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Old 08-01-2008, 03:36 PM   #1
DutchK9
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Default Primary taking a long time?

I bought some used beer equipment from a guy and he threw in 7 Select Premium wine kits that were old and sitting in his garage. I thought what the heck, I am only out water and a few fresh chemicals I had to buy to get them going.
I made the Merlot on July 10th, and 22 days later it is still showing some slight fermentation. The original SG was 1.14 which is high from what I understand. It is dropping as it is coming along, and when I last checked it acouple days ago it was at 1.010. Do you still think this wine will be okay? I assume it will be high in alcohol content.
A week later I did the batch of Barolo, and it's SG started at 1.095 which is more normal. It is averaging about the same as the Merlot in gravity drops.
Can primary fermentation take a month or more with wine? After racking it to the secondary, how long should I leave it? I am not in a hurry, so fermenting for 4-5 months will not be a problem.
Lastly, after bottling should it age for another 5 months, or is the time period considered from the start of fermentation?
Any help would be appreciated....Yooperbrew are you out there?

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Old 08-01-2008, 04:55 PM   #2
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Sounds like you got a nice score with those kits!

Primary usually does NOT take a long time- but there are so many variables! Old yeast, cool fermentation temperature, etc, can all play a part. As long as it's dropping, it's fermenting, so try to not worry about it!

I don't know why the merlot kit was so high- it should just be a little higher in ABV. You could top it off with water after racking, just to keep the ABV where it should be.

You can leave it in secondary a long, long time, so I'd wait a good while and let all the sediment drop out before bottling. If you have a lot of sediment (lees), you can always rack it again and wait some more. Even though the kits are designed to be fast, taking your time with them will improve the product.

After bottling, I like to try one at 3 months and one at 6 months to see how they are. Depending on the kit, most of the "cheaper" kits are pretty good at 9 months- 1 year. I'd plan on NOT opening one until 3 months after bottling, regardless of where you are in the time table. Wines get "bottle shock" sometimes after bottling, and just don't taste all the great. If you let them settle down in the bottle for a few months, that is better and you'll get a better idea of the wine's taste and bouquet.

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Old 08-01-2008, 05:34 PM   #3
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Okay thanks for the reply. How much water are you talking? 1/2 gallon, whole gallon?

I bought all new ingredients, so the yeast was fresh. I used Montrachet-Red Star on both of them. Temp has been 68* in the area they are fermenting at, and I think the bottles have been around 71*-72*.

I have been trying to read on the how to's, but am a little confused since most of the write ups talk about fruit wines instead of kits. When everything goes into the primary, you add bentonite. But does anything else go in like campden?
Then after the wine clears the secondary, or third racking, what needs to be added prior to degassing and bottling. Also how long should it sit after adding these before moving to the next step.

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Old 08-01-2008, 05:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by DutchK9 View Post
Okay thanks for the reply. How much water are you talking? 1/2 gallon, whole gallon?

I bought all new ingredients, so the yeast was fresh. I used Montrachet-Red Star on both of them. Temp has been 68* in the area they are fermenting at, and I think the bottles have been around 71*-72*.

I have been trying to read on the how to's, but am a little confused since most of the write ups talk about fruit wines instead of kits. When everything goes into the primary, you add bentonite. But does anything else go in like campden?
Then after the wine clears the secondary, or third racking, what needs to be added prior to degassing and bottling. Also how long should it sit after adding these before moving to the next step.

The best thing to do with kits is to follow the instructions- they are designed so that everything works together to give you a certain result. When I suggest topping up with water, I didn't mean a set amount. When you finally put your wine into your carboy, it instructs you to "top up" to reduce headspace. Since the OG was so high, doing that with water should be fine. Taste the wine, first, though, and see if it could benefit from having a bit of water added. Otherwise, you can top up with a similar (cheap) wine to within an inch of the bung.

The kit should have all the stuff they want you to add before/after degassing. Usually it's sulfite and sorbate, or in some kits with sweeteners, something like a pack of sweetened juice. Since the kits were complete, you should be ok. You can let it sit as long as the instructions state, or a bit longer. (Longer is good, and won't harm). It really does depend on the kit.
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Old 08-01-2008, 06:03 PM   #5
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Okay...thanks!

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