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Beaverdale kits bland after 4 weeks bottled?

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Hi everyone,

I know I shouldn't even be touching my wine after 4 weeks in the bottle, but I am new to this, so I am very interested in keeping an eye on how things progess in the bottle - it's in the name of science you know! :)
I have a Beaverdale Cabernet Sauvignon batch that's only been bottled now for 4 weeks and a Beaverdale Rioja that's been bottled for 2-3 weeks.
I know I am supposed to wait a minimum of 3 months in the bottle, but obviously I want to see how it progresses and sure there are plenty of each batch that will see full maturity, especially since I have a Nebbiolo ready to bottle this week too! :)
I want to keep brewing and bottling enough so that I'll have so much that it will naturally be stockpiled and have a better chance of aging without interruption!
Anyway, I have been sampling the odd bottle of the Cabernet and one of the Rioja at very early stages, the oldest being the Cab which is only in the bottle 4 weeks now.
What I'm curious about now is how the aging process will affect the wine. I don't know what a 'green' wine tastes like, but they are both extremely bland and not something I would buy in the shop.
I wouldn't say they are offensive, they are certainly drinkable, but probably only on a par with the cheapest wine you could buy in Ireland at the moment.
Will the blandness make way and allow flavours to develop? I really can't envisage the blandness of these wines turning into anything special, but then I'm hoping that is just my complete inexperience!
They seem to be mellowing out in terms of the mild 'solvent' type flavours that existed.
Please help me keep the faith, as I want to keep this going but not if they don't develop far beyond what I can taste now.
On the other hand, the Nebbiolo does taste much more interesting and I haven't even reached the degassing phase yet! :)
Thanks
Bren.
 
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Thanks for the responses guys.
I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it develops and hope that it is just bottle shock and not simply boring bland wine!
Cheers
 

Scooter68

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don't see any mention of the final pH, SG or how long you aged in in bulk before bottling. As mentioned bottle shock can cause problems but... The pH is probably the most important thing to know - Bland flavor is frequently is a sign of insufficient acidity in the wine. Bottle shock aside - what was the pH or TA immediately before you bottled it? If the pH was too high (Not acid enough) then you have an potential issue with spoilage. IF the pH was in range (3.4-3.6) Then bottle shock is the likely issue as mentioned.
 

Johnd

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don't see any mention of the final pH, SG or how long you aged in in bulk before bottling. As mentioned bottle shock can cause problems but... The pH is probably the most important thing to know - Bland flavor is frequently is a sign of insufficient acidity in the wine. Bottle shock aside - what was the pH or TA immediately before you bottled it? If the pH was too high (Not acid enough) then you have an potential issue with spoilage. IF the pH was in range (3.4-3.6) Then bottle shock is the likely issue as mentioned.
The OP just started making wine, and this is a kit, other than SG, he’s probably not testing all that sort of stuff yet.

@Brendan O'Donohue , keep making wine, tasting your finished stuff (medium to full bodied reds) in terms of months, not weeks. Reasonable quality red kits improve for YEARS, not months. Give them some time, and they’ll reward you.
 
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As Johnd says above, I did start out with a basic kit so I can only take SG at the moment so don't know what the pH was at bottling.
If it's still valid to check the pH from the bottle I'll get a tester and pop a bottle open.
Anyway..i definitely take on board the advice to just be more patient.
I did not bulk age at all.. bottled a week after clearing as was recommended.
Cheers
 

Scooter68

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1) Yes you might save yourself some problems (Unhappiness with the outcome) by opening and testing a bottle for pH or TA. If the pH indicates insufficient acidity, you wine will not only be bland/flabby tasting, it will also spoil much easier/faster. Mistakes happen and if your wine kit ended up with a high pH (Above 3.6) it could cause the problems you are describing.
2) Bottling immediately can lead to other issues like CO2 build up. Unless de-gassed, a wine fresh out of fermentation can contain a lot of CO2 that might cause corks to pop or a lot of 'bite' in the wine. The latter is probably not the issue you have. But again even though kit directions tell you that you can bottle immediately, DON'T, aging a wine in bulk lets you keep tabs on how it's aging and fix problems like you describe without a lot of work. Ask anyone who has had to un-bottle a batch of wine. NOT fun, and a waste corks and time.
3) Take a little time to do some reading on this forum - especially about kit wines and aging wines. The consensus is clear - age as long as possible in bulk - regardless of what the kit directions tell you. Frankly kit makers want you to keep buying and bottling as fast a possible. In this hobby PATIENCE is the most important thing to learn. Second is to take copious notes of what you do, and third, get some of the basic tools to help you keep tabs on where your wine is.

