Watermelon wine query

Discussion in 'Beginners Wine Making Forum' started by Jon Jones, Oct 9, 2019.

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  1. Oct 9, 2019 #1

    Jon Jones

    Jon Jones

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    Just a quick query, I have started a batch of watermelon wine about 10 days ago. This is the first batch I have done without using a kit

    I heated the watermelon to break it down and put it through a sieve, the batch is currently fermenting with good activity

    My question is, when I opened the lid there is a thick must sitting on top

    Should I look at racking the wine into a second fermenter, or is this ok to leave, if I should leave it, how long should I wait until I rack it off

    Also, should I be stiring the wine atall or just leave it sit for a month?
     
  2. Oct 9, 2019 #2

    crabjoe

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    I'm new to this myself, so take what I say with a grain of salt and hopefully, someone with more experience will either confirm my post or correct me.

    Based on what you're saying it sounds like you have krusen (sp).. which means you've got good yeast activity.. you should stir your must like twice a day, especially in the beginning. When you see activity slow, start taking hydrometer readings.. I've read that once the SG get below 1.030, you can rack to secondary, but me, I've waited it it got to 1.000.

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. Oct 9, 2019 #3

    Jon Jones

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    Sounds brilliant thank you, I haven't stirred it since I've done it but I will give it a stir when I get home today
     
  4. Oct 9, 2019 #4

    bshef

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  5. Oct 13, 2019 #5

    tradowsk

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    Since you heated the watermelon, you may have extracted some pectin that has globbed together. I would stir like was suggested, but also try adding 1 tsp/gallon of pectic enzyme to break it down. I always add that to my fruit wines and it helps prevent hazing and extracts more juice and flavor from fruit.
     
  6. Oct 14, 2019 #6

    Jon Jones

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    Hello, thank you for your response.

    I have racked the wine off for the first time, I noticed it is very thick, kind of the same texture and thickness of milk. will it become more watery the longer I leave it and when i rack it off again in another month?
     
  7. Oct 14, 2019 #7

    tradowsk

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    You'll have a lot of sediment floating around in there from fermentation, which will drop out over time and settle on the bottom. So I wouldn't worry right now about the consistency. If you have some gel-like globs floating around, add some pectic enzyme to break those down.
     
  8. Oct 16, 2019 #8

    Jon Jones

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    I have uploaded a picture of the watermelon wine below, does everything look OK? I'm about 3 weeks in, I have transfered to a second fermentation bucket once while putting it through a sieve to get rid of most of the bits
     

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  9. Oct 16, 2019 #9

    tradowsk

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    Everything looks fine to me, no signs of mold or infection.

    Typically we rack to a glass carboy for "secondary". Your wine is no longer fermenting actively at this point, so you want it under an airlock with as little headroom as possible to protect from oxidation. I would recommend waiting a few days for the sediment to settle a bit, then rack using a siphon to an appropriately sized carboy with an airlock. Also add kmeta to protect it. But at least cover it and put an airlock on it now
     
  10. Oct 16, 2019 #10

    Jon Jones

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    At the moment I only have another plastic bucket, with airlock and bung, would this be sufficient enough? I also have no idea how to make up the missing space between the wine and the top of the bucket, I only Managed to get 15litres of wine out of this, and it's a 23ltr bucket

    Lastly, you said that it is no longer fermenting at the moment, I took a gravity reading, and it is still about 1.14, isn't this meant to be way lower?
     
  11. Oct 16, 2019 #11

    Jal5

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    What was your starting SG?
    Your must still has a lot of residual sugar in it at 1.14 so fermentation could continue.

    normally at secondary fermentation you are transferring into a appropriate sized glass carboy or carboys so that there is little room at the top for air contact and possible oxidation. And of course under airlock.
     
  12. Oct 16, 2019 #12

    Jon Jones

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    Starting gravity was 1.16, after transferring the first time I expected it to be alot lower
     
  13. Oct 16, 2019 #13

    tradowsk

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    That's quite a high OG, if that went fully dry you're looking at 20% ABV.

    So I'm guessing you added sugar to get a high OG so when the yeast reaches its tolerance, you're left with a sweet wine, correct?

    But you should have had more of an SG drop after almost 2 weeks. Your fermentation may have stalled.
     
  14. Oct 16, 2019 #14

    Jon Jones

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    Yeah, I followed a Guide as linked below, how does 1 restart the fermentation if I have to, sorry for all questions, its my first time doing a non kit wine

    I followed this: http://www.celebrationgeneration.com/blog/2011/08/03/homemade-watermelon-wine/
     
  15. Oct 16, 2019 #15

    tradowsk

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    Looks like a good guide to me. Before trying to restart a fermentation, you should figure out why it stalled in the first place.

    What is your fermentation temp?

    Do you notice any unpleasant smells out of the normal "fermentation funk"?

    Did you add enough yeast? 1 packet is good for 5gal/23L.

    Did you let the must cool to under 110F before pitching?

    Did you check the pH of the must?
     
  16. Oct 16, 2019 #16

    Jon Jones

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    My temp is 20'c,
    No bad smells, just smells like strong alcohol to me
    Yeah added 1 packet of champagne yeast
    Yeah it cooled down and I left it 24hours then added the yeast as the guide said
    No idea how to check pH of the must
     
  17. Oct 16, 2019 #17

    tradowsk

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    Mostly looks good.

    Though if your SG readings are correct then you have essentially no alcohol in there, so I don't know how you would have a strong alcohol smell. You're using a hydrometer?

    When you stir the must, do you get a bit of fizz?

    If you added the acid blend, you're probably okay on pH. Plus champaign yeast is fairly tolerant of that anyway.
     
  18. Oct 16, 2019 #18

    Jon Jones

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    I have no idea what I'm smelling haha, it doesn't smell off though,
    When I stir the wine, I don't get a fizz

    I'm about to go home and do another reading, I will update results in next hour
     
  19. Oct 16, 2019 #19

    Jon Jones

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    Hello, me again,

    Firstly I want to say thank you for being such a big help, It means alot.

    I took a gravity reading just now, it's at 1.050, not 1.150

    So that's alot better than I thought it was, the liquid is still very very thick, and there was no fizz on stiring

    what's my next steps haha, wait a few weeks or buy some pectic enzyme to add into it?
     
  20. Oct 16, 2019 #20

    tradowsk

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    No worries @Jon Jones all of us on here are happy to help!

    1.050 SG sounds a lot more reasonable. I would assume you'll finish somewhere between 1.040-1.020 depending on your specific yeast strain and conditions.

    So your fermentation seems to be going well then. With time, it will calm down from fermentation and see can see where you are at then.

    My main concern is the large amount of headspace you have in the bucket. You don't want oxygen in the wine at this point, and if you still have some fruit solids on the surface you can invite mold and lactobacillus to start growing.

    Personally, my next steps would be to get an appropriately sized carboy (or set of carboys), rack into the carboy(s) to leave the gross sediment behind, and add an airlock. Since you describe the wine as thick, I would also pick up some pectic enzyme and add it to try and cut that.
     
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