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Sweet wine

Hi all,
I’m new to wine making, but have just made some apple wine, its been fermenting for approx 4 weeks and now the air lock has stopped bubbling, I tested the wine by taste and its way to sweet also by hydrometer and it reads 0.2 Question is can I just add more yeast to ferment more sugar out or where have I gone wrong :?

It is hard to restart a fermentation that stalls, and to be successful you need to figure out why it stalled. The most common reasons are likely to be the pH is too low, or the nutrient levels are too low, or you used the wrong yeast.

Can you check pH, tell us what the OG was, what yeast you used and what nutrients you added?

to rebuiltcellars

Thanks for you reply, to be honest I don’t know what the PH is or how to check it, but when I started the wine my hydrometer was at 1.9 which said the wine would be around 14% by volume, I just used a standard yeast from my local home brew shop the demijohns have been sat on a heated wine mat until they stopped bubbling so at the moment I’m stuck as to what to do, as the wine is far to sweet to drink

Hope you get this as I’m not sure how to use this forum board yet!

[quote=“rebuiltcellars”]It is hard to restart a fermentation that stalls, and to be successful you need to figure out why it stalled. The most common reasons are likely to be the pH is too low, or the nutrient levels are too low, or you used the wrong yeast.

Can you check pH, tell us what the OG was, what yeast you used and what nutrients you added?[/quote

Sorry I forgot to add I only added A couple of lemons to the mix as I had no yeast nutrient! is that my big mistake?

Hi, when you say “standard yeast”, do you know if it was beer yeast or wine yeast? If it was beer yeast, that is likely your problem, as most beer yeasts will die of alcohol toxicity at around 10%, which would put you at a SG of around 1.020 - exactly what you have. Most wine yeasts have tolerances of 13-18%, with champagne yeasts typically at the top end. If you used beer yeast, go to the store and get some champagne yeast to add.

Two lemons are not likely the problem, unless you made a very small (< 1 gallon) batch. If you didn’t add any other acids, it is not likely that pH is the cause.

As mentioned, restarting with new yeast can be problematic at this point. Also as mentioned, let us know which yeast we are talking about.

Assuming we are talking about a standard wine yeast:

my first inclination would be to rouse the yeast you have in there and add a little energizer, just to see if there is any more fight in the stuff you have.

My other question would be about the recipe. 1.9 SG seems quite high for straight apple juice (does it not?). What else did you add to this to boost the gravity?

Thanks for replies, I can definitely say the yeast was wine yeast and not any other sort, as for the SG I made it up to 1.9 with granulated sugar to try and achieve the 14% by volume as I did not want a weak wine, the 2 lemons were for some citric acid which I thought were a nutrient! and obligatory in my 3 gallon batch.

So before I do any more harm to it, I’ll wait and see if you both agree that I should just stir it up and then add some nutrient to it, which I have just bought, but also would you recommend adding more yeast or not as I don’t want a total failure and end up tipping down the sink.

great forum!! by-the-way.

Did you get nutrient, or energizer? Similar, but not the same. Energizer would be more appropriate at this point. Nutrient is more for before fermentation begins.

Yes I would start by gently rousing the yeast - add energizer (nutrient would likely not do any harm in this case) and make sure there is some heat there as well (though it already sounded like there was.)

[quote=“Brew Meister Smith”]Did you get nutrient, or energizer? Similar, but not the same. Energizer would be more appropriate at this point. Nutrient is more for before fermentation begins.

Yes I would start by gently rousing the yeast - add energizer (nutrient would likely not do any harm in this case) and make sure there is some heat there as well (though it already sounded like there was.)[/quote]

Yes unfortunately I’ve just checked and I’ve gone and bought Nutrient not energizer, but as you say I’ll try it and see what happens! If nothing happens in 12 hours I’ll try adding some champagne yeast to kick start it, 2 of the demijohns are on a heated matt so I can compare to the 1 that’s not.

I will keep watching this Forum each day as it makes quite good reading and also will post any results that I have be they + or - thanks each for your help.

I do know people who add nutrient for this purpose - I just don’t think it would be quite as effective - certainly worth a try.

If you decide to try a new pack of yeast, there are definately some steps you would want to look into. Just adding it to the whole batch at once can be problematic.

Just to double check - when referring to demijohns, you are talking about 3 1gal jugs?

[quote=“Brew Meister Smith”]I do know people who add nutrient for this purpose - I just don’t think it would be quite as effective - certainly worth a try.

If you decide to try a new pack of yeast, there are definately some steps you would want to look into. Just adding it to the whole batch at once can be problematic.

Just to double check - when referring to demijohns, you are talking about 3 1gal jugs?[/quote]

Yes that’s correct I have 3 1 gallon Demijohns!
can you tell me the steps I should be looking into, as I say I don’t want to have to pour it away, I can be very patient to achieve the correct results with your advise.

