I just read a portion of your monthly newsletter on wine making and found out that I may have done something wrong. I have been putting the air lock on immediately after adding the yeast-I see now that I should have covered my wine brewings with a cloth after adding the yeast. What can I do if I need to start over. It seems to be fermenting but very slowly. Can I add yeast nutrient or what if anything or just wait and see or get me another batch of fruit and start all over?
I have not had a problem in the past by adding the air lock immediately!
I wouldn’t worry to much. Just go ahead and take the lid off the plastic fermenter and it should start to pick up progress. Once you do your first racking, then go ahead and put the rubber stopper and air-lock back on.
Many wine making directions will tell you to do just as you did–to attach the air-lock right after adding the yeast. We see this most often with wine ingredient kits, or some kind of wine starter kit.
The idea behind this philosophy is to protect the juice from the environment just in case the beginner accidentally killed the yeast or made some other type of mistake that would not allow the fermentation to take off.
The trade off is the yeast will not be able to multiply in as great as numbers because of the lack of air. The result is a slower fermentation. The flip side of this is if you do leave the lid and air-lock off as we recommend, you need to be sure that the fermentation is starting within a days time in some fashion.
Customer Service at Adventures in Homebrewing
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.