bad chokecherry wine

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SeniorHobby

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If there is a nice big steak and abundant wine involved I will have my wake before I check out and you are all invited!
Hi JustJoe,
I made some chokecherry wine this year and was looking for a recipe, ended up finding one calling for golden raisins. Of course, I had no golden raisins at home so I tried it with regular raisins. Not sure if it will turn out, its been racked once and is chilling yet. I haven't tried it for flavor. I have heard that chokecherry wines taste good at five years, great at 10 years!! Oh my! I am thinking of letting it chill a while yet, sweeten a bit, then bottle and watch it age. Also thanks to Arne for the advice on 3-4 lbs of fruit per gallon batch. I did a 6.2 lb 2 gallon batch so I think I'm ok in the over fruit department.
 

JustJoe

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Hi JustJoe,
I made some chokecherry wine this year and was looking for a recipe, ended up finding one calling for golden raisins. Of course, I had no golden raisins at home so I tried it with regular raisins. Not sure if it will turn out, its been racked once and is chilling yet. I haven't tried it for flavor. I have heard that chokecherry wines taste good at five years, great at 10 years!! Oh my! I am thinking of letting it chill a while yet, sweeten a bit, then bottle and watch it age. Also thanks to Arne for the advice on 3-4 lbs of fruit per gallon batch. I did a 6.2 lb 2 gallon batch so I think I'm ok in the over fruit department.
I have also heard 5 - 10 years for chokecherry to be good. I am in year 3 and it is still pretty bad. I finished the last bottle that I tried but only because I hate to waste wine, even poor wine. 🤪
 

SeniorHobby

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I have also heard 5 - 10 years for chokecherry to be good. I am in year 3 and it is still pretty bad. I finished the last bottle that I tried but only because I hate to waste wine, even poor wine. 🤪
Makes you feel kind of weird drinking it when it’s bad, at least me anyway. I agree though, after all the effort, don’t want to throw it out. Patience, patience! What do you think about adding the regular raisins to the chokecherry?
 

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Adding the raisins gives you some of the good features of grapes in your wine like tannin and color, etc. If you were making a "white" wine (my rhubarb wine is nearly white) you would not want to use regular raisins but in a chokecherry a little color will be fine.
Thanks!! I hope it turns out ok, we'll see in 5 or 10!!
 

Rice_Guy

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Choke cherry; a fairly astringent and bitter fruit, the ones I found don’t have a real traditional cherry flavor, at the vinters club folks say you should let it get ten years old to smooth out. The cherry is at least half seed and if I ball parked the pulp 60% is juice, ,,, ie NOT a lot. Some numbers 2019 pH 4.17/ TA .54%/ SG 1.085; 2020 pH 4.60/ TA 1.27%/ SG 1.090; 2021 pH 3.77TA 1.41%)
As luck has it I made a choke cherry in 2020 and was bottling it this week. I am running stronger than you using 45% choke cherry and 55% Golden Delicious apple juice (no water). > Yield ~ two gallons. The finished wine was 1.003. ,,, one jug was clean/ light fruity aroma/ clear/ flavor is acid front note followed by a long bitter/ slight astringent note/ reasonable sweetness balance. This gallon was finished (smoothed) with 42 gm of glycerine and then bottled > a bottle will show up at the Wisconsin vinters meeting next week (as a young sample) and I will probably enter it in contest when it reaches five years old.
1 year after bottling tried one bottle and was very disappointed. Tasted like dirt or some kind of metal. After a couple of tastes, the bottle was dumped, Hope it gets a lot better with aging but not really expecting much. . . . . I could find only 6 pounds of chokecherries so it was more elderberry wine than chokecherry but it still had some of that nasty taste that the 2019 had, Today it isn't bad. I am hopeful that in another year it will be good.
Elderberry is a low aroma, tannic/bitter flavor which I like in concord juice at about 25%. You are mixing two fairly tannic/bitter fruits. If theory is correct the tannins will complex creating larger molecules which eventually fall out of solution much the same as a high tannin red grape wine. Your “some kind of metal” sounds like astringent to me. Astringent is one of the tannin flavors so it should decrease with time. “Tasting like dirt”, wow that’s an interesting description.

