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Strawberry Wine-Fermenting Trouble

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Da Cajun

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Hey everybody,
First time posting but I need a little advice from the veterans. I've been making Watermelon and Peach wine (fresh, not from kits) for about 2 years now. These have been coming out pretty good for the most part but I'm trying a strawberry for the first time and having trouble.
My trouble is initial fermentation. For some reason I cannot get it to kick off. I did my normal routine. Clean all the equipment, clean the fruit, mash fruit, add water, add a little Potassium Bisulfite and soak for a few days. After a few days add my sugar and yeast.
Watermelon and Peach always kick off the fermenting action the very next day. The strawberry is in its 4th day and no visible fermentation at all. Not even a whiff of alcohol either.

Is it something about the strawberrys that take longer to kick off? Does this sound like a problem?

Thanks for any info you can provide!
Da Cajun.
 

Luc

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You mentioned you cleaned the fruit.
Does that include rinsing it.
There might be pesticides sprayed on strawberries that might inhibit fermentation.

Can you give us some info on acidity and SG ?
That might be usefull in determinating the problem.

Did you use plain yeast or a starter ??
Try making another yeast starter that really ferments well and add that to the must.

A bit of yeast nutrition may also help (did not see any mention of it).

I just bottled 25 liters strawberry wine made from jam (look somewhere here on this forum for the recipe or at my web-log in a februari entry).
It really is awesome. A great summer sipping rose.
I already think 25 liters is not enough........................

When this goes off you are really in for a treat.

One advise: not to much alcohol and acid on the lower side of 6 gives a good result.

Luc Volders
 
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D

Da Cajun

Guest
Hey Luc,

Thanks for the reply. Check it out, see what you think.


You mentioned you cleaned the fruit.
Does that include rinsing it. Yes, I rinsed it fairly well.
There might be pesticides sprayed on strawberries that might inhibit fermentation.

Can you give us some info on acidity and SG ? I didn't check the acid and the SG was very high (off the hydrometer chart) as I use a lot of sugar in my wines. Ten pounds per 5 gallon bucket.
That might be usefull in determinating the problem.

Did you use plain yeast or a starter ?? Plain wine yeast. Called Montrachet.
Try making another yeast starter that really ferments well and add that to the must.

A bit of yeast nutrition may also help (did not see any mention of it). I've never used a yeast nutrition, I'll have to look into this.

Thanks again,
Da Cajun.
 

Luc

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Hey Luc,

Can you give us some info on acidity and SG ? I didn't check the acid and the SG was very high (off the hydrometer chart) as I use a lot of sugar in my wines. Ten pounds per 5 gallon bucket.
That might be usefull in determinating the problem.

Did you use plain yeast or a starter ?? Plain wine yeast. Called Montrachet.
Try making another yeast starter that really ferments well and add that to the must.

Thanks again,
Da Cajun.
Ok,

10 pounds for about 5 gallons is high.
And then we are talking added sugar. There will be sugar in the pulp from the strawberries itself. Now looking in my tables it says that strawberries already have about 70 grams sugar per liter. You added 10 pounds = 4.5 kilo in 5 gallon = 19 liter so you added 236 grams per liter.

Sorry I had to do the converting for my convenience.
So you added 236 grams per liter to 72 grams per liter and your must therefore ended at 308 grams per liter. That is enough for 17% alcohol !!!!!

Keep in mind that sugar works as a preservative. So too much sugar and the yeast will not start fermenting. Maybe this is your problem.......

I suggest you take half a gallon, dilute it with half a gallon water and pitch some yeast in. Look if that will ferment. If it does the high sugar is your problem and you should dilute the rest of your wine also (but not as much as the half gallon).

Look into yeast nutrition it really helps fermentation. Sugar is not the only thing yeast need.

Make a yeast starter. That way you will certainly know that the yeast works well. Add that to the test gallon. That way you exclude all kinds of things to start with.

Oh, and how is temperature ? If it is too high no fermentation will take place anyhow because yeast will die in to high a temperature.


Hope this helps.

