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Cellar Craft Amarone (1st kit with skins and EM)

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Skibum Ben

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Hello everyone, I am a newb here and will be making my 4th kit in a week or so. It is the Cellar Craft Showcase Amarone. After reading numerous posts on this site I am going to do an extended maceration for ~6 weeks. Below is my plan of attack and welcome any recommendations or suggestions.

1. Pre-Ferment
1.1 Mix Yeast and Go-Ferm with warm water
1.2 Mix Bentonite that came with kit and 2 cups hot water in Primary (Speidel 7.9)
1.3 Add Juice
1.4 Top off with water to 6 gallons
1.5 Add grape skins that came with kit (not sure if I will put in muslin or not)
1.6 Add any residual grape skin juice with 2c warm water
1.7 Add oak dust from kit
1.8 Stir well and measure SG

2. Fermentation
2.1 Pitch Yeast
2.2 Add Fermaid K
2.3 Cover with clean towel
2.4 Ferment at 72 degrees until SG 1.005 - 1.002
2.5 Add 1 cup of organic raisins
2.6 Cover with lid and airlock
2.7 Ferment until FG target of <.994

3. Post-Fermentation/EM
3.1 When FG is <.994, add Meta (1/4 tsp)
3.2 Add 2 oz Med+ French Oak Cubes
3.3 Shake contents daily to keep everything submerged
3.4 Continue this until 6 week mark is up

4. Stabilize/Degassing (following instruction from kit here)
4.1 Rack juice into 6 gallon Carboy
4.2 Squeeze juice from grape skins into carboy
4.3 Add Kmeta and K Sorbate
4.4 Degas
4.5 Add 1st pack of Kieselsol
4.6 Attach airlock and rest for 24 hours

5. Clearing and Aging
5.1 Stir in Chitosan
5.2 1 hour later add 2nd pack of Kieselsol
5.3 Add 2oz Med+ French Oak Cubes
5.4 Add 1/4 tsp Kmeta
5.5 Top off with red wine
5.6 Attach lid and airlock (or should I use a solid bung at this stage?)
5.7 Age for 6 months at ~55-60 degrees

6. Polish and Bottle
6.1 Rack into 5 gallon carboy
6.2 Attach solid bung
6.3 Rest until any solids settle
6.4 Transfer to bottling bucket/carboy
6.5 Bottle and Cork
6.6 Stand upright for 3-5 days
6.7 Lay on side and store in cellar for 2-3 years (tasting one every 6 months of course)

The previous kits I have made never came with skins and I kegged them after following kit instructions to the letter so this is all kind of new, but seems to capture things I have read on this forum. Please let me know your thoughts! Cheers!
 

crushday

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Wow that’s a very detailed plan! Perhaps hold back the two cups of rinsing water for the grape pack? Not sure if two cups of water more than a total of six gallons makes that big of difference, however.
 
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Skibum Ben

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How that’s a very detailed plan! Perhaps hold back the two cups of rinsing water for the grape pack? Not sure if two cups of water more than a total of six gallons makes that big of difference, however.
Yeah, Im business process guy for my day job, so I tend to get kind of detailed. Thanks for the reply!
 

mainshipfred

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Well your extremely detailed plan is just fine. My only recommendation since you are not planning on drinking for 2-3 years is to let it bulk age for at least 9-12 months and skip the clarifiers. Perhaps if you wanted you could bottle 5 after the 6 months for testing and put the rest in a 5 gallon carboy for bulk. But as I said you plan is just fine.
P.S. Airlock a step 5.
 

jgmann67

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Yep. Looks good. I might:

* put the raisins in the primary with the grape skins.
* use the muslin bag with wet skins.
* wait 24 hours before pitching your yeast to get a better idea of your OG.
* skip the clarifiers. I don’t think they’re necessary in an EM kit.
* skip the sorbate. It’s not necessary in dry wines.
* hold your oak cubes until you rack from your primary into your carboy. You need 3 mo. to get all the oaky goodness from them anyway.
* think about a finishing tannin.
* age in bulk for 9-12 months. Then bottle.

I just did an EM on a WE Amarone and am very happy with the results.
 

Skibum Ben

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Yep. Looks good. I might:

* put the raisins in the primary with the grape skins.
* use the muslin bag with wet skins.
* wait 24 hours before pitching your yeast to get a better idea of your OG.
* skip the clarifiers. I don’t think they’re necessary in an EM kit.
* skip the sorbate. It’s not necessary in dry wines.
* hold your oak cubes until you rack from your primary into your carboy. You need 3 mo. to get all the oaky goodness from them anyway.
* think about a finishing tannin.
* age in bulk for 9-12 months. Then bottle.

