Strawberry Wine: Faulty Fermenter

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Hey there! I’m new to the community & this is also my first attempt at making wine. A couple questions:

1. I got everything added to my Big Mouth Bubbler and then found out the lid won’t stay attached. It keeps popping off. Will it mess everything up if I siphon it to a different 1 gallon fermenter?

2. The hydrometer read 1.05 when I measured. I know this is lower than desired. Will this just make a lower ABV wine? Is there anything I can/should do at this stage to fix it? (Note the yeast has already been added)

Thanks! Hoping to learn more about this process so I can learn how to make my own yummy wines.
 

Doug’s wines

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Hi @VitnerHydrologist, welcome. On the SG, you can adjust by adding sugar to your desired starting SG. I use home made simple syrup made by diluting 2 cups of regular sugar in every 1 cup of water. I make it inverted. Lots of YouTube / webpages on how to do it, but basically just get you water to almost boiling, add sugar, stir to dissolve (it will become clear, then keep the temp near boiling for 20-30 minutes. Cool your simple syrup to must temp before adding to the must.

yes the starting SG is abv, but it also affects mouthfeel and flavor due to alcohol. I don’t make strawberry wine so no personal recommendations on SG for that wine however google search says 1.080 - 1.100 is typical.

I do not have experience with the Big Mouth, but almost all of us here just throw a toweL over the top of our primary to keep our critters. i never clamp down a top. Maybe someone else can comment on how to fix the lid.

All the best.
 

Scooter68

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As with so much of wine making you are going to find that there are many opinions on many topics.
As for question 1 - When fermentation is active or expected to begin (You are waiting for some sign of activity) There is no need for a sealed top. I'd guess that most folks use a towel tied over their fermentation container or a loose lid in the case of a bucket. Just keep out bugs and pets. Your wine fermentation will be producing a lot of CO2 gas and it needs to be allowed to escape.
As for question 2 - Generally speaking for a wine... you want to start out with an SG of somewhere around 1.070 (Figuring on a final SG of .990 which would give you an ABV of 10.5%. You can go lower but most wines are at least 10% with a few exceptions. If fermentation has already started you can still add more sugar and raise the SG to a higher point. You just have to remember that you started at 1.050 and then measure where you are when you add the sugar. For a strawberry wine an ABV of 12 or less would be more than enough without overpowering the strawberry flavor. The only pain is that since you've aready started the fermentaion - I'd stick with gradually stirring in sugar rather than a Simply Syrup addition. I perfer a Simple Syrup but the additional water now will dilute the flavor and alter the pH. Since fermentation is imminent or already started pH adjustments are just about to do now.
Example.
Started at 1.050. Today you decide to add more sugar but the SG is now 1.035 So you just need to raise the SG to 1.055 to effectively have a wine with a starting SG of 1.070.
1.050 -1.035 = .015
1.070 - .015 = 1.055 for the SG to want to hit to end up with a finished ABV of 10.5%.
{This all assumes that the ending SG will be .990}

Here's a link to an easy to use online ABV calculator. Alcohol By Volume ABV Calculator - Brewer's Friend
 
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Thanks for your replies! Would it be better to leave it with a loose cover than to transfer it to a whole new bottle? All I know is I’m not supposed to stir up the yeast.

Also thanks for the link!
 

Scooter68

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Actually for the first half of the ferment at least, a daily stir is a GOOD thing. It keeps the yeast and must in good contact and a little oxygen during that time is not a bad thing. This is especially true if you are using crushed, mashed fruit in a fruit bag or even loose in the container. You want to make sure the yeast gets access to all of it break it down and extract the flavors while producing the alcohol.
Yes, I'd just leave it in the current container and cover with a linen cloth, tea towel...something with decently tight weave (Not cheese cloth for example) I actually invested in a couple of yards of unbleached muslin at the local Hobby Lobby craft store. I avoided the permenant press -trying to get the most basic un-treated materiel.
 

hounddawg

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welcome hydroioist
Thanks for your replies! Would it be better to leave it with a loose cover than to transfer it to a whole new bottle? All I know is I’m not supposed to stir up the yeast.

Also thanks for the link!
yep you're in good hands, oxygen during ferment is needed, only after ferment does oxygen becomes you wines enemy, when you hydrometer get to about .998 then transfer and airlock, my strawberries i start around 1.080, then just before i bottle i back sweeten to 1,040, after adding per label directions sorbate, an potassium metabisulfite again per items directions,
Dawg
 

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