Ask Ed Your Wine/Beer Making Question

Man with Wine at Computer Do you have a wine making or beer brewing question that you’d like some expert help with? Ask your question below, and we will feature your question (with the answer) on our blog!

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8 thoughts on “Ask Ed Your Wine/Beer Making Question

  1. I am a beginner in fruit wine making. After the month of secondary fermenting and racking for the 2-3 month long haul aging do I still put on the airlocks or just put the rubber stoppers? I can’t find any articles that says one way or another..

    Thank you,


  2. Hi Ed,
    I made red grape wine for the first time and I am not using any wine kit. At this point my wine is in the secondary fermenters and I have two 25 litre carboys and have been fermenting for about a month. Yesterday one of the carboys stopped fermenting so I checked the SG with the hydrometer and it seems that the fermentation is done so I racked only the carboy that stopped bubbling to another clean carboy and added campden tablets. My problem is that the other carboy is still slowly bubbling through the airlock and I dont know if this is normal since both carboys were racked at the same time from the primary fermenter.
    Thanks Would appreciate any help.

    • Stephen, it is not uncommon to have 2 fermenters of wine sitting side by side and the ferment at different rates even from the same batch or made exactly alike. Things like the set of nutrients in one fermentation verses another, to the fact that one is slightly closer to the basement window than the other — all of these little things can make a difference in the way a wine ferments.

      • Check the SG and if 1.00 or below – rack it over. Could be just off-gassing from lees. This has happened to me before.

  3. Hi Ed,
    Quick question, I just started making wine at home and two days after I began the process I went on vacation. I had a balloon with pinholes as a makeshift airlock and when I returned after a week the balloon had still not inflated. I’m not sure if the holes I poked were too large or if they expanded, but the wine had stopped fermenting. I quickly replaced the balloon and it is fermenting again but I am wondering if it is too late for this batch and I should just start over or if it is okay because it started fermenting again. I know oxygen is okay in the beginning but not after a certain amount of time and since I don’t know when the balloon failed I am not sure if it has just constantly been exposed or if the fermentation process was halted in the middle. Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated!
    Absentee Wine Mom

    • Absentee, unfortunately there is no way for us to know if the wine has been compromised. At this time there is no reason to give up on the wine. I would watch for signs of oxidation. I would also recommend adding campden tablets immediately after fermentation completes to destroy any bacteria that may have reached the wine.

  4. I made Super Tuscan red wine 50% Cab, 25% sangiovese & 25% merlot back in Sept 2020. I did the 4th rack this past weekend and on the bottom of the carboy were tartrate crystals.
    When I 1st started the fermentation I used a red wine yeast & feeder. I racked 3 days as per hydrometer stage readings.
    In oct I did 2nd rack and November the 3rd rack. I degassed and added Potassium metabisulfite. Wine is in 5 gal carboys, in a cool wine cellar.
    Question… should I just leave the wine as is after removing the crystals. Or should I add 1 1/4 teaspoon of potassium metabisulfite or some other additive?
    Appreciate reply

  5. After fermentation and clearing my white zinfandel is still purple. What did I do wrong? and how do I correct the problem?

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