Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > Fermentation Stopped With My FG Way Higher Than What It Should Be...?
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Old 07-02-2008, 10:45 PM   #1
MellowToad
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Default Fermentation Stopped With My FG Way Higher Than What It Should Be...?

Hi folks,

I primary brew all-grain beers but decided to give a sugar wine (hooch?) a try at the request of a few friends. Per the instructions of my local brew shop, I purchased 5 pounds of white cane sugar, a pack of Lavlin EC-1118 Champagne Yeast, extra yeast nutrient and a gallon of spring water.

I took the stuff home and poured about 3/4 of the water in my brew pot and poured 4 pounds of sugar in and boiled for about 20 minutes. The sugar was completely dissolved. I rehydrated 3/4 of the yeast as I cooled the 'must' using my immersion cooler down to about 75 degrees. After cooling I mixed my yeast and nutrient in. I then poured back into the water jug. I had drilled a small hole for my airlock in the lid and capped it. The measurement on my hydrometer read a potential alcohol of 17%, 1% less than the 18% the yeast is capable of.

About 24 hours into it I had good fermentation going on, it kept going for three days then slowed. Then stopped. Checked my hydrometer and it now reads 14%, only a four percent decrease. That was four days ago. I still get the same reading.

Any ideas why it stopped? Can I restart it? I've kept it at a steady 74 throughout the process in a dark cabinet. Any help would be appreciated.



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Old 07-03-2008, 12:44 AM   #2
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Yeast need nutrient to reproduce, they usually get this from the wort if your mixture is just sugar and water this is missing. Additionally the yeast need a lot of oxygen to reproduce properly did you oxygenate your must or did you just brew up hooch and hope it would work.

Anyway since this is essentialy hooch I wouldn't know where to begin, but good luck with this one.


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Old 07-03-2008, 04:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Yeast need nutrient to reproduce, they usually get this from the wort if your mixture is just sugar and water this is missing.
Yeah, as I said in my first post, I used the correct amount of nutrient per gallon.

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Additionally the yeast need a lot of oxygen to reproduce properly did you oxygenate.
While I don't have a oxygenater, I did use a blender to aerate the must. This has worked well on my smaller batches of beer. I should have mentioned that, and good catch.

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Did you just brew up hooch and hope it would work?
No, as with my Imperial Stouts, Dunkles or Doppelbock, I always have a plan. I am using a recipe that I've seen around the internet and advice from my local home brew shop owner. I sanitized everything and went at this with as much info as I could get and with all of the vigilance that I would have given to an 80 dollar batch of beer. I do feel, however, that I may have received some bad info as my batch stopped. Trying to figure out where it went wrong and how to fix it.

And I am aware this is considered a 'hooch', as I mentioned in my first post and as you pointed out multiple times. I had an hour about a week ago and wanted to try something a little different. I searched through all 249 posts mentioning 'hooch' on this site and didn't find anyone with a problem similar to what I was having. I realize that for the most part, it might be looked down upon as a drink of minors, but I'm 24 years old and am looking at turning this supposedly horrid drink into something more palatable. I know I can buy a cheap bottle of vodka or rum, but one gallon of this, when, and once, and if, finished would provide 5 times the amount of a 750ml of vodka, at around half the potency, for 1/3 the cost of a bottle of even the cheapest bitter swill. If measured in alcohol, that's 2.5 times more for 1/3 the cost. If I can get this working, I plan on mixing it with other ingredients to create something interesting. The guy at the shop said the champagne yeast is much cleaner than a Turbo and they also sell liqueur flavorings. I'm always experimenting. Which is what I love about home brewing. I'm not stuck with Budweiser, or Sutterhome or Popov.

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Old 07-03-2008, 05:54 AM   #4
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I would look more towards a distillation site, since homebrewtalk.com does not allow topics specifically on distillation. distillation is illegal in the united states, but learning is not. try homedistiller.org, the recipe for the neutral alcohol mash on there has 100g of yeast nutrient for about a 6 gallon batch. the yeast need something else too feed off of/grow instead of just sugar. homedistiller also has nutrients you can whip up your self from a suppliment store, since idk how much 100g of nutrients would cost from your HBS.
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Old 07-03-2008, 06:00 AM   #5
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I hadn't planned on distilling this, but using it as a 18% base for liqueurs, but thanks for the info on how much nutrient to use. So, on a 1 gallon batch, I'd use 100 divided by six gallons is 16 grams per gallon. As I'm doing one gallon, I'd need to use 16 grams of nutrient. Luckily, I bought a 20 gram bag. If I add it, will it restart?

Also, while I know that it's slightly looked down upon, talking about distillation isn't forbidden on these forums is it? Once again, that's not what I'm using this for, but from all of the posts I've seen... haha...

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Old 07-03-2008, 08:21 AM   #6
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Air, Nutrient, Sugar, yeast, the only thing missing for a full ferment seems to be the PH, usually not a problem with brewing wort as it just naturally works out most of the time. From brewing HG Meads the first couple of days the PH goes to places that the yeast do not like. Pure sugar will play out the same way. I would test and treat the PH, air-ate again, wait a day and then re-pitch if needed.
Next time may I suggest to make some weak "Third runnings" from an AG batch, and use that as your water.
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Old 07-03-2008, 11:26 AM   #7
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If the above suggestions don't work, you may actually want to consider using turbo yeast. Sure, it won't be the best tasting, but when you're making alcoholic sugar water, well then... Turbo yeast has all the nutrients it needs added into the package, all you gotta do is dump it into the must. I've seen it at the LHBS and online at many sites, I'm sure it's easy to find.

And no, we don't talk about distilling here, because in most of the world it's illegal to do on an amateur basis. It's not that we look down on it, it's more of a CYA thing. Don't want The Revenuers busting up our little operation here
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Old 07-03-2008, 04:21 PM   #8
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Thanks you for taking this seriously. Using the left over running from my next batch is an awesome idea that I never would have thought of.

I guess I'll find some way to fix my possible ph problem and go from there. I poured out the batch that was stuck and started a new one (cost me a whole dollar) but only used half the sugar, which'll give me a ABV of about 9%. After it ferments out, then I'll fix the PH, pour in the rest of my sugar water, to take it up to 18%, and pitch some more yeast.

I guess I'll go from there. Thanks again for the help.

Also, my first recipe, once I get this finished, is going to be a limoncello. I'm taking and peeling 20 lemons and going to add four cups of extra sugar. Going to peel the lemons, and soak my candy water over the peels for a month or two. Will let you know how this turns out.
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:08 PM   #9
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I would love to hear a good lemocello recipe. That stuff is tasty.
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Old 07-06-2008, 09:04 AM   #10
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Zest the lemons instead of putting the straight peels in, so you don't get the bitter pith in the booze.


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