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Cram8

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Started primary fermentation 10 days ago. 31 lbs of sour cherries, starting SG = 1.16, Oops, too much sugar. Today SG=1.05. Visually looks like fermentation is done. I tasted a sample and it seems still sweet. Is it ready for secondary storage or is something more needed? I made 1 gal last month as a test and it did not taste sweet at all and fermentation was over about the same time. So I’m a little puzzled.

Rookie Mistake - being my first batch I clearly didn’t make enough in the primary pail to fill the carboy. Ended up with about 4 gal when I needed 6 gal. It sure “looked” close. About 1/3 short, rookie mistake. Do I top it off with water? I believe that too much air in the carboy will ruin the wine. But I figure that adding 1/3 water will dilute the wine significantly which can’t be good and is probably a no no. I only added about 6L of water to the cherries at start so maybe okay? Are there other options? Any and all advice will be appreciated.
 
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Was the OG 1.160? Yes, that's high. [Always use 3 digits to the right of the decimal, as it makes the reading clear.]

Is the current SG 1.050? Depending on the yeast, it could be done, as yeast has a limit on how how alcohol it can tolerate. What yeast did you use?

DO NOT top with water, as you will dilute it. Do you have more fruit? Make 2.5 to 3 gallons more wine, so you will have enough to top the carboy, as you will lose volume to sediment. I assume you want pure cherry, but other mild fruit will work.
 

Rice_Guy

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* cherry; (Supermont/ north star/ Montmercy var. seven years of samples), my pH falls between 3.07 and 3.64 with later picked being sweeter, TA 1.71% to 2.19%. For flavor the goal of TA is 0.5 to 0.75%. Assuming your fruit is similar, a commercial wine would dilute the juice (acid concentration) by at least 1/2 to 1/3 with water.
As a home wine maker I run high TA (high flavor) so if you goal is a very thick/ flavorful wine let the percentage acid high, there is nothing wrong with doing a commercial flavor level though. Note a recipe guideline is about five pounds fruit per gallon so a lot of folks would have added water to make 6.2 +/- gallons
* starting gravity of 1.160 (WOW that high stresses the yeast). Normal is 1.090+/- .005. By the numbers the starting sugar should have been diluted with 56% more water. ,,, If you did a 1/2 or a 1/3 dilution of TA which gets that in line you should add more sugar to bring the alcohol back to the 10 to 13% range.
* lots of yeast selections stop at 14% alcohol/ a few will do 18% alcohol (what type of yeast?). It would look like your yeast reached a stress point (kill point) with the gravity at 1.050. That sounds normal.
* flavor? Normal finished gravity is 0.995+/- for a wine with a TA of 0.5%. ,, Normal back sweetened gravity is 1.015+/- for a wine with a TA of 1.10%. If you keep the TA at 1.80%+/- normal back sweetening is about 1.030. Yup, it should taste out of balance.
Again this goes to what style are you making? Thin > commercial > very rich ?

Me, with a starting gravity of 1.160 I would have added water to the primary to get to 1.090+/- in the primary. ,,, Fixing that wine at this point with a stuck fermentation (killed) I would add the 56% extra water to place the finished alcohol at 12%+/- AND reinoculate with a strong yeast as 1118.
FYI; I usually build a must to fit the calculations for a “rich flavor”/ high TA wine at 13% alcohol and then just add the extra water at topping off time which gets me to where I want the finished product 11%+/- alcohol and TA 0.9%+/-. ,,, ie I build it by the numbers.
 
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Cram8

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* cherry; (Supermont/ north star/ Montmercy var. seven years of samples), my pH falls between 3.07 and 3.64 with later picked being sweeter, TA 1.71% to 2.19%. For flavor the goal of TA is 0.5 to 0.75%. Assuming your fruit is similar, a commercial wine would dilute the juice (acid concentration) by at least 1/2 to 1/3 with water.
As a home wine maker I run high TA (high flavor) so if you goal is a very thick/ flavorful wine let the percentage acid high, there is nothing wrong with doing a commercial flavor level though. Note a recipe guideline is about five pounds fruit per gallon so a lot of folks would have added water to make 6.2 +/- gallons
* starting gravity of 1.160 (WOW that high stresses the yeast). Normal is 1.090+/- .005. By the numbers the starting sugar should have been diluted with 56% more water. ,,, If you did a 1/2 or a 1/3 dilution of TA which gets that in line you should add more sugar to bring the alcohol back to the 10 to 13% range.
* lots of yeast selections stop at 14% alcohol/ a few will do 18% alcohol (what type of yeast?). It would look like your yeast reached a stress point (kill point) with the gravity at 1.050. That sounds normal.
* flavor? Normal finished gravity is 0.995+/- for a wine with a TA of 0.5%. ,, Normal back sweetened gravity is 1.015+/- for a wine with a TA of 1.10%. If you keep the TA at 1.80%+/- normal back sweetening is about 1.030. Yup, it should taste out of balance.
Again this goes to what style are you making? Thin > commercial > very rich ?

