Quantcast

Advise for a first timer.

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

cmason1957

CRS Sufferer
WMT Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
4,065
Reaction score
3,297
Location
O'Fallon, MO - Just NorthWest of St. Louis, MO
John, I am making fruit wines and AM looking for a high alcohol content. What makes a 15-18% not "Good"? Note: fruit wines I have made thus far are aging so I have no idea what they are going to taste like when aging is done which is the reason for my question.
Not John, but my opinion. Fruit wines are generally better at 10-12% abv to bring out the fruit taste. Generally, if you get much higher than that all you can taste, even with age and sweetening is the alcohol, which isn't that pleasant all by itself.
 

DizzyIzzy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2020
Messages
415
Reaction score
221
Location
Near Columbus, Ohio
Not John, but my opinion. Fruit wines are generally better at 10-12% abv to bring out the fruit taste. Generally, if you get much higher than that all you can taste, even with age and sweetening is the alcohol, which isn't that pleasant all by itself.
I thought the purpose of adding high proof grain alcohol was to increase the alcohol content? If that is not so, then why have the added expense of the addition of the HPA? Thanks for your response.
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
1,066
Reaction score
720
Location
Midwest
From a technical point once one is at 10% one has good micro stability. The higher the alcohol the “hotter “ the flavor, above 13 or 14 should be tastable.
From an industrial point the taxes are higher at 18% (home won’t care). Some club members and state fair samples are 18%+ in which case they are labeled as port.

The customer is always correct if you like it it is correct.
John, I am making fruit wines and AM looking for a high alcohol content. What makes a 15-18% not "Good"? Note: fruit wines I have made thus far are aging so I have no idea what they are going to taste like when aging is done which is the reason for my question.
 

sour_grapes

Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
11,459
Reaction score
9,630
Location
near Milwaukee
I thought the purpose of adding high proof grain alcohol was to increase the alcohol content? If that is not so, then why have the added expense of the addition of the HPA? Thanks for your response.
I'm unclear why you are talking about adding grain alcohol? No one was suggesting it here.... :?
 

Johnd

Senior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,606
Reaction score
6,492
Location
South Louisiana
John, I am making fruit wines and AM looking for a high alcohol content. What makes a 15-18% not "Good"? Note: fruit wines I have made thus far are aging so I have no idea what they are going to taste like when aging is done which is the reason for my question.
If you’re just stoked to make high octane hooch to get hammered on, regardless of science, art, technique, then read no further.
Glad to see you want better that that. Nothing makes it not good inherently, but it makes it challenging, I’ll explain why.
In winemaking, our challenge in making enjoyable wines, is to balance the components to achieve a harmonious, tasty, enjoyable glass of wine. We think about elements like body, ABV %, sweetness, acidity, tannins, oak, etc., and if one is out of proportion, it makes an unbalanced tasting wine. Focus on balance.
With fruit, many recipes add water, making it hard to get a lot of flavor out of fruit, which is what balances the ABV%, so care is warranted. Adding sugar brings out fruity flavors, so many wines are sweetened to bring out the fruit and balance body with alcohol (which is normally in the 10-12% range in fruit wines).
In short, it takes a big wine, or a very sweet wine to lug around 15-18% alcohol in a graceful manner.
 

G259

Senior Member
Joined
May 19, 2018
Messages
413
Reaction score
175
Location
W. MA
Lol! Early on I made an apple wine @ 16.5%, I felt that I had too! It was dry and harsh, but I got it out of my system! I'm still a little 'hot' at 14% or so, but lowering it as I go, hoping for more balance.
 

subseageorge

Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2020
Messages
36
Reaction score
6
I have just done a final rack on my 2nd batch of orange wine with the same recipe i used before. (Apart from this time i chopped the raisins which i did not before and i used all of the peel boiled in bag instead of half previously ) SG of must = 1.108 - Final SG = 990 . My wine is very bitter.
Can the peel give a bitterness to the wine or could it be the raisins ?
I am hoping it will mellow with age but compared to the first batch this is really bitter.

Thanks

George
 

subseageorge

Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2020
Messages
36
Reaction score
6
First welcome to WMT. If your orange wine tastes good you have done a good job :b . ,,, A few thoughts:

