Best way to stop fermentation for a sweet wine

Have a question or want to show off your project? Post it! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View


I have a white Zinfandel that's at about 1.050 and I'd like to stop it there
for a sweeter wine.  I've read about a few ways to stop it but wonder what's
the best.  I have potassium sorbate, potassium metabisulfphite, I have a
filter, and its about 32f outside right now.  I could stop the fermentation
by putting it in the cold for a while and then add the sorbate and
metabisulphite and then filter?  I'd like to use as little chemicals as
possible.  Thanks guys.



Re: Best way to stop fermentation for a sweet wine


If you stop it now, will there be enough alcohol in the wine for you?
In other words, what was the starting sg?

BTW, most people ferment to dry to get 'full' alcohol & then
backsweeten.  Your suggested approach MIGHT work, but I have never
tried it.

Steve

wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it


Re: Best way to stop fermentation for a sweet wine


Quoted text here. Click to load it

Dirty Harry:

Depending on how big your container is, it could take a long time to
get down to 32 =B0F, so that's a consideration. Regarding your desire to
use as little chemical as possible, there is a usual dosage of sorbate
that most people use, but I found an article that gives a table of the
dosage needed based on alcohol %. Obviously, the higher the alcohol%,
the lower amount of sorbate needed. Here is the link:

http://www.bcawa.ca/winemaking/sorbate.htm
10%: 200 mg/l
11%: 170 mg/l
12%: 135 mg/l
13%: 100 mg/l
14%: 70 mg/l

The above numbers are assuming that the levels of SO2 and pH are
correct (whatever that means). The threshold for detecting the
geraniol smell is 182 mg/l. Another source that I found is Margalit,
who says to use at least 200 PPM of sorbate, and then points out that
the smell threshold is 150 PPM.

In your case, since you are at 1.05, and assuming that you started at
1=2E09, then you would have a pretty low alcohol content, which would
mean that you're gonna have to use a lot of sulfite and sorbate.


Re: Best way to stop fermentation for a sweet wine


Quoted text here. Click to load it

Just some clarifications - geraniol smell only develops if a sorbated
wine goes through a malolactic fermentation, that should not be an
issue if the wine is properly sulfited. As I recall the article with
the table, one major assumption was that the yeast population is low,
and that's not the case for an active fermentation.

For the past 2 years, I've been making off-dry and sweet wines using
this method and as Steve pointed out, it's way harder than fermenting
to dryness and then back-sweetening. The method I've been using is to
use the cold outside temperatures to stop the active ferment, wait
until most of the yeast drops down, then rack and sulfite and fine at
the same time with bentonite and Sparkalloid, keeping the wine as cool
as possible all the time. Finally, I filter and add the preservative -
sorbate last year and benzoate this year. After all this, I'm finding
that when I bring the wine back to room temperature, there is still
some yeast activity. Last year I dealt with it by re-filtering but the
wine is lacking in aroma, so I'll probably just add some sorbate this
year again - so after all the trouble, I'm basically at square one. I
think I'll go back to back-sweetening next year.

Lastly, 1.050 seems awfully high for a white Zinfandel, that's more
residual sugar than most dessert wines have! Your alcohol levels will
be low and because of that the wine will be in more danger of
spoilage. If you really want it that sweet, I'd highly recommend
fermenting to get at least 10-12% of alcohol and then adding sugar or
sugar syrup.

Pp


Re: Best way to stop fermentation for a sweet wine


"Just some clarifications - geraniol smell only develops if a sorbated
wine goes through a malolactic fermentation, that should not be an
issue if the wine is properly sulfited. As I recall the article with
the table, one major assumption was that the yeast population is low,
and that's not the case for an active fermentation.

For the past 2 years, I've been making off-dry and sweet wines using
this method and as Steve pointed out, it's way harder than fermenting
to dryness and then back-sweetening. The method I've been using is to
use the cold outside temperatures to stop the active ferment, wait
until most of the yeast drops down, then rack and sulfite and fine at
the same time with bentonite and Sparkalloid, keeping the wine as cool
as possible all the time. Finally, I filter and add the preservative -
sorbate last year and benzoate this year. After all this, I'm finding
that when I bring the wine back to room temperature, there is still
some yeast activity. Last year I dealt with it by re-filtering but the
wine is lacking in aroma, so I'll probably just add some sorbate this
year again - so after all the trouble, I'm basically at square one. I
think I'll go back to back-sweetening next year.

