Apple wine on the cheap

Discussion in 'Country Fruit Winemaking' started by ceeaton, Dec 10, 2016.

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  1. ceeaton

    ceeaton Three is the charm, right?

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    Since I have a limited budget this Fall/Winter, I've been spending most of my wine making time racking wine and occasionally bottling a batch. Needed some excitement, but on a limited budget. So started searching around and noticed a book by my bedside that my kids bought me for my birthday back in October, The Joy of Homewinemaking by Terry Garey, about a 20 year old book on general winemaking. Found an apple recipe that could be converted to use concentrate, and this is what I came up with, did bump up the raw ingredients to limit the sugar addition:

    11 x 12 oz Frozen Apple concentrate
    1 x 128 oz Giant brand Apple juice
    2L boiled water + 1 TBS Bentonite
    28 oz Sugar (mixed in 16 oz pre-boiled water)
    1 TBS Pectic Enzyme
    SG 1.082 @ 80*F (1.0847 adjusted) so around 12% ABV potential
    About 3.5 gallons must at this point (aiming to fill a 3 gallon carboy when I rack)

    Total cost to this point: $18.89 (frozen concentrate) + 2.99 (juice) + 1.99 yeast = $23.87 (I had the bentonite and the pectic enzyme, so I didn't count, guess you could throw in a buck for giggles).

    The ultimate goal is an apple wine that I can backsweeten for my wife and I to give to folks who just need that sweet wine fix, since we are both going to the dry side of things, as far as wine goes.

    Plan on using 71B-1122 yeast, which I'll pitch sometime tomorrow morning. Did purchase some Malic Acid (I only usually use Tartaric) to adjust and will take reading tomorrow a.m.. I think I can aim high on the acid since I do plan on backsweetening to around 1.008 or higher upon completion.

    Image of must looks pretty brown, that was because some of the frozen juice concentrate was the Giant brand from China. Guess all that added lead and heavy metals darken it up a bit.

    12-9-16_apple-wine.jpg
     
  2. NorCal

    NorCal Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Great plan and excellent strategy of diverting those friends and family members to the cheap stuff.
     
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  3. ceeaton

    ceeaton Three is the charm, right?

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    Okay, I just reviewed my recipe and noticed I forgot adding any tannins. I went to look for my generic bottle of "Wine Tannin" and must have tossed it. Can anything else be used? I have some Tannin Complex but I'm concerned I'll get some oak character from that. I've heard people using tea leaves? Just not sure I can run North tomorrow (wifey works) and get to the LHBS for some generic tannins.
     
  4. stickman

    stickman Veteran Winemaker

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    Apples do have some tannin, but if you think you need a bit more I would just use the tannin complex. You probably already know this, but don't add sulfite to brown juice, just get it fermenting.
     
  5. ceeaton

    ceeaton Three is the charm, right?

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    I did know that, from reading on this site (about the sulfite to brown juice thing)! So if you think the tannin complex won't impart any oak, I'll just use that and not get in a complex about getting any extra tannins in there. I did consider ordering some Opti-white for the browniness, but I know that the brown appearance will die down after fermentation. Plus, it's free wine, if they don't like it they can get their free wine somewhere else!
     
  6. Mismost

    Mismost Senior Member

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    you could brew up a strong tea for the tannins...or use the oak...this going to finish out as nice white, they oak Chardonnay! I think the 'brown juice" is just you looking through more apple juice than you have ever seen in one spot before...is a normal glassful that brown?!

    I have made a couple of similar batches, never backsweetened,...finishes drier than a popcorn fart...nasty dry, actually kinda foul tasting. But give it a year and it turns into a very pleasant white wine.
     
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  7. FTC Wines

    FTC Wines Senior Member Supporting Member

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    Craig, I have made a lot of Apple Wine from both from real apples, and other batches fron juice or cider. One of the juice batches seemed a little "weak" to us. So we made it a Spiced Apple Wine. Huge hit! Added cinnamon sticks, ginger, & a little clove. Totally covered the weakness. Note I'm NOT suggesting your wine will be weak. Roy
     
  8. Stressbaby

    Stressbaby Just a Member Supporting Member

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    I'll bite, what is the issue with sulfite and brown juice?
    What is "brown juice" anyway?
     
  9. ceeaton

    ceeaton Three is the charm, right?

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    I like the tea idea, just have never tried it. Guess if I'm gonna try something new might as well do it on a $30 batch of wine.
    Was thinking of some cinnamon, but maybe make a mulled wine in a soon to come batch (January, when I get really bored watching the kids shovel the driveway). I think the body of the wine will be sufficient since I used less than a gallon of water (more like 1/2 gallon), but was considering adding some bananas since I've done that before and liked the results. Just need to get off my duff and get a shower and go buy some bananas, and milk, and cereal, and ...

    Thanks for all the suggestions, they are much appreciated!

    Edit:

    Just measured the pH and TA (3.64 and 5.6 g/L) and before stirring it up the juice was clear to the bottom. Good ol' pectic enzyme doing its duty.

    So I don't think it would hurt for the pH to come down or the TA to go up, what should I aim for TA wise (and where the pH falls it falls)? I was planning on using Malic acid since it seems to be the choice for most when it comes to fermenting apple products. Whatever my goal for TA ends up being, I plan on adding enough acid to get 1/2 way, as in the past that usually comes closer to my goal than halfway.

