Yeast for Brunello

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Sailor323

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Ok, do I have a problem?

It was fermenting along just fine, then at .998 it stopped and has been sitting there for a couple days. Kit says it needs to get to .996 or lower.

Do I add more yeast?
I racked my Brunello today from the primary. SG is .992. I did not use the EC1118
 

justsipn

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I racked my Brunello today from the primary. SG is .992. I did not use the EC1118
What was your starting SG? Mine was 1.084. I’m probably going to end up with under 12% and I thought Brunello was typically a higher alcohol wine.

I used two packs of BM45 and added Fermaid K when it hit 1.02.
 
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Jim Welch

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What was your starting SG? Mine was 1.084. I’m probably going to end up with under 12% and I thought Brunello was typically a higher alcohol wine.

I used two packs of BM45 and added Fermaid K when it hit 1.02.
I think that Fermaid K addition was well too late to do much good for the yeast. As has been mentioned this addition is commonly done at 1/3 sugar break which with a SG of 1.084 would be at 1.056. From what I’ve read once the ABV closes in on about 10% yeast nutritional demands starts to fall off and stop at or above 10%. At 1.020 your wine was approximately 8.4% ABV and at about a 75% sugar break.
I’ve used BM 45 on at least a half dozen maybe as many as 10 kit wine batches and my experience with it is that it is a slow fermentation so maybe (probably IMO) it will drop more.
Also since BM45 has high nutritional demands I’ve always given it 2 doses, one just after the lag phase and the second at around 35-40% sugar depletion which is just past the 1/3 sugar break. I was for a while using Fermaid K for the first and Fermaid O for the second but have now switched completely to the O.
As a matter of fact I’ve been trying 3 additions on several by taking the total I’ve calculated and splitting into 3 decreasing doses in an attempt to smooth the temp spike I’ve seen after adding nutrients.
Also with an OG of 1.084 12% ABV is the most one could get to even if it went bone dry down to say 0.993 FG. Im not familiar with Brunello but like my reds at least 13% and better yet close to or at 14% so generally chapitalize with an inadequate OG.
 
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What was your starting SG? Mine was 1.084. I’m probably going to end up with under 12% and I thought Brunello was typically a higher alcohol wine.
WE's literature says the Brunello style kit is supposed to produce 14% ABV. With an OG of 1.084, the final ABV will be way low, so something is not right.

I conducted an experiment last fall and last spring, and discovered to my chagrin that no matter how well I stirred a kit during reconstitution, I measured a different SG the following morning. The concentrate is thick and resists breaking up, and it continues to mix overnight. Depending on when you measured OG, you may have gotten a false low reading.

This makes me think about the last 25 years of kit making, and wondering how far off my OGs were, as in some cases the readings were a lot lower than I expected.

What does the wine taste like? Do you taste sugar? BM45 has a laboratory rated top end of 15% ABV. If the OG reading was off, it's possible the yeast hit its max, as the lab rating is an average, and your yeast could have quit early.
 

justsipn

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I think that Fermaid K addition was well too late to do much good for the yeast. As has been mentioned this addition is commonly done at 1/3 sugar break which with a SG of 1.084 would be at 1.056. From what I’ve read once the ABV closes in on about 10% yeast nutritional demands starts to fall off and stop at or above 10%. At 1.020 your wine was approximately 8.4% ABV and at about a 75% sugar break.
I’ve used BM 45 on at least a half dozen maybe as many as 10 kit wine batches and my experience with it is that it is a slow fermentation so maybe (probably IMO) it will drop more.
Also since BM45 has high nutritional demands I’ve always given it 2 doses, one just after the lag phase and the second at around 35-40% sugar depletion which is just past the 1/3 sugar break. I was for a while using Fermaid K for the first and Fermaid O for the second but have now switched completely to the O.
As a matter of fact I’ve been trying 3 additions on several by taking the total I’ve calculated and splitting into 3 decreasing doses in an attempt to smooth the temp spike I’ve seen after adding nutrients.
Also with an OG of 1.084 12% ABV is the most one could get to even if it went bone dry down to say 0.993 FG. Im not familiar with Brunello but like my reds at least 13% and better yet close to or at 14% so generally chapitalize with an inadequate OG.
Well, BM45 says to use Go-ferm at the beginning then Fermaid K with 1/3 of sugar gone. When I started the kit, I realized that my supplier didn’t send me the Go-ferm I ordered and went two packets of Fermaid. So, no Go-ferm to start.

Then, guess what, I miscalculated where 1/3 of sugar gone is.

So, I guess this may have been screwed up some from the beginning. But, I’m at .998 so I’m possibly as done with fermenting as I’ll get.

If @winemaker81 is correct, maybe my ABV is actually higher than I thought. Interesting though, that I originally thought the 1.084 seemed low, but that’s what the kit says it should be. Maybe they know that’s what it’s going to be right out of the box and don’t mention that it’s going to rise but don’t tell people.

Probably will rack it tonight.
 

justsipn

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WE's literature says the Brunello style kit is supposed to produce 14% ABV. With an OG of 1.084, the final ABV will be way low, so something is not right.

I conducted an experiment last fall and last spring, and discovered to my chagrin that no matter how well I stirred a kit during reconstitution, I measured a different SG the following morning. The concentrate is thick and resists breaking up, and it continues to mix overnight. Depending on when you measured OG, you may have gotten a false low reading.

This makes me think about the last 25 years of kit making, and wondering how far off my OGs were, as in some cases the readings were a lot lower than I expected.

