Stuck ferment x2

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gillonstewart

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I've had a busy few days of home brewing. One of the jobs that were needing doing was racking the nettle wine and the gorse wine.

The nettle wine had a pretty furious fermentation in the bucket and went steady when moved to the demijohn and had started to clear and threw a decent sediment. Bubbles stopped in the airlock a week or two ago.

The gorse was still cloudy but had stopped bubbling a while ago. It had also had a furious fermentation in the bucket.

Anyway, I got a mouthful of each while syphoning. Both were sickeningly sweet. Gravity was in the start beer range on both (can't remember off the top of my what the actual figures were).

I made up a small starter yeast with a teaspoon of sugar, yeast and nutrient and added half to each demijohn in the hopes of restarting fermentation but so far (about 36 hours) no signs of life.

I've got a ginger wine currently in the bucket fermenting furiously. I had thought of transferring a little of the lees from this to try and wake up the fermentation in the other two but otherwise I'm kind of out of ideas.

Do any of you fine people have any advice?
 

gillonstewart

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Oh meant to say.. the gorse wine did have an overly high sugar content to start off with due to my carelessness. The nettle wine was exactly to CJJ Berry's recipe.
 
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Personally, my advice for all “Stuck Ferments” is always the same;

“Beat it as if it owes you money!”
This aerates the brew and wakes up the yeast! It is also a time to add any additional yeast.

BTW, you should only do the above after you are certain that the fermentation is actually “stuck”!

Maybe the ABV has reached the limits of the yeast, maybe you lack patience etc etc.
:hat:
 

gillonstewart

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I'm pretty sure the fermentation has stuck. There is a complete lack of bubbling from the airlocks.

Alcohol content is probably around 4-5% and sugar content still high in the nettle wine.

The gorse wine was over sugared from the start which could have a bearing. I might need to use a high alcohol yeast on that one or it will always be too sweet. OG was in the range for a potential ABV of 17-18%. Even so, it's sitting around 7-8% at the moment.

Yeast is Young's general purpose wine yeast and Young's nutrient.
 

gillonstewart

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Tonight, I tested the SGs on all the batches I have on at the moment.

I tried a restart yeast on the two batches above about ten days ago. Neither have re-started.

The ginger wine has also slowed down to pretty much nothing but is still at around 1035 SG. The 5 gallons of house wine has slowed to almost nothing at about the same SG.

The nettle and gorse have both been on heater pads and I've now transferred the 5 gallon batch on to a heater pad and swapped the ginger with the gorse onto one.

I'm going to try the oxygenating technique while at the same time making a starter bottle of the restart yeast. When it's fermenting strongly, I'll split it into three batches and add half a pint of each stuck wine, wait till it is all fermenting and repeat until hopefully it gets going.

I'm not sure why I'm having such a problem. I just checked the date on the yeast (Young's general purpose wine yeast) and it's in date until December. Nutrient used in all cases.
The temperature is on the low side except for the ones on the pads. The house is 315+ years old, four foot thick walls, tiny windows, heavily overshadowed by trees and partially underground so the temperature rarely gets much over16°. It's probably managed to get to 18-19 over this heat wave as the outside air temperature hit 22°c. The ones on the pads should have easily got to 25+

None of them taste particularly good yet either, clawing sweetness (to be expected) andmot much in the way of flavour carried over from the ingredients. Given they're nowhere near ready though I'm not expecting much flavour wise.
 

gillonstewart

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Tested the SGs of my wines again. The 5 gallon batch of experimental elderflower is still at 1.002 after, I think, four weeks.

The apple and mango WOW is still at 1.030 after three weeks and the nettle and the gorse haven't budged at all, they're both at least two three months fermenting, possibly four for the gorse. I'm sure it was April I put it on (I'd have to check).

I'm absolutely at a loss as to why nothing is fermenting out. I will get a different yeast for new batches but will have to try and restart all of these batches the old fashioned way. I'll make up a batch of yeast starter using a high alcohol restart yeast and divide it into 5 once it's fermenting vigorously and add small amounts of each wine until they're all - hopefully - fermenting again. Otherwise I'll have to sling the lot and waste 6 months of "work"
 
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Please check the following:
  1. Your hydrometer is faulty (movement of the paper is common). Check that it shows 1.00 in water.
  2. The SG was taken below the calibrated temperature for the hydrometer. (normally 16*C)
Personally, I try not to chuck anything away unless it smells and tastes like vinegar!

After carrying out your plans, it’s still possible to stabilise the brews, “cork” them with a bit of cling-film and an elastic band and then put them in a nice cool/dark place for at least two months before tasting them.
 

Derek Burton

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I've had a busy few days of home brewing. One of the jobs that were needing doing was racking the nettle wine and the gorse wine.

The nettle wine had a pretty furious fermentation in the bucket and went steady when moved to the demijohn and had started to clear and threw a decent sediment. Bubbles stopped in the airlock a week or two ago.

The gorse was still cloudy but had stopped bubbling a while ago. It had also had a furious fermentation in the bucket.

Anyway, I got a mouthful of each while syphoning. Both were sickeningly sweet. Gravity was in the start beer range on both (can't remember off the top of my what the actual figures were).

I made up a small starter yeast with a teaspoon of sugar, yeast and nutrient and added half to each demijohn in the hopes of restarting fermentation but so far (about 36 hours) no signs of life.

I've got a ginger wine currently in the bucket fermenting furiously. I had thought of transferring a little of the lees from this to try and wake up the fermentation in the other two but otherwise I'm kind of out of ideas.

Do any of you fine people have any advice?
What your describing leads me to think you have burnt out your yeast. Meaning that if the brew is sickly sweet, you have had to much sugat content at the start and the yeast you have used was not up to the job. A high alcohol yeast wojld have been preferential. You can set away a starter set with orange juice and a new high alcohol yeast, as it starts fermenting add smaller quantities of your stalled wine, keep adding until your wine fermentation has recovered. Cj berry book has this in i believe.
 

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