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Old 06-28-2013, 05:49 PM   #1
buckeyefrank
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Default First Timer - Failure

I am just getting started on making wine. About a week ago I started my first batch and began a cheap grape concentrate 1 gallon recipe. OG was 1.095 and the must was placed in a fermenting bucket. For some reason, fermentation never really took off. There has been a little foam on top but the airlock was only bubbling every 10 seconds or so. I opened it up and there's a strange smell in the bucket. I'm really bad at determining smells but it's probably vinegarish. I took another SG and it's at 1.080.

I know the batch is bad and I am OK with that. After I dump the must am I OK to thoroughly wash and santize the bucket / lid and reuse them? I thought I read somewhere that wasn't smart.

Thanks.

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Old 06-28-2013, 08:07 PM   #2
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It's perfectly ok to use the same bucket and stuff as long as everything is cleaned like it should be. What type of bucket did you use for the primary? If it was an old pickle bucket that could have something to do with it. Otherwise, post more about your specific process and I will try to help you out some more.

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Old 06-28-2013, 08:07 PM   #3
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I also meant to ask: what type of yeast did you use?

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Old 06-28-2013, 08:15 PM   #4
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It was actually a brand new food grade 5 gallon bucket that I purchased from Lowes. The yeast was purchased from my LHBS.

I have a feeling the yeast may have been bad. I was making 1 gallon so I decided to split the yeast. I took a little over 1/4 tsp for a hobo apple wine and then the remainder for the concentrate. Neither of them are doing very well.

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Old 06-28-2013, 09:51 PM   #5
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Airlock activity is not an indication of fermentation, if there is a little foam on tip that is pretty typical of a wine yeast, the buckets do not always seal up tight so don't worry about that.

Foam is a good sign that something is happening. The only way to really tell is by using your hydrometer.

The smell I bet is a sharp smell that stings your nose when you take a sniff, that is common smell for wine.

My guess is that everything is fine and you have nothing to worry about, I'd just let it ride out and see what happens. Wine is pretty dang hard to ruin.

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Old 06-28-2013, 11:48 PM   #6
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I believe you could be correct. That is probably what the smell is. Since my hydrometer has only gone from 1.095 to 1.080 in 6 days I think at a minimum my fermentation is slowed / stalled. Should I pitch more yeast on it to get it going?

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Old 06-29-2013, 12:46 AM   #7
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First thing I would do is aerate that thing to try and get the yeast to wake up, if that don't work I would get some 1118 and make a starter with it, and pitch in the wines.

Certainly don't give up on it, I had a cranberry wine a couple years ago that was stuck for nearly 3 weeks, I finally got it going with a big starter from must with 1118. I opened a bottle last night and it is a great wine. If you are sure the yeast was dead, I might repitch before trying to wake the yeast up.

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Old 06-29-2013, 12:59 AM   #8
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Fermenting a 1 gallon recipe in a 5 gallon bucket is not a good idea, too much head space. for a 1 gallon recipe a 2 gallon bucket is better.

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Old 06-29-2013, 01:06 AM   #9
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It really doesn't matter how big the bucket is as long as you rack once the wine is done fermenting into a proper sized container you will be fine. The more air that gets to the yeast during fermentation the better. After fermentation is complete oxygen contact needs to be minimized

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Old 06-29-2013, 02:33 AM   #10
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Thanks everybody for the fast responses. I tried to aerate the thing and hopefully that will get it active. If not, I'll just pitch another yeast starter on it.

Thanks

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