I just did an EM on a WE Amarone and am very happy with the results.
Thank you @jgmann67! Your Amarone post along with joeswine and others posts on tweaking kits has been my inspiration to do this. Will definitely take your recommendations.

I will post updates once I get this going (possibly next weekend)!
 

tradowsk

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Just my 2 cents, but I would rather leave the skins floating free and not use the bag so you can just punch down the cap with a spoon/paddle instead of having to squeeze the bag daily during primary. Since you're doing an EM, they will sink long before your first racking. I did this for my Lodi Cab Sauv and it worked fine. I racked off the wine and then scooped the skins into a mesh strainer and gently pressed out all the goodness.

Just my personal experience though, either way you will be fine
 

jgmann67

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Just my 2 cents, but I would rather leave the skins floating free and not use the bag so you can just punch down the cap with a spoon/paddle instead of having to squeeze the bag daily during primary. Since you're doing an EM, they will sink long before your first racking. I did this for my Lodi Cab Sauv and it worked fine. I racked off the wine and then scooped the skins into a mesh strainer and gently pressed out all the goodness.

Just my personal experience though, either way you will be fine
If these were dried skins, like in the RJS kits, I’d say let them float free. But, with the jam pack, you’re going to want to recover some wine with a good squeeze at the end. I find it’s just easier to bag them.

You’re right tho, it’s a personal preference thing.
 

Skibum Ben

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Just started this kit today. Following advice of others and first step, add all the ingredients (bentonite, juice, water, grape skins, and oak chips) to bucket. Going to let it sit for 24 hours before pitching yeast aand go-ferm.

Initial gravity is 1.089 which I know is low but sounds like it should go up after 24 hours of everything “mixing”.

Any advice if after 24 hours I’m below say 1.120? Hoping for a 15.5%-16% ABV
 

Johnd

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Just started this kit today. Following advice of others and first step, add all the ingredients (bentonite, juice, water, grape skins, and oak chips) to bucket. Going to let it sit for 24 hours before pitching yeast aand go-ferm.

Initial gravity is 1.089 which I know is low but sounds like it should go up after 24 hours of everything “mixing”.

Any advice if after 24 hours I’m below say 1.120? Hoping for a 15.5%-16% ABV
If your starting gravity is 1.12 and you go dry to .990, you're pushing 18%. If you only get to .995, more like 17 %.

If you're shooting for 15.5% - 16%, consider a start at 1.110, that'll get you to 15.5% if it hits .995, or a smidge over 16% if it hits .990. It's hard to predict where these kits will stop, but if you are in the .990 - .995 range, you'll get the 15.5% - 16% ABV that you're looking for.
 

Skibum Ben

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Thank you @Johnd. After 24 hours my SG was 1.094. Adding 6oz sugar p/gal to bump it up to 1.110.
 

Skibum Ben

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24+ hours after pitching and happy fermentation going on.

I’ve always fermented with airlock from the beginning having been a home brewer never straying from what I had been told to do. This time I just have a clean cloth secured over top of fermenter as I read in other posts. Amazing hearing the fermentation taking place! I used to geek out watching the yeast in action but to hear it is something amazing!
 

Skibum Ben

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It’s been almost a month and for the past 2 weeks my gravity has been stuck on 1.010. Last week I added some go-ferm and another packet of EC-1118 with hopes of restarting and still nothing. My fermentation temp is 73 degrees.

Any thoughts.
 

wineview

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It’s been almost a month and for the past 2 weeks my gravity has been stuck on 1.010. Last week I added some go-ferm and another packet of EC-1118 with hopes of restarting and still nothing. My fermentation temp is 73 degrees.

Any thoughts.
Oh boy. I’ve been there stuck at 1.012. Wouldn’t move no matter what I tried. My guess is that there isn’t enough sugar to jump start but there is enough that you will have a sweet wine. I just bottled a slightly sweet Chianti. It’s not bad but it’s not a Chianti. I think I will blend some with a Grenache that is slightly acidic and use the rest as a dessert wine.
 

jgmann67

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It’s been almost a month and for the past 2 weeks my gravity has been stuck on 1.010. Last week I added some go-ferm and another packet of EC-1118 with hopes of restarting and still nothing. My fermentation temp is 73 degrees.

Any thoughts.
A few:

(a). Are you sure you’re reading your hydrometer right?

