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Old 09-18-2012, 07:50 PM   #1
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Default Problem when moving wine to secondary

Hi all. Last year I attempted making my first batch of country wine. I made about 3.5 gallons of strawberry wine. I really enjoyed making it and enjoyed drinking it just as much.

This year I wanted to try to make peach wine. My goal is to make 5 gallons and I went with a recipe from eckraus. While cleaning my primary after moving it to my carboy I noticed a lot of sugar was in the bottom of the primary.

I'm hoping this doesn't have a huge impact on my wine and I'm hoping someone here can help me get my wine to where it should be this early in the process. I'd appreciate anyone's help.

The wine was made at the beginning of the month. It has probably been in the secondary for a week and a half. The airlock still raises and lowers regularly. I do have a hydrometer, though i've never used it. If anyone needs any additional information, please let me know.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 09-18-2012, 07:52 PM   #2
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It doesn't sound like sugar on the bottom. Sugar should have dissolved in the must (I mix it with boiling water when I add it), and the yeast should have consumed it.

Can you take a picture of these lees? If it's grainy looking, it could be pectin and other things in the trub.

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Old 09-18-2012, 08:08 PM   #3
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I cleaned out the bottom already. I'm almost positive it was sugar (there was about 1/2-3/4 of an inch compacted on the bottom). I added like 11 pounds of sugar and I guess I didn't stir it will enough. I did add 1 gallon of white grape and peach juice which should compensate for some of the lost sugar. Right now the wine in the carboy is very cloudy and the airlock is active... It all looks ok, i'm just worried that the yeast will run out of stuff to eat and my wine will be more like a wine cooler instead.

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Old 09-18-2012, 08:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunth82 View Post
I cleaned out the bottom already. I'm almost positive it was sugar (there was about 1/2-3/4 of an inch compacted on the bottom). I added like 11 pounds of sugar and I guess I didn't stir it will enough. I did add 1 gallon of white grape and peach juice which should compensate for some of the lost sugar. Right now the wine in the carboy is very cloudy and the airlock is active... It all looks ok, i'm just worried that the yeast will run out of stuff to eat and my wine will be more like a wine cooler instead.
Without any original gravity readings, it'd be just a guess. But I've been making wine for many many years, and I've never seen it sit on the bottom and the yeast refuse to eat it!
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:13 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick replies . If I didn't stir it well enough and added 11 pounds of sugar would it have gathered at the bottom? I did not premix the sugar with boiling water first...just dumped it in straight....this is my second batch of wine and I'll know better for next time.

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Old 09-19-2012, 07:11 PM   #6
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I'd be inclined to agree with Yooper, those little guys love sugar and they'll work to get it. So the wine was in primary for about 2 weeks before racking it to secondary? What temperature? Just an FYI, next time maybe give it more time before racking, there's no need to rush it. Peach, from my little experience drops a boat load of lees during fermentation and that seems to make the most sense, unless it was eating the sugar in the solution and you racked it before it had to dive down to get to the sugar. Either way it will turn out fine, even if the alcohol turns out low, it will age quicker and it won't come off as "hot".
Mental notes for next time - Blend sugar with a water to make a nice solution to mix with fruit, Take hydrometer readings, and leave it in primary for longer. Good luck with the wine, and plan on probably using some kind of clarifying agent and/or access to really cold areas to clear the wine.

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Old 09-20-2012, 01:36 AM   #7
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Dry sugar can definitely fail to dissolve in solution. That amount of dry sugar is alot for non-boiling water to dissolve into solution; and I agree if the sugar would have been left for yeast to continue to work on and with more stirring the sugar MAY have finally dissolved. Cannot really do much about it at this point other than what you have done, considering you did not use your hydrometer.
When adding sugar to your must it is always recommended you add in liquid form. I will bring half the amount of liquid, juice vs water, to boil and then add sugar, stir until dissolved and allow to cool and then blend into the must. Will also add citric acid to invert the sugar syrup so the yeast do not have so hard a time (unless rhe fruit or juice are grapes which contain the invertase naturally). So at the beginning I would have measured out eleven lbs sugar in cup equivalent, which is 25.96 cups, (1 lb::2.36 cups)and then dissolve in 13 cups water.

Since you have a hydrometer you really should learn to use it...a great tool and you really have no other accurate tool to determine alcohol content since a vinometer is never reliable. Many resources available so you can learn to use it, quick and easy!! If you can read a number that corresponds with liquid level line on the floating hydrometer, and can take temperature of your must/wine at time of reading you have the use of hydrometer in the bag.

BTW, 25 cups sugar in five gallons will increase S.G. by 0.100...so from eleven pounds of sugar you have a O.G. of approximately 1.100, not to mention any other sugars in the must. And the remaining amount of sugar, the .96 cups will provide an addl S.G. of just shy of 0.004 to the five gallons, based on 1 cup sugar will increase S.G. of one gallon by 0.020

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Old 09-21-2012, 03:17 PM   #8
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Yeah I will have to learn to use my hydrometer. At least to get initial readings. In my first batch i just followed the recipe exactly with no idea whether or not it would turn out good or not. I did the same (followed a recipe) this time, but I should have at least taken a reading so if I needed to do any troubleshooting I could.

The wine only stayed in the primary for about 6 days. We were having an issue with fruit flies in the house so I may have rushed it into the secondary more quickly than I should have. I had a cloth over the primary so nothing could get in but the fruit flies were still bothering me.

I'm going out to buy apple juice and dextrose to do the Apfelwein recipe that everyone speaks so high of tomorrow. Should I take a reading using the hydrometer on this or is the process so simple that it doesn't really matter?

Thanks.

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Old 09-21-2012, 03:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunth82
Yeah I will have to learn to use my hydrometer. At least to get initial readings. In my first batch i just followed the recipe exactly with no idea whether or not it would turn out good or not. I did the same (followed a recipe) this time, but I should have at least taken a reading so if I needed to do any troubleshooting I could.

The wine only stayed in the primary for about 6 days. We were having an issue with fruit flies in the house so I may have rushed it into the secondary more quickly than I should have. I had a cloth over the primary so nothing could get in but the fruit flies were still bothering me.

I'm going out to buy apple juice and dextrose to do the Apfelwein recipe that everyone speaks so high of tomorrow. Should I take a reading using the hydrometer on this or is the process so simple that it doesn't really matter?

Thanks.
You should always use your hydrometer to verify your sugar addition.
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Old 09-23-2012, 12:00 AM   #10
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Since you do not know what your starting S.G. was it is a mute point. You can learn to use it though before you start your next project. Have fun!!

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