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Hi, I'm a first time wine maker. After much reading online and waiting for my grapes to ripen i took myself down to the local brewing store and bought the necessary ingredients to make wine.

Using a recipe from Jack Kellers site: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/request219.asp

All was going well until i made a real rookie error and neglected to hydrate my yeast. Instead i just added it to the must and started stirring. After some more hurried reading online i decided to leave the primary for a few hours to do its thing. Well, it certainly did start to do something - firstly, a lot of brown gungy stuff rose to the top and built up. Secondly after 12 or so hours it was bubbling away like mad and i took this as a sign that things were proceeding well despite my early yeast error. At this stage it was smelling rather fruity and yeasty.

After 2.5 days fermenting i tested the Specific Gravity and found it to be at 1.015 or there abouts and so proceeded with getting the wine into the secondary (a 4.5 litre demijohn) under airlock. I noted that it was starting to smell less pleasant and more off. Fermentation in the new container continued like crazy and at one point within 3 or 4 hours of transfer some wine had spurted out through the airlock and i had do some clean up and ended up transferring to another demijohn with new airlock.

Now to get to the point, it has been a day since the transfer and the smell coming from the airlock is rather odd and slightly unpleasant. It smells slightly eggy and slightly vinegary.

My questions are these:

Should the wine have any odour coming off at all?
If so what should it smell like?
If not, what would the smell i've describe be attributed to?
And, if there is a problem, is it fixable?

I have read a lot about hydrogen sulfide and the nasties that turn your must to vinegar but it seems none of these articles say whether there should be an odour or not.

At every step of the was i have cleaned my equipment with detergent and used hot or boiling water to sterilize (although i could have slipped up somewhere along the line).

Any help would be appreciated. Cheers
 

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Rocco
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The ordors you are describing sounds like the wine is progressing through fermentation. First let me say that there are wine makers that simply prefer to pitch the yeast right on top of the juice rather than rehydrate. It just takes the yeast a little more time to get going so what you did should not contribute to off odors.

During the first day or so of fermentation you will smell a lot of fruit but as the yeast converts the sugar to alcohol you will start smelling the alcohol. The juice will start to smell like wine. If you put your nose close to the fermentation vessel after the 4th day or so you will certainly notice much of the fruit has dissappeared. During the process as the yeast becomes very active you may even get a yeasty aroma. These are all by-products of the fermentation process.

Regarding the overflow when you initially transferred the wine. Sounds like you transferred too soon while the fermentation was still too active. Try waiting until the SG is 1.005 or below. Personally I wait until the SG is less than 1.000 to make sure the fermentation is complete. If you do this you want to make sure you transfer the wine to a carboy soon after because since the fermentation is complete you have no protection against oxygen.

I'm sorry for the late post, i just read it today. I hope your wine came out good. Drop a post and give an update.

PS. If you had a sulfur odor you would know it. It smells like rotten eggs and is a sign that your wine needs immediate attention to fix the problem. Sulfur odor, if left untreated cannot be reversed but if caught early on it can be reversed.
 

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