About to attempt my first wine batch

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MeaghanRae

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Hi Everyone,

Tomorrow morning we are heading out to do some strawberry picking!

We’ll be making some jam but I would like to try and make a gallon of strawberry wine.

I have been doing some reading and am piecing together a recipe for myself. I have cut and pasted it below and would really love if you would look it over so I can avoid making any newbie mistakes

Thank-you!

Meaghan

Strawberry Wine

1. Sit out one gallon of water in pot - let chlorine dissipate overnight.

2. 4-5lbs strawberries cleaned chopped, mashed and put in sanitized bucked. Put in mesh bag or nylon to save on some straining later.

3. 2 lbs of white sugar poured in water. Just shy of 1 gallon of water - bring to boil until sugar is dissolved.
Question: Is this enough sugar? Does it matter here that I like dry wine?


4. Pour the boiled sugar and water solution over the strawberries, mix and squeeze juices out.


5. Once cool - add the acid blend, yeast nutrient, tannin and Campden tablet. Put the lid on the fermenter with an airlock and leave for 24 hours.


1 teaspoon of acid blend
Question: Is this really citric acid? I have that but if I didn’t could I use lemon? Is there a PH level I am trying to achieve?

Yeast nutrient
Question: I bought yeast nutrient but I am not sure how much to add it and what it’s job is.


1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of tannin
Question: What does tannin actually do in wine? Can I use tea?If so what kind? How much etc?

1 Crushed campden tab (per gallon)
Question: I understand this clears any naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria. Correct?


6. Leave all mixture in bucket with airlock for 24 hours


7. Add Pectic acid and yeast


Pectic enzyme
Question: I understand this will clear out any clouding. Correct?

Question: How much am I adding?



Wine yeast
Add one pack to half cup of water for 5 minutes - let bloom - add to bucket and stir.
Question: Is it okay to add this at the same time as the peptic enzyme?

Question: how much yeast do you really need for one gallon?



8. Allow fermentation to go on for a week and stir once every one or two days.

9. After a week lift out the straining bag with the pulp and allow to drain as much as possible, avoid squeezing the bag.

10. Take a hydrometer reading, if the wine is below 1.010 specific gravity rack the wine into a sanitised demijohn. If not leave for a further few days and check the gravity again. Once racked attach a bung and airlock and leave.

Wait for at least 2 months or more and the wine can then be reracked off the sediment. You can wait for the strawberry wine to completely clear before racking to a new vessel. After this either let it age further for a few months or bottle.
 

hounddawg

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everybody is different, but in my strawberry wines i put the strawberries in freezer for about 24 hours, and in ferment i stir to get as much oxygen as possible into must during ferment, at .996 rack to secondary then airlock
dawg
 

MeaghanRae

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everybody is different, but in my strawberry wines i put the strawberries in freezer for about 24 hours, and in ferment i stir to get as much oxygen as possible into must during ferment, at .996 rack to secondary then airlock
dawg
everybody is different, but in my strawberry wines i put the strawberries in freezer for about 24 hours, and in ferment i stir to get as much oxygen as possible into must during ferment, at .996 rack to secondary then airlock
dawg
Thanks for that advise. Will do!
 

iridium

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This is a great start. I think a recipe gives you some good guidelines, but here is some stuff I have learned and picked from the forums that I think would be helpful:

