3 year old wine kit = brown wine?

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Dec 2, 2009
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Hello everyone!

I am an avid beer brewer, but was recently given a free WineExpert White Zinfandel wine kit, 6 gallon carboy and a white plastic fermenter along with some other goodies that come with your standard wine kits.

Here's the catch...the wine kit (not the fermenting equipment but the actual grape concentrate/wine kit) was 3 years old. I was told wine kits have an 18 month shelf life, but I decided to try it anyways. Knowing the yeast was probably dead, I threw it out and bought a new packet of Red Star wine yeast.

Everything seems to be going good, and the wine actually tastes pretty decent even though it's still fermenting and tastes bubbly, almost carbonated. My concern is the color of the wine...I know it's going to appear darker in the carboy as opposed to a wine glass, but the wine is a brownish color...I can post pics if requested. Shouldn't a white zinfandel be pink? Also, when I transferred the wine from the bucket to the carboy the sediment left at the bottom was black. I'm used to beer sediment being white/grayish...I was really surprised that it was black. Could this just be because the wine kit was so old?

Thanks for any responses!
Could be. Since you went this far continue. @ each racking taste. Zinfanded is a dark color wine.
Let us know as it goes
Could be. Since you went this far continue. @ each racking taste. Zinfanded is a dark color wine.
Let us know as it goes

He says its a White Zin - which is light pink in color.

Post a picture. That would help us.
I will post a picture tonight when I get off work. It does taste good, like wine should taste, maybe not so sweet as a normal white zin but I still have the "f-pack" and a bunch of other stuff to add to it. I found it weird that it tasted carbonated, I assume because it's still fermenting and bubbling like crazy. I guess I'm used to beer being totally flat while carbonating.
It will be carbonated until you degass it. Follow instructions but increase the degassing time to 2X what they say. The Fpak will sweeten the wine. I would follow through with the kit until its done and then assess. No point in tossing it now. Even if its oxidation its still drinkable to some folks.
The WE White Zin is going to be much darker than the White Zin you buy commercial. It shouldn't look brown though.
Thanks everyone. Going to get you guys a photo now.

BTW, I wasn't considering tossing it...it has alcohol in it afterall, and me and my yeasty friends created it, so the only final destination for it is in my belly no matter how brown it is :)

I read about removing the co2 in the instructions...does that mean this is considered a sparkling wine until I degass it?
This is the best photo I could get with my phone. I'm pressed for time or I'd break out my Canon...I will get a better photo if this one is of no help.

That does not look good! Let t clear though and see how it does cause it may clear up to be better buts its surely oxidized!!!!!! Are you sure your not making a Porter? :) was it dark like this out of the bag?
So I posted the picture yesterday but it said a moderator had to approve it...hurry up mods :)
Here's the photo on facebook if you guys have that:
Last edited by a moderator:
I took off trhe facebook URL off because I can't verify it since I dont use facebook
It doesn't taste bad...not as sweet as White Zinfandel usually is but I haven't added the F-pack yet or the finings, stabilizers etc. The "carbonation" kind of threw me off since it's still fermenting. I think it's getting nearly done fermenting so I'll give it another taste when I check the gravity. It definitely is a good tasting wine though.
Hmmm, if it tastes OK, then....

But, you might want to try polyclar/pvpp, it supposedly helps to remove oxidized (brown) phenolics in wine. It will also likely strip out red/pink hues too, but it might be worth a try...you could always try it on a small portion first to see how it works.

I'm actually making a WE white merlot kit now, and it definitely looks rosey/red/pink in the fermenter, not brown.
I belive reddart is right and I have pmed someone who had this problem very recently and hopefully he'll chime in soon or pm me with the answer and if I remember correctly that was the product. Sorry I didnt notice that the pic last night wasnt visible to others and that it needed to be approved, I was very tired when I finally got home yesterday.
The product I used as Wade mentioned was Polylact - a Scott Labs product. That is composed of two products - Polyclar and lactose (powdered milk). The wine I had was very dark for the type and had an off flavor. I treated the wine as per directions and amounts at max (1 oz per 20 gallons). What a transformation. It retained all aromatics, lightened the colors and got rid of the off flavors. It looks gross when first put in the wine as it makes like cottage cheese in the wine. Within two days the wine was mostly clear. They recommend filtering which I did to 1 micron in size.

Hopefully Wade doesn't mind. I got the product in small amounts from Fallbright.com in NY. It isn't super cheap but less than throwing the wine away.......

To keep from posting a link to the store if that isn't allowed here, I will instead post a link to the instructions for it there.