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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > fermenting wine question
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:38 AM   #1
schoch79
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Hi, guys. This question concerns both wine and mead but since mead is considered wine I chose to post here. So I just started my first ever batch of both mead/JAOM, and welches grape juice wine. I am doing a 3 gallon batch of each and used a champagne yeast...red star brand I think...yellow packet. It was a general purpose yeast the guy at the homebrew store told me. He told me that was a decent one to use for a lot of stuff. I was brand new to homebrew at the time, and still am, and I told him I wanted to experiment with different things. If I were more specific he probably would have taken me a different route.

Ok so the question. My mead started some obvious light foaming/bubbling within 24 hours. My wine didn't noticeably start for closer to 48 and even then neither one of them really foamed up like I see in a lot of pictures and posts. The mead is just a light foam mixed in with the oranges and the wine looks like a sparkling wine or soda would. Am I not getting a vigorous ferment because of the style of yeast or is it probably something else? I did use yeast nutrient and each batch is between 1.090 and 1.100 give or take. I know that could be a big difference but as long as I am ballpark with those numbers I'm ok with it. These are both just experiments at this point after all. Thanks for reading all of this.

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Old 02-11-2014, 12:55 PM   #2
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Low foam levels are fine. Less messy then the ones that foam up and over! Most wine yeast are sold as 'low foam" yeast. Sometimes the yeast reads its pakage and stays low foam...
Are you stirring your wine must twice daily? That is when you will see the most foaming. The yeast get excited at the fresh air and jumps around.
There are two camps in wine making. Those who airlock right away and those who losely cover and stir daily the first week, then airlock. Both methods work.
Welcome to the fun of home brewing!

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Old 02-11-2014, 04:16 PM   #3
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I have mixed together 6 different recipes of mead and wine within the last 6 weeks and range from traditional mead to Welche's wine. All of which had little if any foaming/Krausen. Recipes that have that usually have much more fruit pulp in them in my experience.

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Old 02-11-2014, 04:19 PM   #4
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Thanks for answering. No I am not stirring. When the ferment seemed to take a while to start I swirled it for a little bit but that was it. I do remember hearing about mixing it now that you say something about it but I'm glad you say either way is ok. I thought for a split second I messed up already lol. Thanks again.

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Old 02-11-2014, 05:35 PM   #5
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While the yeast is active - and so the specific gravity is above about 1.010 or 1.005 you want to vigorously stir the wine to ensure that there is a good supply of air (O2) in the wine that the yeast can use. This tends to reduce stress on the yeast.
After most of the sugar has been converted to alcohol you want to prevent O2 coming into contact with the wine and so you make sure that there is no head room above the surface and that you trap what ever CO2 is in the carboy inside the carboy by inserting a bung and an airlock filled with water (or alcohol). The airlock will allow CO2 to bubble out but prevent O2 from the air outside getting in.
I agree with jensmith, musts with a lot of fruit particulates will froth and foam more than musts with less solids.

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Old 02-12-2014, 04:00 AM   #6
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Gotcha, sounds pretty common sense when I stop to think about it. About mixing in oxygen though...can anyone offer an explanation as to why o2 is ok early but not later? Wouldn't oxidation be oxidation regardless of when it happened? I don't mean to argue but I'm just trying to get some science behind all of this and understand it better

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Old 02-12-2014, 11:40 AM   #7
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Yeast are living things and like most need O2 to grow and survive. They also need the O2 dissolved to be able to absorb it. So in the early stages there is not oxidation damage because the yeast absorbe all the O2. But when fermentation is over the dissolved O2 stays there and that is the issue.

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Old 02-12-2014, 05:58 PM   #8
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Thanks. That makes sense to me.

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Old 02-13-2014, 06:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schoch79 View Post
Gotcha, sounds pretty common sense when I stop to think about it. About mixing in oxygen though...can anyone offer an explanation as to why o2 is ok early but not later? Wouldn't oxidation be oxidation regardless of when it happened? I don't mean to argue but I'm just trying to get some science behind all of this and understand it better
It is observed that in presence of oxygen yeasts tend to focus on cell development. As a result it is important to have oxygen at the early stage to promote cell multiplication so that the yeast colony reaches an optimum size. But in absence of oxygen the energy output of fermentation being not adequate enough the cell development slows down.

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