Yeast not working

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tuneball

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Hi everyone,

This is my first time making wine and I'm already having problems on the first step. Please help. I did everything the instructions told me to do but my wine is not bubbling. I started the kit 3 days ago. I sprinkled the yeast on top of the juice and shut the lid without sturring. The instructions say that it should start fermenting within 24-48 hours. Still nothing. Is it bad to add another package of yeast or is it now a lost cause??? Can someone please give some advice on to what I should do to save this batch.

Thank you,
Dan
 

Racer

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Can you give a little more information? What kit do you have,what yeast came with it,what temp. is the room at, and if you know what temp. is the must(juice) at?
 

tuneball

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The wine kit is a Selection International australian shiraz, not too sure what kind of yeast it is, I thru out the package, but it was not expired, I checked. I keep the wine on the main floor of my house which fluctuates in temp between 18 c and 21 C. Is it OK to add another package of yeast.
 

Racer

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You could add more yeast but you need to make sure the original yeast really isnt working for you first.When you say it isnt bubbling do you mean you have an airlock on your primary bucket with the lid snapped down? Or you dont see any light fizzing on the surface of the juice.
 

cpfan

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tuneball:

did you take an initial specific gravity reading? If so, what was it?

Please take a current sg reading. Also what is the temperature of the wine, not the house/

Steve
 

tuneball

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Racer,

That's exactly what I mean, I have an airlock with the lid snapped tightly shut, and I was told after two days I should bubbling in the airlock. nothing yet.
 

tuneball

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tuneball:

did you take an initial specific gravity reading? If so, what was it?

Please take a current sg reading. Also what is the temperature of the wine, not the house/

Steve
Steve,

I didn't have the tool to measure specific gravity, when I checked the temp of the wine wine, it was around 20 C. Say I had the S.G. tool and the specific gravity was not was it is supposed to be, how would I correct it???

Thanks,

Dan
 

Racer

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Looking for the physical signs of yeast fermenting or not is not the best way to judge if things are fermenting or not. I just started a kit about 7 days ago and didnt see any airlock activity for about the same amount of time as you have on yours right now.
If you had the sg. reading of the kit when you started it and then checked it again today you would know if the sg. had started to come down or not(fermentation had/hadnt started).Steve is right in asking what the temp of the juice is you need to know for sure if its in the right range for a proper fermentation to start and keep going for you.
 

Wade E

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At that temp things will start and go very slow until it really gets going. You should not make wine with the HYDROMTER people. you would not take a car apart without a wrench would you, you are doing the same by making wine without a wine making tool!. Warm this must up to around 75 and I bet it will take off like a champ. I bet that if you stick your ear in there you can hear a slight sizzling noise and see small bubbles rising right now.
 

Manimal

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Remember, the airlock only starts bubbling when the pressure inside the fermenter from increasing CO2 is strong enough to push the gas up and out through the airlock. Considering that you most likely have a bit of space in your pail to account for expansion and foaming, and the fact that CO2 is heavier than air and therefore tends to hang on the surface of the wine, the airlock might not start bubbling for quite some time. Wade is right... you can probably hear some sizzling if you stick your ear up to the bunghole. Wade is also right... invest the 8 bucks in a hydrometer!
 

tuneball

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Thanks for the input guys,

I did indeed bought a hydrometer and got the guy at the wine store to show me how it works. He said to transfer the wine into the carboy once the specific gravity hits 1.01. And there is a sizzle going on when you put your ear to the pail. He also said to replace the lid of the bucket with an a sheet of plastic film and elastic to secure it around the bucket. What do you guys think???

Thanks for the help guys, much appreciated

Dan
 

cpfan

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The lid thing is personal preference, and somewhat depend on the exact fermenter. I like to wait till the sg is around 1.000 to 1.005, but many others use 1.010 as the transfer point.

Steve
 

Wade E

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Like most will say, lid or no lid, either will work. If you have a lid that is very tough to get off and you dont have kids or animals that will get in there then a cloth and string or elastic to keep the cloth from falling in on the must is best as yeast need 02 to do a good job. That being said Ive always used the lid on tight with airlock cause I have a cat that used to be able to get in my room as I have spaces where my walls dont meet my ceilig due to pipes and vents and my wine making room is also my furnace room and the furnace needs to breath so those gaps are where my furnace gets air from. In all my wine making Ive never had any off smells or problems due to having the lid snapped shut!
 

tuneball

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Another quick question here guys, I was told if I heated my wine a little bit with a heat belt it would ferment quicker. My question is, once I put the heat belt on, should I leave it on for the rest of the fermentation stage or should I take off and put back as needed to keep a specific temp.

Thanks,

Dan
 

Bailey

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Check to see if your lid is completely sealed - I can lightly press on the lid of mine and if it's sealed that will cause bubbling at the airlock. If the lid's not on tightly then there's no bubbling because the air escapes around the lid.

Also - I started a batch of pomegranate/white grape 4 days ago at similar temperatures and it's been slow to start too. I expected that. But - It's going now!
 

Wade E

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A warmer temp will make a fermentation faster but you really dont want to go above 75* wine temp, not room temp as a vigorous fermentation can bring wine temp up by around 5*. I ferment all my reds in the mid 70's and fruit and white wines I start warm to get the yeast going then let them coold ferment around 52-65* depending on what time of year it is as my cellar gets a little warmer in the summer and then bring temp back up to about 68* towards the end to make sure it finishes fine.
 

cpfan

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Just a word of warning about Wade's comment. Many people cool ferment their whites. But the major kit manufacturers do not recommend it. For temperatures for your kit, read the instructions.

Steve
 

Wade E

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Very true and I should have specied that all my whites are not kits but fresh juice buckets left over after season is up. All the red juices always sell out very fast but there are almost always white buckets left over so i get them then and get a 6 gallon bucket of fresh juice for under $50. I usually get a few but have so much wine in my cellar now that I just got 1 this year, so far! :) I bought a Chenin Blanc for $47 of Lodi Gold.
 

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