* Your starting gravity was high therefore you are stressing the yeast. It will slow down early and fermentation may have run down/ stopped all by itself.
* Your ambient temperature is high. Yeast doesn’t like 30C.
* I expect orange wine pH, without added acid, to be high ,,, closer to 4. Lemon comes in at 2.5 with a high titratable acidity. For long term storage we like white wine (fruit wine) to be 3.3 or 3.4. If you are lucky you are at goal. pH target is based on the antioxidant meta being more effective at lower pH. pH also is a preservative which prevents secondary microbial infections. This is probably going to be a good wine to drink young.
* My experience is that I always have some active yeast for six months, I expect that you see this too. The posting about CO2 is basically saying most folks agree. Sorbate immobilizes yeast so the risk is low.
You have options on bottling/ freeing up the carboy. One low tech is to down size to 3 or 4 liter glass, keep the head space low on any for storage, and cover the mouth with a balloon. A higher tech option is a felexable wine bag, if you see the bag puffing up you can burp it and one can serve directly off of the bag.
* Several posts on CO2 imply it is bad. YES you don’t want it to explode. Commercial still wine should not out gas. Hobby Vinters with Fruit wines at state fair have bubbles on the glass about 50% of the time, you wouldn’t be the first to have some left, , most of us don’t worry. From a stability point CO2 acts as a preservative (keeps the system anaerobic) to reduce oxidation and reduce the pH which delays microbial issues (again a lot of fruit wine is below 3.4 pH).
* Wine is hedonic, yup you can sweeten to get it optimum flavor. From the point of view of sweet sugar is sugar. Commercial makers avoid some sugar as honey for back sweetening since it has residual protein and makes the wine cloudy. I think palm sugar also has some residual non solubles in it, I will be interested for feed back on how clear it turns out.
*Turbidity when back sweetened is cosmetic, how pretty do you want it to be? However if you never got it clear I would question if there was a bacterial infection while percentage alcohol was low.
* A comment you will see on WMT is oxygen is your enemy. For most of us this means keep the head space low.

Welcome to wine making.
Rice guy,
I used a liquid palm sugar which is very dark almost black in colour, I added 1 litre of palm sugar after doing some taste tests with 5 x 250 ml samples. that was 2 weeks ago and it seems to have cleared right up. I will add a pic for you when i take my SG readings at the weekend.

To 250 ml i added 30 ml, 40 ml, 50 ml and 60 ml, But to my surprise there was not much difference in SG reading between them all. 1 point from 60 to 30.
Perhaps the sugar is not that pure,

Next time i will try making my own fluid with solid palm sugar and boiled water, perhaps this will be sweeter. (And have a difference to how clear the wine will end up. )

Thanks for all the information,
 

subseageorge

Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2020
Messages
36
Reaction score
6
Another question for you guys ,
IF during fermentation i have say for example 12 % ABV by using my SG readings, and it tastes ok. should i stop the fermentation at this point by adding camp den tablets. ? Or should i be using a different yeast. ? (EC-118 seems to work well in my high temperatures )
Do you think D-47 would be a better option for fresh fruit wines ?

Thanks so much for all your valuable information so far.
My first batch of orange
Bit of a mess up actually. but the wine turned out tasting ok , and only 3 bottles left . LOL
2nd Batch orange
Took more accurate readings and messed with it less, Left in fermenting bucket longer before racking. fermentation has stopped but wine has a bitter after taste even though it is sweet. (I have ordered to 5 gallon glass carboys which are very expensive once you take shipping and import tax into the equation. ( $ 350) This will save me leaving the wine in plastic fermenting buckets for so long.
Batch of Apple wine.
WOW, this turned out really well. a bit too sweet,. but is very fruity and tasty , just bottled yesterday.


 

cmason1957

CRS Sufferer
WMT Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
4,065
Reaction score
3,297
Location
O'Fallon, MO - Just NorthWest of St. Louis, MO
Campden tablets don't stop fermentation. They might slow it down some, but it really just makes the yeast unhappy. Add a home winemaker, you should set your starting sg to give you three alcohol level you want and plan to back sweeten. Our you can really increase the alcohol content with grain alcohol or some other high alcohol. You can heat it (above 140F, I think) or you can chill it, then sterile filter it, that's a 0.45 micron filter or better. Those are pretty much the choices.
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
1,066
Reaction score
720
Location
Midwest
finishing at .990 is a good fermentation
SG of must = 1.108 - Final SG = 990 .
My wine is very bitter. .Can the peel give a bitterness to the wine or could it be the raisins ? I am hoping it will mellow with age but compared to the first batch . . .
a young wine with CO2 typically is bitter. As this dissipates bitter will decrease. Kit directions suggest stirring with a plastic wine whip on a drill, lots of folks on WMT siphon under vacuum several times, commercial folks just wait and it comes out naturally.
Sugar can mask bitterness, ex sodas are typically carbonated at 2 bar pressure with enough sugar and if you let it go flat it seems unbalanced/ super sweet.

You make me wonder what the analysis of your palm syrup is like, I am guessing for microbiological stability it’s is similar to a simple syrup (sugar water 1:1 or 2:1) (viscosity is ten times greater with 2:1).
 

subseageorge

Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2020
Messages
36
Reaction score
6
Campden tablets don't stop fermentation. They might slow it down some, but it really just makes the yeast unhappy. Add a home winemaker, you should set your starting sg to give you three alcohol level you want and plan to back sweeten. Our you can really increase the alcohol content with grain alcohol or some other high alcohol. You can heat it (above 140F, I think) or you can chill it, then sterile filter it, that's a 0.45 micron filter or better. Those are pretty much the choices.
Thanks mate, So better to have less sugar at the start and add if require during and or back sweeten at the end to taste. ?
Would that be a correct?