(b). If the answer to (a) is yes, are you measuring a big gassy wine? If so, take your sample, pour it into a 375 ml bottle and give it a really good shaking... pour it back into your cylinder and test it again. Any change?? If it’s sub- 1.000, you’re done and you should do like Elsa in Frozen... let it go.

(c). If it didn’t change, do a starter and then dump into your wine.
 

heatherd

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Hello everyone, I am a newb here and will be making my 4th kit in a week or so. It is the Cellar Craft Showcase Amarone. After reading numerous posts on this site I am going to do an extended maceration for ~6 weeks. Below is my plan of attack and welcome any recommendations or suggestions.

The previous kits I have made never came with skins and I kegged them after following kit instructions to the letter so this is all kind of new, but seems to capture things I have read on this forum. Please let me know your thoughts! Cheers!
My thoughts are below. I made a Mosti Mondiali Meglioli Amarone kit with both skins and raisins and am sharing based on that experience.

After reading numerous posts on this site I am going to do an extended maceration for ~6 weeks. Below is my plan of attack and welcome any recommendations or suggestions.

1. Pre-Ferment
1.1 Mix Yeast and Go-Ferm with warm water- HD: Swap your EC1118 for Lalvin RC212.
1.2 Mix Bentonite that came with kit and 2 cups hot water in Primary (Speidel 7.9)
1.3 Add Juice
1.4 Top off with water to 6 gallons
1.5 Add grape skins that came with kit (not sure if I will put in muslin or not) HD: I don't.
1.6 Add any residual grape skin juice with 2c warm water
1.7 Add oak dust from kit - HD: I also add 1TB tannin powder with the oak dust. You can get this a your homebrew store or online; I like the stuff from Scott Labs and especially their Tan Riche. I add the tannins early so that they're integrated and I can taste whether I have enough. They add complexity to wine, and I use them sometimes during bulk-aging.
1.8 Stir well and measure SG

2. Fermentation
2.1 Pitch Yeast
2.2 Add Fermaid K
2.3 Cover with clean towel
2.4 Ferment at 72 degrees until SG 1.005 - 1.002
2.5 Add 1 cup of organic raisins
2.6 Cover with lid and airlock
2.7 Ferment until FG target of <.994

3. Post-Fermentation/EM
3.1 When FG is <.994, add Meta (1/4 tsp)
3.2 Add 2 oz Med+ French Oak Cubes
3.3 Shake contents daily to keep everything submerged - HD: I'd stir.
3.4 Continue this until 6 week mark is up

4. Stabilize/Degassing (following instruction from kit here)
4.1 Rack juice into 6 gallon Carboy
4.2 Squeeze juice from grape skins into carboy
4.3 Add Kmeta and K Sorbate - HD: Ksorbate isn't needed unless you back-sweeten. Don't use.
4.4 Degas - HD: Stir to degas - no need to freak out though because your wine will degas over time during bulk aging.
4.5 Add 1st pack of Kieselsol - HD: I don't use this.
4.6 Attach airlock and rest for 24 hours

5. Clearing and Aging
5.1 Stir in Chitosan HD: I don't use this, letting age clear the wine.
5.2 1 hour later add 2nd pack of Kieselsol - HD: I don't use this, letting age clear the wine.
5.3 Add 2oz Med+ French Oak Cubes
5.4 Add 1/4 tsp Kmeta
5.5 Top off with red wine
5.6 Attach lid and airlock (or should I use a solid bung at this stage?) HD: Airlock
5.7 Age for 6 months at ~55-60 degrees - HD: A year+ would be better.
HD: I would also add 2 oak spirals and more raisins during bulk aging.
HD: Before bottling be sure to taste to see if you like the result.
HD: It is important to make sure your wine is degassed before you bottle - we've all been there. Taste for a zippiness and do the "poof" test of shaking a bottle with your thumb on it to see if it still has gas. For me, gassy wine won't clear. So give it a stir and test before you bottle.

6. Polish and Bottle
6.1 Rack into 5 gallon carboy
6.2 Attach solid bung
6.3 Rest until any solids settle
6.4 Transfer to bottling bucket/carboy
6.5 Bottle and Cork
6.6 Stand upright for 3-5 days
6.7 Lay on side and store in cellar for 2-3 years (tasting one every 6 months of course)

The previous kits I have made never came with skins and I kegged them after following kit instructions to the letter so this is all kind of new, but seems to capture things I have read on this forum. Please let me know your thoughts! Cheers!
 
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