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A few questions, newbie here

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Hi everyone, i'm very glad to have found this forum as I'm new to wine kit making.

First, I am on my second kit. My first one was a Cabernet-Sauvignon and it went well, maybe an after taste that I can't describe but overall it was nice for my first time.

Now i'm on a Vieux Château du Roi in my primary fermenter, it does a lot of bubbles and sizzle so I guess the yeast are working hard.

My question is if I want to make it stronger, is it okay to add sugar so the yeast will increase alcool degree ?

If yes, what kinda sugar ? Ordinary sugar or fructose/glucose ?
If it's okay, do I have to add more yeast ?

Currently, I am using Lalvin EC-1118.

Thank you for any help, I know there are a lot of expert here :)
 

salcoco

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first off do you have a hydrometer? most sugar additions should be done with a sugar hydrometer monitoring specific gravity levels. you can add regular table sugar no additional yeast is required. nominally your kit should have a sg=1.092 that Will yield a 12% abv. to raise the specific gravity .020 5 cups sugar for 5 gallons should do the trick your hydrometer has a scale giving potential alcohol for specific gravity. if not Google for a table.
 
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Thanks for the quick reply :)
Yes I do have a hydrometer, my first batch started out at 1,080 and it was 0,992 at the end (the instructions said that I must have 0,996), not sure how much alcohol it makes because i am not very comfortable with the % reading (it has both reading) but I do know that I have to take it easy on drinking , kinda strong but like I said, it has an after taste that I can't describe.
It is not that bad but not perfect.
I followed all the instructions given in the kit.
I also did make my bentonite with hot water and did care about the temperature when I added up water to 30L , just to make sure I was between 78F/80F so the yeast could work faster.

So , normal sugar is okay ?
My kit makes 8 gallons.

Thanks !
 
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Also , do I have to add the sugar at the beginning ? or I can add later (if there are still yeast activity)
 

sour_grapes

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Couple of replies and observations:

-Yes, you can use ordinary table sugar.

-You do not need to add it in the beginning. But you should add it while the primary fermentation is going strong. I would say, ohh, while your SG is still above 1.030 or so.

-You can figure out the ABV by this formula (assuming you add all sugar in the beginning): ABV = (Starting SG - Final SG)*131. Then you don't have to worry about the % reading on the hydrometer.

-Where did you get a 30 L or 8 gallon Vieux Château du Roi kit? I have only heard of 23 L kits.
 
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Oh i'm sorry !!!! yes this is 23L, i made a mistake between the total wine/water and the primary bucket (that could hold 30L).

Ok so I can use table sugar and add it when it still bubbling (like right now, I've started my batch last Thursday, 3 days ago)

I will try on my next kit. Thank you for the help
 

Rice_Guy

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Also , do I have to add the sugar at the beginning ? or I can add later (if there are still yeast activity)
it Is easier on the yeast if you start at 1.08 to 1.10 gravity and periodically feed sugar, most yeast will poison themselves above 15% alcohol, therefore an alcohol tolerant yeast as Pasteur champagne is needed. You can have alcohol tolerant yeast added on top of what came with the kit. The stronger yeast will wind up finishing the fermentation.
Doing back sweetening I have always had active yeast at 7 to 8 months , , , so no need to add more yeast. Above 8 months from when the yeast was fed the yeast is starving off so the fermentation might get stuck.
We had a very nice blue ribbon port in contest last month which used the periodic sugar addition technique. It was fed for 2 months after the initial fermentation was started.
 
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BernardSmith

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Hi Eyota_Standing_Bear and welcome. Here's just a thought - and of course feel free to dismiss it as irrelevant. It is after all just a thought offered in friendship.

The thing about kits is that the manufacturer of the kits has worked hard to design a product that for the money you spend is nicely balanced on several key axes. These critical axes include, the richness of the flavor, the level of alcohol, the acidity of the wine and the final sweetness. And this balance is the secret to all wine making. As wine makers, we are looking for that "sweet spot" where alcohol, the perception of sweetness, the zing of the acidity and the richness of flavor (and I might add , mouthfeel) all feel just "right". If the kit manufacturer is offering you juice designed to produce a wine with a specific starting gravity , say, about 1.090 - and I am not familiar with your kit: my own interest is in making country wines (from fruit) and wines from honey (mead) - that is because the manufacturer considers the best balance of these factors to shine through when the the sugars from the grapes have all been fermented and the final ABV is about 11- 12%. When you add sugar you increase the potential ABV but you don't boost the flavor, the acidity or the final sweetness, so you take something that may be well-balanced and you unbalance it. Now, shifting the balance designed by the makers of the kit may or may not be an excellent idea but if you are new to wine making, and you have not spent any time struggling to balance and re-balance wines you make all the time, my money is on you not improving on the kit maker's product. So all that said, the question I would ask myself , if I were you, is ...why do I want to increase the amount of alcohol in this wine?
 

BernardSmith

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absolutely possible - like driving at 90 MPH in Manhattan. Possible... but would you really want to do it? And , of course, there are folk who would...
 

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