Feeding the Must...

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Feeding the Must...

Postby percmd » Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:45 am

I have 2 gallons of Blueberry wine in the make. They have been in secondary fermentation now for about 1 month and are still bubbling very violently. The S.G. was 0.995 when i checked 2 days ago. Question: Is it okay to feed your wine some simple syrup while it's in secondary and how much? I added about 1 cup of simple syrup to each gallon and they seem to be going to town now. And when should i rack it again?
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Postby Mob_Barley » Fri Sep 18, 2009 7:25 am

What you are doing is called chaptalization. At this stage, you are adding sugar to increase the alcohol content since the yeast are still active and healthy, they will ferment whatever sugars you add. Chaptalization for increasing alcohol content is usually done later in fermentation to fortify a wine above the 14% ABV level up to around 18%. Addding it late like this keeps the yeast happy and fermenting away up to the alcohol tolerance level for the yeast.

The sugar level is usually adjusted, if needed, prior to fermentation to reach a desired alcohol level. If you want residual sugar in the wine, ie. a sweeter wine, I find it is easier to ferment to completion at 14% ABV, and back sweeten rather than try to calculate how much the yeast is going to attenuate and increasing the starting gravity to leave some residual sugars (or by crashing the wine, sulfiting and sorbating to stop fermentation). If you were adding sugar in secondary to back sweeten, then the yeast is just going to keep on fermenting the added sugars until it reaches the limit of how much alcohol it can stand (for some yeasts that can be pretty high).

If I didn't address the question correctly, let me know.
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Postby aleguy » Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:01 am

I believe the highest alcohol tolerance of any known yeast is around 26% ABV.
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