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Do I have to stabilize and fine?

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kpr121

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I have a cheap wine kit (Vintners Reserve Coastal White) that did not come with an F-pack. The must has sat in secondary for approximately 6 weeks and is crystal clear. There is still a little CO2 in suspension, as well as a very slight sulfur smell (my wife doesnt think its bad at all) so I am wondering the best way of getting rid of that.

My question is do I need to use the Sorbate, Metasulphite (sp?), and Isinglass that came with the kit if I am not planning on backsweetening and am happy with the taste? I was going to actually save the packets for a cider experiment I want to do. I’ve heard that the Meta helps to avoid oxygenation. I am giving these bottles away for Christmas so I dunno how long they will sit on people’s shelves before using them.

Thanks in advance from a wine newb.
 

DoctorCAD

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Sorbate and campden to kill fermentation, yes

Finings only help clear it out, and "looking" clear is not a good indicator.

Time in the primary after sorbate and campden will drop the last of the yeast out in time or much quicker with the finings.
 
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kpr121

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If it has already been 7 plus weeks, and the gravity has held steady (at 0.996) hasnt fermentation stopped?

Will the alcohol content (around 9.5%) be enough to stave off wild yeast and bacteria for around a year? I don't think anyone will be storing this longer than that before drinking it.

And if I can see directly through the entire depth of the carboy, down to the lees, is that not clear enough? When it is poured into a glass you could compare it to any commercial wine in terms of clarity.

I guess I am too much of a beer guy. Are there processes/things going on in wine that I am not thinking about?
 

DoctorCAD

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Wine will continue to ferment until the yeast is removed (or stabilized) or the alcohol becomes too high for the yeast to live. That is somewhere around 13% or higher. The 9.5% you recorded simply isn't high enough.

Wine will continue to drop lees for several months.

Oh, and the alcohol will not prevent oxidation, the main point of adding campden at this point.

Follow the directions included in the kit and it will be fine.
 
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kpr121

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Thanks DoctorCAD, I will just follow the directions and stabilize and fine.
 

huesmann

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Wine will continue to ferment until the yeast is removed (or stabilized) or the alcohol becomes too high for the yeast to live. That is somewhere around 13% or higher. The 9.5% you recorded simply isn't high enough.
Isn't the other parameter sugar? If it's gone dry and there's nothing for the yeast to eat, why would wine continue to ferment, even if it's only 9.5% ABV?
 
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kpr121

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Isn't the other parameter sugar? If it's gone dry and there's nothing for the yeast to eat, why would wine continue to ferment, even if it's only 9.5% ABV?
Exactly! That's what I was thinking as well. If I don't mind the wine being in its dryest state, why do I need to stop fermentation?
 

DoctorCAD

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Exactly! That's what I was thinking as well. If I don't mind the wine being in its dryest state, why do I need to stop fermentation?
Mostly to get the yeast cells out of suspension and down to the lees. They will ALWAYS be in the wine, they may just be inactive.

P.S. Hello to a fellow Pittsburgher! Grew up in Irwin and spent 15 years in the Cranberry Twp. area before getting transferred south. I miss Pittsburgh, especially during Steeler season...
 

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Exactly! That's what I was thinking as well. If I don't mind the wine being in its dryest state, why do I need to stop fermentation?
You are correct- there is absolutely no reason to add sorbate if you're not sweetening, and I never do. Sorbate does impart a taste, and I will not use it unless I am sweetening a wine.

The metabisulfite you may want to use. A 9.5%ish wine will NOT age well, and the sulfites will help prevent oxidation as well a preserve the wine a bit.

As far as finings, most of the time I'm inclined to leave them out. If the wine is clear and not dropping lees anymore, I'd not use the finings. I prefer my wine to be vegetarian friendly, and I don't want to have any shellfish/beef products in my wine.
 

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is it clear? well can you read a printed page through it?

jim
 

huesmann

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How did it "get" dry?
By converting all the available sugar to alcohol. Fermentation is sugar conversion, and if there's no more sugar for the yeast to convert, it will go dormant and stop fermenting, because odds are that 9.5% ABV isn't strong enough to kill it.
 

DoctorCAD

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By converting all the available sugar to alcohol. Fermentation is sugar conversion, and if there's no more sugar for the yeast to convert, it will go dormant and stop fermenting, because odds are that 9.5% ABV isn't strong enough to kill it.
But if it started out at the correct SG, 9.5% would not be "dry". The OP stated that his final SG was .996. That means he started at 1.065 or so. Not really correct from a kit wine point-of-view. Most start out above 1.085.
 

huesmann

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The calculator I use says a FG of 0.996 @ 9.5% is an OG of 1.074. Shrug.

Maybe he added water when he shouldn't have, or maybe a reading was mis-measured. Who knows? I'm just saying that his yeasties are probably still alive, considering it's "dry" at only 9.5%.
 
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kpr121

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Sorry for any confusion guys, yes I remember my OG being around 1.07ish.

(1.07-0.996)*131 = 9.7%.

We can run the math all day. But this wine has been sitting at 70~ degrees for close to 2 months. Isnt that enough to tell you that the yeast have stopped?
 

Jacob_Marley

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very slight sulfur smell (my wife doesnt think its bad at all) so I am wondering the best way of getting rid of that.
To remove the “rotten egg” sulfur smell sometimes just some splash racking may get rid of it ... hydrogen sulfide is pretty volatile. Re-add k-meta after that though if you are using it in your product.

Or ... Take a length of new, clean copper pipe (plumbing pipe) ... shine it up good and sanitize it, then stir your wine with it.
(Pour a small jar of the wine before treatment so you can smell the difference between the two as you treat the main batch.)
As the copper turns black from the chemical reaction, take steel wool and shine it back up again, rinse. The copper has to be shiny to work.
Stir, re-shine, repeat until the smell is reduced.

Some people use copper fleece (the type sold for cleaning pots and pans). They stuff it into a 1” or so PVC pipe and run the wine thru it a few times ... or just stir it around in the wine. Some also mildly splash-rack on a shiny copper panel.

If you’ve let it go too long, and the treatment is not successful and the H2S has produced more permanent mercaptans there are other chemical treatments ... CuSO4 (really ought to have lab testing first), ascorbic acid, mineral oil treatment etc other products too ... but the copper will likely work for you fine.

In any case best caught and treated early or avoided altogether.

It’s also possible to mistake brettanomyces produced smells (kinda barnyard’ish) - this is not treatable with copper.

There are other test methods as well that a vintner might go thru the trouble of to diagnose and treat a large run.

A non- H2S producing yeast with adequate nutrients and not too high a fermentation temp may help avoid the odor in the future.
 
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