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Old 05-01-2008, 09:24 PM   #1
mrhead
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Default Wine Smells Sour

Ok, I've spent the last two days off and on searching for any threads on this topic, and googling outside sources and I've come up with nothing. I started three different batches of fresh fruit wines on April 12, racked each one after 2 weeks. They are clearing up nicely, but they all smell extremely sour. SWMBO says they smell like old bread yeast. I went ahead and racked them again today, the second time in three weeks. After racking, the sludge on the bottom is definitely what was causing the smell, and dumping it out has helped the smell but I can still smell a hint of it in there.

Is there anything else I can do to get rid of this smell? I can't smell it outside of the fermentors, only when I take a gravity reading. They all taste ok, no sourness or off-tastes, one of them is a bit sweeter than the others but not by much; but the smell of all three is terrible. I can post the recipes of each one if that would make any difference. I'm just wondering if it is normal for the wine to smell this badly for the first month or if maybe I botched something up with sanitation or racking methods.


Thanks for any advice.

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Old 05-01-2008, 10:25 PM   #2
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Have you used campden in them, and if you did, how much? I'm wondering if you have inadequate sulfites.

Maybe the recipe would help- something could jump out at me.

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Old 05-01-2008, 10:49 PM   #3
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Actually I did use 1 campden tablet in each one, but I remember I forgot to crush them up. Could this have an effect? Recipe below:

2# fresh fruit
1.5# sugar
1tsp yeast nutrient
2tsp acid blend
1/8tsp tannin
1tsp pectic enzyme
1 campden tablet


1) juice fruit, add to primary, top off with water, stir in all ingredients except yeast
2) 24 hours later rehydrate yeast and add to primary
3) rack after 5 days
4) rack again after 3 weeks, then again every month for six months, topping off with water each time

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Old 05-01-2008, 10:56 PM   #4
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Hmmmm. Well, one thing to do is to crush a campden tablet (one per gallon dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water) and rack your wine into that. I use campden in that amount at every other racking. I rack fruit wines pretty often, because rotten fruit is horrible! I rack whenever I have lees 1/4 inch thick, or about every 30-45 days. Did you rack initially after 5 days as instructed? If not, that could be where the sour is coming from.

What kind of fruit wines did you make? Some fruit (like raspberries) tastes sour and not real great when it's fermented at first.

2# fruit is fairly light on the fruit, so I bet that this will be a lighter bodied and flavored wine.

Also, depending on the fruit- 2 tsp of acid blend per gallon is kind of alot. Maybe that's contributing to the sour.

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Old 05-01-2008, 11:10 PM   #5
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1 thing you can do if this does not go away is splash rack it. Its not something that is really good to do but if its not going away then it will need to be done. How long did you have the fruit in the primary bfore you racked off it and left it behind.

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Old 05-02-2008, 01:01 AM   #6
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I should've mentioned this was for 1 gallon recipes. I used watermelon for one, peach for one, and peach/watermelon for the last. I'll try the crushed campden tablet and rack onto that next time I rack. Would it be bad to rack tomorrow after I just racked today? Just looked over my notes, I racked it the first time five days after pitching yeast then the second time two weeks later(today).

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Old 05-02-2008, 01:08 AM   #7
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Well, you don't have to rack now, but I'd get the campden in there ASAP. By the way, watermelon is one of the toughest wines to make- often it'll start to spoil before it starts to ferment, so it actually sounds like you're doing just fine!

What is the SG now, and what was it when you started?

Keep an eye on the lees, and rack when you have 1/4 inch, or after a month. Keep it covered (out of the light) and try to not think about it! Hopefully, it'll improve.

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Old 05-02-2008, 01:09 AM   #8
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The peaches should be fine but I have heard that watermelon is a big problem with rotting fast for making wine.

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Old 05-02-2008, 02:30 AM   #9
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I also read that about watermelon rotting quickly. I actually kept the watermelon and peach/watermelon refrigerated for 18 of the 24 hours prior to adding the yeast. I will continue to keep an eye on the lees and rack accordingly, probably every two weeks or so; and I'll be sure to add a crushed campden tablet everytime I rack from now on. I think I'll crush one up tomorrow morning and drop it onto the top of each one just to be safe.

When I started SG was about 1.085 to 1.09 for all three. When I racked today they were at 1.02 before I topped up with water so they're probably all to 1.01 or below now.

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Old 05-02-2008, 02:36 AM   #10
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You can add the crushed campden every OTHER time. That should get you to 50 ppm or so, as a guess.

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