Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Whoa, My Pretties!

October 5, 2010

Punched the cap (oh the punching!) 3 times--once in the morning, once after work (when I made the measurements below), and once before bed.  The stats:

Temp 75
pH 3.61
Brix 12.5

Temp is no big deal--it's warmer in the garage, and we've still got exothermicity (it's a real word, I promise) so as long as it's not 100 we're OK.

pH was a bit high, so I added 5 more tsps of tartaric to get it back down.  The increase in pH during fermentation is normal, by the way, due to the increase in carbon dioxide (which acts as a base).

Brix was the shocker.  For those of you who can do math (I can't, but I have a very nice calculator), that's an almost 9 point drop in 24 hours.  Holy cow!!  That pep talk I gave my little yeast really worked!!  This did, however, strike me as being a bit fast.  So, naturally, I did what I do in these situations and panicked a bit.  OK, I panicked a lot.  I sent Chris what I'm sure he thought was a casual e-mail asking in a very nonchalant manner what the heck was going on.  He assured me that his was going just as quickly.  I calmed down a bit (thanks, Chris!), and added the Fermaid K that the yeast page indicated I should add when fermentation was a third of the way done.  The Fermaid K is added to ensure that the yeast keep expanding in the log phase (the point when they're multiplying the most) and helps to ensure that the yeast stay happy and healthy enough to eat through all the sugars in the must. 

I also tasted the must for the first time since fermentation began.  It still smelled  sweet (and like grape juice), but it's starting to taste more tart than sweet (probably because of the boatload of tartaric acid--the taste is in the name *tart*aric acid) and you can really taste the carbon dioxide that's bubbling through it.  Kind of like a very carbonated soda.  It was interesting and disgusting all at the same time.

Next time:  more punching!

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