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Wingston75

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Hi all,

just did my first batch of country wine (blackberry) at the weekend - following an old book from the 70's or 80's. I crushed thawed frozen blackberries, added boiling water over the top, before (once cooled) adding a campden tablet and the rest of the ingredients (grape concentrate, pectolase, etc.) and let sit for a shade over 24hrsbefore pitching wine yeast I'd rehydrated in 35ºC water. I stirred in and attached a lid with airlock.

it's been three days since and I have seen no sign of bubbling. Our house is quite cool - 10-13ºC so I'm wondering if maybe the temperature is too cold for a wine fermentation to start and continue. I've stirred the must and there's a foam that was sat underneath the water and when i took the lid off it smelt a bit funky. However, as I'm used to brewing beer I'm not sure if a wine fermentation looks the same as a beer fermentation and what it should smell like.

Any of you guys any thoughts/nuggets/pearls of wisdom?

Cheers :)
 

cseifert151

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Check with a hygrometer reading. It is the only way to know for sure. Different yeasts act differently and the only way to know is to monitor the gravity of the wine. I've had this problem plenty of times!
 

jensmith

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If there is some foam then most likely it is fermenting. Just very slowly or just starting. You may not see a big differnce in sg if that is the case. Recheck the sg anyway. It may surprise you. Possibley its just fermenting with little action.
 
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Wingston75

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thanks both, for your thoughts and advice - I took a hydrometer reading and it is indeed fermenting - gravity down from 1.030 to 1.010 and foaming still evident. Now all i gotta do is get used to that funky smell from the fruit - I'll be pressing that and removing tonight,before sugar addition to continue fermentation though. cheers :)
 

jensmith

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Stir it more often. Cover with a towel instead of airlocking it. It needs air to breath and most importantly, room to expel yeast farts! Stinky yeast is stressed or closed up. Let those gasses escape now. Far easier then degassing later. If still stinky then give it some nutriant. Like all living things it likes food and fresh air:)
 
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Wingston75

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it's only loosely covered at the moment, with the lid resting on top - is that likely to still be too much? And I did add some nutrient when pitching the yeast. But when I press the fruit and add more sugar this evening may add a 1/4 tsp more.

so is it different from beer insofar that as I'll be adding more sugar incrementally to increase alcohol levels, I should allow oxygen to to the yeast to aid growth? will this not potentially contribute oxidized flavours? (I'm a wine noob...)

Thanks :)
 

Yooper

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it's only loosely covered at the moment, with the lid resting on top - is that likely to still be too much? And I did add some nutrient when pitching the yeast. But when I press the fruit and add more sugar this evening may add a 1/4 tsp more.

so is it different from beer insofar that as I'll be adding more sugar incrementally to increase alcohol levels, I should allow oxygen to to the yeast to aid growth? will this not potentially contribute oxidized flavours? (I'm a wine noob...)

Thanks :)
Dumb question maybe, but why ferment it starting at 1.030? Why not add the fruit at the beginning and ferment on the fruit for 5-7 days or so, and then rack?
 
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Wingston75

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I was just following the recipe in the book. Ferment 3lb of blackberries for 5days, then press out and continue fermentation, adding sugar incrementally so as not to wear out the yeast. But it's an old book- perhaps this way is not necessary any longer with newer yeast strains.
 

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