Apple wine

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Eddie_G

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I have a question or two about an apple wine I currently have in the secondary. Here is a quick synopsis of what I have done so far. I'm still learning a lot and have only made a few wines so feel free to offer your guidance and help. You won't hurt my feelings.

14 lbs of Staymen Apples (old time varietal from an orchard near me). Tart, red skinned, delicious taste.
Cored apples, eliminated seeds, cut up apples, did not peel. Placed in mesh bag suspended in liquid.
Added water, brown sugar, citric acid, pectic enzyme, some K-Meta, yeast nutrient, some fresh squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, Earl Grey tea, one cinnamon stick.
pH: 3.32 and s.g. 1.108 after all adds
Let equilibrate in heated basement room running 68°F
Goal: A Riesling-like semi-dry (meaning, slightly sweet) white wine with an apple fragrance and taste

Day 2
Pitched yeast (Wyeast 4783, aka Rudischimer). I did some research and this is a good fruit yeast and gives a Riesling like wine.

Day 3 - 7: stirred twice daily, removed pulp bag at day 7 (apples were really decomposed into like a mush) s.g. 1.060

Day 10: fermentation had slowed, s.g. was still 1.058. Added more nutrient. Yeast responded to this the next day.

Day 12: s. g. 1.050 and racked into secondary. 4 gallons total (one 3-gallon and one 1-gallon carboy)

Nice steady fermentation. Not much exciting happening. Added a little more nutrient at day 26. Wine is very cloudy.

Measured s.g. at day 37: s.g. =1.010. Tasted it, it's actually pretty good - not overpowering apple taste, can taste a Riesling-like wine that is of course very young. Had some sweetness but was hard to judge just how much. I'm now at day 39 (I'm patient with wines).

Question is: is it done?

If I add K-sorbate, it will stop the fermentation and if the wine later tastes sweeter than I like, I've sort of ruined it. I heard that wine will taste sweeter if it's chilled, so I probably should take this to full dryness and then back-sweeten, right? (I did this with a blueberry wine - but it was tricky).

Also, I've never made apple wine before so is there anything else I'm missing so far? Adding pectic enzyme during clearing is on my hit list. Anything else?

Thanks in advance for your help!
Eddie_G







Aiming for 3 gallons, got four gallons total
 

Rice_Guy

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At a SG of 1.010 the answer is “maybe”. With a room temperature ferment it should be finished but if you are low as 55F / 12C the yeast could be hibernating for winter.

* pectic enzyme should have been at the start, clearing is slower in an alcoholic solution.
*freezing followed by pressing gives a cleaner juice than whole fruit, you may get more fruit flavor with your method
* lots of work in your process, most apple is crushed whole and pressed
* consider back sweetening with frozen apple concentrate to increase the apple flavor

welcome to Wine Making Talk, , , my start in wine was collecting all of mom’s carboys airlocks etc out of the basement on the farm
 
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I'd ferment the wine dry and then backsweeten, as @Rice_Guy recommended. This gives you better control of the final result. Move the wine to a warmer place or use a heater.

Note -- sorbate does not stop fermentation. When used in conjunction with K-meta it prevents a renewed fermentation, as it stops yeast from multiplying. Since your ferment appears stopped it will most likely prevent re-ignition. I mention this as folks may add sorbate to an active fermentation and wonder why activity doesn't stop.
 

Eddie_G

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I'd ferment the wine dry and then backsweeten, as @Rice_Guy recommended. This gives you better control of the final result. Move the wine to a warmer place or use a heater.

Note -- sorbate does not stop fermentation. When used in conjunction with K-meta it prevents a renewed fermentation, as it stops yeast from multiplying. Since your ferment appears stopped it will most likely prevent re-ignition. I mention this as folks may add sorbate to an active fermentation and wonder why activity doesn't stop.

Thanks for the responses. I don’t think it has stopped fermenting. It is producing one CO2 bubble thru the airlock every 4 seconds. This yeast is just slowed down. Also, didn’t mention it but I did freeze the cut apples prior to ferment.

I will take your advice and ferment to dryness just like the blueberry wine I made this spring. Can bump up the room temp. Apple juice for sweetening sounds interesting.
 

Rembee

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I ferment apple wine to dry, .998 or lower. I allow it to bulk age for 6 months adding k meta in 3 month intervals. A week before I bottle, I add sorbate and k meta, then I backsweeten with frozen apple concentrate to a semi dry, around a sg of 1.005 to 1.008 using the bench trial method. I let it sit for 3 to 5 days prior to bottling to ensure that fermentation doesn't kick off again.
I see that you did add pectic enzyme up front but you didn't give an amount. Next time try doubling the dose of pectic enzyme. It will help to clear the wine faster.
Also as I cut up the apple slices, I place them in 2 gallon zip lock bags. Then I squeeze lemon juice over the slices and then sprinkle pectic enzyme over them. Then I freeze them for a week or more.
 
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Eddie_G

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Update:
Apple wine fermentation has pretty much finished. Hazy. Hit it with pectin enzyme and it cleared somewhat. After several days, added kiesalsol/ chitosan and it clear up a good deal. Seems more clear in the glass. Taste is pretty snappy as expected, not sweet which is fine with me. Maleic acid should mellow out with aging if it’s like the Chardonnay I made last year. Nice Riesling like body. Faint hint of either cinnamon (stick added during primary) or molasses (brown sugar used). I love the color.
Thanks everyone for providing advice during this process. Not done yet so if I’m missing something let me know!CEDAC14D-5E63-4B1B-9FDA-D637466CC04B.jpeg
 

Rice_Guy

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now a question for you. Do you think the clarifier treatment hurt the flavor?
Update: . . Hazy. Hit it with pectin enzyme and it cleared somewhat. After several days, added kiesalsol/ chitosan and it clear up a good deal. Seems more clear in the glass. Taste is pretty snappy as expected, not sweet which is fine with me.
, , , I am debating what treatments to make this years apple cyser less cloudy.
 

