This year I spent some extra money and got really good Zin grapes from Amador County. The SG was 29.5 Brix, crushed and pressed at 12 days (October 17). Added RC212, things were going great.
Checked at 11/20 because of reduced activity, was at 1.03. Hmmm, odd that the Cab right next to it was fermented down to 1.011. So because my SG was so high, I decided to rack and add EC1118 and raise the temp.
Today, the Cab has fermented out to 0.9. The Zin is still at 1.024. I think it’s officially stuck at this point. Has anyone else been in this predicament? If you’ve ever bought the premium grapes from Amador you know what I have wrapped up in this batch, so I’d really like to fix it without screwing it up. The smell/flavor is outstanding, just so sweet.
I realize a SG of 1.127 is high, but my calculations have me only at 13.7% and the EC1118 was supposed to take care of the alcohol concern. Any experienced advice is appreciated.
EDIT: Today I’m going to rouse the yeast and see if I can get some activity going…
Just to start, I have only made from kits, never fresh grapes.
You do sound to be stuck a bit. I am not sure racking would have been the best idea, and any new yeast you add at this point would not make it far with the high level of alcohol.
Trying to rouse what yeast you have would be a place to start. I might go with some yeast energizer and see what happens.
For trying to bring in new yeast, I have seen some success with a gradual stepped process.
-starting a new pack of yeast on a few litres of the wine. Then adding a few more litres once you see some activity(after a day or so). Once you have a gallon or two going, add that back to the whole thing, and the yeast stands a better chance of surviving.
Hope things work out.
You can’t just throw a pack of dry yeast into a fully fermented high alcohol wine, and expect results. If you make a vigorous yeast starter with the same dry yeast, and then after several days pitch that into your original wine, maybe you’ll have better success. But if you just sprinkle dry yeast onto wine, it will just die. It needs time and a low alcohol environment to get up to speed, so to speak. Do-over!
Thanks Dave… I did rehydrate according to the instructions but did not create a starter. Ok, so here’s what I’m thinking (pulled off of grapestompers.com):
1/2 cup of warm water, dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in the water, add some orange juice to this mix, make sure the temperature is about 90° F, before adding a packet of Red Star Premier Cuvee or Lalvin EC-1118 yeast to this mixture. Wait until it really gets working. Take about a gallon of your must and warm it up to about 68° to 70° F. Now add the yeast starter to the gallon of must, as it starts to work and gets going, SLOWLY add small portions of the stuck fermentation to that which is working. You should not add more than a quart, make sure the temperature of that which you are adding is at least 70° F. As the volume of the working must gets larger, you can add larger portions to the fermentation. Make sure the temperature is at least 70° F before you add it.
I’ll try this and post the results.
Now you’re talking, that sounds like a plan. I hope it works.
No luck. I know it’s only been a month, but still isn’t moving. Dang it! Maybe I’ll just make a port out of it. HA 5 gallons of port zin, that’ll be around for a few years.
Might be time to try the last resort… add some yeast energizer or yeast nutrient. Maybe that’s all you need. Follow the instructions on the package.
Still at 1.020. starting to get some veg to it, possibly on the yeast too long or something of that nature. Could be me f’ing with it so much.
Sometime over the next couple of weeks I guess I’m going the nuclear route. Dave, what do you think of cold crashing it for a week, then transferring to a fresh carboy and going through the nutrient procedures? Any positives to crashing first?
You say “veg” – what do you mean? Is it contaminated with a strange skin on top?
If that is the case, you will need to rack it immediately and kill the wild beasts with sulfite and sorbate, wait a couple more weeks, then bottle if it still tastes good by then. Might end up dumping it otherwise.
If that’s not the case, and everything looks fine, then I think you should leave it alone, do not chill it, as the gravity still seems to be falling a point here and there. Patience is a must in this case. Nutrients couldn’t hurt either. Leave it for another month or three and see where it ends up.
I wish you luck.