Any advice appreciated.

Discussion in 'General Wine Making Forum' started by Nurse Betty, Jun 26, 2018.

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  1. Jun 26, 2018 #1

    Nurse Betty

    Nurse Betty

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    just bought a 25 lb box of wild plums that I am going to run through the juicer in the morning. Any suggestions on recipes for my plum wine? After I juice the plums, do I need to boil the juice for a few minutes to get any bacteria out of it? Thank you. I am a NEWBY BTW!
     
  2. Jun 26, 2018 #2

    Scooter68

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    I would not bother to juice the plums at all. If you have a mesh fermentation bag (Looks like a paint strainer bag and in fact you can use one of those) you need to crush the destoned plums and the put that into the mesh bag. Those skins will break down on their own during fermentation and if you juice them you run the risk of separating out those skins and losing some of the beautiful color of a plum wine. If you have a good potato masher use that to really crush the plums. Skins of most fruits add to the full taste and character of the wine.

    As to boiling - NO - Just rinse the plums well before crushing. Then add all the other items in your recipe EXCEPT for the yeast. Then add K-meta powder(1/4 teaspoon for 5 gallons of total wine volume) or one campden tablet per gallon of your starting volume. That will insure that potentially harmful bacteria will be effectively eliminated.

    Good luck and keep asking questions - We all were newbies at some time and virtually everyone makes a few mistakes here and there - this forum helps us learn and avoid making some of those mistakes or find solutions when we make them.

    By the way for a really good flavored plum wine once you de-stone that 25 lbs of plums you should have just about the right amount for 3 gallons of wine. With wild plums I'm going to guess you will end up with about 20-21 lbs of fruit.

    Welcome to the forum and Keep us posted on your progress.

    If your plums are deep red skinned or red fleshed you may just end up with a wine like this. (This is a plum wine that just finished fermenting about a week ago.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  3. Jun 26, 2018 #3

    Nurse Betty

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    Wow! That is really pretty! So you would put the mashed up plums in the mesh bag and then fill the bucket up with enough water to be 3 gallons? Please look at my thread that I posted earlier with title HELP! about blackberry wine. Thank you soooo much for your help and your comment.
     
  4. Jun 26, 2018 #4

    Scooter68

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    Don't forget you need to raise the sugar content of the mix. You need at least 10% ABV for the wine to keep well.
    Plums are not a high sugar content fruit.
    You have a Hydrometer correct? Once you get the plums mashed and water added to 3 gallons you need to check the SG. Add sugar and stir well. Also remember that if you have exactly 3 gallons volume when you start, you are going to be short on volume when you remove the mesh bag and the gross lees after fermentation completes. For a 3 gallon batch I would try to have the starting volume at about 3 1/2 gallons or maybe a little more. If you don't add any sugar until you've raised the volume to 3 gallons with the plums and the water, then the sugar, when dissolved will help raise that volume. For my batch of 3 gallons I had to add 14 cups of sugar to get the SG to 1.095. That will provide an ABV of about 13%. Perhaps a starting SG of 1.080 would be a good place to aim. That would be an ABV of 11% if it ferments totally dry.

    Tonight I racked that plum wine off of some lees and I got to taste a little of the extra I had... perfect. Don't think it will need any sweetening at all.

    This is the recipe I used. (I used a can of plum wine base plus 6 fresh plums for my batch of 3 gallons.
    1 x 96 oz can Vintner's Harvest Plum wine base*
    6 fresh plums destoned and mashed
    2 tsp Acid Blend
    1 1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
    2 1/2 tsp Yeast Nutrient
    3/4 tsp Wine Tannin
    14 cups Sugar

    Starting SG 1.095
    Starting pH 3.40

    *Before starting I did not treat the mix with K-Meta (Campden Tabs) for a fresh plum/wild plum batch I would prepare the mix above then treat with 3 Campden tablets crushed and dissolved in a couple of ozs of water. Let that treated must set overnight in your fermentation bucket with a cloth cover tied over the top.

    The following day 24-36 hours later, prepare a yeast starter to rehydrate the yeast. I normally use about 1 oz of the juice 2 ozs very warm water and about 1/8 tsp of the yeast nutrient - mix well then add the yeast and let it sit for about 30 mins or longer. You should see some bubbling happen the yeast wakes up and rehydrates.

