1st attempt at Dragons Blood

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AJH89

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1st attempt at dragons blood and so far so good! This will be my 3rd batch of wine I have crafted and I can tell I'm getting better and better! So far I haven't had to ask any questions about it too, knock on wood 🤣. I doubled danger Dave's amount of triple berry from 6lbs to 12lbs. I will say I made this batch HOT. I kept adding sugar till the batch wouldn't take anymore. 22lbs to be exact. fermentation stopped right at 1.016 so there's a bit of residual sugar in there, but it definitely needs it. Once the fermentation stopped I racked over to my car boy and topped it off too high so what better way to take off the top than to dip a straw in and try her out. We got some high octane tackling fuel over here boys and girls. I would assume between 18 and 21% abv. I then added my clearing agent and some campden tablets. 2 more weeks and she should be looking nice and pretty. Cheers 🍷
 

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BernardSmith

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I guess if you like the heat that a "wine" at 18% ABV or higher imparts, more power to ya, but in my opinion, wine is really all about balance and balance includes how the fruit flavors and aromas sit with the alcohol and how both flavor and alcohol dance with the acidity and tannic bite and how all four snuggle together with the sweetness and viscosity. That said, I am not convinced that any single fruit or blend of fruit will have the intensity of flavor and the lingering finish that warrants 18% ABV... Wine ain't Talisker but it's your wine and if you and those you share it with enjoy that sort of experience then I bows to yer preferences.
 

AJH89

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I guess if you like the heat that a "wine" at 18% ABV or higher imparts, more power to ya, but in my opinion, wine is really all about balance and balance includes how the fruit flavors and aromas sit with the alcohol and how both flavor and alcohol dance with the acidity and tannic bite and how all four snuggle together with the sweetness and viscosity. That said, I am not convinced that any single fruit or blend of fruit will have the intensity of flavor and the lingering finish that warrants 18% ABV... Wine ain't Talisker but it's your wine and if you and those you share it with enjoy that sort of experience then I bows to yer preferences.
I can definitely get behind that, but I do like my wine abv content higher than most. With that being said, I'll know at the bottling stage if I like it at this percentage or not. My strawberry wine was around the same percentage and everyone loved it including myself. I will say when I tasted this one after racking over it did taste perhaps maybe a little too strong for my liking on this one. What do you like your dragons blood abv at @BernardSmith ?
 

BernardSmith

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Don't know that I have ever made a wine with the same ingredients as "Dragon's Blood" but for me every wine - whether made from grapes, or berries or stone fruit or even bananas or honey or flowers - is going to be around 12% ABV. In other words, my must is designed to have an SG of between 1.090 and 1.100. Sometimes that might mean that I freeze the fruit juice and then allow the frozen juice to thaw as I collect it and so remove some of the water; and sometimes that might mean I will be adding sugar to flowers (think dandelions, hibiscus, elderflowers, heather) Sometimes that will mean I will be diluting honey 1: 3 etc. But (and this is me) If I want a stronger drink than 12- 13% ABV I will pour myself a shot of scotch. BUT if I want to drink something with a meal I will crack open a bottle of wine AND if I want to drink to quench a thirst I will pour myself a hard cider or a session wine (around 5 or 6% ABV). But at 18% ABV (36 proof) that is for sipping and not drinking.
 

winemaker81

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@AJH89, it will be interesting to hear about the reaction to the DB.

"Balance" in wine is an odd thing and not necessarily easy to gauge. I have a Merlot & Zinfandel, both ~15.7% ABV -- the Merlot tastes hot while the Zinfandel doesn't. [Both grapes were high brix, in future situations I'll dilute the must with acidulated water to reduce brix]

For me, port-style wines at 18-21% ABV smell and taste fine while the wines an acquaintance made (he chaptalized everything to 30-32 brix) smelled like jet fuel and burned going down. Oddly enough, I prefer bourbon, Scotch, Irish whiskey, gin, and tequila at 80 proof and they don't burn the way his wines did.

My nephew gave me a bottle of his watermelon wine, at 18% ABV and very sweet. For my tastes that's a dessert wine and I'll probably decant half into a split for later consumption. For him? It's table wine. :)
 

AJH89

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Update-
My dragons blood is complete and bottled! I'm pleasantly surprised. It taste great. 4 weeks ago when I had just racked over from my primary to my carboy I took a taste test and it was quite "hot" and not in a good way. I could only mainly taste alcohol. Shockingly I guess 4 weeks of aging was all it needed to bring out more flavor. I can taste the fruity notes much more now and not much of an alcohol bite at all. I can tell I'll have to be careful when drinking this cause it is quite tasty, lol. Very interested to see what it taste like in 6 months! Cheers 🍇🍷
 

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AJH89

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You are correct Dawg. I have been following your advice with a few others on this site that I could tell are knowledgeable. I will say this. Everyone has different advice and it all boils down to outside experience, self experience and preference. It's been quite a learning journey for me but I finally feel I'm exiting the realm of having to rely on the experts and it'sbecome obviousfor me on what stepsto take to make my wine a certainway, I'm getting into the realm of personal trial and error on what I feel is how I'd like my wine to be (it feels pretty awesome) or even making batch on how friends might like it. All in all wine crafting has become a part of my lifestyle and it's been enjoyable for me and my tasters 😎🍷
 
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