1. Generally when making fruit wines it is good to aim for 8-10 pounds of fruit per gallon. This will give a stronger fruit taste to the finished wine.
2. Add sugar to reach your desired alcohol by volume (ABV) of the finished wine. This is done by taking an initial reading with your hydrometer and then assuming that you will ferment the wine to dry (meaning no residual sugar left). A hydrometer reading at dry will be in the range of .994-.996. The difference between your two hydrometer readings can be used to calculate (online calculators) the ABV of the wine. Many of the experienced fruit winemakers on this forum aim for a 10-12% ABV for fruit wines. I have found that to be a great target as well. I don't want to overwhelm the fruit flavor of the wine.
3. Yes you can use lemon juice for acid. However, do you need to add acid? You would like a fruit wine to have a pH of between 3.3-3.4 or in that range. If your strawberries are already in that acid range, you don't necessarily need to add any more acid. When I was researching blueberry wines on this forum, another poster pointed out that they followed a blueberry recipe and added acid to blueberries that were already at 3.0 pH and didn't need any acid. Too much acid can inhibit fermentation (if I remember correctly).
4. Tannin is if you want tannins in your wine. Tannins generally come from oak. I don't oak my fruit wines, but that is a taste preference.
5. I squeeze the bag as much as possible. I don't want to leave any fruit juice or color or other goodness imparted by the fruit. If you get any bits of strawberry in the wine, it will settle out and can be eliminated by subsequent rackings.
6. I wait until the hydrometer has the same reading three days in a row before I rack to a carboy to let it settle and degas.
7. Campden tablets are there to kill off any wild yeast that my settle into your must before you pitch your desired yeast. Add crushed campden tablets 24 hours before pitching your own yeast.
8. Watch the fermentation temperature. You don't want it too hot or too cold. The yeast should have information on the packet of desired temperature range.
9. Stir the wine every day to prevent the strawberry bits that rise to the top from going bad. The CO2 in the wine will protect against oxidation. Also stirring incorporates oxygen into the fermentation to help the yeast out.
10. Pectic enzyme will help break down the fruit during fermentation. I add it pre-fermentation rather than post fermentation.
11. Generally I rack after active fermentation has stopped (three days of same hydrometer readings). Then I rack again about 3 weeks later to get off the gross lees, the really big pieces that settle out. Then rack every three months to get off the fine lees. At each racking, if making a one gallon batch, add one crushed campden tablet. This will add sulphites to the wine to preserve the wine.
12. Taste the wine after all CO2 has left, several months later, and then back sweeten if you want to bring out the fruit flavor. I have yet to make a fruit wine that didn't need some level of back sweetening.

Hope this helps and good luck.
 

MeaghanRae

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I really want to thank-you for taking the time to send me this helpful info. I’m going to incorporate all of these suggestions and get started. Can’t wait to start my first experiment!

Wish me luck and thanks so much again.
 

stickman

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The small amount of tannin in this recipe is not intended to add flavor, it will help with clarification; the tannin combines with protein and falls to the bottom during settling.
 

G259

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Good luck, if it comes up short of you expectations, try again and ask here, 'The learning process'!
 
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@MeaghanRae, I think I hit all your questions, plus a few you didn't ask.

All amounts I mention below are based upon what I know. Check the package to see what dosage is recommended, and if that differs from what I said, go with the package amount.

I agree, 4 to 5 lbs of fruit is a minimum. More fruit gives you more fruit flavor.

Use the ripest fruit you can.

Two to 2.25 lbs of sugar is typical per gallon of water for a fruit wine. Once everything is mixed, check the Specific Gravity (SG) so you will know your starting point. If the SG is below 1.075, bump it a bit. I wouldn't go above 1.090, but that's a personal choice.

Do the SG check after step 4 but before step 5.

Unless your SG is really high, the wine will ferment to dryness (0.990 - 0.996). Non-grape wines benefit from a bit of residual sweetness, it helps bring the fruit wine out. Before sweetening, add 1/2 tsp potassium sorbate and 1 campden (ground). This will prevent renewed fermentation. Also check the sorbate package -- the one I buy calls for 1/2 tsp/gallon, but other brands may vary.

If you want the wine off-dry, I recommend adding 1/4 cup sugar syrup, stir really well, and taste. When you think it needs just a bit more, stop. The wine will probably develop fruitiness in the bottle.

You can squeeze a lemon into the wine; however, using acid blend (which is a mixture of tartaric, citric, and (I think) malic acids) helps ensure the acid level is correct. When I make metheglin (mead with spices) I clean the lemons, squeeze them, then add the juice and rind to the fermenter.

Yeast nutrient is basically a vitamin shot for yeast that helps ensure the environment (your must) is well suited for yeast to live in. Without knowing which one you purchased, I don't know how much to add. I use Fermax, which is 1 tsp/gallon.

Tannin helps with clearing and adds a bit more body to the wine. I have no idea if tea can be used.

Campden introduces SO2 into the wine, which inhibits wild yeasts and bacteria. It may kill some, but in this case, its job is to inhibit wild ones so your cultured yeast can get a start. Most commercial yeasts beat out their wild cousins and are SO2 tolerant.

