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A Couple Beginner Questions

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winemanden

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Adding sugar? Personally, just my taste of course, I think a lot of fruit wines are spoiled by too much alcohol. Over 12% ABV is too high for dry wines. Sweet wines yes. I'm not saying you shouldn't sweeten up your wines. In a lot of cases it does make a big difference. Maybe it's just my weird preference, but I often do want to drink more than one glass with my meals. Social drinking, I love sweet wines with a good ABV, but not with my dinner.
 

Rice_Guy

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From an industry point of view, it would be wasting time unless it was for a paper in Journal of Food science and even there since the goal is for the audience to believe a foot note pointing out that grape and country wine follow the rule would pass.

View attachment 64995
the key is TA is a tool which is useful in producing acceptable product
 

justsipn

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Adding sugar? Personally, just my taste of course, I think a lot of fruit wines are spoiled by too much alcohol. Over 12% ABV is too high for dry wines. Sweet wines yes. I'm not saying you shouldn't sweeten up your wines. In a lot of cases it does make a big difference. Maybe it's just my weird preference, but I often do want to drink more than one glass with my meals. Social drinking, I love sweet wines with a good ABV, but not with my dinner.
So, do you think sweetening it reduces the flavor of the alcohol?
 

Chuck E

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So, do you think sweetening it reduces the flavor of the alcohol?
Based on my bench testing, I think a tiny amount of sugar brings out the fruitiness of the wine. After my wines have aged 6+ months, if they still taste "sharp" or tart, I go for back sweetening.
 

BernardSmith

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The thing about wine is balance and so it's not so much a matter of sugar "reducing" the heat of the alcohol but when you make a wine you want a number of things to be nicely balanced - the amount of alcohol, the richness of the flavor the wine has coming from the fruit or flowers or honey or whatever is the main ingredient in the wine; the amount of acidity in the wine; the perceived sweetness; the tannin content (how astringent the wine is); and the mouthfeel (how viscous is the wine: does it coat your tongue and mouth and linger or does it simply disappear the moment you swallow). The more alcohol there is in a wine the more these other factors need to help balance the alcohol. And as Chuck E notes fruit wines (country wines) often need a little sweetness to help bring forward the flavor of the fruit.
 

Rice_Guy

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alcohol has a sweet flavor, I can graph “normal” for gravity against TA and predict an acceptable finished soda, however the TA is lower because of the effect of alcohol.
So, do you think sweetening it reduces the flavor of the alcohol?
 

winemanden

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As Chuck E and Bernard Smith point out, a touch of sugar often helps with fruit flavour. I was just voicing my opinion on fruit table wines - and that includes Grape. Table wines should enhance your dinner, not get you sloshed.
 

G259

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I suppose that all new winemakers go through that. I did, when I made one of my first wines, an apple. I finished it at 16 -17%, not great but, Woooo! I still can't get myself to go below 1.090 to start though!
 

winemanden

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I suppose that all new winemakers go through that. I did, when I made one of my first wines, an apple. I finished it at 16 -17%, not great but, Woooo! I still can't get myself to go below 1.090 to start though!
As you like it. Your wine should be made to your personal taste, after all you're going to be drinking most of it. A lot of members have criticized the late Jack Keller's recipes, but that was his taste. We're not all the same thank goodness.
My own personal taste is for table wines that are not too high ABV, but I wouldn't reject a glass of yours if you were kind enough to offer it to me.:h
 

justsipn

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Ok....I’m really confused now. Totally.

ok....I racked my rhubarb wine for the last time. I took some out to taste.
Since July 13 the SG went from .996 to 1.000. Is that possible on its own?

then, it lost almost all its taste. Seriously, it had a nice fruit flavor but bitter, now almost nothing.

So, we back sweetened it till it had almost the same flavor as before. 3/4 cup syrup.

so, we capped off the carboy and came upstairs.

we looked at the original glass of wine and it had become cloudy. It was perfectly clear.

What the heck is going on?
 

G259

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All I can say, is to backtrack to when it was clear, what was added? It's obvious that SOMETHING changed. I added lime juice to my 1 gallon wine,for acid. Cloudy now, I should have just added acid blend! It tastes good, and only 1 gallon, 'Que sera, sera'!
 
