Back to Home Page Back to The Wine Page       Return to Wine 101

Problems and Remedies


Added Potassium Sorbate at the wrong time.

Over Sulphiting

Convert Campden Tablets to Sodium or Potassium Metabisulphite powder.

Making a Yeast Starter for a 'Must' that will not start to ferment

My wine is sour tasting

What happened to the alcohol

My wine just won't Clear

My wine has a burning after taste and is very dry.


Yeast Starter:

For one reason or another a wine will not start to ferment. Maybe you added the yeast at the same time as the Campden tablet, or to hot of water or your ingredient may be just a problem to ferment. Many time a 'Yeast Starter' is just the trick. One note, if you have excessively added Metabisulphite to your batch a yeast starter is needed but follow the steps for Over Sulphite first.

         Wine must that just will not start to ferment

1) Rehydrate One Pack on yeast ‘Red Star Cuvee’ or ‘Lalvin EC1118’ in exactly ONE -Fifth cup (50ml) of water at exactly 100 degrees. For Ten Minutes.

2) Remove 1 cup of the Wine 'Must' and add to 1 cup of water. Bring this two cups to a boil for a minute. Remove from heat and quickly cool (cover and place in the freezer) to 75 degrees. Place into a small sanitized glass bowl, about 6 cup size.

3) Swirl the rehydrated yeast ( step 1) and add to the two cups of the pre-boiled/cooled 'Must'. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 2 hours or until you see the foam rise & fall.

4) Remove another 1 cup of the wine 'Must' and add to 1 cup of water. Bring this two cups to a boil for a minute. Remove from heat and quickly cool to 75 degrees.

5) Swirl the yeast ( from step 3) and add to the new two cups of the pre-boiled/cooled must. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 2 hours or until you see the foam rise & fall.

6) Pour the total 4-1/5th cups into one gallon from the main Must. A 3 gallon carboy works well.

7) Let the One gallon ferment. When the one gallon is almost stopped add this to

    another 1 gallon of the unfermented Must.

8) Let the two gallons ferment until they are almost due (bubbles have slowed).

9) When the two gallons are almost stopped  fermenting, add this to the remaining 3-4

 gallons of the unfermented Must.

    Note: Keep All Unfermented 'Must' in the refrigerator until ready to use. Or keep covered tight in a cool place lightly Sulphited (Campden tablets).


Excessive Metabisulphite added to the must. (Five -Six gallon batch)

If your recipe called for Five teaspoons of Metabisulphite SOLUTION and you added Five teaspoons of Metabisulphite powder. YES, you over Sulphited the batch of wine you are trying to ferment. Forget about adding another yeast, the batch will not start. You will first need remove the excessive Sulphite from solution.

1) If you have an degassing rod for a drill, pull it out they work great. If you have a paddle that you use to stir and degass with, you need an extra arm or a helper. You will need the stir the must violently for 4-5 minutes. This will need to be done  3-4 time over 24 hours. Stir the must until you no longer smell the sulfur coming out.

2) When you start the stirring process in step one above, also start a Yeast Starter. At step # 2 add 1/16 teaspoon (pinch) of yeast energizer the the starter. As you follow the steps for the Yeast Starter, after step #5 add 1/2 cup of the wine must and let the must work for 1-2 hours. You will need a container that is One gallon to 5 liters in size. Next add another 1/2 cup of the wine must and let this work for another few hours. Continue adding the Wine Must until you have a gallon total. Your times may be different if your temperatures are high (above 75 degrees, faster) or below (68 degrees, slower). The main thing you are looking for is the must should start to ferment, create a foamy head, and the slow before the next step.

3) Add the new yeast Starter and 1/2 teaspoon of Yeast Energizer to the main must, ONLY AFTER the stirring has been done.

    Converting Campden Tablets to Meta Powder.

   Dissolve 5 teaspoons of Sodium or Potassium Metabisulphite powder in 8 ounces of warm water or must.

 Use (1) teaspoon of the Solution  to One Campden tablet.



    If you think you added even a higher amounts of Metabisulphite, This Next step may be your last resort.

    Have a fresh Yeast Starter standing by.

    A) Add a quantity of hydrogen peroxide to the Must, equal to the amount of the Sulphite that added.                             If you added One Tablespoon instead of 1-teaspoon, then add One tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution to the Must. Stir the Must well.

    B) Heat the Must to 93-95 degrees. Using a hot water bath or a heating pad works well.

    C) When the Must reaches the temperature, stir the Must violently to drive off the excess sulphur dioxide. Continue stirring until the Must cools to approximately 70-72 degrees.    

    D) Remove 1/2 cup of the Must and add it to your yeast starter.

Many times excess Sulphite may become Sulphate which can cause a bitter taste.





 I added Potassium Sorbate into the unfermented batch and it will not ferment.

Chances are the batch will NEVER ferment. Potassium Sorbate is a yeast inhibitor and should not allow the yeast to live and thrive. You now have perhaps really good juice.

My wine has a Sour taste

    Your Wine 'Must' should have been adjusted for acidity before fermenting. Most recipes will add a Acid blend of Citric, Malic and Tartaric acid to adjust the Acidity. If your acidity is excessively off, the flavor and aroma will create a sour finish. Balancing the Acidity after fermentation  may help. Never adjust more than an small test amount at a time. The Use of 3-4 grams of Potassium Carbonate will reduce acidity by .1 pH. ( 6 grams per tsp.) The addition of to much potassium Carbonate will change the acidity to a flat cardboard flavor. So always test in small quantities. You can always add more, but once it is in--its in to stay.

What happened to the alcohol, The Hydrometer now is on 0

Your alcohol did not go away. The fermentable sugars were eaten by the yeast. To get an accurate reading on the total Potential Alcohol by Volume, with your hydrometer. 

First: Take a Hydrometer reading BEFORE the yeast is added. This is your starting or Original gravity. After fermentation has totally completed, take a final gravity reading. The difference between these two readings is the sum of the Alcohol by volume (Alc/vol.). Example; your first reading was 1.090. Your final reading was 1.000. Now subtract: 1.090 minus  1.000 =  0.090  or 1.090

    This is the number you are going to use on the Hydrometer ‘Potential Alcohol by Volume’ scale. Look at 1.090 on the hydrometer. Turn the hydrometer and you will see the alcohol percentage by Volume is 12 %. If the final gravity was higher, let say 1.008 then when you subtract from the 1.090 you end up with .084 or 1.084. On the Hydrometer you will see 11 % Alc/vol. But if you’re final reading is less than 1.000 let say .994 ( 6 points Less than 1.000). Then add the Final amount to the Starting Gravity and use this number on the Hydrometer % scale. (1.090 plus 6 = 1.096 or  approximately 12- 1/2 % )





My wine just won't Clear

Try warming up the wine to above 72 degrees. Many Clearing agents work very poorly in cool or cold temperatures. Also the addition of Bentonite will help clear many problem friut wines like Peach and Plum.


My wine has a burning after taste and is very dry.

STOP making Rocket Fuel. Excessive alcohol will will impart a strong burning finish and a very dry wine. Use of a hydrometer will let you know what your starting gravity is BEFORE you add all the sugar.

Make a Simple Syrup sugar mix of ( Blend One Cup table sugar to 1/2 cup warm water). Add 1/2 teaspoon Potassium Sorbate to each gallon of wine. Take a Hydrometer reading. Next add the simple syrup to increase the Hydrometer reading to 1.000.

This should help your Rocket Fuel.



© The WeekEnd Brewer 1986. All rights reserved.

Home | Beer Page | Wine Page | Order Page | News Letter | Hours & Location

Contacts | Webmaster | E-MAIL