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Old 05-18-2006, 01:01 AM   #1
Keln
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Default Wine stuck

I'm starting to think self-designed brews are easier than kits. Anyways, I am doing a kit Chardonnay and it came to the day for first racking. It said the fermentation should have slowed down, which it had, but was still kind of active. Against my better judgement, I did it "by the book" and racked the wine anyways. Ok, so quite a bit of sediment had formed on the bottom of the container, thus I was very careful not to shake it up. After sanitizing everything well and letting it airdry, I started racking the wine. Right when I was almost done, I had an involuntary convulsion or something and shook the primary, kicking up alot of sediment. Rather then letting that little bit cloud up my otherwise nice looking batch, I stopped racking and eventually dumped it. I only lost maybe 6oz or so, no big deal. I poured some in a small glass first through a filter to taste it, and it was kind of bitter. It tasted like wine and wasn't a spoiled flavor exactly, just bitter.

So, I had my batch racked and ready to return to shelf. That was early yesterday afternoon. So far it still isn't doing anything. No bubbles or anything, it looks completely flat. Now, I have read that racking removes, besides general sediment, dead yeast right? Live yeast should still be suspended in the liquid right? Can racking shock the yeast enough to kill it? I don't think there were really any big temperature differences, and I used sanitary methods for everything, even siphoning.

I'm a bit concerned by the bitterness too, should I add some sugar and pitch a little more yeast? Or should I leave it alone a few more days? Yeast is Lalvin EC-1118 btw.



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Old 05-18-2006, 01:27 AM   #2
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Racking won't kill the yeast, but you did lose most of the yeast in the process. I'd give it a few more days before adding yeast. Do not add any sugar.

I suspect what you are calling bitter is actually astringent, which is very common in wines. It's due to natural tannins and can be removed by adding finings once the ferment is done.



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Old 05-19-2006, 07:00 PM   #3
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Ok, it's been a couple more days and it's not active at all. I want to add yeast. Should I add the same amount as I did in the beginning? Is there a thumbrule to adding yeast?

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Old 05-19-2006, 08:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keln
Ok, it's been a couple more days and it's not active at all. I want to add yeast. Should I add the same amount as I did in the beginning? Is there a thumbrule to adding yeast?
How long did you have it in primary? Did you take Hydrometer readings? You mentioned it tasted 'bitter'. If it hadn't fermented out it would still taste slightly sweet. Personally i don't think you need to add more yeast - it sounds like it's fermented out fully and just needs to clear now.
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Old 05-19-2006, 10:09 PM   #5
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Like I said, it's a kit so I was simply following the instructions verbatim. I don't think I want to do any more kits. It was in the primary 10 days, and was doing well. I didn't want to rack it from looking at it, it hand't slowed enough. But I decided to rack anyways per instructions (it says on day 10). It then says it should continue to ferment and you may have to rack it again a few times depending on how much sediment is formed in the bottom. On day 20-something you are supposed to clear it, then bottle it after a few more days. It's all cut and dry instructions and doesn't really give answers for any eventualities, nor does it really teach you anything about winemaking. I think it's crap. All my future projects will be ingredients I buy, recipies I choose, and methods I come up with based on what experts say.

Anyways, no I do not have a hydrometer yet. I had time to do so only on one day and it happened to be frigging election day, so all the stores having anything to do with wine were closed. Stupid backwards laws. I wouldn't know where else to get one unless I stole one from work, and they are all nasty and coated in battery acid anyways. And I'm not paying $12 S&H to buy a $5 hydrometer online. Of course I didn't know about using Hydrometers for sampling your brew until after I had started the kit, because I didn't check these sites out until I'd had a question of course. This stuff isn't exactly common knowledge you know. Most people don't have a clue how alcoholic beverages are made. So, no, I cannot give you an data to help.

Now, can I save this wine, or should I clear it or what?

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Old 05-19-2006, 10:24 PM   #6
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Add another packet of the same yeast. Secondary fermentation for wines can be very slow, just like meads.

With a kit, your OG doesn't matter, you get what you get. But, the FG is important. With ciders and wines it is common to have final gravities below 0.990. So, buy a hydrometer, no rush. Be warned, there is a strong anti-hydrometer element on the forum.

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Old 05-19-2006, 10:44 PM   #7
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Leave it to rack as per the kit for a further 10 days-ish as you say the kit suggests.
Don't worry that it's stopped bubbling - if you put in the right amount of sugars at the start for the kit (i.e. not too much!) and got good initial fermentation that lasted a good few days it'll be fine.
I'm sure it looks pretty clear right now but after the extra time in secondary it will have dropped at least a small residue to the bottom of your carboy - then rack it and add finings to clear it as per the instructions.
(I'd personally rack it again after this and store a little longer than a few days before bottling to prevent further sediment).
BUT first things first my Friend, RELAX! You've done a good job so far!

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Old 05-20-2006, 01:00 AM   #8
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Yeah caplan, it has dropped some sediment already. This kit is wierd. You don't add any sugar. You don't even activate the yeast. You don't put a packet of yeast in either. Just like a 1/2 tsp or something like that. Just the juice packet and water, then shake it (aeration) and pitch the yeast without activating it or anything. Then mix water and nutrient and add that. That's it. Then 10 days later rack it. Then a dozen days or something after that clear it, then a few days bottle it.

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Old 05-20-2006, 01:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keln
Yeah caplan, it has dropped some sediment already. This kit is wierd. You don't add any sugar. You don't even activate the yeast. You don't put a packet of yeast in either. Just like a 1/2 tsp or something like that. Just the juice packet and water, then shake it (aeration) and pitch the yeast without activating it or anything. Then mix water and nutrient and add that. That's it. Then 10 days later rack it. Then a dozen days or something after that clear it, then a few days bottle it.
It sounds like standard 'kit wine instructions' - They can be slightly confusing.
No 'adding sugar' means it should all be in the kit so no need to fuss as long as you added the correct amount of water - which given the info so far it seems you did.
Lalvin EC-1118 is a Champagne Yeast that will deal with just about any sensible level of fermentable sugar and as it's a dried yeast it contains much more cells compared to liquid versions. No need to activate it prior to pitching.
How does the kit tell you to 'clear it'?
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Old 05-20-2006, 04:29 AM   #10
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Well, lessee here. Day 23 "Stabalize" wine. Basically stop fermentation with a packet of K-Sorbate and K-Metabisulfite. Rack again if sedimentation. Don't do this until wine is dry.

Then day 28 is "Clearing". Add packet of Gelatin, Tartaric Acid, Sulfur Dioxide, and Pectinase. Let wine stand for 3 days.

Day 31 bottle it. If it isn't clear, then wait until it is to bottle it. Filter wine if you want to (doesn't give any directions on how to do that of course).

So you can see, simple instructions like these drive a person like myself to websites like these to get a wee bit more info. Of course, after reading through everything here and elsewhere, I'm excited about brewing as a hobby. Hence I am doing a batch of JAO mead too


So, anyways, should I attempt to stabalize now, pitch more yeast, or let her sit until day 23?



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