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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Pennsylvania
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    21

    Question Winemaking Advice

    Hey All,

    I swear I posted this a couple days ago...maybe it didn't go through? Or perhaps it was taken down as I'm breaking some rule?

    At any rate, I need some advice about making wine. I've brewed beer for awhile, and mead for a few batches now. But, wine is the next adventure. How much will methodology differ between wine-making compared to mead-making? For example, I know honey is deficient in nutrients yeast need therefore the need for Fermaid O (TOSNA) and hefty yeast starters. Do you use the same nutrients in the same staggered procedure in the same amounts?

    If there is a good, modern step-by-guide you could reference me to or even some books that aren't too dated, I would greatly appreciate it.

  2. #2

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    So yes. You want to follow the Tosna Protocol. And if you're familiar with it. You are supposed to cut your nutrients in half. You really want to approach this in a much different way in regards to oxygenation. Or more correctly. The need to be very concerned about oxidizing your wine. So don't do any of what we do to mead to expose it to O2. In fact, do the very opposite. You don't want to bring O2 into any part of the process. That doesn't mean you need to wory about gracvity readings, rousing the yeast and racking. Just do that politely and you will be fine. Lastly. You need to get aquainted with SO2 management. And then employ that once you understand it
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
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    Ok, jeez good thing I'm asking you guys about this...might be too late for this batch though.

    I just joined a wine club and am worrying over my first batch. They (all old-timers so maybe their methods are dated) were talking about aggressively stirring during active fermentation a couple times a day up to around 6 BRIX. They also didn't say much about nutrition or chemistry or PH. So, I've been kinda in the dark about all this. Doesn't help that my uncle, who is also in the club, is more of a naturalist laise faire kind of winemaker...so he pretty much doesn't mess with anything besides pitching yeast.

    I just racked my wine towards the very end of active fermentation into a carboy making sure the yeast and lees go with it, on my friends advice. I racked it onto metabulsulfites measuring out 2 grams which was about 50ppm (trying not to go very high on sulfites due to my sensitivity).

    If you've got advice on where to go from here, I'd appreciate it.

  4. #4

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    So here's the deal. Lots of people want to hold onto the past thinking somehow it's better. Right? I hear all the time "the vikings didn't do it thatway" But they did use the best science they had at the time. And had they have to know what we know now. They would have employed modern science. Everybodys grandpa made the best stuff in the world. Just ask the people that are anti science. We used to have to age mead for years before it became drinkable. I win awards now in competitions with 3 month old mead. The difference is science. And more impertantly we give yest the things they need to be able to do their job without missing any of the vbuilding blocks needed to do the work at hand. It's when they don't have good living conditions and a descent food source that they end up making off flavors. These are the off flavors old time mead makers had to age for years to take care of. So you can use modern science and keep the yeast happy and off flavor free. Or you can mistreat them and wait for years for the off flsvors to go away . And then only to a certain degree.

    Too many home wine makers have no idea what commercial wineries do to tmake wine. 95% of them employ modern science. But most homemakers still want to hold onto the stone ages.

    I don't know why you would rack ffromone vessel to another and do that just because. Especially if you take all the lees with you. The modenr wine world thinks you have to rack off the lees at 1030 or so. They think you need to do this so as not to get off flavors. But then about every other day on the wine FB groups some poor sucker gets on and wonders why their batch has stalled. It syalled becasue you rack off the bulk of the yeast biomass. And the reason they get off flavors is because they let the yeast burry each other alive on the bottom. If I pilled hundreds of live people ontop of you in an elevator shaft. You guys would start to stink as well.

    So by keeping the yeast in suspension, you can avoid the off flavors. Therfore not needing then to rack off the lee's in fear of getting off flavors. But now that you racked onto sulfites it's hard to know what will happen. It's damn near impossible to stop an active fermentation without adding at least 3 times the amount you can tatste. (50 ppm) So I don't know what gravity you are at. But I suspect all you have done is stress out tyour yeast, and they will be more likely than not go to zero. But much slower than without SO2 added.

    If you did want to stir hard to give your yeast O2. I would only do that real good for the first few days. For sure not more than after the first 10-15 points.

    The problem you face is not unusuall for a newbee making mead or wine. In today smodern age there are way too many self proclaimed experts that have no more than a few batches under their belt. And most, if not all they have learned is from listening to other people say stuff on the web. So we thousands of people with no real life experience sounding off on social platforms as if they are died in the wool , experienced oldtimers. The world was once flat for the very same reason.