I started out very naive about all of this almost 3 years ago and the learning curve was a little steep at first but this forum has been a huge help. My total investment in hardware, measuring tools and supplies is now up to about $700.00 BUT that includes a Omega Juicer which is certainly not a necessary piece of equipment and a manual press which I have found worthless to me. (Replaced by the Juicer) A modest investment of a bout $250.00 would provide you all the basic equipment and supplies to make plenty of wine. Carboys, Fermentation buckets and bottles are things that are semi-expendable and your expense for those will vary with how much wine you want to make. I get bottles from the recycling center in our town and even 4 liter (1 gallon +) carboys as well.

Hang in there and take your time you will end up a lot happier if you can just learn that first thing - Patience.

(And you never stop learning either - Today I learned a painful lesson. A bottle filler wand cannot be left just sitting in a bottle if someone calls you away from filling bottles. The little filler wand kept flowing without pressure (It shouldn't but it did) and I lost a gallon of wine before I got back to bottle filling)
:slp
 

2020steve

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Great INFO from Scooter68, all I can add about my first kit 12 years ago is must bottles were opened way to early and the last of the 30 bottles was way better than the first. Be patient it will take a year or more. Make whites for early drinking.
 
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Thanks, great advice all round.

The fermenters I'm using are nicely air tight, supplied by a local brew shop but I will look into getting a carboy.
Is there any reason to get glass over plastic for the carboy?
I prefer the idea of handling a plastic one if there's no real difference.
 

Scooter68

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Glass is far less likely to scratch, and easier to clean. Also I haven't seen any plastic containers that show wine as clearly as glass. When a wine appears crystal clear in glass, you know it's crystal clear. In most plastic container that isn't necessarily true.
Also as to the plastic lids sealing tight. Think about how many inches around (Circumference) those plastic container lids are that you are talking about that 11 1/2 " diameter lid is over 36 inches around. A carboy lid that is perhaps 2 inches in diameter is 6 inches around. Plus that plastic lid is far more flexible than most glass carboy caps/airlock bungs. In my experience I use 5 gallon or 2 gallon fermenter buckets. Sealing the lid is virtually impossible. In the middle of a solid primary fermentation my well closed lids leaked gas readily. So much so that when put an airlock on it ZERO bubbling occurred. When I wet the seal of that plastic lid (And the removable seal in that lid rim, I suddenly started seeing plenty of bubbling.... for a day or two until the seal dried out again.
My point is that for a primary or secondary fermentation a large mouth container is fine. In secondary, or final days of fermentation a lot less gas is covering your wine and a glass or small mouth container allows you to get a tighter seal. For aging, I personally would never use any large mouth container unless it had a seal guaranteed to keep out any air. Last point, Oxygen is not wines best friend so the smaller the surface area of the wine expose to the least amount of oxygen the better. A large carboy with a 1 inch diameter opening at the top with 2 inches of air vertically has 1.6 cubic inches of air. A container of 11.5 inches diameter with 1/4 inch of space has 26 cubic inches of air. That's a lot more oxygen exposure for your wine.
Sorry for the windy answer.
 
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Ok I'm sold!
I'm wondering though, after I rack from the primary bucket, I'm getting 20-21 litres, so how do I ensure I fill the carboy up to within 2 inches of the bung if it's a 25L carboy, it simply won't be possible.
There will always be 4-5L worth of headspace... is this a problem and if so how do I avoid it?
 

Scooter68

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By my converter 20 liters = 5 gallons. Are you overseas, where they work in liters? One option would be a couple of smaller containers. I have settled on 3 gallon carboys since the size if something I can lift even without a carrier. If you get a smaller carboy (Liter "equivalent" of 3 gallons is what 12 liters?) and then a couple of smaller carboys. At our recycling center Carlo Rossi bottles show up frequently and they are 4 liters. So a 12 liter carboy and a couple of 4 liter carboys and you should set for 20 liters.

And of course you may need to be on the lookout for some 1.5 or 1 liter containers that will accommodate a standard drilled bung or drilled screw cap for aging. It's not uncommon for the lees to rob you of a full carboy at racking time so I prepare for that by collecting a variety of different sized screw cap bottles that will accommodate an airlock

Despite the best planning there will be times when that batch comes up short of filling the carboys so you have a few choices. Add a few ozs of water to top off (I know that's heresy to some., but 8 ozs into a 20 or 21 liter batch is not going to kill the flavors), Add some similar wine to top off, or adapt with different size carboys.
 
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sour_grapes

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Personally, I have no compunction against adding a commercial wine to top off my homebrew. I look at it like this: Here, I have this bottle or two of commercial wine. I could drink it now, OR I could put it in with my other batch, and drink it in a year or two. Either way, I will drink it, so nothing is wasted!
 

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