Cheers
George
 

subseageorge

Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2020
Messages
36
Reaction score
6
finishing at .990 is a good fermentation

a young wine with CO2 typically is bitter. As this dissipates bitter will decrease. Kit directions suggest stirring with a plastic wine whip on a drill, lots of folks on WMT siphon under vacuum several times, commercial folks just wait and it comes out naturally.
Sugar can mask bitterness, ex sodas are typically carbonated at 2 bar pressure with enough sugar and if you let it go flat it seems unbalanced/ super sweet.

You make me wonder what the analysis of your palm syrup is like, I am guessing for microbiological stability it’s is similar to a simple syrup (sugar water 1:1 or 2:1) (viscosity is ten times greater with 2:1).
Thanks I hope it will get less bitter with time.
I will check it next week as i am going to leave it in the carboy until i am happy with it.
The palm sugar,
I bought some liquid palm sugar for ease of use, but im not sure how much is in it, it is pretty thick viscosity.
I also bought some solid palm sugar which is half the price.
105020786_646339642627659_6670166172950239649_n.jpg105698387_1721796171306967_1284128844557102427_n.jpg
 

subseageorge

Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2020
Messages
36
Reaction score
6
Rice guy,
I used a liquid palm sugar which is very dark almost black in colour, I added 1 litre of palm sugar after doing some taste tests with 5 x 250 ml samples. that was 2 weeks ago and it seems to have cleared right up. I will add a pic for you when i take my SG readings at the weekend.

To 250 ml i added 30 ml, 40 ml, 50 ml and 60 ml, But to my surprise there was not much difference in SG reading between them all. 1 point from 60 to 30.
Perhaps the sugar is not that pure,

Next time i will try making my own fluid with solid palm sugar and boiled water, perhaps this will be sweeter. (And have a difference to how clear the wine will end up. )

Thanks for all the information,
105897050_264615191510061_5855593783310897998_n.jpg
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
1,066
Reaction score
720
Location
Midwest
The label states added water, a guess is the lowest percentage of sugar to be stable maybe 50% sugar.
Another guess is that the liquid is the solid cake melted in water, filtered and then bottled. The US industry does a lot of simple packaging tricks to charge more.

:try Very pretty beverage
 

subseageorge

Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2020
Messages
36
Reaction score
6
The label states added water, a guess is the lowest percentage of sugar to be stable maybe 50% sugar.
Another guess is that the liquid is the solid cake melted in water, filtered and then bottled. The US industry does a lot of simple packaging tricks to charge more.
Yes, but at least in the west there are some regulations to what is actually in the fluid, dont trust much here, We have even seen fake rice for sale which was made of plastic shavings, crazy,, I think in future i am going to use the cheap unrefined sugar, which i used in my first batch and was good. (50c per KG) i just bought the brown ones to try and see if it drastically changes the taste. My fruit order just turned up (12 kg Bananas / 12 kg Pineapples and 10kg oranges) So i am going to use all the brown sugar up with the banana as it asks for it in the recipe. Going to prep the fruit and freeze. Then star a batch a week for then next 3 weeks. :) God im addicted already. lol.. I bought a Fastfermenter too so i will use that for the banana see how it goes.
 

King Hostile

Junior
Joined
Sep 15, 2020
Messages
4
Reaction score
4
If you’re just stoked to make high octane hooch to get hammered on, regardless of science, art, technique, then read no further.
Glad to see you want better that that. Nothing makes it not good inherently, but it makes it challenging, I’ll explain why.
In winemaking, our challenge in making enjoyable wines, is to balance the components to achieve a harmonious, tasty, enjoyable glass of wine. We think about elements like body, ABV %, sweetness, acidity, tannins, oak, etc., and if one is out of proportion, it makes an unbalanced tasting wine. Focus on balance.
With fruit, many recipes add water, making it hard to get a lot of flavor out of fruit, which is what balances the ABV%, so care is warranted. Adding sugar brings out fruity flavors, so many wines are sweetened to bring out the fruit and balance body with alcohol (which is normally in the 10-12% range in fruit wines).
In short, it takes a big wine, or a very sweet wine to lug around 15-18% alcohol in a graceful manner.
I like mine high ABV as well, but also want it nice and easy drinking.
 

DizzyIzzy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2020
Messages
415
Reaction score
221
Location
Near Columbus, Ohio
Yes, but at least in the west there are some regulations to what is actually in the fluid, dont trust much here, We have even seen fake rice for sale which was made of plastic shavings, crazy,, I think in future i am going to use the cheap unrefined sugar, which i used in my first batch and was good. (50c per KG) i just bought the brown ones to try and see if it drastically changes the taste. My fruit order just turned up (12 kg Bananas / 12 kg Pineapples and 10kg oranges) So i am going to use all the brown sugar up with the banana as it asks for it in the recipe. Going to prep the fruit and freeze. Then star a batch a week for then next 3 weeks. :) God im addicted already. lol.. I bought a Fastfermenter too so i will use that for the banana see how it goes.
George, I guess Sumatra is definately off my travel list.......LOL..................................Dizzy
 

Latest posts

Top