add some yeast nutrient and just rest the lid on top so it can get air, if no lid cover it with a tee shirt to keep bugs out of it. Stir it a few times a day, when fermenting oxygen is your friend, after fermentation, oxygen is a bad thing. When your Sg gets below 1.010 transfer to a carboy with an airlock. Let it sit for a few weeks till the lees drop to the bottom, rack to a another carboy add kmeta and forget about it for a few months :fsh
The newer Vintners fruit bases are good for 5 gallons. Most here do keep there fruit wines in the 10 to 12% range, or the alcohol can overwhelm the finished flavor profile and mask the fruit flavor. I just made a raspberry batch, added 1L of red grape concentrate and a few lbs of frozen raspberries, and it is a delightful wine, with a nice mouth feel, even though I just bottled it yesterday. My original SG was 1.075, so I doubt his sugar addition will harm the final product.

As far as oxygen and yeast, it is your friend as the yeast you pitched gets up to enough strength (multiplies) to ferment your must. After that, oxygen is not necessary, and that is my opinion, not based on scientific fact, though I have read that in many places, mostly beer making forums, where the chance of adding microbes to a ferment is hazardous to the beers health (wines final alcohol level is adds a natural level of protection).
 

drainsurgeon

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I've got a 96oz can of the Vinters Harvest Raspberry in the basement right now. I was going to start a Choc Raspberry Port but ran out of time this summer. We leave for Mesa, AZ in about 9 weeks. The can says it will make either a 3 gallon or 5 gallon batch of wine. I want to make a 6 gallon batch and I was going to add about 10 pounds of raspberries to the batch but could not find them under $7 a pound this summer. Our food prices in MN are ridiculous. Fruit and veggie prices in Phoenix are about 1/4 what they are here so I am going to load up the motorhome freezer in the spring before we come home. I would like to know how this batch turns out so I get an idea of how much base I need for my Port. It sounds like you used 128 oz of base for a 5 gallon batch...is that right? Please keep us posted shurt.
 

shurt

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I've got a 96oz can of the Vinters Harvest Raspberry in the basement right now. I was going to start a Choc Raspberry Port but ran out of time this summer. We leave for Mesa, AZ in about 9 weeks. The can says it will make either a 3 gallon or 5 gallon batch of wine. I want to make a 6 gallon batch and I was going to add about 10 pounds of raspberries to the batch but could not find them under $7 a pound this summer. Our food prices in MN are ridiculous. Fruit and veggie prices in Phoenix are about 1/4 what they are here so I am going to load up the motorhome freezer in the spring before we come home. I would like to know how this batch turns out so I get an idea of how much base I need for my Port. It sounds like you used 128 oz of base for a 5 gallon batch...is that right? Please keep us posted shurt.


Yes ... 128 oz of fruit base and 4 gallons of water. I added some nutrients today and it took right off so I might be back on the right track.
 

shurt

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More help ... recap:


I bought the Vinters Best 128 oz fruit wine base, dissolved an extra 3 cups of sugar to give it an alcohol boost with four gallons of water. At 76 degrees I pitched my Red Star Premier Cuvee yeast (5 gr)

started with a specific gravity of 1.080 and the directions told me in 14 days to rack it off into my carboy. HOWEVER, at the end of 14 days my SG is only 1.045 with bubbles still coming out of my airlock every 13-15 seconds.

Looking through the past posts, it appears its ok that my fermentation is taking longer than expected although my directions told me to rack after 14 days. How long should I wait for this first fermentation to end .... keep checking my SG until its below 1.010?


NEW PROBLEM:

My fermentation is between 1.000 and .995 so I decided to rack it into a 5 gallon carboy tonight. My raspberry wine is VERY raspberry, in fact, it only filled up the carboy about 4 gallons worth which tells me I must not have added the right amount of water in the beginning. I am sure I used 4 gallons of water with my 1 gallon of Vinters . I was so careful but looking at my carboy it is about one gallon short of being close to full. I have added a photo.

What should I do? Add more water to dilute into something more drinkable?

If it was easy everyone would be making wine huh? I could really use some help tonight.

Thanks in advance
Scott

IMG_2528.jpg
 

MisterEd

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That actually looks like a 6 gallon carboy you have there. The different carboys can be deceiving capacity wise. Hopefully you have something smaller to transfer it into. I would not dilute it until you are certain you are working with an actual 5 gallon carboy.
 

shurt

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Its a 5 gallon carboy ... I've check a couple times. I still have the box and checked it with a second 5 gallon carboy I have.

Again, it is a very strong raspberry flavor .... almost thickish.
 

MisterEd

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Options: Blend it with something else similar from the package store. If you add a gallon of water your ABV will drop to an undesirable level. With the SG where it is your fermentation cycle is basically finished. Put it in a 3 gallon carboy, if available, and a 1 gal jug. Or 4 gal jugs- not optimal for sure. Fill it up with marbles or stainless steel balls- be careful!
That much free air space is going to cause excessive oxidation. Adding a layer of nitrogen or argon on it would help give it a buffer from the O2.
 

Arne

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Well, if it is too flavorful for you, you can add some water and sugar to tone it down. Or get a couple of gal. of apple juice and do another ferment. Make the s.g. about the same and use it to blend the rasp. down. Should keep the alcohol level about the same and not add too much apple to change the flavor much. Can also try with just sugar and water. Get the s.g. up to the same as your origional must, ferment it out and blend. Arne.
 

Turock

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I would not add water. All that does is dilute the flavor. You need a few gallon jugs--you should always have them handy for just such a use. You can also use large wine bottles for whatever is left. Do not allow that much headspace for very long or else you can start to have vinegar formation.

Another thing that is handy to have is 10-20 pounds of marbles to reduce minimal headspace.
 

terrymck

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I think that you are only about 1/2 gal down from full. When you racked off the lees, some volume was lost. What did you use to measure the water? In any event that amount of head space would be no problem with one of Steve's (Vaccume pump man) headspace eliminators. It will work with a hand vac pump.
 

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