Pectic enzyme breaks down fruit pectins, which supposedly helps with color extraction. If the pectins "gel" in the wine, this will clear them. How much to add depends, but it's probably 1 tsp/gallon.

A packet of yeast is good for up to 5 or 6 gallons. While you can try to use a partial packet, once opened the remaining yeast will lose efficacy. Given the low cost of yeast in comparison to the other ingredients, I don't recommend trying to save part of the packet for later use.

STIR DAILY, punching the cap down. If you're using a bag, flip it over and make sure it's wet. If it starts to dry out, you can get mold and mildew growing, which is a very bad thing.

DO NOT go by time. Use your hydrometer, start checking on day 4. When the SG is around 1.010, remove the fruit bag and squeeze out the liquid. This is going to add sediment to your wine, but it will settle out.

Place the wine in a gallon/4 liter jug with an airlock. Put any excess in a smaller bottle. Following the first racking, I leave a few inches of head space at the top of all containers, as the fermentation is still active and produces a cushion of CO2. If you don't, the wine may bubble over and make a mess.

Check the SG in a week, and if it's at 0.996 or below, fermentation is probably done. You'll have a fair amount of sediment. Rack it off the sediment, add a crushed Campden, and put it back into the jug, this time fill it to the neck. Excess goes in smaller bottles with a similarly small head space.

Air is your enemy. If you don't have enough to fill the jug, top it with a mild white wine, or commercial strawberry wine if you can find it.

More sediment will drop and the wine may need racking again in 3 weeks or so. Add a crushed campden each time you rack.

One controversial step -- after the second racking, I stir the wine like is indicated for kit wines. This drives off the CO2, which makes the wine clear faster. At this point I typically add a fining agent such as bentonite or SuperKleer (kieselsol/chitosan). The stirring/fining is a personal choice -- I do it as the wine clears faster.

EDIT: the last paragraph read SO2, which is wrong.
 
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BTW: I use a Fermtech wine thief. Make sure it is clean, inside and out, and I douse both it and the hydrometer with K-meta (potassium metabisulfite solution). After checking the SG, the lever at the bottom can be pressed against the container to release the wine back into the container, with very little air contact.
 

DizzyIzzy

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Hi Everyone,

Tomorrow morning we are heading out to do some strawberry picking!

We’ll be making some jam but I would like to try and make a gallon of strawberry wine.

I have been doing some reading and am piecing together a recipe for myself. I have cut and pasted it below and would really love if you would look it over so I can avoid making any newbie mistakes

Thank-you!

Meaghan

Strawberry Wine

1. Sit out one gallon of water in pot - let chlorine dissipate overnight.

2. 4-5lbs strawberries cleaned chopped, mashed and put in sanitized bucked. Put in mesh bag or nylon to save on some straining later.

3. 2 lbs of white sugar poured in water. Just shy of 1 gallon of water - bring to boil until sugar is dissolved.
Question: Is this enough sugar? Does it matter here that I like dry wine?


4. Pour the boiled sugar and water solution over the strawberries, mix and squeeze juices out.


5. Once cool - add the acid blend, yeast nutrient, tannin and Campden tablet. Put the lid on the fermenter with an airlock and leave for 24 hours.


1 teaspoon of acid blend
Question: Is this really citric acid? I have that but if I didn’t could I use lemon? Is there a PH level I am trying to achieve?

Yeast nutrient
Question: I bought yeast nutrient but I am not sure how much to add it and what it’s job is.

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of tannin
Question: What does tannin actually do in wine? Can I use tea?If so what kind? How much etc?

1 Crushed campden tab (per gallon)
Question: I understand this clears any naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria. Correct?


6. Leave all mixture in bucket with airlock for 24 hours


7. Add Pectic acid and yeast


Pectic enzyme
Question: I understand this will clear out any clouding. Correct?

Question: How much am I adding?



Wine yeast
Add one pack to half cup of water for 5 minutes - let bloom - add to bucket and stir.
Question: Is it okay to add this at the same time as the peptic enzyme?

Question: how much yeast do you really need for one gallon?



8. Allow fermentation to go on for a week and stir once every one or two days.

9. After a week lift out the straining bag with the pulp and allow to drain as much as possible, avoid squeezing the bag.

10. Take a hydrometer reading, if the wine is below 1.010 specific gravity rack the wine into a sanitised demijohn. If not leave for a further few days and check the gravity again. Once racked attach a bung and airlock and leave.

