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AJH89

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First time wine brewer looking for help.

I mashed 38lbs of strawberries and added 1 gallon of water with 14 lbs of sugar, pectic enzyme, campden tablets, tannin and acid blend. Acid was low still so I added to get it to 3.6. Original SG after the strawberry mash itself was 1.020. Used an online chalculator so to speak lol that said add 14 lbs, used K1-V116 yeast after 24 hourd in my primary then waited 5 days which brought it to 1.030 SG and racked it over to my carboy. Heard it's much better on fruit wine if you want that high abv especially for strawberry rather than E1116. After 1 week I added 1/4 gallon of water mixed with 1lb of sugar. My hydrometer broke after taking initial gravity and added the sugar so it's a guessing game I'm assuming on my real finalized abv content. My question is keep adding sugar 2ndary fermentation? I want it to hit that 18% yeild. Not add anymore? And after the bext rack, cause it is clearing immensely, rack again? Or since I used so much straight strawberry it won't get clearer? And using sparkalloid a week before bottling and potassium sorbate to stop fermentation and to help shelf life?
 

AJH89

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Really wish I didn't accidentally break my hydrometer after the first initial SG but it did and then I added the 14lbs of sugar and there was no way to take the SG then. Assuming the calculation between that and finalized SG tells you the abv content from what I've read. I've done my research ,it seems pretty easy but I'm stuck since my hydrometer broke. Add more sugar, let it sit and run it's course, potassium sorbate, how many carboy racks? Those are my big questions.
 

jgmillr1

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I would not add any more sugar. Your 14lbs in 5gal at the outset to the already sweet strawberry must is more than enough to get you to 18%ABV if (and that's a big IF) the yeast will take you there given the conditions of the must. It is likely the fermentation will stick at some point and you'll end up with a very alcoholic wine with some residual sugar. At that point you can add more sugar to your taste for the final sweetness of the wine. Sorbate would be good in case any yeast bravely attempts to continue fermenting it.

I'm sure there are some out there who can better suggest techniques to achieve the full alcohol tolerance of the yeast. I would suggest next time that you start with about 6lbs of sugar (starting SG of say 1.08), wait until the SG is down to say 1.000 and then begin to step feed the yeast with 1lb sugar additions every few days along with some nutrients until you've added a total of 10lbs or so of sugar. That should not stress the yeast out as much as dumping the entire bunch of sugar in all at once and letting the yeast deal with both high alcohol and high sugar levels.
 

AJH89

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I would not add any more sugar. Your 14lbs in 5gal at the outset to the already sweet strawberry must is more than enough to get you to 18%ABV if (and that's a big IF) the yeast will take you there given the conditions of the must. It is likely the fermentation will stick at some point and you'll end up with a very alcoholic wine with some residual sugar. At that point you can add more sugar to your taste for the final sweetness of the wine. Sorbate would be good in case any yeast bravely attempts to continue fermenting it.

I'm sure there are some out there who can better suggest techniques to achieve the full alcohol tolerance of the yeast. I would suggest next time that you start with about 6lbs of sugar (starting SG of say 1.08), wait until the SG is down to say 1.000 and then begin to step feed the yeast with 1lb sugar additions every few days along with some nutrients until you've added a total of 10lbs or so of sugar. That should not stress the yeast out as much as dumping the entire bunch of sugar in all at once and letting the yeast deal with both high alcohol and high sugar levels.
On day 2 of the primary I also added yeast nutrient and yeast energizer. It was a fermenting beast in the primary, constantly bubbling. Once I racked it over to the carboy it started to slow down a little. Pushes a nice blup out every 10 seconds. It definitely smells very alcoholic. I had waited a week and then added that sugar to try and help the fermentation keep going, but I won't add anymore if y'all think that's plenty. So using that amount of strawberries do you think it'll clear up well or should I just keep racking over to my liking? I don't wanna rack too much and risk oxidation.
 

hounddawg

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, your must is crafted not brewed,, why the big hurry,,, i keep 5 hydrometers, always try an keep extras, my last i broke,, i dumped it outta my wine thief and it broke in my hand on my ring, lol.
yep you got enough sugar, since you've already racked it, beings, no hydrometer, i'd let it set for a few weeks at least, i make a fair amount of strawberry,,,, potassium sorbate & potassium metabisulfite, will not stop your ferment, you'll just half to ride the ferment out, you need to get another 2/3 hydrometers, so you can tell your numbers stay the same for 3 days in a row, at each racking add 1/4 teaspoon potassium metabisulfite, also known as K-meta,, come bottle time then you can add 1/4 teaspoon potassium metabisulfite/K-meta and potassium sorbate to package instructions, then after that either bottle dry or sweeten to your taste,
Dawg
 