What does the wine taste like? Do you taste sugar? BM45 has a laboratory rated top end of 15% ABV. If the OG reading was off, it's possible the yeast hit its max, as the lab rating is an average, and your yeast could have quit early.
How much of an increase in SG did you find the next morning? I racked tonight and the SG was .996. If it doesn’t decrease anymore, the original SG would have had to be at least 1.1 to get the alcohol level to where I thought it would be. That’s a considerable increase from 1.084.
 
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How much of an increase in SG did you find the next morning? I racked tonight and the SG was .996. If it doesn’t decrease anymore, the original SG would have had to be at least 1.1 to get the alcohol level to where I thought it would be. That’s a considerable increase from 1.084.
IIRC, my largest discrepancy was 7 points, e.g., 1.090 increased to 1.097. You also need to take into consideration the final volume, e.g., if you're over by 1 quart, that reduces your final OG by another 4 points.

With the exception of H2S, winemaking requires a long view. Your SG dropped another 2 points and everything is looking good. Let the wine bulk age for 3 months, then taste. If it tastes good to you, then you've succeeded.

Don't focus on the numbers, as the numbers only tell part of the story. I have 684 lbs of grapes arriving in a few weeks -- I don't yet know the delivery date, and I have no information regarding the brix, TA, or pH of the 5 varieties in my shipment. When the grapes arrive I won't know the brix, TA, or pH until I test them myself, and from there I'm making it up as I go. That's not me making a joke or being facetious -- it's literally true.

Keep in mind that winemaking is an art. Anyone who believes it's a science is fooling themselves. Wine is the result of numerous natural processes that we can possibly guide, but not direct.

WE makes good quality kits, and your process sounds fine. Things may not turn out exactly as you expect, but you will produce a good result. Accept that Mother Nature, Dionysus, and/or Bacchus are in charge and you're just along for the ride, and enjoy the journey.
 

justsipn

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IIRC, my largest discrepancy was 7 points, e.g., 1.090 increased to 1.097. You also need to take into consideration the final volume, e.g., if you're over by 1 quart, that reduces your final OG by another 4 points.

With the exception of H2S, winemaking requires a long view. Your SG dropped another 2 points and everything is looking good. Let the wine bulk age for 3 months, then taste. If it tastes good to you, then you've succeeded.

Don't focus on the numbers, as the numbers only tell part of the story. I have 684 lbs of grapes arriving in a few weeks -- I don't yet know the delivery date, and I have no information regarding the brix, TA, or pH of the 5 varieties in my shipment. When the grapes arrive I won't know the brix, TA, or pH until I test them myself, and from there I'm making it up as I go. That's not me making a joke or being facetious -- it's literally true.

Keep in mind that winemaking is an art. Anyone who believes it's a science is fooling themselves. Wine is the result of numerous natural processes that we can possibly guide, but not direct.

WE makes good quality kits, and your process sounds fine. Things may not turn out exactly as you expect, but you will produce a good result. Accept that Mother Nature, Dionysus, and/or Bacchus are in charge and you're just along for the ride, and enjoy the journey.
Oh yes….that’s what I’m enjoying about wine making. Even though it’s from a kit, it’s not going to be exactly the same as if you made it.

I would love to get to a point where I’m at least making some wine from fresh juice…..or pressing grapes.
 

Jim Welch

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Brian brings up a good point. Also, I’ve noticed with every kit I’ve made with the exception of FWKs that the grape skin packs have a significant amount of sugar in them that takes quite a while like overnight to come fully or maybe more fully into solution. Not sure of your timeline in mixing and gravity measurement but there is a big gravity boost from the wet grape skin packs (like every WE kit I’ve made has) in my experience.
 
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Oh yes….that’s what I’m enjoying about wine making. Even though it’s from a kit, it’s not going to be exactly the same as if you made it.

I would love to get to a point where I’m at least making some wine from fresh juice…..or pressing grapes.
Cool! A fair number of folks go into wine making with the idea that if they put the right values into A, B, and C, they'll get D every time.

Grapes are a big adjustment, barrels are a huge commitment. Both are worth it.
 

justsipn

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Brian brings up a good point. Also, I’ve noticed with every kit I’ve made with the exception of FWKs that the grape skin packs have a significant amount of sugar in them that takes quite a while like overnight to come fully or maybe more fully into solution. Not sure of your timeline in mixing and gravity measurement but there is a big gravity boost from the wet grape skin packs (like every WE kit I’ve made has) in my experience.
The kit I have had a muslin cloth bag that the skins went in. I literally just put the bag in the juice then took the SG. I didn’t even think about stirring it first. First time doing a kit with skins.

So, I’m guessing my Original SG was much higher. But now I will never know. Oh well, not too worried about it. I just have liked to know
 

Sailor323

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What was your starting SG? Mine was 1.084. I’m probably going to end up with under 12% and I thought Brunello was typically a higher alcohol wine.

I used two packs of BM45 and added Fermaid K when it hit 1.02.
Starting gravity after the addition of skins was 1.088
 

justsipn

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Starting gravity after the addition of skins was 1.088
How long do you plan on carboy aging your Brunello? I'm going to rack it off the lees this weekend and would typically age a red wine another 3 months before bottling. But, I'm reading that a Brunello wine is usually aged longer than something like a Shiraz or Cab. I"m assuming that should be true for a kit wine also of that type. So, was thinking about just aging it in the carboy for longer too.
 

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