Wait for at least 2 months or more and the wine can then be reracked off the sediment. You can wait for the strawberry wine to completely clear before racking to a new vessel. After this either let it age further for a few months or bottle.
Hi Meghan, welcome to the forum! There are a couple of things I would like to address initially: (1) Have you considered purchasing one gallon of Spring water from Walmart @ a cost of 80 cents? (Then you won't have to be concerned over chlorine or any other contaminants that might be in your city water that you might not want in your wine. (2) Most of us seem to cover our primary ferment with a fine cloth to provide oxygenation to the must. When you rack into the secondary you apply the lid and airlock with sanitizer solution inside the airlock. (3) Why not leave the bag of strawberries in the must during the primary fermentation so as to extract as much of the strawberry flavor as possible? (4) You should probably have more strawberries also to increase flavor. That's all for now, I'll check back in later.....................Dizzy
 

DizzyIzzy

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@MeaghanRae, I think I hit all your questions, plus a few you didn't ask.

All amounts I mention below are based upon what I know. Check the package to see what dosage is recommended, and if that differs from what I said, go with the package amount.

I agree, 4 to 5 lbs of fruit is a minimum. More fruit gives you more fruit flavor.

Use the ripest fruit you can.

Two to 2.25 lbs of sugar is typical per gallon of water for a fruit wine. Once everything is mixed, check the Specific Gravity (SG) so you will know your starting point. If the SG is below 1.075, bump it a bit. I wouldn't go above 1.090, but that's a personal choice.

Do the SG check after step 4 but before step 5.

Unless your SG is really high, the wine will ferment to dryness (0.990 - 0.996). Non-grape wines benefit from a bit of residual sweetness, it helps bring the fruit wine out. Before sweetening, add 1/2 tsp potassium sorbate and 1 campden (ground). This will prevent renewed fermentation. Also check the sorbate package -- the one I buy calls for 1/2 tsp/gallon, but other brands may vary.

If you want the wine off-dry, I recommend adding 1/4 cup sugar syrup, stir really well, and taste. When you think it needs just a bit more, stop. The wine will probably develop fruitiness in the bottle.

You can squeeze a lemon into the wine; however, using acid blend (which is a mixture of tartaric, citric, and (I think) malic acids) helps ensure the acid level is correct. When I make metheglin (mead with spices) I clean the lemons, squeeze them, then add the juice and rind to the fermenter.

Yeast nutrient is basically a vitamin shot for yeast that helps ensure the environment (your must) is well suited for yeast to live in. Without knowing which one you purchased, I don't know how much to add. I use Fermax, which is 1 tsp/gallon.

Tannin helps with clearing and adds a bit more body to the wine. I have no idea if tea can be used.

Campden introduces SO2 into the wine, which inhibits wild yeasts and bacteria. It may kill some, but in this case, its job is to inhibit wild ones so your cultured yeast can get a start. Most commercial yeasts beat out their wild cousins and are SO2 tolerant.

Pectic enzyme breaks down fruit pectins, which supposedly helps with color extraction. If the pectins "gel" in the wine, this will clear them. How much to add depends, but it's probably 1 tsp/gallon.

A packet of yeast is good for up to 5 or 6 gallons. While you can try to use a partial packet, once opened the remaining yeast will lose efficacy. Given the low cost of yeast in comparison to the other ingredients, I don't recommend trying to save part of the packet for later use.

STIR DAILY, punching the cap down. If you're using a bag, flip it over and make sure it's wet. If it starts to dry out, you can get mold and mildew growing, which is a very bad thing.

DO NOT go by time. Use your hydrometer, start checking on day 4. When the SG is around 1.010, remove the fruit bag and squeeze out the liquid. This is going to add sediment to your wine, but it will settle out.

Place the wine in a gallon/4 liter jug with an airlock. Put any excess in a smaller bottle. Following the first racking, I leave a few inches of head space at the top of all containers, as the fermentation is still active and produces a cushion of CO2. If you don't, the wine may bubble over and make a mess.

Check the SG in a week, and if it's at 0.996 or below, fermentation is probably done. You'll have a fair amount of sediment. Rack it off the sediment, add a crushed Campden, and put it back into the jug, this time fill it to the neck. Excess goes in smaller bottles with a similarly small head space.

