Stuck ferm?

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Whino

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I used 6 x 96 fluid ounce Kirkland Ocean Spray cranberry premium juice.
And mixed in a 10 pound bag of sugar into a large 6+ gal brew bucket.

Volume
96 fl oz x 6 containers = 576 fl oz
/128 fl oz(per gallon) = 4.5 gallons
+ volume of white sugar = about 5 gallons

Each container was 12 servings with 29 carbohydrates with 24 g of total sugars per serving.
12servingsx24sugars = 288 g sugar x 6 containers = 1728g sugar
/ 453g per lbs = 3.81 lbs sugar
+ 10lbs white sugar = 13.81lbs sugar.
/ 5 gal = 2.762 lbs per gallon

I pitched EC-1118 And air locked it.

Og was 1.131
now 1.040
it was fermenting like crazy since 6-25 until about a week ago. I assumed primary was about to be done and it should be dry.

I opened it up and took a hydrometer reading and it was at 1.040 or what it would list as 5% more potential.
I think this means it’s around 11 or 12% at the moment and I tasted it and it still is definitely sweet

I think this means it’s around 11 or 12% at the moment and I tasted it and it still is definitely sweet.

couple things i tried

1. I took about 2 cups of the juice into a quart jar added a cup of water to it added a large amount of the same yeast ec-1118 (from a package that has worked on several other ferments) plus some ferm start to see if I could get some of the same used growing outside of the main ferment vessel. But it’s been two days and no activity in the jar either.

2. I opened the main fermenting bucket and added some fermfed and stirred the lees up from the bottom. Not vigorously but just enough to get it swirling around. There was definitely some outgassing as I would expect in the airlock has been bubbling but I assume that’s just from residual outgassing from the stirring.
So I guess my question is, is this fermentation stuck and how would the chemistry of the juice have changed in order to stop the primary fermentation and not even allow the starter I set up to take hold? Especially since I’m using such a strong yeast strain
 
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Chuck E

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I would recheck the hydrometer reading. 1.131 is pretty high to start with, and should yield a high alcohol result. I'm guessing the alcohol is high enough right now to kill the yeast, even with the residual sugar.
 

jgmillr1

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I looked up the Cran raspberry ocean spray and it is 11.7% sugar to begin with. Your 10lbs sugar addition to 5 gallons increased the sugar level by another 24% (4.54kg/18.9L). Even EC1118 has its limit for alcohol tolerance.

If your goal is to make a highly alcoholic wine, there are certainly others on this forum who can advise on step feeding sugar and nutrient additions.

It may limp along for the next couple months but you're going to end up with a sweet and high alcohol wine. Perfect over some ice on a hot summer day!
 

RichardC

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Point #1 is strange. You diluted the must, added nutrient, yeast and nothing happened.. add a little sugar and see if that starts fermentation.

I have a low ABV, stuck (dead lol) fermentation too, so am curious about responses.
 

Whino

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I looked up the Cran raspberry ocean spray and it is 11.7% sugar to begin with. Your 10lbs sugar addition to 5 gallons increased the sugar level by another 24% (4.54kg/18.9L). Even EC1118 has its limit for alcohol tolerance.

If your goal is to make a highly alcoholic wine, there are certainly others on this forum who can advise on step feeding sugar and nutrient additions.

It may limp along for the next couple months but you're going to end up with a sweet and high alcohol wine. Perfect over some ice on a hot summer day!
Yeah It’s Max is supposed to be somewhere around 18% I believe. Which is why I was confused as it seems to of stopped a few percent away from that unless I screwed up the initial hydrometer reading
 

Whino

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Point #1 is strange. You diluted the must, added nutrient, yeast and nothing happened.. add a little sugar and see if that starts fermentation.

