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Fwee
01-30-2007, 10:18 AM
Hello everybody. Long time, no type.

I gots me a problem that maybe someone here can help out with.

This past Sunday, I started a 3-gallon batch of Welch's Grape Juice (concentrate) wine. Here's the recipe, and my question/problem will be below it.

3-gallon batch

6- cans Welch's Frozen Concord concentrate
6- tsp. Acid Blend
3- tsp. Yeast Nutrient
3- tsp. Pectic Enzyme
approx.- 3/5 of a pack of 71B-1122 yeast.

The recipe recommended an SG of 1.090 for a PA of 12-13%. By the time that I got everything mixed together and added my sugar, I ended up with an SG of 1.104, which (according to what I've read) should give me a PA of 14%.

Anyway, I got everything mixed together and added a pinch of Potassium Metabisulfate and let my must stand for a little over 12 hours before pitching my yeast. The must was 72 degrees F after it sat, and it has remained at that temperature since.

At about 10:25 am on Sunday, I prepared my yeast. I used about a quarter cup of warm water (not too warm), mixed in 3/5 of a pack of 71B-1122, and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes before I stirred it again and pitched it. Pitching took place at 10:45 am Sunday morning.

Now, here it is going on 9:20 am Tuesday morning (almost 48 hours after pitching), and I see NO ACTIVITY in my carboy whatsoever!

I've been periodically shaking the carboy to introduce oxygen into it, and it has remained at a constant 72 degrees F.

Does anyone have any idea as to why my stuff hasn't started perkin' yet? Did I miss/skip something? I sanitized everything, too.

Oskaar
01-30-2007, 10:56 AM
Hey Fwee, welcome back.

OK, here's the sitch:

1. Generally you want to wait at least 24 hours after sulfiting to pitch your yeast, and it's OK to use a whole packge of yeast (5-8grams) in as little as a 1 gallon batch. You can pitch another sachet of yeast after rehydrating it to see if it takes off, you may have killed off your initial dose of yeast with the sulfites since you waited 12 rather than 24 hours.

2. That is going to be one acidic environment, and it may be too much for your yeast to start up. I suggest you get a pH reading in a hurry and buffer with K-carbonate to bring it into range. I haven't made a concord grape wine in many many years, and one from concentrate from even longer, but acid additions in frozen drinking grape juice concentrate aren't as critical in my experience as they are in real wine grape musts. TA and VA make a difference there. But before you do anything else find out what your pH is.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

Rhianni
01-30-2007, 10:58 AM
How many ingredients in the grape juice are unpronounceable? I bet there is something in there that is messing with your yeast. Everything else seems ok.


Why only 3/5ths of a packet? The whole thing is ok to use.

Fwee
01-30-2007, 11:23 AM
Hey Fwee, welcome back. Thanks, dude. 8)


1. Generally you want to wait at least 24 hours after sulfiting to pitch your yeast, and it's OK to use a whole packge of yeast (5-8grams) in as little as a 1 gallon batch. You can pitch another sachet of yeast after rehydrating it to see if it takes off, you may have killed off your initial dose of yeast with the sulfites since you waited 12 rather than 24 hours. I thought that that might have been what happened, but I wasn't really sure. However, this morning, around 7:30 am, I added the remainder of my packet of yeast (approx. 2/5 of a packet). Not much, but could start, I would guess. I didn't rehydrate it though. I just tossed it into the carboy and left it sit. It started sinking by the time I left for work.

2. That is going to be one acidic environment, and it may be too much for your yeast to start up. Are you saying this because of the amount of acid blend that I added? I was using a 1-gallon recipe, and I simply bumped everything up to meet the requirements for a 3-gallon batch. That's all.

If that's a problem, what's the worst that can happen?


I suggest you get a pH reading in a hurry and buffer with K-carbonate to bring it into range. I haven't made a concord grape wine in many many years, and one from concentrate from even longer, but acid additions in frozen drinking grape juice concentrate aren't as critical in my experience as they are in real wine grape musts. TA and VA make a difference there. But before you do anything else find out what your pH is. You lost me here... What's "TA" and "VA"?