Luc Volders
 
D

Da Cajun

Guest
Thanks Luc. I'd say that observation sounds very possible. I'll defintely take your advice and take some out and dillute it.

LOL, I know 17% sounds pretty high but I get a kick out of making some pretty strong fruit punch :) I usually make my Watermelon about 15% and my peach about 13% with 10 to 12lbs of sugar. I guess I didn't realize that the strawberry would act so differently.

The temp. usually stays about 72 degrees F but can rise to about 78 F at times.

This may sound crazy but I've never tried a yeast starter. I'll have to do a little reading and research on this. I'm assuming the idea is to get the yeast fired up before it even hits the mash.

Thanks again Luc for the advice. I'll post the results as soon as possible.

Da Cajun.
 

Luc

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I'll give you some info on the yeast starter.

I always take a liter (quart gallon) of apple juice (straight from the pack out of the shop but make sure there are no preservatives in it, just pure juice).
While heating until it boils I add 120 to 150 grams of sugar.
To cool it down again I just wait but during the waiting I stir vigorously top get
air into the juice which will help yeast multiplication.
When cooled down again until about 20 degrees celsius I add nutrient and yeast.
I then put it in a 5 liter bottle with a cloth on top.
I put this bottle next to the container with the must so the yeast also get used to the same temperature.

Now the purpose is to get as much healthy yeast as possible and to get the yeast accustomed to the new environment.

So after 24 hours you will have a vigorous fermentation. I then add half a liter of must. I wait a few hours, check on fermentation and then add a whole liter. Wait again a few hours and then add 1,5 liter.

This way you are sure that the must contains nothing that will stun fermentation or
kill the yeast. And the yeast will get used to the must they will live in.

Then I pour the starter into the must.
It will take a few hours but then fermentation will get vigorous.

That's it.

Luc Volders
 
D

Da Cajun

Guest
Hey Luc, I got three words for ya.

Fer-men-tation! haha.

Thanks a bunch for the help, your suggestions worked like a charm. I followed your yeast starter to the letter with one exception. I didn't cool it down quite as much as you had suggested. I believe you suggested 20 degrees C. I added the yeast and nutrient when it was about 5 degrees warmer.
After the starter was cranked up, I added a very little amount of my Strawberry must. It took off in a few hours. The next morning I added a little more. That night I toped it off. It was rolling right along. The following morning I added the entire starter to the remaining must (about 4 gallons) and it took off like a rocket. My airlock is popping once per second now.
I learned alot on this run. Thanks again. I'll sip one for ya when its all done.

Cheers!
Da Cajun.
 

Luc

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I am glad I could be of any help.

Hope the strawberry turns out as good as mine did.

Luc
 

xxplod

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I had trouble with my strawberry wine starting also,but i asked the gr8 peeps in here and did a repitch useing a starter yeast and pow! it busted off and is still kickin. thanks every one.
 

St Allie

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Winks at xxplod...

( this thread was started in 2007.....)


Allie
 

St Allie

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im a tad slow huh? lol
we won't crucify you for it..

hehehehhe

you were being helpful... and that's what this site is all about xxplod

keep doing it, we appreciate the support

Allie

:hug
 

St Allie

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Where are you xxplod?

usually only NZ and Australia on at this hour of the day..

oh and Troy..

Troy is like an old ford or holden.. rust never sleeps...

Allie
 

xxplod

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east tn-- i dont sleep much too much pain most of the time. but hey its a gr8 time to make wine huh? :p
 

St Allie

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east tn-- i dont sleep much too much pain most of the time. but hey its a gr8 time to make wine huh? :p
wine's a great pain killer too

well I'm usually around.. we can talk to each other.. it'll stop you trying to talk to people from 2007 anyway... hehehhe

Allie :h
 

cpfan

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So Allie...is there something wrong with people from 2007?

Steve (from 2006)
 

Tom

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So Allie...is there something wrong with people from 2007?

Steve (from 2006)
Well I am from 2010. I bet the wine in post 1 has LONG beed durnk! :slp
 

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