    If you look up the Gotmeadlive podcast and start on 9/5/17, you can listen to a series of the most modern protocols using the most modern science and walk through the entire process from A to b. I would go there to learn. And run your next batch you plan to make across the members here your plans so we can make sure your on the right path.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Pennsylvania
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    I totally agree with you. I was simply following the advice I was given. I'll know better for my next batch of wine in the spring. Ill check out that podcast and respond if I have further questions. Those podcasts have been pretty awesome btw.

    I didn't ask yinz simply because I knew you all as the Mead people lol. Also I don't think my membership here started before I received that batch of must.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by That1Guy4Ever View Post
    I totally agree with you. I was simply following the advice I was given. I'll know better for my next batch of wine in the spring. Ill check out that podcast and respond if I have further questions. Those podcasts have been pretty awesome btw.

    I didn't ask yinz simply because I knew you all as the Mead people lol. Also, I don't think my membership here started before I received that batch of must.
    So one thing I failed to address was this. I ferment in open-top trash cans in a batch tub. They do have a top but it sits on the can loosely. So they do have a very easy way for the all the gasses to escape off the top of the must. I also have a set and forget conical vessel. But it too has a big blow off, so pressure escapes just as easily. I was assuming you ferment in buckets and shouldn't have assumed that. I would suggest it. It's much less likely to get foamed over for one. You can just lay a cloth of the lid loosely on top. This is important to understand. An open top allows you to smell it all the time. Being able to smell it allows you to pick up and reductive issues. Sulpher smells. Where as an airlock traps all that inside your must. If you should ever have a stinky batch, you need to immediately stir the hell out of it. And repeat as many times as necessary. Not super hard if it's past the 1/3rd break. And more forceful if before the break. If you don't blow off the H2s it will bind to your must permanently. But if you catch it early enough to you either stir it away. Or you can splash rack in the earlier stages.

    And lastly, your yeast need O2 to create sterols early on. They need this to create a stronger cell wall for later on in the process. So you do want to stir it vigourously the first few days and then just politely after that. I use a tank of pure O2 and a stone and do it with O2 on a designed schedule. But that is not necessary. But I am eager to pick up every small fraction of improvement I can employ. So I do choose the expense to employ that method. Yeast can actually resperate with, or without O2. But they do need some to make the cell wall strong for the end of the journey when they start to come close to tapping out by reaching their ABV limit
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  7. #7
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    Location
    Pennsylvania
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    I'm slowly getting through the podcast. They are pretty long so it's taking awhile with small free time. But I have a question with the 3rd in the series: SNA, Racking, Stabilizing and Aging that I didn't hear addressed. It was recommended to let the Mead/wine ferment to 0 and then leave it on the lees and yeast making sure you gently stir them to keep them in suspension during this entire month. My question is am I supposed to leave it in the original fermenting bucket during this? Shouldnt I worry about oxidation if I do that? (Do I sulfite at this point to avoid the oxidation?)

    You said I need to worry more about oxidation with wine than Mead. I'm finding it hard to know what in the podcasts work with Mead and wine and what doesnt work with wine.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by That1Guy4Ever View Post
    I'm slowly getting through the podcast. They are pretty long so it's taking awhile with small free time. But I have a question with the 3rd in the series: SNA, Racking, Stabilizing and Aging that I didn't hear addressed. It was recommended to let the Mead/wine ferment to 0 and then leave it on the lees and yeast making sure you gently stir them to keep them in suspension during this entire month. My question is am I supposed to leave it in the original fermenting bucket during this? Shouldnt I worry about oxidation if I do that? (Do I sulfite at this point to avoid the oxidation?)

    You said I need to worry more about oxidation with wine than Mead. I'm finding it hard to know what in the podcasts work with Mead and wine and what doesnt work with wine.
    So the podcast was about mead. WIne is very similar but you need to be more careful about oxidizing wine. I would rack it off the rough lees onto sulfites in a glass carboy and then stir the lees for a few weeks and then stop to let them drop out
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  9. #9
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    Location
    Pennsylvania
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    Default

    Ok got it. But, with Mead I should leave it in the original fermenting bucket for the next few weeks (while stirring lees up gently)?

    Do you guys generally sulfite your meads?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by That1Guy4Ever View Post
    Ok got it. But, with Mead I should leave it in the original fermenting bucket for the next few weeks (while stirring lees up gently)?

    Do you guys generally sulfite your meads?
    I usually put it in a carboy with airlock after it has moved into stationary phase
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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