Air is your enemy. If you don't have enough to fill the jug, top it with a mild white wine, or commercial strawberry wine if you can find it.

More sediment will drop and the wine may need racking again in 3 weeks or so. Add a crushed campden each time you rack.

One controversial step -- after the second racking, I stir the wine like is indicated for kit wines. This drives off the SO2, which makes the wine clear faster. At this point I typically add a fining agent such as bentonite or SuperKleer (kieselsol/chitosan). The stirring/fining is a personal choice -- I do it as the wine clears faster.
Winemaker81, you must be a teacher by profession.? I think you did an excellent job of breaking down each facet of the winemaking process for someone to understand clearly (who had no prior knowledge) of the subject. I am sure she appreciates your instruction. I hope she does what I do which is printing off the instructions I need, and placing them in a dedicated WMT binder. (My binder is so full I will probably have to buy another) LOL. Good job Winemaker..................Dizzy
 

hounddawg

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Hi Meghan, welcome to the forum! There are a couple of things I would like to address initially: (1) Have you considered purchasing one gallon of Spring water from Walmart @ a cost of 80 cents? (Then you won't have to be concerned over chlorine or any other contaminants that might be in your city water that you might not want in your wine. (2) Most of us seem to cover our primary ferment with a fine cloth to provide oxygenation to the must. When you rack into the secondary you apply the lid and airlock with sanitizer solution inside the airlock. (3) Why not leave the bag of strawberries in the must during the primary fermentation so as to extract as much of the strawberry flavor as possible? (4) You should probably have more strawberries also to increase flavor. That's all for now, I'll check back in later.....................Dizzy
you know, I should not take my water for granted, i read on here how people has to do this or do that with water, in the Ozarks it is limestone and my well is i say 243 feet deep, but really it is 243 feet to the water, water ran through limestone is called sweetwater, reading on here reminds me just how blessed i really am,
dawg
 
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Winemaker81, you must be a teacher by profession.?
Not exactly. My day job is IT, I'm a project manager, business/technical analyst, developer, and (occasionally) tech writer. That said, I have 30+ years experience in teaching computer skills to non-IT people, many of which have trouble wrapping their heads around technical concepts that are far removed from their day jobs. I developed the ability to write clear instruction from the POV of a non-technical audience. Looks like it paid off in ways I didn't expect!

;)

My eldest is ready to bottle his first wine, a Shiraz kit. He made a few minor mistakes along the way, which proves that while he's helped me for years, until you're doing it yourself, some things just don't sink in. If anything, this makes me more cognizant of how much jargon experienced winemakers do not realize we are using.
 

MeaghanRae

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Thanks to you all. I am reading some of these great replies the day after experiment number 1.

I feel like a non tech person trying to understand something new so the advice here has been helpful.

Okay, I’m just going to be honest. Here’s what happened....

I had ordered a variety of bottles and one bucket.

I wish I could tell you I used the bucket for my strawberry wine but I am afraid I used the two glass widemouth carboys yesterday.

It looked like when I would pull the strawberries out of the bottle the liquid line will drop by 1/3.

So here’s what I did.... I figured that the straw berries and liquid and etc had been sitting in the carboys for about 12 hours...

I decided it probably was not to late to clean a food grade bucket and throw it all back in there. I knew how much sugar and water I had left in my pot (that I couldn’t fit in the bottles) so I tried to mix that up again. Won’t be perfect but it’s close I think....

I wasn’t sure if I should / could use another campden tablet. I crushed one more and threw it in.

So, now in the bucket I have:

About 2 gallons of water
About 4 lbs of sugar
13 lbs of mashed up strawberries
3 campden tablets (2 and then 1 more about 12 hours later)

and I bought the wrong hydrometer apparently.

A new one has been ordered and won’t arrive until Monday.

Have I made a disaster of it? If not what’s my next step?
 
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Nope! No disaster.

You didn't need the 3rd Campden, but it's not an issue. If you haven't added yeast, wait until tomorrow. Moving to a food grade bucket was a good idea.

I suggest you reserve a quart of the liquid and refrigerate it. You can test the SG when your hydrometer arrives, then add that to the fermenter, although I'd let it warm to room temperature before adding it.

You should be fine.
 

