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Old 11-02-2012, 02:26 PM   #1
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Default Apple Dessert Wine Stuck

Hello all. A while back I got this wild idea that I wanted to make a very high gravity apple wine that would have a good bit of alcohol warmth and still maintain some residual sweetness like a dessert wine. I used 4 cans of frozen concentrate, 22 oz brown sugar, and topped up to a gallon with unfiltered, pasteurized apple cider for an OG of 1.160 I shook it all up good to aerate and dissolve the sugar and then added some red star premier cuvee, which I was told was good to about 18% abv. I thought that at 16-18% abv, the FG would come out to 1.025-1.035, which would be about right. It began fermenting vigorously and continued for a couple weeks, then stalled. 3 successive gravity readings of 1.060 a week apart confirm that it is actually stuck and not just slow.
I have tried several things to jump start it again: removing airlock and shaking to degas and allow the yeast access to air, cranking up the heat to about 75F, pitching more yeast, and adding yeast energizer. None of them have helped.
So, is it likely that the current 13% alcohol level is the limit of these particular yeast in these conditions? If not that, what should I try next?
Thanks.

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Old 11-02-2012, 03:52 PM   #2
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What yeast did you use?

I add sugar half way through fermentation for my high alcohol wines. This ensures the yeast is not stressed.

Did you add yeast nutrient? It's possible the nutrients are not sufficient or used up.

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Old 11-02-2012, 06:29 PM   #3
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You can try using KV1-1116, it is well known for working with high gravity stalls.

I am planning to start a wine similar to this using Martenelli's apple cider that has been sweetened with two frozen apple juice concentrates, and when SG has dropped by 1/3 feed one container concentrate, and when that SG has dropped by 1/3 feed one more container...and see what happens.

Keep us posted.

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Old 11-02-2012, 07:55 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. The yeast I used was Red Star Premier Cuvee, and the yeast energizer I used contains DAP, yeast hulls, b vitamins, etc, so there should be enough nutrients. I will certainly use the adding sugars in increments method on the next one to help prevent stressing the yeast, but for this one it is a little too late for that, so I'll give the K1V-1116 a go. Do you think there will be any problems or funky flavors with using this much yeast in a 1 gallon batch?

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Old 11-02-2012, 08:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProfessorPlum
Thanks for the replies. The yeast I used was Red Star Premier Cuvee, and the yeast energizer I used contains DAP, yeast hulls, b vitamins, etc, so there should be enough nutrients. I will certainly use the adding sugars in increments method on the next one to help prevent stressing the yeast, but for this one it is a little too late for that, so I'll give the K1V-1116 a go. Do you think there will be any problems or funky flavors with using this much yeast in a 1 gallon batch?
You can also try Lalvin EC-1118.
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:21 PM   #6
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Also...you do not need to use the entire packet...you could weigh it, divide it and add as a starter.

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Old 11-02-2012, 11:30 PM   #7
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Home distillers never push past 12% because of all the off flavors and they distill so there is probably less nasties. I think on paper your plan sounds good but won't turn out good. If you go to home distillers.org they have calculators so you can determine how much sugar to add to hit 12%. Ec 1116 is a good yeast but would not push it past 12%

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Old 11-03-2012, 12:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgarry
Home distillers never push past 12% because of all the off flavors and they distill so there is probably less nasties. I think on paper your plan sounds good but won't turn out good. If you go to home distillers.org they have calculators so you can determine how much sugar to add to hit 12%. Ec 1116 is a good yeast but would not push it past 12%
To each their own. For all my yeasts, I'm between 12-13% with good results. I did a 18% blueberry port with EC-1118 that turned out great. Just don't add all the sugar at once.
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Old 11-03-2012, 12:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgarry
Home distillers never push past 12% because of all the off flavors and they distill so there is probably less nasties. I think on paper your plan sounds good but won't turn out good. If you go to home distillers.org they have calculators so you can determine how much sugar to add to hit 12%. Ec 1116 is a good yeast but would not push it past 12%
Home distillation and home winemaking are two completely different skillsets, with quite different outcomes. No reason why the wine yeasts cannot be used to reach their thresholds...this is done every day, you just have to have a plan and patience.

At this point, the options are to either try to restart or perhaps make another batch, knowing what starting SG you will need, asduming you ferment dry, and blend with batch #1....or fortify with pure grain-151 and have a sweet, potent treat.
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:54 PM   #10
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I went and used the whole pack of the K1-V, rehydrated per Lalvin's recommendation. It's now about 15 hours since I pitched and there is no sign of activity, but I'll wait a couple days and see what happens. If after another week the gravity reading is the same, I might start another batch and blend like saramc suggests. I'd prefer not to fortify. As far as whether it will be any good, it's merely an experiment and my first attempt at any such wine, so the real goal is to have fun and learn something. Having said that, the samples have far exceeded my expectations as far as flavor, so even at a high abv, it may well be quite tasty after 6 months or so. We'll see. Thanks for your suggestions and advice.

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