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Twelve days ago I pitched my yeast in to two batches of ginger wine (different yeasts, different batches). For a few days fermentation was going well and the air lock was producing lots of bubbles and it was all good.

I've just checked on progress to see the water level in the air lock has risen; in the image, the yellow line is (approximately) where it originally was when bubbling away, now the water level is at the purple line.

Has the fermentation stuck?

They've both been in the same area with two other batches which are still fermenting away.

  • LCD stick on thermometer: 22°C (71.6°F)
  • Inside the demijohn: at 23°C (73.4°F)

OG: 1.260
Current gravity: 0.096*

*That is, if I'm reading this correctly as the hydrometer is almost fully submerged and the reading is above the 1.000 line. It seems unlikely as my calculations put that at 158% ABV!

air lock water level

  • This happens to me a lot actually, and I've always wondered what was happening. I've kind of assumed that it was caused by the increasing and lowering pressure from the fermentation coming to an end. – daniella Oct 25 '17 at 20:07
  • That's a huge OG, usually only seen in Ice Ciders. What are you making? – Evil Zymurgist Oct 27 '17 at 0:03
  • Ginger wine. This batch in particular has 3kg of plums and 1.4kg of sugar. In hindsight, I probably should have reduced the sugar to account for the sugars from the plums. – leeDav Oct 27 '17 at 20:59
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    Contrary to football announcer's or car ads, a percentage cannot by definition be higher than 100%. – Wyrmwood Oct 31 '17 at 18:08
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    Your calculation is wrong. 1.260 down to 1.000 gives 34% ABV not 158% – Philippe Nov 1 '17 at 13:58
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12 days ago is probably long enough that would be slowed to an almost undetectable amount. Are you sure about that original gravity if you think you might be reading it wrong now? The final sounds about right (given the margin of reading a hydrometer, I assume it's about 1.000,) but that original sounds impossible. An og 1.150 with a dry yeast would finish at theoretically finish at 1.000 at almost 20% abv if it were that alcohol tolerant.

If you post pics of the hydrometer floating, we might be able to shed more light.

Also which yeasts did you use for each? Some are much more aggressive than others. I rarely have to wait a over a week for complete primary fermentation. Give us the yeast strains and we can get more specific.

  • For this one in question, the strain was Lalvin K1V-1116. I'm 99% positive the OG is correct. 1.4kg of sugar was used, along with 3kg of plums (of which were left soaking in a bucket for 24 hours). Sadly didn't think to take photos of the reading, will do that tonight. – leeDav Oct 25 '17 at 9:49
  • For the other batch that also seems stopped, I've used Mangrove Jack's Wine Yeast CL23. – leeDav Oct 25 '17 at 11:01
  • Well, they'd both stop when the alcohol level killed them for certain if the og is correct. Could you pic the hydrometer now? I mean, from your description it sure sounds like it's at 1, but biology and physics says that doesn't work with the og. – erds Oct 27 '17 at 15:30
  • The last three photos are the readings. I tried to take a few from multiple angles as my phone had difficulty focusing. It does seem like 0.096, but I'll concede it could be 1.000. As an aside, the second batch (ginger and banana wine) which has the same problems has an OG of 1.120 and now it reads 1.002 -- which if correct, is 15.49%. – leeDav Oct 27 '17 at 21:01
  • Something unexplained is going on here. You're not reading it wrong, and that only adds to the mystery. You can certainly get a reading of under 1.000with all the sugars gone and a significant alcohol content. The .096 would be about right for the 15%. That second batch just seems done. Have you taken a sip? Does it taste like it should for 15%? The first batch is a full on mystery to me. You couldn't go from that og to that fg with any yeast. What do you smell from that one? – erds Oct 29 '17 at 3:37

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