The Airlock Won't STOP Bubbling...2ndary?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

kinkothecarp

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Messages
204
Reaction score
11
Location
Michigan City & Shanghai
So, I got a Shiraz Vino Italiano wine kit off of Amazon for $40, and I came home one day and followed the instructions very well, pitched the yeast, and let it sit. Five days later I noticed nothing was happening - no bubbling, no SG change, nothing. So, I figured the dry yeast in the kit was dead. I don't trust dry yeast, so no big deal - I went and bought some liquid Wyeast Bordeaux and tossed that stuff in there. The airlock started bubbling that night, and I figured that's a good sign of at least fermentation. However, here we are almost two weeks later and the thing is STILL bubbling like mad. We're talking two bubbles every second. The directions said to rack it to a secondary in five days, but, uh, that was nine days after I pitched the Wyeast Bordeaux. So, do I just let it go or rack it anyway? The SG is constantly changing, and within the range the directions told me to stay in for the secondary racking. However, I know the thing is still fermenting, so is it really ready to put into secondary?
 

Suthrncomfrt1884

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
4,069
Reaction score
35
Location
Rockford
I never trust the instructions that come with kits. I'm not a wine maker, but from what I understand, wine takes 4-6 weeks to ferment. I could be wrong. Check your gravity to see what it's at. If it's still not low enough then let it sit. Extra time won't hurt it if you sanitized everything well. If it's bubbling after you've hit your gravity, then you've got an infection and you might as well toss it.
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,923
Reaction score
12,808
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
Bubbling (or lack of) is not a sign of fermentation. Get a hydrometer and check the SG. I bet it's about done, and should have been moved to secondary after the five days as the kit directions say. The idea is to transfer to secondary when the gravity hits about 1.020-1.010 or so. You want to get the wine off of the lees, and get it into the carboy.
 
OP
K

kinkothecarp

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Messages
204
Reaction score
11
Location
Michigan City & Shanghai
Right, I know that bubbling isn't a sign, and I took the SG and it's within the range of the directions. However, the directions don't give a very specific SG for secondary. They just say wait five days. My SG is still changing a lot. I just figured that bubbling madly is a sign of very active fermentation, since there is still a LOT of bubbles coming up from the wine.
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,923
Reaction score
12,808
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
Right, I know that bubbling isn't a sign, and I took the SG and it's within the range of the directions. However, the directions don't give a very specific SG for secondary. They just say wait five days. My SG is still changing a lot. I just figured that bubbling madly is a sign of very active fermentation, since there is still a LOT of bubbles coming up from the wine.
If it's under 1.020, it's time to go to secondary.
 

Suthrncomfrt1884

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
4,069
Reaction score
35
Location
Rockford
Bubbling (or lack of) is not a sign of fermentation. Get a hydrometer and check the SG. I bet it's about done, and should have been moved to secondary after the five days as the kit directions say. The idea is to transfer to secondary when the gravity hits about 1.020-1.010 or so. You want to get the wine off of the lees, and get it into the carboy.
I didn't know this. Good information to know incase I ever decide to do wines. I just assumed it would be like beer where you don't transfer to secondary until fermentation has just about stopped. So the "lees" must be like trub in a beer only worse for the wine to sit on?
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,923
Reaction score
12,808
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
I didn't know this. Good information to know incase I ever decide to do wines. I just assumed it would be like beer where you don't transfer to secondary until fermentation has just about stopped. So the "lees" must be like trub in a beer only worse for the wine to sit on?
Yes, exactly! In wine, there truly is a "secondary fermentation" so that you want to get it under airlock once activity slows. Often, in primary, we winemakers don't even use an airlock- just a dishtowel or something to keep fruitflies out of the primary.

Wine lees are nasty tasting, but in the case of sur lie, it's useful. That's when those lees are stirred back into the wine for a certain flavor. That's not common, though, so most of the time we winemakers rack several times over the course of a wine's fermentation to get it off the lees. Racking from primary at 1.020-1.010 means that the gross lees will be gone, but there is still enough fermentation to protect the wine from oxidation. We winemakers also "top up" the wine, to reduce headspace. In beer, because of the relatively short times in secondary, that's typically not done.
 

Suthrncomfrt1884

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
4,069
Reaction score
35
Location
Rockford
In beer, because of the relatively short times in secondary, that's typically not done.
This is the number one reason I haven't done a wine yet. I'm not very patient, so brewing and aging for a few months already pushes my buttons. Not to mention the price of some of those kits. I AM about to brew a barley wine though, so that will test my patience a little..
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,923
Reaction score
12,808
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
This is the number one reason I haven't done a wine yet. I'm not very patient, so brewing and aging for a few months already pushes my buttons. Not to mention the price of some of those kits. I AM about to brew a barley wine though, so that will test my patience a little..
Well, when you think about the cost- consider this: a kit makes 30 bottles of wine. Even if you spent $150 on a kit, you're talking about having a $5 bottle of wine in the end, that may rival $20/bottle wines. If you spent $60 on a kit, you're talking about $2/bottle, which is less than a bottle of Boone's Farm and a magnitude better. So, wine kits are relatively cheap.
 
Top