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briggsy

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hi everyone,
im new here and recently started my first two batches of fruit wine: raspberry, and rhubarb. i kind of used a bastard child of two recipes, one in wild fermentation by sandor katz and one in garey's joy of home winekmaking.

my questions is about my raspberry wine. i let it ferment in its primary for 17 days and i put it in the secondary (a carboy) last night and tasted it. its already very dry and doesnt taste much like raspberries. im pretty disappointed. here's what i did: for 3 gallons i used 9 pounds of fresh raspberries, to which i added the boiling water and let sit 24 hours. the next day i added tannin, acid blend, pectic enzyme, campden tablets, montrachet yeast. i let that sit a few days till i added white sugar and yeast nutrient (which i didnt have at first). im not sure about the exact amount of sugar i used because im at work, but i followed the amounts stated in the recipes. then i stirred it a few times daily for the 17 days. i left the fruit in there the whole time, contrary to the recipes, but based on a recommendation from the homebrew shop.

if anyone can see anything i clearly did wrong, please let me know. also, i know wine has to age and we have to be patient, but is it a problem that the wine is already so dry? i was under the impression that it would be sweet at first, then dry as it aged.

i have another question about my rhubarb wine. i did a similar procedure as the one outlined above. the wine is very pink and very cloudy. i used 4 parts white sugar to one part honey. is it true that wine made with honey sometimes doesnt clear too well?

ok, thanks from a newbie!
 

Sacalait

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I've never made wine from either of the fruits you named, however most fruit wines are basically the same to produce. First, 17 days in a primary is a long time, almost excessive unless you had a stuck ferment. Depending on the temperature it should have been ready to transfer after 3-6 days. Did you check the SG after the sugar was added and again during the process as these things are critical to knowing where you stand? Since it is really dry (fermented out) you should add potassium metabisulfite (to keep it from oxidizing) and potassium sorbate if you plan to sweeten it.
 

oxeye

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I've come to realize that no matter what endeavor one attempts, OPTIONS are a most desirable thing to have at your disposal.

Making wine seems to be no exception.

The newer you are at this, the more options you should try to leave yourself!

Until you have determined, through experience, the target FG (or Brix, or ABV, etc.) to aim your fermentations, ALWAYS ferment to a point drier than what you THINK you will desire.

By doing this, you will give yourself OPTIONS that are easy to execute.

You can always back-sweeten, to taste, during the bottling/kegging process.

Plus, even here, if you find that it is still too dry when you are serving a bottle, you can sweeten again, by adding juice, soda, or sugar, to your taste at the table.

But, once it has finished and been bottled too sweet, you have little recourse left but to force it down as it is, wait a few years and hope, or dump it!

oxeye
 

Noontime

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To address one of your questions...the wine doesn't get dryer during the aging process; a wine is dry when the yeast is allowed to eat ALL the sugar available during the fermentation process. So there are two ways to produce a sweet wine...1) stop the fermentation process when the wine has acheived the desired sweetness, 2) let the wine go completely dry and then back sweeten; I'm guessing you'll want to back sweeten in order to get the wine you're looking for.

From what I've heard and read, it's quite common for people to not like the flavor of some fruit wines when they go completely dry because without the sweetness they no longer taste like the original fruit; that the actual flavor of the fruit is only palatable when combined with sugar.
 
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briggsy

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thanks everyone. it is good that i have the option to back sweeten, so i will do what you suggested, sacalait. i like dry wines much better than sweet wines, but it really is true, noontime, that it lost the flavor of raspberry, which were delicious when i got them. with my next batch, blackberry, which i hope to start sunday after i get out and get more blackberries tomorrow (gotta love seattle) i will ferment a MUCH shorter time than 17 days, try to properly use my hydrometer (i hate to admit that i had a hard time using it so gave up), and closely monitor the taste and stop the fermentation when i have my desired sweetness.

would anyone recommend using a lot of extra fruit per gallon?
 
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briggsy

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oh, a few more questions. do i use the potassium metabisulfite and sorbate then sweeten now? before/after the first racking? before bottling? not sure.
 

oxeye

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I, personally, would strickly stick to the recipe the first couple of times just to establish a solid 'ground-zero' reference point, while getting up to speed on the whole process.

While all of this is going on, keep studying and asking questions of the vets on these subjects before changing things up, like adding extra fruit, etc.

I have no experience in those areas, but have read where many add extra fruit to the secondary, hoping that it will impart more fruit/berry flavors when finished.

I personally haven't tried it, and probably won't, just because of the extra hassle of cleaning solids out of a carboy.

In my view, add only metabisulfite at every other racking, and both at bottling, unless you intend to carbonate at bottling.

oxeye
 

Sacalait

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oh, a few more questions. do i use the potassium metabisulfite and sorbate then sweeten now? before/after the first racking? before bottling? not sure.
Normally K-meta is added at every other racking and again at bottling but in this case where the wine was left open to the air for such a long period I'd add now. As for the sorbate, you can add now or just ahead of sweetening. I'd add now and be done with it then rack later sweeten and bottle. Keep good notes or a log of what you've done to save you heart ache down the road.

As for adding juice from raspberries I can't answer. I do this with muscadines but I'm not familiar with raspberries.
 

Benjo's Mom

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I made a raspberry-rhubarb blend this summer that was very intensely fruity, but also quite raw tasting and a bit harsh. I blended it with a kit Chardonnay 1:2 that I was bottling at the same time. That really mellowed it. The fruit is still the overwhelming taste, but it is considerably more mellow. The Chardonnay blend really took the edge off without affecting the fruitiness.
 

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