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Can Wine Turn To Vinegar During Primary Fermentation?


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#1 jodiem

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 06:53 AM

My friend who introduced me to wine making ran out of yeast. We both use scuppernong grapes to make our wines. The only yeast I had left was some Red Star that was included in the start up kit I purchased in 2006. The expiration date was good until 2009 but the yeast has not been stored in the refrig. I gave him the pack Oct 8th and he reported to me Oct 15th that his wine has turned to vinegar because he used the old yeast that had been stored at room temperature. I do live in the hot south and admit the house temps may have been in the 80's at times which may be unfavorable for the yeast but could this happen this quickly and my yeast be the cause? Hopefully someone will make me feel better by telling me it was not my yeast. Thanks

#2 maseratiman

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 07:43 AM

QUOTE (jodiem @ Oct 17 2007, 09:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My friend who introduced me to wine making ran out of yeast. We both use scuppernong grapes to make our wines. The only yeast I had left was some Red Star that was included in the start up kit I purchased in 2006. The expiration date was good until 2009 but the yeast has not been stored in the refrig. I gave him the pack Oct 8th and he reported to me Oct 15th that his wine has turned to vinegar because he used the old yeast that had been stored at room temperature. I do live in the hot south and admit the house temps may have been in the 80's at times which may be unfavorable for the yeast but could this happen this quickly and my yeast be the cause? Hopefully someone will make me feel better by telling me it was not my yeast. Thanks


Short answer:

Nope

Slightly longer answer:

The only thing that can turn wine into vinegar is acetobacter. If the wine truly is vinegar, sanitary techniques were not used. But for the bacteria to turn alcohol to acetic acid, there needs to be alcohol present. I don't think 6-7 days of active fermentation would make enough alcohol fast enough and I don't believe the bacteria would be able to work essentially within 3 days to turn all the wine into vinegar.

Did your friend use Na or K meta? This would kill the bacteria.

-Marc
Marc... AKA pomice, grappa, wine mud, crap left over from fermentation.....

#3 NorthernWiner

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 08:08 AM

This early on I would be much more inclined to suspect hydrogen sulfide, rather than vinegar, as the source of the off-flavor/smell.

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#4 bzac

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 08:19 AM

scuppernong grapes are very low in nutrients
your yeast was probably starved for nutrients durring the ferment , if you didn't add DAP or fermaid or the fermetn got too hot you could have produced H2S which is the most likely off smell.

splash rack it a few times , this early it will probably go away.

if it realy is vinegar , the yeast is definately not the source , did he use an old wooden bucket or some thing just as unsanitary as a fermetor?

Zac


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#5 Curt

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 08:47 AM

I didn't see any reference to an off smell in the original post. My guess is that your friend tasted the must and found it to be very acidic and assumed it was from vinegar rather than it being that all the sugar was fermented out and wasn't covering the acid taste anymore. Not your fault. The yeast did exactly what it was supposed to.

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#6 bzac

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 09:33 AM

Looking back at the original post it apears that the friend had made scuppernong wine before
and jodiem had also made a batch.

I got the impression that this "vinegar " batch was differtn from the others?

if all the other batches had their sugars fermetned would not this acid issue be present in all the batches?

Z


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#7 Curt

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 10:18 AM

I guess it would depend on the starting SG and the yeast used. I was under the impression that one of the differences was that he had to ask her for yeast this time. I also wonder why the friend didn't know that yeast doesn't produce vinegar. huh.gif

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#8 NorthernWiner

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 10:24 AM

Perhaps I read too much into the post.

I interpreted it to mean that jodiem's friend pitched yeast on the 8th and by the 15th thought the fermenting wine had turned to vinegar. That's not very likely, but "vinegar" is a term used by some to indicate "wine gone bad". Wine gone "bad" in the primary sounds like H2S to me.

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#9 Curt

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 10:50 AM

Hmmmmm, we don't seem to have enough information.

