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I started my first attempt at fermenting this wine kit in mid-April.

I followed the initial directions pretty meticulously which included stirring in the fermentation bucket daily (due to kit including dried grape skins).

My hydrometer was reading a bit higher than reality, so the racking at ~1.020 might've been a bit behind. Almost for sure the racking at 0.998 was a late. At that point I stabilized according to instructions, racked it back into a 6 gallon carboy, and topped it up.

The problem is when testing for clarity (which now seems fine) it has a very strong yeast smell, and somewhat strong yeast flavor.

I know a young wine shouldn't taste "ready" yet, and I'd be happy to bottle and age if that's normal, but from most things I've read so far this isn't quite normal. (I'm not going for the "on lees" flavor since this is a Cabernet Sauvignon.)

How yeasty should a wine be before bottling?

Can anything be done to salvage this batch? What should be done to avoid this in the future?

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My experience with mead is that you should wait. What I do personnally is I bottle (I use twist-cap bottles which are not really air-tight), wait a few months and then siphon again to clean bottles, leaving just a bit more dead yeast at the bottom. My mead usually becomes really clear after about 8 months, and stops tasting yeasty at the same time. It's probably doable in a carboy, although it may take longer for the yeast to settle down. Whatever you do, don't move or shake the bottles or you're up for another two weeks of waiting

  • Aha, maybe we followed our standard beer-inspired practices and moved the carboy to a high up location and then racked the following day. Even now after sitting still for a few weeks the yeasty essence is there when sampled, but perhaps it is diminishing. Thanks for the insight. – owenfi Jun 11 '15 at 23:31
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My plan of action is to test 11 fining agents:

  1. Albumex Bentonite
  2. Bentonite
  3. Biofine Clear
  4. Canaton Bentonite
  5. Caseine Soluble
  6. Colle Perle
  7. Cristalline Plus
  8. Inocolle Extra N1
  9. Polycacel
  10. Polyclar VT
  11. Sparkolloid

I plan to do 50-100ml samples in 100ml beakers. Most likely I will store them loosely covered in the fridge (I'm not too worried about oxidation in testing). I'll "rack" from the storage beakers after the recommended duration for the particular agents and see if any result in a noticeable reduction in yeast flavors.

If anyone has suggestions or comments on this process I'd love to hear them.

  • Bentonite's instructions say it is most effective when the wine is warm, so that one (probably all 3) will remain out of the fridge. Does anyone have guidelines for the other agents? If it's anything like beer, being cold seems like it will help yeast fall out of suspension, but I'm mostly just guessing. – owenfi Jun 11 '15 at 23:32

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