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Old 06-12-2009, 02:10 PM   #1
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Default When has fermentation stopped?

Newbie question - When has fermentation stopped? I have a 3 gal carboy of Loganberry where I can still see fermentation activity through the glass but it's not enough to show any activity through the airlock (no more bubbling). Should I wait to stabilize or is now the time? I would feel better if I knew the yeast was completely dead rather than trying to kill the remaining off by racking and adding camden tablets.

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Old 06-12-2009, 02:58 PM   #2
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The yeast is not going to die. It runs out of sugar to eat, but it is still there. The fermentation is done when the specific gravity is stable for 3-4 days.

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Old 06-12-2009, 06:22 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
The yeast is not going to die. It runs out of sugar to eat, but it is still there. The fermentation is done when the specific gravity is stable for 3-4 days.
The yeast would die if the wine reached the yeasts's alcohol ceiling wouldn't it? What is the purpose of using the camden tablets then when racking after fermentation is finished?
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Old 06-12-2009, 07:39 PM   #4
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The yeast would be die if the wine reached the yeasts's alcohol ceiling wouldn't it? What is the purpose of using the camden tablets then when racking after fermentation is finished?
Maybe. Maybe not. Yeast are tough, and don't usually die off. They might go dormant when all the fermentable sugars are gone. In order to get it to stop fermenting when it reached its alcohol tolerance, you might have to go up to 19% ABV (if you used champagne yeast.). That would taste like rocket fuel, so it's not recommended. Wait until fermentation is finished, and then wait some more. Then rack the wine as needed, every 30-45 days, whenever the lees are 1/4 thick after that length of time.

Campden is an antioxidant, and a preservative. It doesn't do anything to the yeast.
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:41 PM   #5
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In my experience the yeast only ever die completely when you need them to stay alive. They tend to be contrary little critters. The camden is to supress all the other things trying to live in your wine.

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Old 06-12-2009, 11:37 PM   #6
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You do have a hydrometer right? David is (as usual) correct in that you need a stable gravity before you call it 'done'.

the campden tabs (and usually potassium sorbate) are added to stabilize the wine in two ways:
1. sulfite binds with oxygen, so it helps stabilize against oxidation
2. sulfite and sorbate kill off yeast, to prevent renewed fermentation in the bottle, which could be dangerous (glass grenades)

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