Jodiem, will you ask your friend what he means by "vinegar" for us please? If it's h2s he's talking about then all may not be lost.

what's brewing; 6gal local plum  6gal strawberry/rhubarb  6gal pinot noir  6gal blueberry/grape  6gal old vine zin  9gal local apple


#10 jodiem

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 02:30 PM

Thank you all for your replies and reassuring me that I or my yeast did not turn his must into vinegar. I am afraid I do not have an answer to some of the questions you are asking but this is what I do know. He uses fermenting buckets that he ordered from Kraus, so no old wooden barrels. In the past, he sanitized with Clorox and I assume this is still the practice. He adds at least 5 and sometimes 6 Campden tablets 24 hours before he pitches the yeast. He added yeast nutrient (borrowed some from me at the same time as the yeast). Don't have any idea what any measurements were. Unfortunately, he dumped the batch so now there is no way of knowing if it would have changed over time or not. If I get any other info will let you know. Thanks again, this is a great forum with lots of information!

#11 maseratiman

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 02:40 PM

QUOTE (jodiem @ Oct 17 2007, 05:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thank you all for your replies and reassuring me that I or my yeast did not turn his must into vinegar. I am afraid I do not have an answer to some of the questions you are asking but this is what I do know. He uses fermenting buckets that he ordered from Kraus, so no old wooden barrels. In the past, he sanitized with Clorox and I assume this is still the practice. He adds at least 5 and sometimes 6 Campden tablets 24 hours before he pitches the yeast. He added yeast nutrient (borrowed some from me at the same time as the yeast). Don't have any idea what any measurements were. Unfortunately, he dumped the batch so now there is no way of knowing if it would have changed over time or not. If I get any other info will let you know. Thanks again, this is a great forum with lots of information!



HE DUMPED THE BATCH!!! ohmy.gif I am in shock. Never give up on a wine. Worst case it could have been really good red wine vinegar. I drink all my mistakes. biggrin.gif

Don't know what that does to my pallet....

Must have smelled really bad........ no pun intended!

-Marc
Marc... AKA pomice, grappa, wine mud, crap left over from fermentation.....

#12 Wade's Wines

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 07:42 PM

I just bottled a batch of Blueberry started in 2000 that I don't honestly know if it's wine or vinegar, but it's delicious! I added some potasium bicarbonate to reduce the acidity, sugar, campden and potasium sorbate...and it's a very pleasant drink! It tastes like a really nice blend of blueberry, honey and mild apple vinegar...tastes really healthy! I'll have to try it another night by itself...bottled blueberry, strawberry and peach today, wouldn't think of bottling without tasting! smile.gif But the others may have affected my judgment on the blueberry...just glad to get it out of the carboy!!! Seven years in carboy, because I wasn't sure it was worth bottling but couldn't dump it! Now it's pretty good and very interesting!
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#13 Curt

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 08:04 PM

WADE!!....MAN!... I mean 7 years? I definitely hand my die-hard crown over to you! My wife thought I was nuts waiting 13 months for an apple wine to drop that last d@mn3d 2% of cloudiness out. I bottled it anyway and it hasn't dropped a bit of it in a month or so in the bottle.

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#14 Hippie

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 08:11 PM

QUOTE (bzac @ Oct 17 2007, 09:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
scuppernong grapes are very low in nutrients
your yeast was probably starved for nutrients durring the ferment , if you didn't add DAP or fermaid or the fermetn got too hot you could have produced H2S which is the most likely off smell.

splash rack it a few times , this early it will probably go away.

if it realy is vinegar , the yeast is definately not the source , did he use an old wooden bucket or some thing just as unsanitary as a fermetor?

Zac


Zac, why do you say Scuppernongs are low in nutrients? I have been fermenting scuppernongs and muscadines for several years and have not found any yet lacking in nutrients. On the contrary, they would have just as much nutrients as any other grape, some say alot more. How is it you know about Scuppernong grapes in Canada? Thanks.

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#15 Hippie

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 08:17 PM

I also tend to believe the wine had fermented out and was dry and full of gas and caused the winemaker to think he had made vinegar. Inexperience can tend to cause freakouts when tasting after fermentation ceases. Think of all the "What did I do wrong?" posts.

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