MeaghanRae

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Okay perfect. That’s great and so smart to save some of the liquid to test. That never occurred to me at all!

Huge thanks!
M
 

hounddawg

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Not exactly. My day job is IT, I'm a project manager, business/technical analyst, developer, and (occasionally) tech writer. That said, I have 30+ years experience in teaching computer skills to non-IT people, many of which have trouble wrapping their heads around technical concepts that are far removed from their day jobs. I developed the ability to write clear instruction from the POV of a non-technical audience. Looks like it paid off in ways I didn't expect!

;)

My eldest is ready to bottle his first wine, a Shiraz kit. He made a few minor mistakes along the way, which proves that while he's helped me for years, until you're doing it yourself, some things just don't sink in. If anything, this makes me more cognizant of how much jargon experienced winemakers do not realize we are using.
my nephew has help me for a few years, he's getting strawberries and peaches to do his own wines, i got several extra new premium italian carboys, so i told him he could use all my equipment and i'd watch him, but he'll be doing the whole ball of wax, lock stock an barrel,
dawg
 

iridium

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Don't forget to put a towel or some other cover over the bucket. Don't snap the lid down because you need the CO2 to escape as fermentation occurs.

Also I use small packages of yeast and just sprinkle them into the must (that is what the fruit, water and juice mixture is called pre-fermentation). I have not had luck with re-hydrating yeast. Either way, have patience with fermentation. Some of my fermentations look like they are barely working, others have quite the foam build up. Keys to look for to confirm fermentation is working:
What does it smell like? It should smell like break baking or rising. That will indicate that fermentation is occurring.

When you stir the must, does it create a lot of little bubbles that create a fizzing action? That indicates that CO2 is being generated and the stirring action is releasing it.

Also does the fruit constantly rise to the top, that would also indicate that fermentation is occurring.

Lastly, and most importantly, what does the hydrometer say? If it is continually dropping, even if it is slow, that absolutely indicates that fermentation is occurring.

Let us know how it turns out.
 

sour_grapes

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my nephew has help me for a few years, he's getting strawberries and peaches to do his own wines, i got several extra new premium italian carboys, so i told him he could use all my equipment and i'd watch him, but he'll be doing the whole ball of wax, lock stock an barrel,
dawg

That sounds like a good way to teach.

The way I teach someone a practical skill is in three steps:
-First time: I do everything, and I tell you what I am doing and why.
-Second time: You do it, but I tell you what to do next and why.
-Third time: You do it, and before you take the next step, you tell me what you are going to do next. I will say as little as possible. (Although you guys know me, I cannot keep all that quiet during step 3! :) )
 

MeaghanRae

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Thanks to you all. I am reading some of these great replies the day after experiment 1

Okay so here’s what happened....

I had ordered a variety of bottles and one bucket.

I wish I could tell you I used the bucket for my strawberry wine but I am afraid I used the two glass widemouth carboys...

So it looked like when I would pull the strawberries out of the bottle the liquid line will drop by 1/3.

So here’s what I did. I figured that the straw berries and liquid and etc had been sitting in the carboys for about 12 hours...

I decided it probably was not to late to clean a food grade bucket and throw it all back in there. I knew how much sugar and water I had left in my pot so I tried to mix that up again. Won’t be perfect but I think it would be close. Then I
Don't forget to put a towel or some other cover over the bucket. Don't snap the lid down because you need the CO2 to escape as fermentation occurs.

Also I use small packages of yeast and just sprinkle them into the must (that is what the fruit, water and juice mixture is called pre-fermentation). I have not had luck with re-hydrating yeast. Either way, have patience with fermentation. Some of my fermentations look like they are barely working, others have quite the foam build up. Keys to look for to confirm fermentation is working:
What does it smell like? It should smell like break baking or rising. That will indicate that fermentation is occurring.

When you stir the must, does it create a lot of little bubbles that create a fizzing action? That indicates that CO2 is being generated and the stirring action is releasing it.

Also does the fruit constantly rise to the top, that would also indicate that fermentation is occurring.

Lastly, and most importantly, what does the hydrometer say? If it is continually dropping, even if it is slow, that absolutely indicates that fermentation is occurring.

Let us know how it turns out.
I was wondering about the yeast. So far, from what I have read the suggestion is to add it to water first. But the majority of videos I have watched the person just sprinkles it on.
 
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