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Old 07-16-2009, 02:18 AM   #1
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Default Do I have a problem or not??

I am very new to this whole wine making experience. I am doing a 5 gallon batch of strawberry. Here's the recipe I'm doing (times 5 obviously).

• 4 to 5 pints strawberries
• 4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
• 1 lemon, juice and rind
• 1 campden tablet
• 1/2 teaspoon pectic enzyme
• 1 package wine yeast
• 1 gallon water

Stir daily for five days.
Strain the must and squeeze out as much juice as you can from the fruit. Siphon into secondary fermentor and place airlock.

For a sweet wine, rack in three weeks. Add 1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup wine. Stir gently, and place back into secondary fermentor. Repeat process every six weeks until fermentation does not restart with the addition of sugar. Rack every three months until one year old.


Last Saturday, the 11th, was the 3 week rack back into the secondary with more sugar added. As of tonight, the airlock is releasing less than once every 5 minutes, if at all. I got tired watching to see if it would pop off.

Is this the expected or normal way things should be going?? The recipe says to rack and add sugar every 6 weeks until fermentation does not re-start. Seems like it's all done now, to me.

Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 07-16-2009, 03:02 AM   #2
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I wouldn't depend on the airlock to tell me if the wine is finished. I would not bottle anything unless I knew for sure that it wouldn't lead to an explosive situation. Are you planning on stabilizing your wine?

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Old 07-16-2009, 10:18 AM   #3
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Are you planning on stabilizing your wine?
I will add potassium sorbate when I feel it's done fermenting, if that's what you mean by "stabilizing".
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:48 PM   #4
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That is exactly what I mean. Wouldn't want to have exploding bottles after all that work.

Check the sweetness to ensure it is where you want it, degas and stabilize and you should be ready to bottle.

Remember that wine sweetens in the bottle so don't go overboard if you plan on back sweetening. I speak from experience about over-sweetening before bottling and have one batch that could be a dessert on its own.

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Old 07-16-2009, 10:08 PM   #5
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..... degas and stabilize and you should be ready to bottle.
O.K. Here's where the newbie gets lost.

I'm not familiar with "degassing". I guess I'm wrong in assuming that if the airlock has stopped popping off the gas is all gone?? Does the wine need gas removed at less than atmospheric pressure?

Appreciate your help.
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Old 07-16-2009, 10:31 PM   #6
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O.K. Here's where the newbie gets lost.

I'm not familiar with "degassing". I guess I'm wrong in assuming that if the airlock has stopped popping off the gas is all gone?? Does the wine need gas removed at less than atmospheric pressure?

Appreciate your help.
"Degas" means to actually manually help remove the gas from the wine. If you leave the wine to age in the carboy for a long period of time, then it's generally not necessary. But young wines, and wines at a relatively cool temperature "hold" onto co2. The co2 produced during fermentation just doesn't have enough pressure to it once fermentation is done to go out of the carboy. (It's like the airlock sort of holds it in there). So, if the wine isn't degassed, the wine will be lightly carbonated. That's not desireable, so it's recommended to degas the wine. This can be done through some stirring through the opening in the carboy, until no bubbles or foam appears. In a really gassy wine, sometimes it's necessary to even use a "wine whip" and a drill to stir it up.

If the wine is flat, and not bubbly when you take a hydrometer sample, then it's fine to bottle as it is. I don't like to degas my wines, because of the risk of oxidizing them. So I just let them sit a very long time before bottling.

If you do degas, make sure you add campden tablets (at the rate of 1 per gallon, crushed and dissolved) immediately after so you don't get any oxidation from the stirring.
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Old 07-19-2009, 02:24 AM   #7
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Ummm...........I think I have another problem.

My inexperience let me neglect to stick the hydrometer in the batch.
Which I just did. I'm still at 1.006 with no visible fermentation going on. Did I "run out" of yeast??

What now??

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Old 07-19-2009, 04:58 AM   #8
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If your hydrometer was at least clean you should be okay. There should be enough alcohol that it will not affect it.

No you did not "run out of yeast"; instead, you may have run out of fermentable sugars. Next, how long has the wine been at 1.006? Also, how long are you waiting before you plan on bottling? As Yooper mentioned, the longer it sits the better. I have a strawberry and lime wine that are going to bulk age 6-8 months before I bottle, then at least another 6 months of bottle aging. Not only will that solve the degassing issue, the wine should have fermented all the sugars it can.

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Old 07-19-2009, 11:35 AM   #9
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[QUOTE=barracudamagoo;1440624]If your hydrometer was at least clean you should be okay. There should be enough alcohol that it will not affect it. [quote]

Yes. Hydrometer was sanitized and put into a sample bit of the batch I had siphoned into a graduated cylinder.

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Originally Posted by barracudamagoo
No you did not "run out of yeast"; instead, you may have run out of fermentable sugars. Next, how long has the wine been at 1.006?
That, I do not know. Like I said..........inexperience and just new to the hydrometer thing. after getting a reading on the initial mixture it
completely slipped my mind until yesterday.

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Originally Posted by barracudamagoo
Also, how long are you waiting before you plan on bottling?
As long as I need to, I guess. I'm more interested in the end product being successful rather than how quickly I can be done with it. Whatever it takes.

Even though there's no obvious fermentation going on, should I keep taking hydrometer readings?? If so, how often??
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Old 07-19-2009, 02:12 PM   #10
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Yes. Hydrometer was sanitized and put into a sample bit of the batch I had siphoned into a graduated cylinder.
I misunderstood your previous post; I thought you stuck the hydrometer into the entire batch. If you took a sample it should be fine. Remember to not put the sample back into the batch, either drink it or pour it down the drain.

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Originally Posted by VinoD
Even though there's no obvious fermentation going on, should I keep taking hydrometer readings?? If so, how often??
I take a reading at the very beginning (OG), before I pitch the yeast. After the yeast has been pitched I will take a gravtiy reading each time I rack to a new fermentation vessel; this is approximately every 2 months.
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