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Stuck at secondary fermentation

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JCBurg

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I made a batch of grapefruit wine and about a week ago, after a very vigorous week of primary fermentation, I racked it off into a secondary fermenter. I went to check it two days ago in the basement and I noticed that all the sediment had settled and there was no fermentation evidence on the surface. I thought maybe it was too cold, and I still believe that, but I took an SG reading today and it read .999 or 0% PA. What should I do? do I bottle it? do I rerack it and try to start fermentation again? I just wasn't expecting this to happen. This is my first batch ever so please pardon my inexperience or any terms that I may use that a silly.
 

Brigitte

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I wouldn’t restart fermentation because at 0.999 there isn’t much sugar there to ferment. Was there any sediment in your sample when did the SG reading? We made a grapefruit wine right after Christmas and I strained the sample through a coffee filter to get a more accurate SG reading.
If this were my wine I would be sure it is topped up, use an airlock and wait 5-7 days and recheck.
If you plan on back sweetening the 0.999 isn’t a bad deal.. you will want to stabilize before bottling but at a week old I would think you are not near that at present.
 

Brigitte

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Also if you are wanting it to ferment dry and you think temperature is an issue maybe move it to a warmer place for a few days
 
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Also if you are wanting it to ferment dry and you think temperature is an issue maybe move it to a warmer place for a few days
I agree. Don't do any thing radical. If anything move it somewhere warmer for a while and churn up the lees a little. It might go a little dryer and it might not (My guess is that you are going to want to leave a little residual sugar in a grapefruit wine anyways). You might find that it bubbles a little more as we get into warmth of the spring and slowly goes fully dry. Don't bottle it until it is crystal clear and you have racked it a couple times. Unless it gets dryer, you are going to want to use some potassium sorbate when you bottle to make sure that it doesn't blow the corks later on. You may also want to consider a little back-sweetening with this one anyways. Good luck!
 

JCBurg

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I think I will move it somewhere warmer, sweeten it a bit and stir it up and see what happens. Thanks for the tips! I guess this is the point right? Try stuff and see what happens... The basement is heated but it’s still winter in Wisconsin!
 

Brigitte

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I wouldn’t sweeten just yet if you are wanting it to ferment to dry. What was your starting specific gravity?
On another note our grapefruit wine hasn’t cleared yet. Is yours clear ?
Cheers!
 

salcoco

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what are you trying to accomplish. fermentation is complete. wine is clear. if necessary back sweeten to taste add sorbate and bottle.
 
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I think I will move it somewhere warmer, sweeten it a bit and stir it up and see what happens. Thanks for the tips! I guess this is the point right? Try stuff and see what happens... The basement is heated but it’s still winter in Wisconsin!
You won't want to sweeten until everything is crystal clear and you are about ready to bottle. Any sugar you add now, will probably continue to ferment and any potassium sorbate now will stop your fermentation. To sweeten, you really want to have racked it a couple times, then you can use potassium sorbate to stop the few yeasts that are there from multiplying to a billion of them.
 

JCBurg

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I wouldn’t sweeten just yet if you are wanting it to ferment to dry. What was your starting specific gravity?
On another note our grapefruit wine hasn’t cleared yet. Is yours clear ?
Cheers!
To be honest it isn’t super clear here either. I had added the pectin enzyme early on but I wonder if I should have cooled it more.
 

JCBurg

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what are you trying to accomplish. fermentation is complete. wine is clear. if necessary back sweeten to taste add sorbate and bottle.
Im really just trying to figure out what to do next, as I think I said earlier, I was just surprised that fermentation was done and I wasn’t sure what to do next, I wasn’t prepared to bottle yet because I didn’t think fermentation would got so fast. It was week and half at most.
 

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Brigitte

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To be honest it isn’t super clear here either. I had added the pectin enzyme early on but I wonder if I should have cooled it more.
I wasn’t thinking when I asked that ... your wine wouldn’t be clear yet bring only a week old. Ours is clearing slowly. We also added pectic enzyme in primary. I am thinking I will need more clearing agents and more time too.

Have a great day !
 

Brigitte

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Im really just trying to figure out what to do next, as I think I said earlier, I was just surprised that fermentation was done and I wasn’t sure what to do next, I wasn’t prepared to bottle yet because I didn’t think fermentation would got so fast. It was week and half at most.
Nice !
Be sure to add k- meta with racking to protect from oxygenation
 

Brigitte

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I hit send before I was finished. Lol. Do you have a plan now ?
 

JCBurg

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I hit send before I was finished. Lol. Do you have a plan now ?
At this point and with what I’ve been told here? I think I’m just going to try and back sweeten it a bit and then bottle. What did you recommend adding before I do? K-meta? What is that?
 

Brigitte

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At this point and with what I’ve been told here? I think I’m just going to try and back sweeten it a bit and then bottle. What did you recommend adding before I do? K-meta? What is that?
K-meta is an abbreviated term for potassium metabisulfite. You should read up on it’s use but briefly it used 24 hours prior to pitching yeast to get rid of unwanted wild yeast. So you start with a clean slate so to speak when you add your yeast. Then adding k-meta when racking helps protect your wine from the
Oxygen it is exposed to in the process of racking. It keeps the wine from turning brown and getting off flavors.
My plan for your wine would be

Let it sit in the carboy for a few days. Watch the lees accumulating in the bottom and rack off those lees when they get 1” or so in the bottom.
When racking to clean sanitized carboy add a dose of k-meta. 1/4 tsp per five gallons.
Be sure to have some similar wine on hand to top up the new carboy you just racked to.
Put an air-lock on. And let it sit in a cool dark room for a couple of months.
I wouldn’t bottle or backsweeten until it had cleared.

Rack every 3-4 months and watch lees accumulation .. check back in here if you have any more questions.
 

meadmaker1

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There has been a lot of info given here for a first batch.
K meta and potassium sorbate are two items you must read more about before touching this wine again.
If you add suger now without understanding them you will certainly find out why, as so many of us have..
They will prevent further fermantation prvided it has stopped, but it wont stop it.
Finding broken bottles or popped corks and a big mess is what you will get if you sweeten with out them.
Head space is also a concern the carboy in the picture has too much. this can cause oxidation. Addingg marbles . Or racking to a smaller car boy and putting the remainder in a vessle that has bothh full should be
 

meadmaker1

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Opps
part of ypu routine.
Filling with similar wine is also an option but I don't prefer it
 
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