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Rice_Guy

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? Gravity with 3/4 cup syrup? you made syrup or wine conditioner? Turbidity usually goes along with adding a chemical (sorbate?)

gravity change of 0.004 testing error? cool temp will be more dense, CO2 bubbles, I look at 0.002 as normal error between two of my hygrometers and in the scheme of things 2 doesn’t matter.

loss of taste? you have a low fruit to water ratio? blowing flavor off with time over summer? oxidation from too much head space? things taste different at different times of day or what y’all ate before? thin wine doesn’t have a lot of flavor? (TA?)
 

Johnd

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Ok....I’m really confused now. Totally.

ok....I racked my rhubarb wine for the last time. I took some out to taste.
Since July 13 the SG went from .996 to 1.000. Is that possible on its own?

then, it lost almost all its taste. Seriously, it had a nice fruit flavor but bitter, now almost nothing.

So, we back sweetened it till it had almost the same flavor as before. 3/4 cup syrup.

so, we capped off the carboy and came upstairs.

we looked at the original glass of wine and it had become cloudy. It was perfectly clear.

What the heck is going on?
Did you recently put potassium sorbate in your wine to prevent restarting fermentation?
 

justsipn

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After I racked it, I added K meta and sorbate before I started adding the sugar. I made a sugar syrup like was described in this thread with one cup water and two cups sugar. Heating and stirring till clear then let cool to room temp.

I forgot to check SG after I added the sugar. I’ll do that tonight.

Ive always had a pretty good fruit flavor and I’ve always topped off the carboy with purchased wine, not water. So, I’m not sure how if could have become lighter or diluted.

I’ve had it topped off all the way up to the small neck for a long time. So, maybe a couple inches below the airlock.
 
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Johnd

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After I racked it, I added K meta and sorbate before I started adding the sugar. I made a sugar syrup like was described in this thread with one cup water and two cups sugar. Heating and stirring till clear then let cool to room temp.

I forgot to check SG after I added the sugar. I’ll do that tonight.
Good. I’ve sweetened lotsa stuff over the years and never had a clouding issue, never used simple syrup, just straight sugar, though that shouldn’t be an issue.
 

justsipn

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Good. I’ve sweetened lotsa stuff over the years and never had a clouding issue, never used simple syrup, just straight sugar, though that shouldn’t be an issue.
the cloudiness was in my control glass. The one that didn’t get sweetened.
 

winemanden

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the cloudiness was in my control glass. The one that didn’t get sweetened.
The old lady who first showed me how to make country wines, way back last mid century, used to put a glass of her wine on the mantelpiece with a beer mat on top and leave it for a day. She said that if it turns cloudy, or a drastic colour change, or throws a deposit, then your wine is not ready. Not very scientific, she never heard of a hydrometer, but it seemed to work for her. She did make some wonderful wines though.
 

KCCam

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It's obvious that SOMETHING changed.
I agree with @G259, SOMETHING changed. 2 things that come to mind for the cloudiness are temperature (colder or warmer), and is there possibly any chance the glass wasn’t clean? Dust? Soap residue? Etc. Can you repeat the effect? Adding syrup is unlikely to reduce cloudiness.

As for SG: measurement error is certainly possible. It doesn’t take much extra weight (water drops from rinsing the hydrometer) to reduce the reading, or buoyancy (bubbles from CO2) to raise it. Also make sure the hydrometer bulb is not touching the side of the test jar. Check the hydrometer in plain water. Tap water is fine as long as it’s at room temperature, it should be the same every time you check it, not necessarily 1.000. If it’s not measurement error, then again, SOMETHING has changed. Temperature is unlikely the culprit as it takes about 8°F to change 0.001. To raise the SG, something with a higher density is being added (what’s the SG of the wine you use to top up?), or something is being removed (evaporation? - unlikely), or some chemical reaction is taking place to produce a more dense liquid.

Have you ruled out a practical joke? I could see this as being a VERY easy way for someone to get a LOT of laughs! 🤣
 

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