I have a low ABV, stuck (dead lol) fermentation too, so am curious about responses.
Oh yeah I think I forgot to mention I put about a tablespoon of sugar in the jar with it as well. The idea I had was to see if I could get a starter with the actual liquid from the main batch to see if there was a problem in a smaller more controlled container. It’s odd to me because I’ve never seen EC-1118 do nothing haha.
It made me wonder if maybe the acidity got too high or something it just seems odd that it stalled.
 

hounddawg

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hum, well everybody is different but why would you airlock a ferment, in my wines, (country and sweet only) i stir daily to get as much oxygen as possible ferment oxygen=your friend, , after fremnent oxygen=your enemy, during ferment i stir using a drill and a stirrer, i use a stainless steel 304, stirrer from a kraft mayo factory , 18 to 20% ABV is possible, but you need to feed your yeast , yeast nutrient and yeast energizer, as you go along, i stir till i fall to about .996, then i rack off gross less and bulk age under airlock, keeping extra must/wine in small airlocked jugs to top off, for racking every 3 months.
Dawg
 

Whino

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hum, well everybody is different but why would you airlock a ferment, in my wines, (country and sweet only) i stir daily to get as much oxygen as possible ferment oxygen=your friend, , after fremnent oxygen=your enemy, during ferment i stir using a drill and a stirrer, i use a stainless steel 304, stirrer from a kraft mayo factory , 18 to 20% ABV is possible, but you need to feed your yeast , yeast nutrient and yeast energizer, as you go along, i stir till i fall to about .996, then i rack off gross less and bulk age under airlock, keeping extra must/wine in small airlocked jugs to top off, for racking every 3 months.
Dawg
The only real reason I airlock is based on what I’ve read, and I see there’s contention between airlocking the primary ferment or not. I’m definitely still a beginner, I just started a couple months ago, and air locking was just a passive way of making sure I didn’t accidentally let anything bad in.
But now that you mention it I think I’m gonna try a batch where I use all the same ingredients and split it in two airlock the primary and one and not on the other and see if I can get them both a turn out well. And observe if one finishes faster than the other.
I have not been using any nutrients so far with success on 10 other wines. I’m also only doing country but I want them all dry. My goal was to use as little extra ingredients as possible until the need arose. And the wine I mentioned in my original post may be implying that they need has just now arisen. And just venturing to guess I think maybe the cheap juice wines probably lack enough nutrients compared to using whole fruit. But no regrets I wanted to find out for myself.
and I love the idea of keeping jugs of the same wine to top off secondary. 👍🏻
 

Whino

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I would recheck the hydrometer reading. 1.131 is pretty high to start with, and should yield a high alcohol result. I'm guessing the alcohol is high enough right now to kill the yeast, even with the residual sugar.
Yeah the sugar amount was pretty high. I edited my original post to include exactly the amount of sugar from the juice and the 10 pound bag I put in, which if my calculation was correct is about 2.7 pounds per gallon. I “think” that would put it in the 15s % range. And ec-1118’s max should be 18%. And my gravity readings at start was 1.131 and at stall was 1.040 which I believe means that it’s only around 12ish% with 5ish% left to go.
 

Chuck E

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@Whino Based on the amounts of sugar you used, I suspect the 1.131 SG reading is low. If the sugar was not totally dissolved when you took the reading, you will be much higher. Did you make the 10 lbs of sugar into a simple syrup or pour straight in? I would be willing to wager your ABV is near 18% right now.
 

KCCam

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@Whino Based on the amounts of sugar you used, I suspect the 1.131 SG reading is low. If the sugar was not totally dissolved when you took the reading, you will be much higher. Did you make the 10 lbs of sugar into a simple syrup or pour straight in? I would be willing to wager your ABV is near 18% right now.
If the sugar amounts are correct, FermCalc estimates that much sugar in water, to make 5 gallons, would yield 1.125 SG. I think your readings are probably good. Do you have a PH meter? I can't remember, but isn't Cranberry quite acidic? I had similar results with my only attempt at Skeeter Pee (much lower starting SG tho). I've since read that the high acidity often cause problems with fermentation. If you don't have a PH meter, maybe try a little Calcium Carbonate in a test jar?
 

hounddawg

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The only real reason I airlock is based on what I’ve read, and I see there’s contention between airlocking the primary ferment or not. I’m definitely still a beginner, I just started a couple months ago, and air locking was just a passive way of making sure I didn’t accidentally let anything bad in.
But now that you mention it I think I’m gonna try a batch where I use all the same ingredients and split it in two airlock the primary and one and not on the other and see if I can get them both a turn out well. And observe if one finishes faster than the other.
I have not been using any nutrients so far with success on 10 other wines. I’m also only doing country but I want them all dry. My goal was to use as little extra ingredients as possible until the need arose. And the wine I mentioned in my original post may be implying that they need has just now arisen. And just venturing to guess I think maybe the cheap juice wines probably lack enough nutrients compared to using whole fruit. But no regrets I wanted to find out for myself.
and I love the idea of keeping jugs of the same wine to top off secondary. 👍🏻
cover your new ferment with a towel/sheet, then tie off or bungie, that way nothing gets in and you can easily remove to stirr daily while fermenting,
Dawg
 

