Secondary fermentation of red wine.
Can someone tell me when i will know secondary fermentation is complete. I have made the wine as natural as i can only adding yeast and yeast nutrient during primary fermentation. It has now been under airlock in an oak barrel for 6 weeks and is still slowing bubbling away. How much longer should i wait before racking and at what hydrometer reading.
Also, should i or can i introduce a malolatic bacteria at this late stage ?
If it is bubbling, it is still in primary fermentation. Unless you have been very very careful (and very lucky) you will need to add Campden tablets. If you want to be 'natural', add as little as possible. If you add none, it will just go sour !
More details, please. What is it? How much have you got? Do you have hydrometer readings for the beginning and for now? Have you done an SO2 test? etc. Whatever you are able to provide will make it easier for people to give advice.
Thanks for your reply.
In regards to the additional details, the grape variety is Shiraz and i have approximately 100 litres in a new french oak barrel. Specific garvity upon crushing was 1.120. A reading taken today showed it to be 1.002.
When i said the wine was bubbling, i meant you could hear some crackling when putting your ear to the barrel but it was not really visible when looking into the barrel.
No other tests have been done.
A taste of the wine today seemed ok but it was still raw with a fruity and slightly sweet taste. It is not ready for drinking but was ok on tasting as well.
The grapes were quite sweet when we crushed and for reasons outside my control it was only left in the primary fermentation stage for 7 days and the SG at time of pressing was higher than i would have liked. I expected secondary fermentation to take longer and based on todays reading i dont think it is quite finished. Based on the above do you think at this stage and the current SG of 1.002 it is worth considering the addition of a malolactic bacteria?
In the past my father has not added the malolactic bacteria but some ( not all) of his wines have had a harsher mouthfeel and i would like to avoid this in my batch. None of his wines have ever soured so im hoping the same applies this time.
Finally the barrel is stored in an underground cellar with a fairly constant temperature ( approx 64 F) but with the recent onset of winter in South Australia i am not sure whether the malolactic bacteria will survive at this temperature.
It is not quit done fermenting I think. It should get on down to 1.000. But watch it and see if it stops dropping.
I think you have waited to late to inoculate with culture. Your ABV should be to high for the culture to get started.
I am more interested in hearing how it comes out in this small barrel. They are supposed to overdo things.
Bob is right. Keep an eye on SG. It is too late for MLF.
With a new French barrel, you should get a lot of flavour from the wood. Not only tannin but also vanilla.
Wood tends to allow in a small amount of oxygen (but not enough to spoil the wine) and this often improves the flavour.
Yep but this is a 30 gallon barrel I am guessing. If using the smaller barrels dont you have to watch how long it is in the barrel. Is it not the same as using oak block or chips. You have to limit the time due to to much surface area.
Correct again, Bob.
With a smaller barrel, more of the wine is in contact with the wood and more of the wood flavours will be absorbed. So, when the wine has finished fermenting, it is a good idea to check the taste every 14 days and then decant the wine into another container when you like the taste of the wine.
I had thought about trying that. Those barrels are not cheap. That size is around 250 dollars. But thought it might some benefit to secondary in one and like you said after it clears just taste it then rack to carboy to finish bulk aging.
Thanks for all your advice. I will take it all onboard and keep checking the SG until it falls to 1.000. I hope with the drop it will also lose some of the sweetness.
My main question regarding adding the Malolactic bacteria has been answered as you do get differing opinions on when it can be added. Deep down i wasnt comfortable with adding it at this late stage. Also, the high alcohol content and drop in temperature led me to believe it wouldnt have been succcessful.
In regards to the new barrel i understand what you are saying as the same happened with my fathers first batch of wine in a small Hungarian Oak barrel. As i do not have another vessel to put it into, what else can you suggest? Would putting it in his older Hungarian oak barrel be an option. The wine is all the same but the quantity of grapes we had were not enough to fill both his American and Hungarian Oak barrels. The difference is his barrels are not cellared.
Again thanks to both of you for your advice.
once it gets to a good degree of oaking you will have to go to a glass or plastic fermenter or I guess you could use it to top up the larger barrels when it comes time to rack them.
I'm really impressed that you have taken the trouble to buy a new barrel - getting them ready for first use is such a pain.
This may be OTT; but, if you are going to do this on a regular basis .... apart from 'the big boys' I have a 100 litre stainless steel container that I use for 'specials' or 'experiments'. It was about 100 euros. You could decant your wine into one of those.
Otherwise, try your winemaking shop and see if they have any good ideas.
Holly cow that is cheap as heck, trevor. I can not find anything now days in stainless that size. I would like to double my beer cooker but a pot ,25 - 30 gallon is 220 dollars.
It was a bit of work preparing the new barrel but i see it being all part of the wine making process and actually enjoyed it. If the wine turns out to be nice then it will all be worth it.
I'll look into the stainless steel option but like Bob I doubt i will be able to find anything at that price here in Australia.
yep shoot mike I looked a good 30 gal pot with bells and whistles looks like 400 dollars. Gosh I might be brewing in aluminum for years.
becareful with that alum. bob. they say u shouldnt even drink out of cans or cook in it.
i worked in a alum. casting plant for years. its a big concern.
i was told to eat alot of fatty meat. ****! i just hate that! lol. not.
Quick update on the wine.
Tested it last night and SG has fallen just below 1.000. Taste has also improved on last time as not as sweet so overall i am pleased with its progress.
Thanks for letting us know. Now this is where Trevor will have to help out a little as I am not quit sure of processing in a barrel. I know you need to add some Potassium Metabisulphite to it. I use carboys and would rack at this point. But I think in a barrel you just wait till it clears.
I'm thinking of racking in the next few weeks.
When the wine has settled and separated (usually quite soon after fermentation has stopped) and you are happy with the taste, it is time to rack it off into containers where it can settle out.
You will probably find sludge at the bottom, wine in the middle and grapes at the top.
Just open the spigot and run out the wine (you may have to poke around to clear the way) into containers. Then put the barrel on its side, scoop out the grapes and put them through the press. This will give you a lot more wine !
Check SO2 level and add metabisulphite if needed.
Store in demijohns or whatever you are using (with an airlock or sealed top - even plastic and elastic bands)until it clears. Keep the wine in a dark cool place.
Rack off after about 6 weeks and, if necessary, after another 10 weeks or so
How can you make it stop a second fermentation. We made several types of wine, cherry, pear, peach blackberry. Some of it is fizzy, some is like it should be. Why is some okay, others aren't? Very confusing to us!!
To stop fermentation. First, you need to add Campden tablets (sulphite) then you need to add Sorbate. Suggest you get advice from the shop where you buy you wine stuff.
Fruits ferment at different speeds that is probably why some are still fizzy and others are not.
Mary trying to stop a ferment is hard and takes a lot of practice. That is why most just finish fermenting then as Trevor stated above add SO2 and Sorbate then just add sugar and citric acid if needed. If you don't have a PH meter for acid and are doing it by taste add enough acid to make it a bit tangy as it will decay over time.