will my elderflower wine be sparkling?

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silkweed

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Thanks for letting me join.
I made my first sparlking elderflower wine last year, it was too good to be true.
This year I have done the same but unsure whether its sparking or not. Yes I added yeast and has been fizzing in my container. I have just filled some bottles but dont really notice any fizz at all. Can I retrospectivly add yest to make it fizz so to speak? The colour already looks amazing, just like last years but I have a feeling it doesnt have the fizz I need it to have.

Thanks

Paul
 

MmmBeer

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There should be sufficient yeast in the bottled wine. All it needs is some sugar and some time sealed in a warm place to create the fizz. Your recipe should have specified a bottling gravity which would leave sufficient sugar to carbonate the wine.
 

silkweed

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Mmm, thanks for replying.
I added sugar and yeast already, it fizzed then seemed flatter when I bottled it. I'm wondering whether the yeast has burnt out and I can get it going again by adding more?
 

john_boy

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Probably needs time to condition.

What was the final ABV ?

Edit - Also, how long did you wait before bottling and adding the sugar ?
 
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silkweed

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Sorry for the delay.
Last year was a test, no real recipe per say.
This year I just doubled up everything. I didnt even have a hydrometer but have just got one.
I know I have probably done this back to front but I would just like to fix what I have. I added the elderflower to the sugar and water solution, then fixed in some yeast. I left it the solution fizzing away for a few days which may be the reason it has no gas left! The stuff I have just made looks the same as it did at this point last year (cloudy lemonade) but lacks any fiz. I have just taken a hydromter reading and got a reading of 990. Yes I could search all over the web but would be great to focus on this one forum for help if you follow me.

Is 990 ok or how do I ad sugar?
How do I add fizz to an existing mix?

Thanks
 

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john_boy

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Ok - without a starting reading we're a bit in the dark, what's the overall volume and how much sugar did you initially add and what brand of yeast as well ?

Also on taste - what's your impression on how strong (alcohol wise) it is ?

It's possible that your existing brew has exceeded the tolerance of the yeast and it can't bottle prime. You could try an experimental bottle with a tsp of sugar and leave for a week to see if there's any improvement. I'd be tempted to try this first.

Other option is to grab something like EC118, pour off a sample from each of your bottles mix this up with some priming sugar and add back. Then cross fingers. I'd wait for some more experienced voices on this forum to chime in first though.
 

silkweed

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Thanks John, I sure have not got a clue about making any sort of wine. Last years was a fluke, I dont know how I managed to make it so good and knew it would never happen again. I know this is probably the wrong yeast but its what I used last year so used it this year too. It does taste pretty strong and dry.

Taking on board that I know 'zero' would yeast still be in the liquid, so the sugar would trigger it off again, or is the sugar for taste, or both?
Shall I try my 'dodgy' yeast that worked last year? Im afraid I will lose the lot if I dont act fast.

Edit: how long can this mix last, I have just ordered some EC1118 yeast which should arrive on Monday.

Attached is my dodgy, wrong yeast and last years brew.

Thanks for your help.
 

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john_boy

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Bread yeast can be a bit variable even between batches, if I recall some have reported 12% with it, others less.

The thing is different types of yeast have different tolerances for alcohol exceed that and it won't ferment. So no carbonation.

What I'd try is take a bottle, add a teaspoon of sugar, mix and leave for a week. Assuming you haven't added any stabilizer, the yeast will still be there and you may see something. The rest of the batch will be fine.

If that fails, then try the addition of a stronger variety of yeast, the 118 above.
 

silkweed

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I am very grateful to you John.
I will try adding a teaspoon of sugar to one bottle, leave it a week and see what happens. Im assuming your sayin the rest of the batch will be fine, if so then I am relieved.

Thanks John.
 

RoomWithABrew

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@silkweed
Assuming that the first pictures are when you decanted from " the bucket " into the bottles there's plenty of yeast. But your Specific gravity suggests they have used up all of their food so when bottled couldn't make any gas.
You didn't add extra sugar at first bottling I don't think.

Given that the yeast has fermented down to 0.990 it's pretty alcohol tolerant.

Try this free calculator


Normally champagne is about 4 vols plus.

Your bottles look nice but given their square shape did they have something under pressure when you bought them or are they pressure safe.