Whino

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If the sugar amounts are correct, FermCalc estimates that much sugar in water, to make 5 gallons, would yield 1.125 SG. I think your readings are probably good. Do you have a PH meter? I can't remember, but isn't Cranberry quite acidic? I had similar results with my only attempt at Skeeter Pee (much lower starting SG tho). I've since read that the high acidity often cause problems with fermentation. If you don't have a PH meter, maybe try a little Calcium Carbonate in a test jar?
Funny you should ask I just bought a titration kit, ph meter, and a refractometer so I can probably test the acid with the titration kit. From what I’m aware of pH and the acid levels this kit will show can be non-correlated is there a specific number I’m looking to be at? Or under/over?
 
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KCCam

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Funny you should ask I just bought a titration kit, ph meter, and a refractometer so I can probably test the acid with the titration kit. From what I’m aware of pH and the acid levels this kit will show can be non-correlated is there a specific number I’m looking to be at? Or under/over?
The PH meter shows you PH directly. That's the one you are interested in at this stage. Make sure you calibrate the meter. The titration kit shows you TA, which is determined by how much solution you have to add to get the PH to the target value. I'll be curious to see what PH your wine is. Keep us posted. Also, I understand dissolved CO2 can affect the reading, I think it shows lower PH (higher acidity) due to carbonic acid. But that in itself might affect the fermentation. So, I would test the PH, give it a good vigorous stir to degas as much as possible, then test it again.
BTW, if your starting SG is correct, a complete fermentation could take it to over 19% ABV. At that level, the different calculations in FermCalc don't agree too well, ranging from 19.0 to 19.9. EC-1118, as you mentioned is spec'd to 18%, but has been know to go higher. It should be interesting. Good luck.
 

Whino

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The PH meter shows you PH directly. That's the one you are interested in at this stage. Make sure you calibrate the meter. The titration kit shows you TA, which is determined by how much solution you have to add to get the PH to the target value. I'll be curious to see what PH your wine is. Keep us posted. Also, I understand dissolved CO2 can affect the reading, I think it shows lower PH (higher acidity) due to carbonic acid. But that in itself might affect the fermentation. So, I would test the PH, give it a good vigorous stir to degas as much as possible, then test it again.
BTW, if your starting SG is correct, a complete fermentation could take it to over 19% ABV. At that level, the different calculations in FermCalc don't agree too well, ranging from 19.0 to 19.9. EC-1118, as you mentioned is spec'd to 18%, but has been know to go higher. It should be interesting. Good luck.
So I calibrated w some 4.0 solution
results:
sample I had put into a jar to make a starter the other day 3.0
Must still in the primary 2.9
I had one more container of cranberry unopened so I tested that too. 2.3
 

KCCam

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So I calibrated w some 4.0 solution
results:
sample I had put into a jar to make a starter the other day 3.0
Must still in the primary 2.9
I had one more container of cranberry unopened so I tested that too. 2.3
Yes, that's low. It's out of my experience, so hopefully you'll get some advice on how to correct it.
 

hounddawg

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Yes, that's low. It's out of my experience, so hopefully you'll get some advice on how to correct it.
i've never had one that low in my years of country wine making, i've lowered but never had to raise, when i seen this earlier i thought, wow never gave that way a thought, seems strange to me so i did not answer, shoot my answers are risky as is, lol
Dawg
but these others on here will know that and more,
 

Whino

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i've never had one that low in my years of country wine making, i've lowered but never had to raise, when i seen this earlier i thought, wow never gave that way a thought, seems strange to me so i did not answer, shoot my answers are risky as is, lol
Dawg
but these others on here will know that and more,
No worries. This wine was pretty cheap to make so im not too worried. It will also give me a chance to experiment and learn something i suppose. I appreciate all the replys this seems to be a great forum.
 
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