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DomR

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This is killing me. I was cleaning up my storage area in Feb. and I found a cheep Fontana Malbec I bought from Amazon in 06/2015. Juice smelled and tasted good, so I said what the heck and started it. I made a yeast starter to see if it was still alive and it took off (Lalvin 118). Starting sg was 1.078.
Couple hours later I pitched it. Next day I took a look and nothing, not one bubble. Stirring and some warmth still nothing. So I pitched a packet of Champagne from the fridge and it took off Bubbling and foaming nicely. Week later I checked on it and it was at 1.026sg. So I let it go for another week and checked it and it didn't move. Could not get it to restart. Out of desperation I pitched a packet of Montrachet I found in the fridge. After 24 hours still nothing so I put in the secondary since there was no co2 to protect it and let it sit. Well 4 weeks later and still 1.026sg. My refractometer is fine. Yesterday I was at my homebrew shop and they said just let it sit and wait for the summer and maybe the heat will get it going. I am at a loss. Would I be nuts to pitch more yeast? Think the fourth packet may be the charm? Suggestions? At least dandelions will be out soon.
 

Johnd

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This is killing me. I was cleaning up my storage area in Feb. and I found a cheep Fontana Malbec I bought from Amazon in 06/2015. Juice smelled and tasted good, so I said what the heck and started it. I made a yeast starter to see if it was still alive and it took off (Lalvin 118). Starting sg was 1.078.
Couple hours later I pitched it. Next day I took a look and nothing, not one bubble. Stirring and some warmth still nothing. So I pitched a packet of Champagne from the fridge and it took off Bubbling and foaming nicely. Week later I checked on it and it was at 1.026sg. So I let it go for another week and checked it and it didn't move. Could not get it to restart. Out of desperation I pitched a packet of Montrachet I found in the fridge. After 24 hours still nothing so I put in the secondary since there was no co2 to protect it and let it sit. Well 4 weeks later and still 1.026sg. My refractometer is fine. Yesterday I was at my homebrew shop and they said just let it sit and wait for the summer and maybe the heat will get it going. I am at a loss. Would I be nuts to pitch more yeast? Think the fourth packet may be the charm? Suggestions? At least dandelions will be out soon.
Get your must temps into the mid 70's, it should get going if you have any viable yeast around. If it doesn't, get a nice, fresh pack if EC-1118, make a starter, and step feed your must into it, it's a powerhouse and should push through. Since this is a kit, you shouldn't have any pH or nutrient issues (although I dint know if Fontana puts nutrients in their must), so proper temps and a strong fermenter like 1118 should muscle through.
 

DomR

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Thanks for the reply. I'll try using a heating pad since my wife will have an issue if the heat go's over 70. Hopefully more heat will wake it up.
 

NorCal

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I would try a different approach. Slowly add the must to the starter, step feed it each time the sugar drops 50%. Be sure you have nutrients and the temp of the starter and the entering must are in the 70's.. Bacteria and other organisms can rob the must of the nutrients that the yeast need to have a healthy ferment.
 

DomR

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Interesting. Never thought of that. Possibly since the kit was older there may be a lack of nutrients. Might explain the difficulties in getting it to ferment. I do have a fresh bottle of yeast nutrient in the fridge.
 

sour_grapes

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Johnd

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DomR

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Read the article and it looks as if I am at 1.009 sg. I'll check later with my hydrometer. First time out with the refractometer. I thought that after 12 years of winemaking it would make my life easier but it turns out to be just another piece to the puzzle. Thanks for the help.
 

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