    12-10-16_apple-pH.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
  10. stickman

    stickman Veteran Winemaker

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  11. salcoco

    salcoco Veteran Wine Maker Supporting Member

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    i would use some raisins for tannin and malic acid for adjustment of TA.
     
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  12. ceeaton

    ceeaton Three is the charm, right?

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    Added 10 grams Malic acid (FermCalc suggested 19g+ to take the TA to 7.0) and 2 ounces of raisins. Sprinkled (there is a first time for everything) my 71B-1122 yeast since I ran out of Go Ferm and forgot to reorder. Temperature is about 68*F. Plan on adding 1/2 my calculated addition of Fermaid O tomorrow if there are any signs of life.

    Remeasured SG at 1.088 @ 68*F, bit higher than yesterday...
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  13. NorCal

    NorCal Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I enjoy posts from people that have it. Sir, you got it.
     
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  14. Johnd

    Johnd Large Member Supporting Member

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    So where'd your pH end up after the malic addition to raise the TA?
     
  15. BernardSmith

    BernardSmith Senior Member

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    I am always the contrarian -:: so take what I say with a pinch or two of sodium chloride - Apple juice for drinking tends to be more acidic than the apple juice you want for cider (and perhaps for wine). In order for the juice to taste "fresh" the TA will be fairly high but such heights (I think) for wine may be too high. I don't know that you want the TA to be much higher than about 6.5g/l (.065 %) - and malic is a strong acid (pH wise). You may be fine... but you may need to watch how tart your wine will be.

    You may also want to see if you can bring the temperature a little lower. Jolicoeur - one of the giants of cider making(IMO) recommends far lower temperatures when working with apples than most people consider (He talks about leaving the fermenter outdoors during the late fall and winter and if it freezes no big deal - it will thaw and the fermentation will continue)...
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  16. ceeaton

    ceeaton Three is the charm, right?

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    Plan on bringing the ferment down to the basement which is at 59*F today (at floor level), just wanted the higher temperature to get things going. I only used 1/2 of my "allotted" acid addition, figuring I can add some later if needed. Anytime I add the recommended amount I always seem to overshoot what I wanted (for example my pH adjustment on my PN grapes this Spring).

    @Johnd - plan on checking pH and TA tonight after I degas a sample since fermentation is rockin' and rolling now. Didn't want to do it until it sat for 12 or so hours, and didn't want to hold up pitching the yeast and getting things going. Also used the excuse that I couldn't get to it or I would have missed the Eagles losing another game, can't do that or my weekend wouldn't feel quite complete. We are having cheesesteaks for dinner, so I guess that could have been used to substitute for listening to the loss. But seeing the disappointment on my 11 yr old Son's face is priceless, he doesn't see the games as entertainment, he lives and dies by the end result of the Eagles games.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
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  17. ceeaton

    ceeaton Three is the charm, right?

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    I am not sure what I've got but I can tell you my wife thinks I'm full of whatever that is! :h
     
  18. ceeaton

    ceeaton Three is the charm, right?

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    Okay, take these measurements with a grain of salt, because I can't figure one of them out. Maybe too much beer in the loop. Got a sample, degassed the best I could. pH is now 3.55, so it did go down with the 10g malic acid addition, so that makes sense. Now the TA is another matter, I got 8.2 g/L, checked it again. Fermcalc sez that it should have ended up around 6.4 g/L (using Malic, not tartaric, 5.6 g/L starting point, 3.5 gallons of liquid). Don't think my chemicals dramatically changed in two days, so all I can attribute that to is I'm in active fermentation, and it must not be a good time to check my TA, so I'll check it when all the fermentation hoopla is finished. But it did go up! Once again, back sweetening is my friend if the measurement is accurate.

    Oh, added 4g Fermaid O, rehydrated in some boiled water. I assume it is 4g, maybe my two digital scales are off. Should have kept that balance beam scale I used to have. Also have moved the bucket to the basement so I can hear the music of the blurp while I browse the threads on this forum. 58.5*F down here right now. If it slows up too much, I'll move it back upstairs. Supposed to be cold this week so the back door kitchen temperature will be in the low 60's, since I like torturing my family with a lack of heat...can't spoil those aging wines now, can we?

    Edit: added an image of my airlocks' new hairdo -- guess it's bubbling frequently enough (have starsan in airlock)

    12-11-16_apple-ferment.jpg

    12-11-16_apple-airlock.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
  19. ceeaton

    ceeaton Three is the charm, right?

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    SG 1.074 @ 64*F (ambient room temperature is 58.8*F). Some bloated raisins floating here and there, otherwise a pretty mellow ferment. I could smell some raisin and apple when I removed the bucket lid, but otherwise very little smell out of this batch so far. If you get at the right angle you can see pin prick bubbles hitting the surface of the copper colored wine, reminding me of a liquid just about to come to a light boil. Seems active enough I'll leave it in the cooler basement for now, may take it up as it reaches terminal gravity to make sure it finishes dry.
     
  20. mikewatkins727

    mikewatkins727 Beyond middle age

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    Could somebody please enlighten me about sulfites & brown juice?
     

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