AJH89

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, your must is crafted not brewed,, why the big hurry,,, i keep 5 hydrometers, always try an keep extras, my last i broke,, i dumped it outta my wine thief and it broke in my hand on my ring, lol.
yep you got enough sugar, since you've already racked it, beings, no hydrometer, i'd let it set for a few weeks at least, i make a fair amount of strawberry,,,, potassium sorbate & potassium metabisulfite, will not stop your ferment, you'll just half to ride the ferment out, you need to get another 2/3 hydrometers, so you can tell your numbers stay the same for 3 days in a row, at each racking add 1/4 teaspoon potassium metabisulfite, also known as K-meta,, come bottle time then you can add 1/4 teaspoon potassium metabisulfite/K-meta and potassium sorbate to package instructions, then after that either bottle dry or sweeten to your taste,
Dawg
Hurry? Not sure how I'm rushing anything.. yeah, I'll probably buy 2 hydrometers so I got a backup. Was gonna let the secondary fermenter sit for 3-4 weeks then rack over to another carboy and let it sit for another 3-4 weeks and maybe rack on over to another carboy one last time and I guess let it sit till it stops bubbling l. Figured the Potassium Sorbate would stop the fermentation. Don't know much about K-Meta. I'll have to look into that
 

hounddawg

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Hurry? Not sure how I'm rushing anything.. yeah, I'll probably buy 2 hydrometers so I got a backup. Was gonna let the secondary fermenter sit for 3-4 weeks then rack over to another carboy and let it sit for another 3-4 weeks and maybe rack on over to another carboy one last time and I guess let it sit till it stops bubbling l. Figured the Potassium Sorbate would stop the fermentation. Don't know much about K-Meta. I'll have to look into that
K-meta is potassium metabisulfite, straw berry i rack every 3 months, i bulk age for 6 months to a year, and nope, even both together will not stop a active ferment,
Dawg
 

AJH89

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and it's easier to start at a SSG of 1.040, and step feed with sugar, yeast nutrient and yeast energizer, to get to 18 ABV, without stalling out your ferment,
Dawg
Yeah, I'll slow feed the yeast next go around. Fortunately it's still bubbling so it hasn't stalled so far. What's the minimum time it should probably ferment? I'm just wondering if it stops soon then I'm assuming it stalled and I'll have to add yeast and nutrients to kick it back into gear. Since it's got plenty of sugar should I keep feeding it yeast nutrient and energizer?
 

AJH89

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K-meta is potassium metabisulfite, straw berry i rack every 3 months, i bulk age for 6 months to a year, and nope, even both together will not stop a active ferment,
Dawg
When you say you rack yours every 3 months you mean rack over to the carboy every 3 months or rack over to bottling in 3 months?
 

hounddawg

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When you say you rack yours every 3 months you mean rack over to the carboy every 3 months or rack over to bottling in 3 months?
to another carboy. the longer you bulk age the better the wine, i use quick drinkers to help while waiting, i make skeeter pee or DDDB- dragon blood as quick drinkers to help tide me over while i wait
Dawg
 

hounddawg

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Yeah, I'll slow feed the yeast next go around. Fortunately it's still bubbling so it hasn't stalled so far. What's the minimum time it should probably ferment? I'm just wondering if it stops soon then I'm assuming it stalled and I'll have to add yeast and nutrients to kick it back into gear. Since it's got plenty of sugar should I keep feeding it yeast nutrient and energizer?
it would not hurt i think, but not until after it starts slowing down, and you should taste as you go along, you'll learn the tastes from each stage, so you will learn to rely on your taste , strawberry is a fairly easy wine, it tends to come along without a lot of tinkering, but time is your greatest ingredient, even bottled wine gets better with time, your biggest thing is to give it time to degas and let it clear so you don't have sediment down the line, it suks to open a bottle of wine with sediment in the bottom,
Dawg
 

hounddawg

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ferment has no real time, it just goes till it stops, wine kits give you time limits so you'll buy quicker more product, i have never made a kt, i do only country wines, that's non-grape wines, as long as your airlocked you'll have no worries, just make sure you keep airlocks full, i use S;airlocks they evaporate much slower then 3 piece airlocks, i keep a potassium metabisulfite solution in my airlocks to safe guard against mold or other bad things,,
Dawg
 

