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Old 06-03-2011, 09:30 AM   #1
jitup
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Default not sure if I have proper fermentation

Hello,
This is my first brew using actual equipment. Previously I did a welch's wine in a milk jug with a balloon which is still fermenting. After this, I decided I wanted to give brewing a go as a hobby and went to my local brew supply shop and got a 2 gallon fermentation bucket, an airlock, and a racking cane. What I am trying to make isn't exactly a mead or a wine, but I think that mead is closer. I am experimenting making a classic Finnish drink called kilju. This is what I have followed for my recipe. 10 cups of sugar, 2 gallons of water, a full bag of frozen raspberries defrosted of course, mixed it all together really well and got all the sugar dissolved, than activated and added lavlin 1118, than dumped it in and mixed really well. It is doing something, I get one large bubble from my airlock roughly every 20 sec. Is this right? I know the bread yeast I used in previous brews put off a lot more co2. I started it 2 days ago. I did not have a hydrometer at the time because the guy at the store said it was not necessary. I now know he was wrong. If it is working do you have a rough guess on how long a brew like this will take to ferment? The temp is right around 68-70f. Some times it drops a bit in the night. I am just not sure how much bubbles is the correct amount to indicate proper fermentation. Any guess on how long this stuff will take? I don't really want to leave it longer than a month. Any way to speed up the process? I am looking to get as high ABV as possible, than might take part of it and try and separate of some of the alc by freezing. Maybe not, if it tastes good I will leave it alone, if not freeze concentrate and use it as a mixer. Thank you

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Old 06-03-2011, 10:50 AM   #2
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its not a mead at all as there is no honey. its just a fruit wine.
sorry i don't know fruit wines very well.

how much raspberries did you put in?

i would pop back to the brew shop and get a hydrometer. check what the specific gravity of your brew is. bubbles are just for show. they are a lousy indicator on whats happening.
just roughly judging by the amount of sugar (what size cups did you use?) i would say your shooting for 20% alcohol. ec1118 finishes at 18% so its going to be strong and very very sweet.

temps are ok, it may be a little slow due to that. in fact cooler the better as with such high alcohol its going to be fairly hot tasting.
i think you could do with some yeast nutrient. i don't know how much they will get out of raspberries. thats probably the main reason its struggling and poor nutrient can also make bad flavors.
the large amount of sugar can also make it go really slow. one trick is to hold some back and add it half way through the ferment.

i couldn't guess how long. i've had a mead finish in 5 days with that yeast. but it was hotter, had loads of nutrient, less sugar and it ended up tasting hot as hell so its sitting aging, it won't be drinkable for a year.
so i would work out what nutrient it needs, get that in, then keep it fairly cool. better to spend four weeks fermenting and having something that will only take months to age rather than years aging.

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Old 06-03-2011, 01:53 PM   #3
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Bread yeast vs wine yeast is pretty much like comparing a draft horse to a race horse.

Bread yeast will leave a lot of yeasty, sulfury off flavors. Most people will not use that if they can help it. But, bread yeast is great for bread and other breadlike products.

Wine yeast's flavors will depend on the strain, and the 1118 is a yeast that's said to be pretty clean. And, this one would be horrible to make bread with, but good for wine and meads.

When you use certain ingredients, like honey, or cane sugar, you need to introduce nutrients. Take a look at the mead stickies to look at nutrients and the staggered addition method.

To be honest, what you're doing is just hooch, and it's easier and cheaper, to buy bottom shelf vodka. Try welches concentrate with the wine yeast, there's some recipes around. Or pick up honey for mead, or a kit for wine, or malt extracts for beer at the LHBS. Also, look out for the dangers of methanol when you're doing anything like freeze distillation.

