Back Sweetening Apple Wine

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derunner

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I made the apfelwein recipe from cider and it is now very clear so I could bottle it. It does not seem to have a lot of apple flavor, and perhaps too much cinnamon flavor. I had one small stick of cinnamon in the primary for a week. I am thinking of back sweetening to about 1.010 or 1.015. Does that sound about right and will that cause the flavor of the apple to come out more? Or does this just need more aging for the flavors to come out? Yeast was pitched on 10/12/13.

Does 5 -6 cups sugar sound right for raising SG from .994 to 1.015? Or do you think I would be better off adding frozen apple juice concentrate to sweeten? Or should I simmer the frozen concentrate to make into a stronger syrup?

If the apple juice has pulp, I'll probably have to go a couple more months of aging to clear again, but it would be worth it if the flavor improves.

Thanks for your comments.
 

fabrictodyefor

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I'm just posting a reply, derunner, so I can get notification when someone more knowledgeable answers! I have an apple wine that I started 10-17 and it is very "harsh"....last time I tasted it was 12/8 and my notes say "very sharp". I had it on cinnamon sticks for 6 weeks, hope that wasn't too long. My sis is coming over next week and we were going to test some back sweetening on it, try some brown sugar sweetening and some white sugar sweetening. Not sure if it is going to help!
 

Julie

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sweetening it some will bring out more of the apple, 1 cup of sugar will increase your sg approximately .018, so if you are adding 5 cups to a 5 gallon batch, yes you should be getting roughly 1.012. I would use a can of frozen apple juice, taste it and then check the sg before adding anymore sugar.
 
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I have used cans of frozen concentrate to back sweeten it adds both flavor and some sugar, you'll have to go on taste but usually 3-4 cans for a 5 gallon batch is a good start.
 

Thig

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I would not add 1 cup per gallon to start with, that may be too sweet. After experimenting with my apple wine that fermented dry 1\2 cup per gallon was just right for me. Your taste may tell you different but if you go too sweet to begin with your stuck.

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FTC Wines

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I used to " over sweeten" my Apple wine on purpose. SG 1.010-20, NOW I leave some at 1.005 ish & age it 2 yrs with it on oak cubes for 3-4 months. It turns out "like" a oaky Chardonnay. Try it you might like it. Roy
 

Julie

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I would caution in how much apple concentrate you add, for each can you are diluting you ABV. One or two cans will not be noticeable but I'm not sure if I would want to go any farther than that.

Thig, not sure what you mean by the 1 cup and the 1/2 cup. If it is in reference to my post, I was just giving the calculation. if you add 1 cup of sugar to a wine it will raise the sg .018 per gallon.
 

derunner

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I would caution in how much apple concentrate you add, for each can you are diluting you ABV. One or two cans will not be noticeable but I'm not sure if I would want to go any farther than that.
I was worried about lowering the ABV. Does it make any sense to simmer a few cans of concentrate to reduce the volume, or would I also be steaming away the apple flavor?
 

Julie

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Yes that does make sense and no I don't think you would be steaming away the apple flavor, if anything I would think you are concentrating it more.
 

HillPeople

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I added a simple syrup of 1 c sugar boiled in a cup of water to back sweeten in a 6 gal. batch that was 12.6%. It made a big difference in bringing out the apple flavor.
 

Thig

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Julie, I was really referencing his initial post where he mentions adding 5 to 6 cups.

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terroirdejeroir

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My experience with hard apple cider is that the cinnamon flavor can be initially overpowering, but it mellows fairly quickly. I make mine in the 16-18% ABV range with a final gravity of 1.005-1.010. Very popular. Also, try raw sugar for back sweetening as it has a very nice, smooth flavor.
 
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3 cans of concentrate would drop your abv from 12% to something close to 11.5%. I guess it all depends on what your acceptable loss to flavor ratio would be but I agree with Julie boiling it down would help concentrate it even more.
 

derunner

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I ended up taking 4 cans of frozen concentrated apple juice and simmered them down to half volume. I decided to stop there because I was worried about the sugars carmelizing. The concentrate were very sweet and apple flavored. I split my 6 gallons of apple wine into 2 carboys and added half to one and saw it raised the hydrometer to 1.015. So that seemed like a good level of sweetness. So I added the other half to the 2nd carboy. Then I combined the carboys and had a 750 and 350 bottle extra. I'll bottle next weekend if all looks good. It seemed to add a touch of carmel flavor. The cinnamon is still a bit strong so i'll probably let this sit 3-6 months before opening a bottle.
 

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