AJH89

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ferment has no real time, it just goes till it stops, wine kits give you time limits so you'll buy quicker more product, i have never made a kt, i do only country wines, that's non-grape wines, as long as your airlocked you'll have no worries, just make sure you keep airlocks full, i use S;airlocks they evaporate much slower then 3 piece airlocks, i keep a potassium metabisulfite solution in my airlocks to safe guard against mold or other bad things,,
Dawg
Cool. Yeah, I have an S lock on it right now. And i just used a sanitizing powder that came with my kit to sanitize the water in the S lock. Seems like the only thing I really gotta worry about is the fermentation stalling.. I would imagine it would have already stalled if it was going too though.
 

Scooter68

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As we all learn, patience is a key to good wine making.
Save yourself a mess and never rack into a carboy if the ferment is above 1.020 OR there is still a solid layer of foam on the fermentation bucket. Racking too early will can slow or temporarily stall the ferment or/and cause an overflow of foam from the carboy all over the floor.
You most certainly will make a few mistakes along the way, pretty much everybody does though some have more serious results than others but those are lessons we don't forget.

As far as coping with the large quantity of sugar already in your must, there's not a lot you can do now other than to keep temps in range and make sure you have the right amount of nutrient for your yeast. (Don't go overboard either) Step feeding is the most common way folks get to the higher ABVs but that's for the next go round. Good luck and welcome to the forum.

Based on what Sour Grapes posted (Starting SG calculated at 1.117) - IF it happens that your wine stalls out at an SG of 1.010 you would still have 14.4% ABV and a sweet wine. With that high an ABV the sweetness would not be a bad thing at all. So if you can coax the ferment down to or below 1.010 - you should have a good wine.
 

AJH89

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As we all learn, patience is a key to good wine making.
Save yourself a mess and never rack into a carboy if the ferment is above 1.020 OR there is still a solid layer of foam on the fermentation bucket. Racking too early will can slow or temporarily stall the ferment or/and cause an overflow of foam from the carboy all over the floor.
You most certainly will make a few mistakes along the way, pretty much everybody does though some have more serious results than others but those are lessons we don't forget.

As far as coping with the large quantity of sugar already in your must, there's not a lot you can do now other than to keep temps in range and make sure you have the right amount of nutrient for your yeast. (Don't go overboard either) Step feeding is the most common way folks get to the higher ABVs but that's for the next go round. Good luck and welcome to the forum.

Based on what Sour Grapes posted (Starting SG calculated at 1.117) - IF it happens that your wine stalls out at an SG of 1.010 you would still have 14.4% ABV and a sweet wine. With that high an ABV the sweetness would not be a bad thing at all. So if you can coax the ferment down to or below 1.010 - you should have a good wine.
Well I think I did alright then cause I took initial SG of the mash and never did after adding the sugar and I had heard to rack to the car boy at 1.030 but it was like a 1.010 so I immediately racked it and then after that I broke the hydrometer. Never got any foam though. I will say the fermentation isn't bubbling nearly as much as it was in my primary bucket. If it stalls I'm assuming it doesn't bubble at all?
 

AJH89

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As we all learn, patience is a key to good wine making.
Save yourself a mess and never rack into a carboy if the ferment is above 1.020 OR there is still a solid layer of foam on the fermentation bucket. Racking too early will can slow or temporarily stall the ferment or/and cause an overflow of foam from the carboy all over the floor.
You most certainly will make a few mistakes along the way, pretty much everybody does though some have more serious results than others but those are lessons we don't forget.

As far as coping with the large quantity of sugar already in your must, there's not a lot you can do now other than to keep temps in range and make sure you have the right amount of nutrient for your yeast. (Don't go overboard either) Step feeding is the most common way folks get to the higher ABVs but that's for the next go round. Good luck and welcome to the forum.

Based on what Sour Grapes posted (Starting SG calculated at 1.117) - IF it happens that your wine stalls out at an SG of 1.010 you would still have 14.4% ABV and a sweet wine. With that high an ABV the sweetness would not be a bad thing at all. So if you can coax the ferment down to or below 1.010 - you should have a good wine.
Also it's sitting inside at room temp, so I'm assuming that temp level is good
 
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