Fermenting stinks

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andrew101

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I had a bunch of extra grapefruits that my wife had bought for a baby shower. nobody ate any, i decied to make something with them. i mashed up the grapefruit mixed into a gallon of water and added approx. 2 cups of suger or 3. on day 2 it was fermenting fine, i though i should add some cut up strawberries since grapefruits are disgusting, so i added strawberries with some nutrients diamonium phophates. after about a week, still fermenting good, i thought maybe i should add more nutrients. when i opened the bucket it reeked. my wife said it smelled moldy. i removed all the strawberries and added more nutrients and set it back on the shelf. a week later i opened it up again and it was just as bad if not worse. i decided to rack it and refridgerate it and see what happens. been in the fridge for about a week now and still not very pleasant. im not sure what to do. is this normal? bad fruit? incompetant operator? please help
 

lumpher

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If you didn't use Campden tablets before you started the fermentation to kill off the bacteria and wild yeast that was in the fruit naturally, what you're smelling is bacteria-based (not good) and wild yeast. You can always taste a sip, but probably not a keeper.
 

Jacob_Marley

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Red Star Premier Classique yeast particularly will produce hydrogen sulfide gas especially in the presence of excess sulfur compounds ... including your metabisulfite. Furthermore, you stated your primary was a closed bucket ... this lack of oxygen will further stress the yeast.
Hydrogen sulfide is likely what you are smelling.
Search HBT for how to properly splash rack and/or use copper (rack, pan, stirrers etc) to fix a hydrogen sulfide fault in wine, before bottling.
 
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andrew101

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just curious, after splash racking (assuming that solves my odors) should i go back to fermenting?
 

Jacob_Marley

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just curious, after splash racking (assuming that solves my odors) should i go back to fermenting?
I would suggest to 1) optimize the environment for the yeast ... temp & oxygen, (it's too late for adding any additional nutrients)
2)don't add any more sulfites
3)once to ferment is done, then mitigate the hydrogen sulfide.

If you expect to drink the wine before too long and your sanitation has been good, splash-racking is ok.

If sanitation is in question and/or you are going to try and let the wine age at all (whether in a bulk aging carboy or demijohn or in bottles) ... then in order to limit the wine's exposure to more oxygen ... I would say to use a copper method that does not introduce so much oxygen (splash-racking introduces a lot of oxygen).
This is generally using methods such as .... using a polished copper pipe (such as plumbing pipe) to stir the wine gently, cleaning the pipe periodically with an abrasive (sandpaper etc) to keep a shiny surface (the reaction requires a non-oxidized, clean surface) ... or, there is also the method of passing the wine through a tube in which you've put copper fleece (a pain in the butt tho). OR you can get a copper panel of some sort (I picked up a small copper serving tray some years at ago from a salvation army that works well), shine it up and then slowly/gently pour the wine over it, trying not to agitate the liquid too much

In any case, because hydrogen sulfide is very volatile, it is usually pretty easy to get it to off-gas just by splash racking, it may not take much to fix the fault.
Set aside some of the wine in a closed jar for comparison .. then do one racking while trying to avoid too much churning and agitation. Test/sniff/taste the wine verses the saved untreated sample ... run it through again etc etc until the H2S is no longer detectable.
 
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