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Old 06-07-2008, 01:05 AM   #1
Pogo
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Default Strawberry wine rescue needed!

My neighbor and I are stumbling around, trying to find our way through the maze of home brewing. We both have started our own small libraries of how-to books, and have a German community here who freely offer advice.

First, we took four gallons of strawberries, trimmed them, crushed them, added only five pounds of sugar, and water.

After ten days we removed and pressed the pulp, and racked into a carboy. Whereupon HE added another ten pounds of sugar (they were HIS strawberries, after all), he wants lots of kick, I just want lots of taste.

We now have five gallons of the very, very, very sweetest, and best tasting two month old strawberry must that one can imagine, which has stopped fermenting.

Having relied on airborne yeast so far, he now wants to add yeast. Since the sugar is definately there, I'm confused as to why the fermantation has stopped.

What should we do?

Thanks in advance,

Pogo

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Old 06-07-2008, 01:09 AM   #2
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I have no idea why it stopped- unless the wild yeast just pooped out from the alcohol in the wine. Or, maybe it just never really started.

I usually make my fruit wines by weight, so I have no idea how much strawberries make up 4 gallons, or even what size batch you are making, so I really don't have much advice.

Strawberry wine is a good one, if the alcohol is somewhat low. The strawberry flavor is easily overpowered by more than about 11% ABV and takes a long time to age out if it's more than 12% ABV.

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Old 06-07-2008, 02:02 AM   #3
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Do you have a hydrometer? If the OG is fairly high you might want something potent like EC-1118 to ferment all that sugar into alcohol.

I hope waiting 10 days for airborne yeasts to get started wasn't a vector for airborne bacteria to get a start as well. I would get that cultivated yeast added ASAP...

(I tend to get worried about these kinds of things because of the extremely high cost of fruits where I live.)

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Old 06-07-2008, 02:46 AM   #4
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Thanks for the input offered guys,

Yes I have a hydrometer, I've yet to use it, but it seems to be as easy as pie, just float it in the must, and read the # indicated.

Yaeyama, you're right about the cost of fruit, he's got fifty dollars in the berries alone, then there's the sugar.

And thanks for the reference to a yeast, we need all direction we can get.

Thanks again,

Pogo

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Old 06-07-2008, 10:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yaeyama View Post
(I tend to get worried about these kinds of things because of the extremely high cost of fruits where I live.)
+1 I added 7 pounds of strawberries to a mead....The berries cost as much as the 9# of honey. That brings it to about a $40 3 gallon batch.
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Old 06-08-2008, 01:13 AM   #6
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Hmm...

Before taking any additional action (translation - spending any more money), my neighbor put a ballon on the neck this morning, and it's building pressure, but there is no visible action I can see.

He doesen't have a hydrometer, I offered the use of mine, but he didn't want to fuss with disturbing anything by drawing a specimen to test.

Besides, ideally, wouldn't we need an SG from the beginning, and periodically thereafter, to know where we stand?

Thanks,

Pogo

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Old 06-08-2008, 01:16 AM   #7
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Wellllll Yes. That would be ideal.

I would add some yeast, Any wine yeast at this point. Then when you think it's done, just wait a few extra weeks. You can take gravity reading a few days apart, if it isn't dropping, it's done.

Good Luck.

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Old 06-10-2008, 03:02 PM   #8
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Well, the must is still SLOWLY perking along, even though we (he) still haven't added any additional yeast.

So, I'm seeing things as being 'on track' for the old school method employed.

However, as I've been following the Apfelwien thread, I'm trying to better understand the fermentation process, and the different yeasts involved in it.

Some primaries clear up in a week or so, some longer, and some won't clear up at all.

When the juice clears up, is this a signal that fermentation is complete?

If one takes SG readings say, weekly, and the readings drop each week, then stablize and read identical at weeks 4 and 5, does this mean that ALL fermentation has ceased?

Even if the carboy still looks cloudy?

Aanndd...assuming no additives to stop fermentation, will a twenty year oid bottle of wine still be fermenting, somewhat, until the time that it is opened?

BTW - I'm having trouble with some of the shorthand used here. I do know that SG = specific gravity and I'm thinking that OG = original gravity reading, and LG = last gravity reading, right?

And, as far as I can see SWMBO means spouse/significant other/shack job/etc., but I'm lost as to what each letter symbolizes?

Thanks for any input on any or all of this,

Pogo

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Old 06-10-2008, 04:18 PM   #9
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Depending are where you are in Alabama, Alabrew in Birmingham has lots of wine supplies to help you out. They can get you yeast via USPS and ship same day usually. Tell them the guys from Jackson, MS referred you(Sue has helped us out many times).

The fermentation is not done until one of two things occur
a. the yeast die(usually from heat, chemical, or just too old)
b. there are no more fermentable sugars for the yeast to eat. They will go dormant and, if left in the carboy for a very long time, eventually die.

The way to tell if fermentation is done is easy. Take your OG(original gravity) of your prefermentation must, take into account your yeast's attenuation(hence needing to have a good strain of yeast), and you can figure out what your final gravity should be. Airlock activity is NOT a reliable method of telling if fermentation is done.

A twenty year old bottle of wine will have insignificant amounts of yeast in the bottle and those in there will have long since died.

For a good primer on winemaking, check out http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/

EDIT: That is a good question though. I wonder if a sugar primed bottle of beer will ever suffer autolysis.

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