Lastly, 1.050 seems awfully high for a white Zinfandel, that's more
residual sugar than most dessert wines have! Your alcohol levels will
be low and because of that the wine will be in more danger of
spoilage. If you really want it that sweet, I'd highly recommend
fermenting to get at least 10-12% of alcohol and then adding sugar or
sugar syrup.

Pp"

Thanks good to hear from someone who's tried this.  Yea My SG is 1.005 sorry
for the mixup.  I tasted some when racking yesterday and really liked the
level of sweetness.  What size of filter are you using?  I've read that I
have to use a #2 and then a #1 (.5 microns?) so it doesn't plug up but like
you said I think it could strip out too much flavor.



Re: Best way to stop fermentation for a sweet wine


Quoted text here. Click to load it

The .5 micron filtrer is #3 - assuming you're talking Mini/Super jet?
They label is as "sterile" but it isn't actually, so even going
through #3 might not be enough, #2 certainly isn't. Last year I did #2
first and then 2 passes through #3; this year I'm doing only #2
because of the stripped aroma last year.

Also, make sure you degas the wine before filtering, otherwise it will
happen pretty violently during filtering - I actually suspect this
more than anything for the aroma stripping last year.

One other thing - what yeast did you use? Some are easier to stop this
way than others - one that's _supposed_ to be temperature sensitive is
Cotes de Blanc. I've used it on two wines this year and it's just
about impossible to kill!

Probably the best setup for doing it this way is a temperature
controlled old chest freezer, if I had space that's what I'd use.

Pp


Re: Best way to stop fermentation for a sweet wine


Thanks for the link!  Sorry the SG is 1.005, my bad.  It's almost down to 1
but its still fizzing pretty good.  I'm thinking that stopping it sooner
will leave some of the flavour of the original juice and give me a fruiter
Zin instead of fermenting all the sugar out and then sweetening after (I
just finished one this way so I'll be able to compare later on.)  I'm told
that a #1 filter is small enough to get out the yeast cells so what about
doing a #2 then a #1 and then adding the sorbates and sulphites at the end
to make sure it doesn't start back up?  Gonna get some filters today and
give it a whirl I think.  Thanks!






Re: Best way to stop fermentation for a sweet wine


If you're talking filters for the Mini Jet or Super Jet , then #1 is
COARSE.  It will not remove all of the yeast.  Even the #3, labelled
Sterile, is not fine enough to remove all the yeast.

Steve

wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it


Re: Best way to stop fermentation for a sweet wine


Are you sure you want to stop at 1.050? That is very sweet and very
low alcohol.

If you don't want to use chemicals chilling and keeping the wine cold
are an option.  I am not to thrilled with sorbate. If you use it add
sulfite too.

I am thinking of trying hot bottling or thermotic bottling of my next
sweet wine.  One, you take the wine to 122 F and bottle it warm; put
it in the boxes warm and let it cool slowly.  The idea is yeast and
bacteria are killed by the longer exposure time.  The other method is
to take the wine to 154F for a few seconds and cool it rapidly and
bottle.  You could do that with some stainless tubing and a pot of hot
water and another exchanger and a pot of ice water.  I have too much
else going on right now to try either, but can let you know down the
road...

Joe




Re: Best way to stop fermentation for a sweet wine one last question


One last thing, will the potassium and sorbates dissolve completely clear?
I want to add a little after its filtered if I can.  Thanks



Re: Best way to stop fermentation for a sweet wine one last question


Quoted text here. Click to load it

Absolutely.  Put them in seperately and don't add them dry; either add
a bit of water or pull off some wine to mix them in.   1.005 is off
dry and sound like a good level; you need to get it cold now because
it does not stop immediately.

Joe


Re: Best way to stop fermentation for a sweet wine


There are no safe chemicals that will stop an active ferment. And I do use
chemicals including Sorbate and K-meta.  They are great for preventing a
ferment from restarting but will not stop one at doses that you could not
taste.  The cheapest way is to put it in a cold place (down in the low 40's
or 30's) to make the yeast go dormant.  Keep it there while it clears.  Then
rack it off the yeast and treat with sorbate and K-meta.  But you should
keep it cold untill it clears.

Ray

Quoted text here. Click to load it



Site Timeline