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I am having problems with my 5 gallon blackberry wine batch. I took a reading with the hydrometer and the SG read 1.104 at the beginning of primary fermentation. I put a towel over the bucket and let it sit for 6 days in primary fermentation. I then moved it from primary to secondary and took a reading on the hydrometer and got a SG reading of.990. Since all of the sugar is out for the batch after only 6 days in the primary fermentation, it wont be able to ferment in secondary from what I understand. I read a few things about primary vs. secondary fermentation, but was confused about what action I should take next?

For those who are more adept than I am at wine making, here are the instructions I used for making the Blackberry wine

The part where I ran into trouble was after step 5. Step 6 says I should let it sit for another 4-6 weeks until I get an SG reading between .990 and .980, but I'm already reading an SG of .990.

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Secondary fermentation is for lack of a better term is the second phase of fermentation. It often doesn't need to be in a second vessle, nor does there need to be sugars left to ferment. Its just a time for yeast to clean up esters and fine the beer/wine.

Personally I've just about abandon the practice of racking to secondaries.

Secondary fermentation in a second vessel has only a couple of uses. 1) to harvest yeast from primary 2) remove the fermented beverage from yeast to prevent autolysis

If your complete fermentation schedule doesn't exceed 4 weeks I see no need for secondary and little risk of autolysis.

In your case your wine has fermented completely. Some further time may help clean up esters. Only a taste test will tell.

It will probably have fusel / hot alchohols since it fermented so quickly, bottle aging will help it.

Basically at this point you can use finings or just bottle it as is. Adding some sugar at bottling will give it carbonation if sparkling is desired.

  • Evil, thanks for the reply! Based on what I read, I too thought the secondary didn't make much sense, but I'm new to this so I don't know much about the benefits. I have one question about adding the sugar, to increase the taste of the wine. Do I just add sugar a bit at a time until it has a desired taste? And is adding stabilizer to the wine required if I add more sugar before bottling it? Or at which point would sugar be added to help increase the taste? – DrZoo Sep 13 '16 at 2:11
  • @DrZoo this is called backsweeting. Take a small sample usually 250ml, and add small amounts of sweetener keeping track of amounts. Once you have your desired flavor, you can scale it up and dose the batch. Campden ( or other stabilizer) should be added at the time of backsweetening and bottled asap. The stabilizer prevents further fermentation of the backsweetening, so it will not carbonate if used. – Evil Zymurgist Sep 13 '16 at 2:20

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