Humm it seems to me that I saw a post someplace on WineMakingTalk that making wine was a lesson in patience.
 

winemanden

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Thanks guys! The bad news is that it is already bottled. The good news is that I have enough room to store it. Now the question is will I live long enough to enjoy it 🤪. At least I have enough really good wild grape, rhubarb and blueberry to keep me happy til it's ready.
Time may be the answer. Open a bottle every six months or so, you'll see whether it's improving or not. You may be surprised at what you end up with.
This thread reminded me about a gallon of funky Elderberry I've been storing away at the back. I've been tasting it every few months, and what I've taken out for tasting I've replaced with a drop of fresh to keep it topped up.
Thanks for reminding me. It's 10 years old now and I've just tasted it again. All the funkiness has gone, Dry with just a touch of brown on the edge, a bit lighter red now. I think what I'm going to do now is a bit of blending with some newer wine, and putting it away for a couple of months before bottling.
Wow! It tastes great now, but with a drop of fresh to restore some fruitiness I think it will be a bit classy. 🍷:D
 

ChuckD

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Thanks for reminding me. It's 10 years old now and I've just tasted it again.
So it was in bulk for 10 years? 😮. I’m not a patient man so I was steeling myself to wait a whole year for some of my wines to mature! After some months on this site I was thinking ok, I can hold out for two!

does Anyone have one of those pens from Men In Black that erase your memory? Because that’s what it might take for me to wait 10 years for my elderberry 🤣.
 

Busch

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Can a bad-tasting wine be saved??? This is my 3rd juice concentrate batch and the only difference between the last batch that was good was I added 1 cup of sugar before fermentation and soaked about 3 oz of wood chips for a couple of days. The 1st tasking was odd.. hitting the palate you could taste the pomegranate, then seconds after an odd after taste. I had to leave it for a couple of weeks with cheesecloth over it, and now it tastes really flat & unpleasant. I tried adding a little sugar to back sweeten, but that was worse! Then thought maybe it need some acid, so I did a test with glass & 1/4 acid - and again NO worse than it started. I'm very sad as I've thrown away more of my batch than I've made. Any chance of saving the remaining wine???? I'm wondering if I put the K-sorbate in before it completed fermenting??
 

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can you identify astringent flavor? A common place to get astringent is green banana peel, ,, a feeling of drying the mouth, a feeling where the smoothness is gone in the mouth, pomegranate has some astringent.
,,, astringent is said to be related to long chain tannin complexes which can be removed with a protein fining agent.
oxidized ethyl alcohol (acetaldehyde) is a burn in the back of the throat at high level and apple like aroma at low level.
… acetaldehyde can not be removed
flavors go through the mouth in waves, sweet is fast followed by acid, ,, bitter (tannic) and astringent take longer.
The 1st tasting was odd.. hitting the palate you could taste the pomegranate, then seconds after an odd after taste. I had to leave it for a couple of weeks with cheesecloth over it, and now it tastes really flat & unpleasant.
letting air on a wine will change it from a sweet alcohol to the acetaldehyde (oxidized ethyl alcohol) and may allow growth of vinegar producing Acetobacter. As a rule NEVER allow free access of oxygen to an alcohol solution.
 
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hawkwing

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I wouldn’t bottle it I’d bulk age it for a few years. Lots of sediment will drop out of it and you dint want that in the bottles. I made two carboys about twenty years ago or possibly a year or two more than that. I bulk aged for basically 20 years. I finally bottled it and it’s actually really good dry. But it’s really good sweet too.

I remember my aunt made some once and she mixed it with sprite, 7-up or ginger ale to drink. It was tasty from what I recall. But that was a long time ago.
 

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@Busch Can you give more details, such as the starting and finishing sg numbers, how long it was fermenting, did you ferment in a bucket or under airlock, etc.?
K.. let me see if I can describe this well enough from my notes:

Started with 1 G wide mouth jar w/airlock - all equipment sanitized & dried
64 oz Cran-Pomegranate
32 oz Mango Juice
32 oz Concord Grape juice
16 oz Cran-Raspberry Juice
1 c sugar
Dissolved 1/2 tsp yeast on 2/26/22 & was at 18 SG
on 3/5 - I noted the color had gotten very red and SG at 20 (?). Was in a colder room so gave it a few more days to ferment.
3/13 - SG @ 1 but was fizzy & tasted tart and at 17% ABV (?). Soaked .26 oz of chips for 2 days.
3/15 - Pithed the wine w/ 1/2 tsp k-sorbate & covered carboy with cheesecloth
3/18 - Still fizzy so put in another 1/2 tsp K-Sorbate
3/26 - Pitched again. SG at 1. Flavor was really light & not juicy or sweet. Tried back sweeting - and NO tasted worse.
Let it sit with cheesecloth on top of carboy. Today (4/12), You can smell the pomagranet and maybe a slight vinagar smell, but on taste - BLICK. Hard to describe, but yeah kinda vinegarie. It does leave a dry tongue, and what I can only describe as tasting off.
 

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