Whoa-La! Who said anything about pouring it out? Even at 1.020 it is a very drinkable beverage - nice desert wine for insatnce.

Patience is key here. Don’t be hasty.

I have never stepped up a second wine fermentation myself, but the basic idea as explained to me - I might look into a little deeper - is you pitch a new pack of yeast into a smaller amount of half fermented wine (say 1l). Leave for a day or two. Then add to a larger amount - say another littre or two. Then full gallon - then, probably in your case, to the whole batch.

Try rousing first though and see where it gets you.

Even if all the stuff you add to this to fix it doens’t work. bottle it & store it for 5+ years…it will come around and you will be glad you waited (as I was on an overly sweet apple wine). “Drink no wine before it’s time”. :lol:

Did you happen to measure how much sugar you added? Also, it was wine yeast, but can you remember what was the name on the package? It was most likely made by Red Star or Lalvin, but should have a name (Cote des Blancs, Premier Cuvee, etc.) or a code (EC-1118, 71B-1122, etc.). Knowing the details would be very helpful here.

Sorry I’m in the UK and the yeast I bought comes from a local company called Young’s U brew, it’s sold in 100g container with no relevant markings as you suggest, I cant remember exactly how much sugar I added but I think it was about 2.5Kg when I added the sugar my sole aim was to increase the SP [i]if that’s correct

[/i] to 1.9 on my hydrometer to achieve the 14% mark. Hope this makes sense to you!

I might actually contact the U Brew and see what they have to say. Figure out exactly what yeast it is. Generic 100g package seems a little dubious to me. Not saying there is anything wrong with it, but how would you even know?

It is very possible the yeast hit it’s alcohol threshold and stalled out. It likely would have been better to add some (or all) of that sugar as a second fermentation (Chaptalization) step.

Try rousing it. If that doesn’t work, try bringing in a champagne yeast (or something like a Lalv 1118) and see if it does anything.

[quote=“Brew Meister Smith”]I might actually contact the U Brew and see what they have to say. Figure out exactly what yeast it is. Generic 100g package seems a little dubious to me. Not saying there is anything wrong with it, but how would you even know?

It is very possible the yeast hit it’s alcohol threshold and stalled out. It likely would have been better to add some (or all) of that sugar as a second fermentation (Chaptalization) step.

Try rousing it. If that doesn’t work, try bringing in a champagne yeast (or something like a Lalv 1118) and see if it does anything.[/quote]

I have added some nutrient to 1 of my demijohns and at this time 12Hours later still no movement or bubbles, so I’m going to buy some champagne yeast and start it in a bottle 1lt with some of the wine and more nutrient as has been suggested, do you think I should do all the wine or just a demijohn at a time, to see how it goes?

I’ve never heard of that company before, but a google search turned up the following:

http://www.brewuk.co.uk/store/ingredien ... et-5g.html

Youngs has a product specifically designed for restarting stuck fermentations. I wonder if that means stuck fermentations are so common with their normal yeasts that they need this?

I also did a quick calculation. If you had typical fresh apple juice with about 10-11% sugar, and made 3 imperial gallons of apple wine adding 2.5 kg sugar, your OG would be about 1.075. That is about 15 points off from your measured result of 1.090, which is suspiciously high by about the same amount as your FG. Check to make sure your hydrometer reads 1.000 in pure water.

Of course, the too sweet argues against that…

Hmmm, that is interesting. Definately do a hydrometer calibration check. But if this were the case, it would mean that the hydrometer is so far off the mark I would considder it deffective. +/- .005 is fair. .015 is a bit much.

[quote=“rebuiltcellars”]I’ve never heard of that company before, but a google search turned up the following:

http://www.brewuk.co.uk/store/ingredien ... et-5g.html

Youngs has a product specifically designed for restarting stuck fermentations. I wonder if that means stuck fermentations are so common with their normal yeasts that they need this?

I also did a quick calculation. If you had typical fresh apple juice with about 10-11% sugar, and made 3 imperial gallons of apple wine adding 2.5 kg sugar, your OG would be about 1.075. That is about 15 points off from your measured result of 1.090, which is suspiciously high by about the same amount as your FG. Check to make sure your hydrometer reads 1.000 in pure water.

Of course, the too sweet argues against that…[/quote]

I have just checked my hydrometer and yes it reads 1.000 in pure water. also I bought some champagne yeast as suggested and have just started two bottles off, with some of my wine, nutrient and sugar, that was about 3 hours ago and it’s already started to react so I’m going to add it to small quantities of wine as suggested by Brew miesterSmith, At this point I would like to thank you both for all your help, it restores my faith in humanity lets hope that it will work this time around!

Bye the way I’m only about two miles away from U Brew so I can phone them and see what they have to say about their yeast.

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