Apple wine questions

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Apr 18, 2009
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I just started a 5 gallon batch of apple wine 3 days ago and I have some questions. But first here are my readings.

Red Star Yeast Cotes Des Blanc
start before adding yeast SG 1.110
yesterday after 24 hours of fermenting SG 1.090
today after 48 hours fermanting SG 1.060

Is the above sugar consumption rate normal?
Should I add more sugar? How?
The recipe calls for racking at SG 1.040 is this normal?
hi Mike,

Can you list your recipe please? How much sugar did you add? Are you using cider apples or eating apples??What sort of apples are you using?

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I used a recipe from a book I bought. I did modify the recipe a bit.

here is the recipe that I used

18 pounds macintosh apples
8 cans frozen apple juice concentrate (didn't have enough apples)
6 1/4 pounds of white granulated sugar
7 1/2 tsp citric acid (couldn't find acid blend powder)
5 tsp nutrient powder
2 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
1 1/4 tsp tannin powder
10 campden tablets
wine yeast

I did use some champagne yeast at first but it never started fermenting so after 24 hours of no activity I used the cote des blanc. I think the champagne yeast started working later than I thought it should so my goof there. I actually just noticed that I omotted the antioxidant powder accidentally, I just never noticed it and I don't have it either.

I Mixed all ingredients except the yeast and waited 24 hours. I removed and pressed the juice from the apples. I then added the champagne yeast, and the cote des blanc 24 hours later. This was my first time trying the champagne yeast. I have been checking the SG every day since adding the yeast.

Right now there is nothing I can do about adding the extra yeast so I will have to wait and see what happens. I just hope it doesn't ferment to dry in the next few days. I was hoping it would be a slow ferment and bottle in about 4-5 months.
So you are basically fermenting out on juice with no water additions? I do juice only for cider usually..and don't have access to apple concentrates.

Should you have added water to the concentrates?.. Your starting SG seems a bit high for a fruit wine, it gives me a sneaking suspicion you may have killed off the first yeast with too much sugar..

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Key, I am with Allie, no water? For now...NO MORE YEAST!. Lets back up a bit. apples and concentrated juice. lets talk about that before we go any further. I am assuming you just didnt "flunk" the apples inthe bucket. Did you freeze them, smash em, juice em? If you tell us where you are from , we will help you. (Joking of course) Enter your location in the "User CP" tab in the upper left hand corner. And when you are finished. Come back and tell us EXACTLY what you did. You can use up as much space as you need, Allie speaks fruit wine very well, as do alot of the members, but if we don't know what you did to begin with we have no way to help you to get to the bottle. And no more of the campden.!!!!
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I am guessing you reconstituted the frozen concentrate to reach the 5 gallon mark? Anyway, you will probably ferment to dry with the 2 packs of yeast. I wouldn't worry about it. If it does, you can stabilize it and back sweeten the wine to taste.
I have no experience with frozen fruit concentrate Mike, so can't help you there. Smurfe knows more about concentrates than I do...
It will ferment out dry with a higher alcohol.. you can stop it with sorbate at about 1.010, which will leave it slightly sweet and less alcoholic. Bulk store and allow it to drop the sediment at it's own pace.. apple wines benefit from a slower, cooler ferment.. so if it's in a warm place now.. move it into a cooler spot to ferment. Rack if there is a significant deposit, if there isn't a huge deposit.. leave it to finish as is.. I wouldn't worry about taking the SG so often, maybe weekly once it slows down a bit.. One thing I did note, your recipe doesn't have a significant length of time to ferment on the apple pulp, the recipes I use call for 5 to 7 days of primary fermentation on the pulp for apples...

Basically, the yeast is working now, apple wines are very forgiving,

..keep all your notes though.. for the next batch.

Allie :)
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Is the above sugar consumption rate normal?
Should I add more sugar? How?
The recipe calls for racking at SG 1.040 is this normal?

The rate the SG drops is really quick but there is nothing to worry about. When the must is exactly how the yeast love it this will happen every once in a while.
A slower fermentation would bring out some more flavor but you will be allright.

Your SG started at 1.110 which is in my opinion a bit high for an apple wine. Appel has delicate flavors so I like it on the lower side of alcohol contents like 11%.
So do not add any sugar anymore.

