trouble fermenting cranberry must

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love my wine&cigars
Dec 14, 2009
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About 3 weeks ago I made 12 gallons of cranberry wine using fresh cranberries from Sams club and everything went as planned (so far). I racked the wine into 2 carboys and later decided to combine it into 15 gallons demijohn but didn’t have enough wine to close the gap well from there I got the idea of start a second batch, bought more of the same base adjusted PH to 3.5, Brix to 26 basically the same thing as the first batch, the exception was the crushing, I didn’t feel like using the big grape crusher for such small 5 gallons batch so I used a meat grinder and ran all the fruit through it and straight to the primary, that was the only deviation!!! I let all the ingredients seat for 12 hours, retested PH and Brix it was good to go, activated the pasteur champagne and poured in, 2 days later and nothing, added more Fermax nutrient let it seat for another day and nothing, re-hydrated another pack of pasteur champagne put it in and 24 hours later still nothing, added more yeast nutrient and no change, added 2oz of calcium carbonate PH went up the 4.5 and a day later still no fermentation, bought a pack of Lalvin 1118 and dropped it in and finally 6 days into this ordeal the must took off yesterday, today I tried to lower the PH with acid blend and got it down to 3.5 also added more Fermax , it seems to be fermenting well, I was wondering what happened here? I think it has something to do with grinding the fruit instead of crushing them, I truly appreciate your help, thanks.
Hello Valdelocc and welcome to the forum.

Quite possible it was the seeds.

When you crush the fruit there is less likelihood of the seeds breaking open.. once you grind everything you break the seeds open and that adds to the mix.... seeds are usually the culprit for adding bitterness to a wine as well..

I think cranberries main problem is a naturally occurring benzoate.. whether that is more concentrated if the seeds are cut/crushed open.. I'm not entirely sure.

however, it seems probable.

so far its fermenting very well, the taste is a bit tar but I'm going to use it for topping off previous batch and at such low mixing ratios it dissolve well, I'd experiment with small sample first.
I got an unrelated question about a batch of mango I just transferred to the secondary, the pulp has plenty of good fruit left and I saved it in a freezer bag and I thinking about re-using it to ferment a batch of apricot-peach I'm hoping to start next couple of days, I used cote de blanc to ferment the mango and turned out great and my plan is to used about 2LB of fermented mango to start the new batch and keep some yeast on hand just in case, what do you guys think? thanks.
I've made a lot of cranberry wine in the past (my favorite) and every time I've used a food processor. I've typically used Montrachet yeast for this wine and it's always taken off slow and sometimes stops a bit early. A good yeast starter with some must, sugar and yeast nutrient usually does the trick. Just be patient and keep adding must to the starter and let the yeast colony grow. One batch just stopped and I fired it up again by adding Lalvin EC1118. That did the trick. I swear, that EC1118 could ferment anything. :dg

Hope this helps.

This has come up at least a dozen times !!!

Cranberries contain benzoic acid which is a conservative. It inhibits yeast from multiplying.
That makes starting a cranberry ferment difficult.

that particular batch was not meant to happen, after finally got it to ferment and dry I was raking it to a clean demijohn and the vessel cracked, the wine ended up inside my wet-dry vacuum:(, it was sad cause I worked so hard to get it going but stuff happens, I still have 10 gallons of cranberry aging.

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