    While the yeast starter is getting fired up I take one more set of measurements of the SG and the pH to make sure where I'm starting from. Then I pitch in the yeast stir and recover with the cloth and tie that down. No airlock is needed until the fermentation has finished.

    Stir daily for at least the first 3-4 days and keep pushing down the mesh bag with the plum mash. That helps extract all the flavors and sugars from the plums.

    Make sure the room temperature is in the right range for the yeast you are using.

    Again good luck and keep us posted and peppered with any questions you have.
     
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  5. Jun 26, 2018 #5

    Nurse Betty

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    Thank you so very much for your advice. I am learning a LOT from eveyone's help!!!! Next question, this morning, the stopper that the 3 piece Airlock is about 1/2 in the carboy. Is that because the air pressure in the carboy is pushing it out or just because of the shape of the rubber stopper that it is slowly sliding out? I do see little bubbles in the vodka that I have in the airlock.
     
  6. Jun 26, 2018 #6

    Scooter68

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    Some stoppers will do that and of course if there is a lot of fermenting going on the gas pressure can push things around. I have had the same problem with those drilled semi hollow stoppers sliding back out. I fixed it by putting them in some almost boiling water for a minute or two. THEN push them into the top of the carboy. Hold it there for a minute and as it cools it should conform better to the carboy opening. Seals on these things are not 100% although we would like to think that - maybe 99.8% the key is to reduce the exposure of the wine to oxygen, evaporation and 'bugs.' The latter might introduce bacteria and potentially spoil a batch of wine. New equipment takes a little time to settle in to the best fit. Since you used vodka, you may need to top it off from time-to-time due to evaporation. Check on it maybe once a week initially and you will learn how fast it happens.
     
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  7. Jun 26, 2018 #7

    sour_grapes

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    I find that new bungs tend to slide out if they are wet. I take a paper towel and wipe the inside of the carboy's spout, and the outside of the bung, and the problem goes away.
     
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  8. Jun 26, 2018 #8

    Nurse Betty

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    Thank you! Another question.......my carboy is about 1/2 full. Is the 1/2 bottle of air going to damage my wine? Should I have made more or gotten a smaller carboy?
     
  9. Jun 26, 2018 #9

    Nurse Betty

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    Great advice! Thank you!
     
  10. Jun 26, 2018 #10

    Scooter68

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    OK on the carboy size. Do you have recycling center nearby? I go there and find my wine bottles for wine and empty carboys. I find all sizes of glass bottles including 1/1 gallon 1.5 liter etc. Take along a stopper or a screw cap drilled for the airlock and you can find a variety of different sized glass containers for storing safely those odd amounts of wine. Even as small as 16 oz glass bottles come in handy at times. (Carlo Rossi sells wines in 4 liter carboys which are about 7 oz bigger than a one gallon carboy so that's a very cheap solution, Soak off labels, clean with dishwashing soap rinse rinse rinse rinse, then sanitize with your starsan solution. Cover the top with a paper towel and you have a ready to use carboy.

    As I mentioned, I oversize my batches (3 3/4 gallons in the fermentation bucket) when I rack the first few times I use the excess from that first bucket, to top off the glass carboy. You normally want about half of the neck of a carboy filled. Anything more than that can contribute to oxidation of the wine prematurely.

    Sooner or later others will chime in here and add to what I have said, or even take issue with some things, that's just better for you to hear all the options available.

    Gotta go for now. Fields to brush hog and preparation for family and 4th. And the wife says I have to put out some water for the deer. (I feel like a zoo keeper now. Feeding, watering and fencing to keep them out of the garden.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
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  11. Jul 12, 2018 #11

    Nurse Betty

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    I started the wild plum wine on 6-30-18 with a SG of 1.095. It is now 7-12-18 with a SG of 1.080. Lots of bubbling from the airlock. I think that's really slow???? What do you think? It barely has an alcohol taste and still tastes really sweet......but yummy! Just keep waiting?
     
  12. Jul 12, 2018 #12

    Scooter68

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    That is a little bit slow but not bad... what's the room temp and how much and what yeast did you use? And did you add any acid blend or acid to keep the mix appropriately acidic? Normally fruit wines do best with a pH of 3.4 - 3.6.

