Apple wine bitter aftertaste?

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Jun 27, 2009
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The last two years of apple wine has a bitter aftertaste that I would like to avoid this year. It doesnt seem to make any difference if I use pressed juice or the cake left over from cider pressing - all appears to ferment well and it clears to a beautiful amber nectar but in the glass it smells poor and certainly not how I remember my nan's!

Any thoughts welcomed

my thoughts are.. it may be the juice/apples you are using.. you need a mix of cooking and eating apples with a few crabapples for good measure, if you can get hold of them.

What recipe are you using?.. I have a tried and true recipe to share if you'd like to try it?

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I agree with Allie, you may need to change the fruit or recipe. Maybe both if you are not happy with the results, time to change.
How long are you aging it? I've only made apfelwein with cheap apple juice, but it really didn't come into its own until I aged it 6 months.

i also chose to carbonate it.
I also agree, its a mixture of the apples most likely that makes a good wine.
I am with Malkore and with Allie.

Apple wine has to age at least half a year before it is
ready to drink.
And apple varieties do give different flavors.

Another thing comes to mind:
You mention that the color is beautifull amber, but it should be clear.
Maybe the wine is oxidised. That would give it a sherry like taste, and likely some bitterness.

Did you treat the juice with sulphite ???

My spice apple looks like cider in color. It just has too much clove flavor right now so it is aging in the cellar until Christmas, at least.
Ok let's do the test...........

First some info on browning apples.
The browning of apples is due to enzymatic activities under influence of oxygen. When the flesh of the apple is exposed to air the enzymes start working and browning the apple.

So take an apple and cut it in half.
Look at the color of the apple: it is white.
Now just wait a few hours and see it becoming brown under influence of oxygen.

Can you oppress the enzymes ????
You surely can:

I use sulfite and Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) both upfront because we just dont know how much sulfites it takes to keep it from browning and we just cant go adding more sulfites as that will prevent fermentation. Ascorbic acid will not hinder a fermentation so by adding both I am doing preventative maintenance. I then sulfite again when fermentation is done as should anyone.
Now raisisns is something different.

First if choosen dark ones in a white wine it will impart color.
So use the right color raisins for the ricght color wine.

Next they will provide for sugar and nutrients.
Raisins are about 50% sugar !!!
So take care with that when calculating sugar for your wine.

Then raisins are dried grapes. Obvious of course.
But dried grapes are oxidised. So raisins will not only
impart a flavor to the wine, they will impart an oxidised (think sherry) flavor when used in excess. A pure raisin wine will indeed taste a lot like sherry.

Last point.
Raisins are treated with sulphite to prevent spoiling.
To get rid of the sulphite look here:

Hope this helps.

Can't agree with the suggestions that it's the apples. I used a large portion -- probably 50% -- cooking apples and still have the bitter aftertaste. It's aged more than 6 months in a 13 gallon Italian glass bottle, and is not oxidised (no sherry taste) as Campden tablets are great when filtering/siphoning into demijohns for storage. The color is the color of cider. It's pure juice, no raisins, etc. Drinking it with tonic water as a summer cooler is very pleasant. Point is, after reading all of the above, I don't think anyone's quite hit the answer. Thank you anyway.
welcome to Wine Making Talk @Dr Teo

This thread dates back to 2010. The original poster hasn’t been on WMT in a decade. Since you are from England, the worlds biggest producer of cider and have traditional apple varieties, I am interested your spin on how to do a good apple. ,,,, I have a Kingston Black that is about five years old and finally had two apples last year.

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