I use champagne bottles as they are stronger and thicker than normal beer bottles. If you fill a weak bottle with sugar and yeast pressure builds up and the bottle bursts ( bottle bombs are dangerous ). If they are all together you can get a chain reaction.

Once you have decided how much dry " sugar " is needed, say you have 20 bottles boil just over 200 ml of water. Remove from heat and add the sugar. Let it dissolve and cool. Then 10 ml of sugar syrup per bottle with a syringe ( all sanitised of course ) then put caps back on no need really to shake them and then leave for at least 2 weeks in about 20 celsius. Then cool a bottle in fridge and test it.

I made my first elderflower fizz last year having said I was going to make it for years and finally did. Two batches and fantastic.
I followed an internet recipe and those who have also tasted it thought it was great. It was tricky to find the elderflower down here in New Zealand and it didn't smell as vibrant as I remember in the UK but certainly did in the glass and whilst making it.

If the bottle hasn't fizzed up after 2 weeks I'd leave another week and retest. You should have some signs of activity though.

If no activity I'd repeat the process but no sugar just use boiled and cooled water mixed with champagne yeast and a bit of wine nutrient.

I fermented one of my batches with kveik yeast followed by champagne and the other with champagne yeast alone.
Will get a picture of it bottled and upload it later.
 

john_boy

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++ on the pressure safe bottles. You can use pop bottles, the cheap ones from your local supermarket at a pinch
 

silkweed

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@John. I added a tea spoonful of sugar last night which has already had a reaction as there was plenty of gas in the bottle this morning.
The square bottles were last years, I now have round versions. Do I assume that there is still yeast in the bottles if it has reacted to the sugar being added?
 

john_boy

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Yes - if there's gas.

But to be safe make sure those bottles can take pressure
 

RoomWithABrew

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agreed just because they look like a grolsch bottle doesn't make them safe. We picked up some bottlel from Ikea with flip top lids and they are safe I'd say for still liquids only. But if there's activity then the yeast is active.
In defence of bread yeast it is the classic ( baking yeast ) for finnish Sahti so it is brewable with just not in many beer or winemakers armament of choice. We also used to use it for making ginger beer with, but that was 45 years ago and weak stuff for children, but on that note we exploded a few bottles and they were beer bottles. Can remember the mess still in the bottom kitchen cupboard.
 

silkweed

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I know its risky with these bottles but they look ok. I know what happened last year so just testing one bottle at the moment. Last year amazed me that they actually designed a square bottle which looked ok but was obviously not. Thanks!
 

silkweed

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Ok, adding two teaspoons of sugar sure did trigger the yeast off. Another question please before I do the same with the other bottles. Now it seems more alcoholic which I assume is the sugar and yest doing their thing. Could I add a little water and less sugar, would that mean the yeast and sugar would have less impact? I would like it sweeter, less alcoholic but with fizz. The hydrometer thing isnt quite accurate as its got bubbles supporting it at the moment but its settled back above this level now. Its on about -10 at the moment.
 

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john_boy

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I don't think a couple of teaspoons of sugar would have added that much additional alcohol, sure there will be a little bit extra - but the main job of the priming sugar is to add carbonation. Give it a week to condition before sampling.

If you need it sweeter, given the fact that you're bottle conditioning - artificial sweeteners are probably the best choice, well only - unless you want to force carbonate (think Soda-stream). There's plenty of discussion as to the best type to try - add a small amount at a time and sample to see.

As for alcoholic strength, yes you can cut it with water (before conditioning) and that will weaken it but at the expense of body/taste.

Best advice would be to note down what you've done so far, thoughts etc. And next time adjust - so less sugar at the start of fermentation etc.

Edit second hydrometer reading after adding two teaspoons of sugar to 750ml ?
 

silkweed

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Both the hydrometer reading were done together John, just mins apart when the bubble had risen above the gadget. After adding the additional two teaspoon fulls, I then burped it for a few days. I was away at the weekend and just did it again, this time I lost more than bubbles, must have lost a glass or more of wine too. Im going to do the same for the remaing wine which is why I wondered whether I could 'water it down' a little per say and add a the same ammount of sugar to each bottle as you have suggested.

Would it be an idea to reduce the sediment yeast before trying this on another bottle John, or is the yeast totally suspended in the mix?

Thanks
 

silkweed

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So I can drain off the excess sediment and it will still be active in the suspension.
 
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