There was a discussion on transferring to secondary on this forum.
As I can see you have pressed the apples and are fermenting just juice I would wait until vigorous fermentation stops (no foaming anymore) and then transfer.

I would advise to let the finished wine age for about a year before drinking. Apple wines get a lot better after aging.

It will ferment out dry with a higher alcohol.. you can stop it with sorbate at about 1.010,

Allie :)

Allie sorry but this is not true.

Sorbate will inhibit yeast to reproduce. When the SG is however at 1.010 there are still enough yeast cells alive to ferment this one out.

Adding sulphites to a large number would stun the yeast but then the wine would become undrinkable. And when the sulphite bound the yeast would become active again meaning fermentation in the bottle.
Something you will want to avoid at all time.....

You cannot stop an active fermentation.
The only way to do that is to heat the wine to the extend that they yeast cells will die. But then you should be carefull not to heat it too much as the alcohol will evaporate.

Oh and by the way Mike..

I am drowning in apples here.. 3 trees left to strip and trying to convert them into cider out of desperation.. had you been local to me.. I would have invited you over to take a bootload of them home with you..



I followed a recipe which said I could stop the ferment with sorbate early, it was for lemon and ginger wine ( old recipe.. )I wanted a slight sweetness. Those wines were bottled in november and kept cool.. Have had no exploding bottles over the summer or deposits as it was bottled in clear glass, they were nice and clear on bottling.. Trouble with old recipes is they often recommend bread yeasts and things too.. I deliberately chose the recipe for the option to stop the ferment..

Are they recoverable or not? Can I return them to a secondary and perhaps blend them with something else? Or do I now have potential grenades? At that point last year the only yeast I was able to get was champagne.. so the option of feeding the wine sugar until the yeast died wasn't feasible.. I only wanted an abv of about 11%

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LUC, I thought I remeber hearing that a fermentation could be stopped by freezing. Is this true? Or does it have the possibility to restart fermentation once it is thawed out and brought to an optimal temperature?
My opinion is fermentation "might" be stopped with Sorbate but it isn't a guaranteed fact that it will indeed inhibit fermentation and normally indeed will not. I always recommend that you ferment a wine to dry and back sweeten. This will allow you to get the sweetness level exactly to suit your taste.
Troy I have read in several places that freezing only stuns the yeast cells and they can restart up once thawed.
LUC, I thought I remeber hearing that a fermentation could be stopped by freezing. Is this true? Or does it have the possibility to restart fermentation once it is thawed out and brought to an optimal temperature?

Trust me on this Troy.
Freezing will not stop fermentation.
I tried it, and afther thawing it just started again.
And that should not surprise you.

Think about nature.
If the yeast would die from freezing it would never
survive winter. And it does.
In france and other winemaking countries it can freeze really hard
and still wines can be made with natural yeast.....

I'm not trying to say anyone here is wrong but on my first batch I put my wine outside in 5 gallon buckets fitted with air locks filled with vodka. The temps were in the 0 to 20 below range and I left it out for 2 days. The yeast I used was killed and fermentation stopped. My assessment is that it really depends on the yeast you are using. The natural yeasys will most likely survive a hard freeze while the yeast specially cultured for winemaking will most likely die when frozed. It all depends on the specfic strain of yeast you are dealing with.

Freezing worked for me but may not work for everyone.
I agree that the yeast will not die, BUT, you could suspend fermentation and then rack off as much yeast while holding this temp and sufite and sorbate but there is a chance of re-fermentation again doing it this way. Sterile filtration is truly the only safe way to stop a fermentation in progress.
ok here's an update on my apple wine. I started using champagne yeast with no resulting fermentation so I added cotes des blanc and it fermented like mad. I did the normal racking and clearing. it is crystal clear but when I checked it for taste it was completely aweful, i thought i was going to have to dump it and try again. I decided to check the sugar % and it read about 1.5% under 0 so I had to add sugar dissolved in water to get it up. I got it up to about 3-3.5% sugar but it took about 4 pounds of sugar. it does still have a bit of an off taste but I figure by letting it sit and completelt mix with the suagr it will get better with time.

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