Me, with a starting gravity of 1.160 I would have added water to the primary to get to 1.090+/- in the primary. ,,, Fixing that wine at this point with a stuck fermentation (killed) I would add the 56% extra water to place the finished alcohol at 12%+/- AND reinoculate with a strong yeast as 1118.
FYI; I usually build a must to fit the calculations for a “rich flavor”/ high TA wine at 13% alcohol and then just add the extra water at topping off time which gets me to where I want the finished product 11%+/- alcohol and TA 0.9%+/-. ,,, ie I build it by the numbers.
The yeast is EC-1118. I think that I’ll add more water and reinoculate as you’ve suggested. The sample I tasted is quite strong so could be diluted some, although not what I had planned. Thank you for your suggestions and insight. You’ve provided this rookie with allot of great Info. I have not been measuring TA - is it important and how would I do that?
 

Cram8

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Was the OG 1.160? Yes, that's high. [Always use 3 digits to the right of the decimal, as it makes the reading clear.]

Is the current SG 1.050? Depending on the yeast, it could be done, as yeast has a limit on how how alcohol it can tolerate. What yeast did you use?

DO NOT top with water, as you will dilute it. Do you have more fruit? Make 2.5 to 3 gallons more wine, so you will have enough to top the carboy, as you will lose volume to sediment. I assume you want pure cherry, but other mild fruit will work.
I used EC-1118. I think that I’ll add more water as it’s stronger than preferred. I had planned to add some more water at the start but thought I had enough to fill the carboy. I won’t make that mistake again and will be sure to make extra.
 
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I used EC-1118. I think that I’ll add more water as it’s stronger than preferred. I had planned to add some more water at the start but thought I had enough to fill the carboy. I won’t make that mistake again and will be sure to make extra.
Creating the must is a construction project. You need to balance the amount of fruit you have, the amount of water required, and the size of your secondary containers. Once you have the volume set, THEN check the SG and add sugar to hit your target OG.

Go gentle on the water addition. It's very easy to thin the wine too much, and hard to recover from that. Add small amounts, stir well, and taste.
 

Rice_Guy

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. I have not been measuring TA - is it important and how would I do that?
TA is a tool to set the finished bottle flavor.
A guideline for where to balance TA on wine;
after club contest this year I collected eight first place wines which are the red triangles
View attachment 81200
The sample set "cloud" is primarily commercial wines, with some collected in the vinters club and here on WineMakingTalk
NOTE: TA is one of several quality traits which a first place wine has as absence of flavor defect, appropriate aroma for the variety and clarity , , , etc.
NOTE 2: this is an easy test, if ya'll are interested in your wine ,,, PM me
I use a pH meter and titrate to 8.2 with 0.2 normal NaOH. A decade ago I actually bought an LD Carlson kit, but the hydroxide is the only thing that I use up, replacement bottles may take some hunting.
 
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mikewatkins727

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Me, with a starting gravity of 1.160 I would have added water to the primary to get to 1.090+/- in the primary. ,,, Fixing that wine at this point with a stuck fermentation (killed) I would add the 56% extra water to place the finished alcohol at 12%+/- AND reinoculate with a strong yeast as 1118.
FYI; I usually build a must to fit the calculations for a “rich flavor”/ high TA wine at 13% alcohol and then just add the extra water at topping off time which gets me to where I want the finished product 11%+/- alcohol and TA 0.9%+/-. ,,, ie I build it by the numbers.
. . . now that is some calculating work, but I like that! Some good info here.
 

mikewatkins727

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TA is a tool to set the finished bottle flavor.

I use a pH meter and titrate to 8.2 with 0.2 normal NaOH. A decade ago I actually bought an LD Carlson kit, but the hydroxide is the only thing that I use up, replacement bottles may take some hunting.
I typicaly buy the 0.2N sodium hyrdroxide from Labelpeelers.com. It has an LD Carlson label on it. Just a suggestion.
 
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