    I know you are trying to keep the investment down but that is about the only thing I can think of from what you have said.

    A pH too high (Not acidic enough) will lack taste and won't have any bite at all. That can cause less than ideal conditions for fermentation.

    At 1.080 it may not have any alcoholic taste but you should have a little fermentation smell (Yeasty) over the bucket. You might try a little stirring no more than once a day. It's not required but sometimes it helps to spread the yeast and sugars around and keep any fruit pulp wet that might be on the surface getting dried out.
     
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  13. Jul 13, 2018 #13

    NorCal

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    @Scooter68, great advice, those are some of the best posts ever. Well done.
     
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  14. Jul 13, 2018 #14

    Nurse Betty

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    Scooter68....pH on plum wine is 3.1
     
  15. Jul 13, 2018 #15

    Scooter68

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    That's certainly an acceptable level during fermentation. (Looking at labels of commercial wines once I noticed a wine listed with a pH of 3.18 and I was a bit surprised but clearly the taste and flavor is what matters.

    Have you added yeast nutrient? If not you probably should start by adding about 1/2 tsp per gallon. Normally the amount per gallon is 1 tsp but at this point you don't want to do anything drastic. You can add more later if that initial amount produces good results.

    Of course another option is to add yeast again. What variety of Yeast did you use and did you use a starter mix initially or just sprinkle and mix?
     
  16. Jul 13, 2018 #16

    Nurse Betty

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    I used a red pkt "Premier rouge" from Red Star active dry yeast and put it in some warm water for about 20 minutes before adding it. i also added yeast nutrient and yeast energizer. It kinda smells funny.....not necessarily spoiled, but not really yeasty either, but tastes delicious.....sweet and tastes like plums.
     
  17. Jul 14, 2018 #17

    Scooter68

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    If the acid blend doesn't do the trick, I would look into trying a different yeast to finish the ferment for you. EC-1118 is a vigorous fermenter so it might just give the fermentation a kick in the pants and restart it. I use it and ICV K1-1116 with good success but ICV K1-1116 also is reported to be guilty of SO2 issues if it isn't fed the proper amount of yeast nutrient. So if there a supplier within decent reach I'd try EC-1118 - IF the yeast nutrient doesn't help.

    For use now and in the future here is a link to a Wine Yeast Chart that provides details about the common strains of wine yeast:

    https://winemakermag.com/yeast-strains-chart

    As with many aspects of wine making someone else may have another idea, or different yeast recommendation. In any case switching to a different yeast is not a big deal to do IF the current yeast has quit working.
     
  18. Aug 16, 2018 #18

    Scooter68

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    Any update on your progress?

    By the way no apple wine this year here. Something or someone took every apple off our three trees while we were gone for 3 weeks. We found 1 apple on the ground that was missed.

    At least I know that these guys were too small to do the job. Fawns born this spring they have taken to hanging around here a lot.

    KIMG0924.JPG
     
  19. Aug 17, 2018 #19

    Dennis Griffith

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    Unfortunately that is a common sight here at fungus acres. Folks think they are cute, but they damage and destroy a lot of trees here. They will rip the branches right out of a fruit tree. I have to fence the vineyard to keep them out. I'm expanding the vineyard next year, which means expanding the fence this year. I thought about fencing in the orchard, but I'm weary of fencing the deer out of everything. At least you don't have one of these hanging out in your front yard.

    IMG_4130.jpg
     
  20. Aug 17, 2018 #20

    Scooter68

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    Nooooo Don't have one of those. That would put a little damper on walking about outside at night. Looks like a bobcat - By length of tail and what looks like tufts on the ears.

    I since found out that while we were gone for 3 weeks the young lady who watered things, helped herself to our apples. Not pleased with that, fortunately there weren't that many, maybe 30 to 40 but still... Crazy thing is that they weren't fully ripe yet. Well hope she enjoys them, that's her last time to "help" here.

    I have just worked out a routine each year with an electric fence and the white "tape" electric fence wire. Once they know about it they tend to stay clear but they will do a lean-in if there is something tempting. We have also 'faked it' in a few places just putting up the white wire around some plants. Works most of the time. We had one cherry tree early on ruined by deer. Young tree about 7 feet tall had 3 main branches nicely forked - until a deer ripped one of the branches leaves an broke it off.
     

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