Eddie_G

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Well, I do have a little bit of wine in a separate container that did not get the fining agents. So I could conduct a small, ahem, experiment (you know, serious scientific stuff, not just enjoyment ;)) and let you know.

Although the clarified material does not lack any apple flavor. It's apple right on the nose. If I had to guess, the clarifying agents didn't make a dent in it.
 

Eddie_G

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Yeah, well the saga continues. The fermentation re-started a few weeks ago at a snail's pace, in both bottles. And the wine clouded up again. I let it run for a couple of weeks in the 3 gal carboy and then racked, K-Meta and sorbated it, and hit it with pectic enzyme again. It is slooowwwly clearing up. The 1 gal jug is really cloudy and it is still perking along with a slow motion ferment (I'm in no hurry). I will let it go some more and see what happens. I guess I will have two slightly different apple wines, with the 1 gal jug drier than the 3 gal carboy.
 

Rembee

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Yeah, well the saga continues. The fermentation re-started a few weeks ago at a snail's pace, in both bottles. And the wine clouded up again. I let it run for a couple of weeks in the 3 gal carboy and then racked, K-Meta and sorbated it, and hit it with pectic enzyme again. It is slooowwwly clearing up. The 1 gal jug is really cloudy and it is still perking along with a slow motion ferment (I'm in no hurry). I will let it go some more and see what happens. I guess I will have two slightly different apple wines, with the 1 gal jug drier than the 3 gal carboy.
I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a bad experience with this apple wine Eddie.
For all the years that I have been making apple wine, I have not encountered such issues.
Question, I read on your original post that you added a cinnamon stick, did you ferment on it?

Reason I'm asking is I'm trying to see what you did differently then how I make mine. I always add the cinnamon stick(s) during bulk aging.

Also, how old is your pectic enzyme and is it powder or the liquid type?
 

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well you have to chalk this one up to learning curve.

Sorbate does not kill yeast, it stops them from reproducing but the effect is several variables, not a simple x produces y relationship. sorbate works in conjunction with lower pH/ more alcohol/ higher ppm of SO2 / lower yeast count/ more sorbate.
At this point; You can let it run, the yeast are weak so it will be slow. You could pasteurize like a cider and kill off the yeast. OR any of the above (lower pH/ add more metabisulphite/ add more sorbate).
I try for patience, at nine months I can usually back sweeten without refermentation. So far at twelve months I can always back sweeten without sorbate.
Yeah, well the saga continues. The fermentation re-started a few weeks ago at a snail's pace, in both bottles. And the wine clouded up again. I let it run for a couple of weeks in the 3 gal carboy and then racked, K-Meta and sorbated it, and hit it with pectic enzyme again. It is slooowwwly clearing up. The 1 gal jug is really cloudy and it is still perking along with a slow motion ferment (I'm in no hurry). I will let it go some more and see what happens. I guess I will have two slightly different apple wines, with the 1 gal jug drier than the 3 gal carboy.
Your wine looked nice in the photo you posted.
 

Eddie_G

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I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a bad experience with this apple wine Eddie.
For all the years that I have been making apple wine, I have not encountered such issues.
Question, I read on your original post that you added a cinnamon stick, did you ferment on it?

Reason I'm asking is I'm trying to see what you did differently then how I make mine. I always add the cinnamon stick(s) during bulk aging.

Also, how old is your pectic enzyme and is it powder or the liquid type?
I fermented on the cinnamon stick.
Not sure how old the pectic enzyme is. I ordered it early in 2021 for blueberry wine. It is the liquid kind.
 

Eddie_G

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well you have to chalk this one up to learning curve.

Sorbate does not kill yeast, it stops them from reproducing but the effect is several variables, not a simple x produces y relationship. sorbate works in conjunction with lower pH/ more alcohol/ higher ppm of SO2 / lower yeast count/ more sorbate.
At this point; You can let it run, the yeast are weak so it will be slow. You could pasteurize like a cider and kill off the yeast. OR any of the above (lower pH/ add more metabisulphite/ add more sorbate).
I try for patience, at nine months I can usually back sweeten without refermentation. So far at twelve months I can always back sweeten without sorbate.

Your wine looked nice in the photo you posted.
Thanks.
The 1 gallon jug is the only one fermenting and it has never had sorbate in it. I will let it run - like I said I'm not in a hurry.
The 3 gal carboy has no signs of fermentation - just waiting for it to clarify.
Cheers
 

Rembee

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I fermented on the cinnamon stick.
Not sure how old the pectic enzyme is. I ordered it early in 2021 for blueberry wine. It is the liquid kind.
I use to use the liquid pectic enzyme also but I switched to the powdered one. I find that I have better results with the powdered pectic enzyme. Not sure if that is everyone's experience with it though. The only other thing, besides the type of apples being used, is fermenting with the cinnamon stick. Maybe fermenting on the cinnamon stick degraded it more then just bulk aging on it. Something to ponder on for sure lol.
 
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