You also mentioned that I need a PH reading, "in a hurry". So, Oskaar, did I possibly put my batch in jeopardy to a point where if I don't get it straightned around in time that it'll be irreparable?

I don't have a PH kit yet, but I can get one. What "range" should it be in and how much time to I have to straighten this out before it (my must) becomes useless?


Hope that helps,

Oskaar Does anything you say ever NOT help? :D


:cheers:

Fwee
01-30-2007, 11:29 AM
How many ingredients in the grape juice are unpronounceable? I bet there is something in there that is messing with your yeast. Everything else seems ok. Welch's Frozen Concord concentrate is quite a popular ingredient for use in homemade wines. I'm pretty sure that it doesn't contain any harmful ingredient or preservatives.


Why only 3/5ths of a packet? The whole thing is ok to use. I just figure that since the pack is good for 5 gallons, why bother using the whole thing for 3 gallons, ya know? Plus, I would have enough left to start another two 1 gallon batches if I chose to.

Just tryin' to be efficient. That's all. ;)

Oskaar
01-30-2007, 11:42 AM
The acid addition seems really high to me, especially up front before fermenation. Like I said, the Welchs grape juice probably does not need that drastic of an adjustment. 6 tsp in a 3 gallon batch is pretty heavy which is why I think you need to get a pH reading quick (pH strips are available at many LHBS)

TA (Total/Titratable Acidity) and VA (Volatile Acid) are essential in winemaking, but not so much in the frozen grapejuice concentrate style of winemaking from what I remember doing myself. They can be a bear to measure without the right equipment so for now, they aren't that big of a concern. pH however is a concern, so again, get that pH reading.

I don't add acid until the end, unless when I check the pH I find that it is too much on the basic end of the scale and then I will add tartaric acid, or a combination of tartaric and malic acid.

What's the worst that could happen is that you won't be able to get your yeast going in the must. But, with some K carbonate you can bring the pH back into a range that the yeast like and it should start up again.

pH range I like is generally from 3.5 to 4.2 or so, depending on the yeast, the recipe and my feelings on where the must needs to be for the yeast to get busy in a hurry.

As mentioned below, it's ok to use the entire packet of yeast, actually it's better for pitch volume.

cheers,

Oskaar

Fwee
01-31-2007, 11:07 AM
Oskaar,

I'll probably get a PH kit and check my stuff this evening. If I do find that the acid content is a problem, and I get it ajusted back into an acceptable range, would it be a good idea to sulfite my must again since it has been sitting with just a piece of gauze and a rubber band around the top of the carboy?

Or, will my yeasts just take off and start fermenting once the acid range is brought down?

:'(

Oskaar
01-31-2007, 12:50 PM
I wouldn't sulfite it again, you have plenty in there already from what I saw in your posts.

Once you have a good handle on where you are with the pH go ahead and rehydrate some more yeast with Go-Ferm and then pitch it fresh. Aerate the heck out of it and we'll see what we will see.

cheers,

Oskaar

Fwee
02-06-2007, 12:02 PM
The guy at my local winemaking supplies store suggested that I pitch EC-1118 into my batch in order to get it going. I did so, and it took right off.

I was glad to see it activate, however, I'm somewhat disappointed due to the fact that I won't get to see/taste what type of character the 71B-1122 imparts into the final product.

The batch has been fermenting since last Wednesday. I'll be checking my gravity tonight to see if it's time to rack into the secondary.

Fwee
02-15-2007, 02:57 PM
Just for the record, this 3-gallon batch has been chuggin' away just fine ever since the addition of the 1118.

I also put together a 3-gallon batch of the same recipe using honey instead of sugar. Using the same yeast (1118), my pyment is fermenting much faster than the wine if I'm reading my calculations correctly.

It's funny how this little hobby goes... ;D

I got into it a little over a year ago (I think) making single 1-gallon batches every now and then. Now, I have two 3-gallon carboys and three 1-gallon carboys chuggin' away on my bedroom floor. ;D

I actually have REAL airlocks now instead of balloons! Ain't I a progressor? :icon_king:

:tongue3: