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wine still fermenting after 6 months...

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landwaster

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First time making wine with juice, started around Easter with Chilean Malbec. My relatives have been in charge of it so I don't have measurements from the process. But when we went to bottle yesterday 4 of the 5 carboys had just a few very tiny bubbles still going, and they all came in around 1.008 - 1.010. We took samples of each and they tasted slightly sweet and effervescent. Should we be worried that they're still fermenting 6 months later?
 

pumpkinman2012

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6 months is a long time.
My guess would be that the Alcoholic fermentation has stopped and spontaneous Malolactic fermentation started.
Without the starting gravity, the type of yeast used, temp the wine was fermented qt, it is hard to try to diagnose.
You are a step ahead of the game, you didn't smell or taste any off odors such as rotten eggs, which means that the yeast wasn't stressed.
If you want to try to restart fermentation, you could add yeast hulls, and hydrate a packet of EC-1118 with Go-Ferm and pitch it into the wine.
 

Honda88

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the wine should be below 1.010, If it is MLF then the yeast must have stopped working prematurely. It is extremely uncommon for fermentation too last 6 months.
 
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landwaster

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We had them fermenting in a cellar so the temp was probably around a consistent 60F or so. Going to talk to my cousin and see if we can pitch some new yeast and see what happens.

Is there any way to confirm that the fermentation going on right now is MLF? At this point would you recommend pitching a MLB in after the new yeast gets going? Or is it too late?
 

pumpkinman2012

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I would think that at this point, even at 60°, that alcoholic fermentation would be finished.
Don't use "air bubbles" as an indication of fermentation, the only positive way is with a hydrometer, from the gravity reading at this point (1.008 -1.010), and sweet taste,it appears that the yeast (any idea of what yeast was used) didn't have enough nutrients to finish the job, does the wine have any "off" odors or taste, possible sulfur?
Was the wine ever racked off the Lees?
Was the wine ever stabilized with meta?

Possible scenarios are:
Fermentation is complete and wine is releasing some CO2.
Fermentation is complete and spontaneous MLF started.

It may be difficult to restart the fermentation, not much residual sugar left, I would use EC-1118, rehydrate with go-ferm protect in order to create a strong population of yeast prior to pitching the yeast.
 
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landwaster

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The red wine yeast used was what our brewing store recommended (unfortunately their website is down so I can't check).

I spoke with the brew store guys last week and they agreed that it was likely trapped CO2. They gave me a few packets of champagne yeast and go-ferm to try to restart something with the sugar that's left.
 

helibrewer

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Your gravity should be less than 1.000 by now. I would suggest 1) A Clintest to check for residual sugar, and 2) A paper chromotography to see where you are with regard to MLF.
 
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