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Old 06-03-2011, 07:46 PM   #4
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thanks for all the info. I will find out what nutrient to introduce. Kilju can be a good drink if it is prepared well, but the reason I choose it for a first brew is the simplicity. My next brew attempt will either be mead or apple jack. thanks a lot. I don't understand what you mean by what size cups? I mean 10 cups, as in the measurement. I figured it would be around 14-18% with the amount of sugar, and I like it very sweet. I am not exactly sure how many raspberries, a how ever much a full frozen pack is, I know this is not very helpful. Thanks for all the help. Ideally I would make vodka from this, but here in the OR, I am quite sure distillation is illegal, and I tend not to break the law.

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Old 06-03-2011, 10:10 PM   #5
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Without a hydrometer, who knows what's going on. The airlock bubbling or not bubbling isn't a good enough indicator, since it really is just a gas vent, and gasses are created for a variety of reasons...only one of which is actual fermantation activity.

And yes, distillation is illegal in every state and country in the world, except New Zealand.

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Old 06-03-2011, 10:10 PM   #6
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In the US, home distillation is illegal, and we shall avoid this topic any further on this forum.
Usually weight measurements is used. It tends to be more accurate, and sometimes it's easier for others to understand. Also there's metric cups, US customary cups and a whole slew of measurement differences.

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Old 06-03-2011, 11:40 PM   #7
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ok, I went to the brew store and got DAP and Whyesast nutrient, because that is what they suggested. I added it in and now i just have to wait

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Old 06-04-2011, 02:10 AM   #8
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I have found with making mead and using 1118 the faster the fermentation goes the more the wine comes out with a strong alcohol taste or as commonly referred to as hot and that isn't always a bad thing because those wines usual take a long time to age which is nice if you want it to age on fruit or oak and really infuse those flavors. I personally prefer to place all my ingredients in the primary and ferment them all together which admittedly can turn out with a different flavor than you intended but if you are doing a simple wine with one ore two ingredients it's not to bad. 1118 has one of the widest temp ranges for functionality in general as long as you keep the temp in the yeasts range it will function but there is an optimal temp at which it produces the best flavor. That temp is usually near the bottom of the temp range. Now the warmer you keep the mix the faster it will ferment. Also the amount of sugar to yeast ratio depends on how long it takes to finish the higher the ABV the longer it takes to get to that point

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Old 06-04-2011, 03:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jitup View Post
thanks for all the info. I will find out what nutrient to introduce. Kilju can be a good drink if it is prepared well, but the reason I choose it for a first brew is the simplicity. My next brew attempt will either be mead or apple jack. thanks a lot. I don't understand what you mean by what size cups? I mean 10 cups, as in the measurement. I figured it would be around 14-18% with the amount of sugar, and I like it very sweet. I am not exactly sure how many raspberries, a how ever much a full frozen pack is, I know this is not very helpful. Thanks for all the help. Ideally I would make vodka from this, but here in the OR, I am quite sure distillation is illegal, and I tend not to break the law.
unfortunately you did not pick an easy one to do. it maybe simple but high gravity brews are hard to do. yeasts don't always like large amounts of sugar at once. its better to feed it a bit at a time.

cups, depends on imperial/metric or if you used what ever sized cup you had handy. without a hydrometer reading i can't tell what it will do or end up like.

just have to wait and see what it goes like with the nutrient. worse thing you may have to do is tip some out and water it down.
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Old 06-04-2011, 03:49 AM   #10
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I plan on getting a hydormeter when I go downtown. I went to a different store today and they wanted $8.00 for them while the other store I went to they were $3.00. I know it really wont help much for this brew being that I have no OG reading. Well, this is a learning experience. I used imperial cups. Also, the temp is 62 degrees where it is being kept. I knew I should not have listened to him and got a reading. Also I learned if I choose to make this again, I will put in aprox 1/3 of the sugar and feed it until fermentation is finished. Gaseous activity seems to have doubled in the few hours I have put the nutrient in. Since I have fruit in there, should I rack it after 5 days to pull out the fruit then let it sit for how ever long it takes to ferment, or is it ok to just let the fruit sit in there for about a month?

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