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Old 10-11-2012, 04:29 PM   #1
surfnturf
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Apr 2010
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I am making WE Chilean chardonnay kit. The yeast supplied is red star premier cuvee. The instructions call for ferment temp 72-75, but red star's site indicates a far greater temp range for this yeast, and it appears that chards can be fermented much lower. Id like to retain some of the fruity notes and was thinking of fermenting somewhere 60-65. Is there a reason why kits must be fermented higher than fresh juice or am i missing something? I don't want to risk a stuck fermentation. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

 
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:10 PM   #2
DoctorCAD
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Kits are made to be fermented by ANYONE, ANYWHERE. Thats why they recommend "room temperature" for fermentation.

Remember, they are kits, not grapes, so conventions may not apply.

 
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:31 AM   #3
airving
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Warning - I'm not an expert by any means.

But this is something I've wondered as well. My first few kits were fermented at room temperature (Houston, summer, marginally within the range specified by the yeast manufacturer while inside with the A/C running) and I suspect they'll have to age a good long while. Given that I've got the capacity for temperature controlled brewing now, I figured I'd try it. I don't need a fast ferment - if it takes 2 weeks for primary instead of the 1 listed in the instructions, so be it.

Throwing caution to the wind, I'm fermenting a port kit with my temp control set at 57 using premiere cuvee. I bought an extra pack of yeast at the shop when I got the kit (the kit itself came with 2, so that's 3 packs of yeast for 3 gallons ). I added 1 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient and let 'er rip. It quite happily went from 1.132 on 9/23 to 1.036 on 10/1 and 1.011 on 10/6, when I chaptalized it with the additional sugar (and another 1.5 tsp nutrient). That brought it back up to 1.026, and I'm not planning on checking it until 10/20 or so. It was still bubbling away prior to adding the sugar, so I don't think the cold temps were making the yeast sad at all.

btw, the sample at 1.036 was phenomenal. I nearly went and got another glass. At 1.011, I got some alcohol notes but still good, and even better after sugar addition. I anticipate that the f-pack added after primary fermentation will make this almost immediately drinkable.

Will I ferment kits cold again? Heck yeah. For something that clocks in under the 18% alcohol that this one should yield, I would think that the improvement would be significant.

Why wouldn't you do this? Fear of a stalled fermentation would be my #1. But adding a little extra yeast is dirt cheap, given the cost of the kit. Just do it. And throw in some nutrient, why not? And I neglected to do this - just forgot - use oxygen if you have it.
It's my understanding that tannin / color / flavor extraction from skins is reduced at lower temps. So this might be a technique best suited to whites or red kits without skins.

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Old 10-12-2012, 11:57 AM   #4
DoctorCAD
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Again, this is NOT GRAPES, your "tannin / color / flavor extraction from the skins" was already done for you by the kit manufacturers.

 
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:00 PM   #5
surfnturf
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Apr 2010
South FL
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Fantastically reply, airving. I've only recently ventured into wine but have been doing all grain for a few years now, hence my curiosity about the temp. I will give it a shot fermenting in the low 60s and do the 02 addition and nutrient for additional insurance. Thanks for the help!

 
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:17 AM   #6
airving
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Quick update: it went the final stretch from 1.026 down to 1.000, still at 57 degrees. I can't vouch for the accuracy of the abv calculators on the web, but 57 degrees (steady) didn't seem to hinder the yeast from cranking out ~19.5% .

 
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:38 PM   #7
surfnturf
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Apr 2010
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I just transfered to the secondary, it went from 1.083 to 0.998 in 9 days fermenting at 65. So far, so good!

 
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:42 PM   #8
Yooper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfnturf View Post
I just transfered to the secondary, it went from 1.083 to 0.998 in 9 days fermenting at 65. So far, so good!
I was at a winery this summer in upstate NY with some friends. They ferment very cool. I forget the details, but I think whites were at 50 degrees, while reds were at 55-57ish. If you have a yeast that can do it, fermenting cooler (even kits) seems to bring out some of the fruity flavors and I recommend it.

I have a white fermenting right now at 62, and it's got a lovely bouquet. At least, it did when I racked it to secondary a few days ago, and I hope it stays!
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Old 10-23-2012, 01:16 PM   #9
WilliamSlayer
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I agree that the 70-72 that is printed in the kits is a default option for those just starting out. Experience (and a forum like HBT!) leads us to better techniques. I also regularly switch out the yeast selections for my kits, and try to ferment my whites around 65F. Its just a better way.

 
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Old 10-24-2012, 06:28 AM   #10
ErinRae
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Jul 2012
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This question has totally been on my mind lately. I've been doing kits for years..some turn out good some not good at all. I've been reading a ton on wine and mead making....temp control and aeration of the must both conflict with wine kit instructions. Today a friend and i tried 2 of my first meads... Apple pie mead and a sweet blueberry mead.. Both r 3 months only and we were super impressed!! Both were temp controlled around 68. We then opened a red wine that is 1.5 years old and it tasted like cheap home made wine... Barely any flavour distinction. We def spend about 100 or more on our kits. Super disappointing. Going forward I'm going to test out cooler temps and aerate for a few days. Does anyone know if it would make a flavour difference if u waited to stabilize the wine... After bulk aging for awhile??

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