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Bench Testing To-Taste

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Henry

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Okay, I'm relatively new to this "make your own" business. In fact, this newbie is planning his first-ever "real" batch this weekend. Over the past couple of months I've been reading everything I found on two or three different forums, Jack Keller's page, Luc Volders' blog, and countless recipes a library of pdf guides and manuals.

In the process I've learned round-about what acid levels are typical for red/white/fruit wines, what SG to reach for a particular alcohol level, and how to read the ammount of tannin a recipe calls for. With my new-found ability to make something that suits ME, I have a problem. I don't know how to make what I like? Also to be considered - What does my finicky fiancee like? What I would like to do is shoot for a low level on the acid and tannin range, and somewhat higher in the alcohol content. Theoretically, after fermentation ends, I could bench-test my wine to "perfection".

If I start my banana wine with an SG of 1.100, if the alcohol content turns out too high, dilute with an f-pack? I plan on backsweetening anyway.

If I aim for a TA of around 5 g/L, what difference would it make to adjust with a gram or more per gallon after fermentation?

I know yeast prefer a pH in the low 3's, is a higher TA necessary for microbial activity to flourish?

Can tannin even be added after the fermentation process is over?

Sorry for the winded post... I couldn't find much about making wine after its already been made.
Thanks in Advance,
-Henry
 

surlees

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If I start my banana wine with an SG of 1.100, if the alcohol content turns out too high, dilute with an f-pack? I plan on backsweetening anyway.
Backsweetening can help mask too high alcohol, but not entirely. If you have lots of bannana flavor, you can add a small amount of water to dilute the alcohol. I've never made a bannana wine so I can't advise you if 1.100 is too high or not, but generally fruit wines are made using a s.g. more in the 1.080 range so as not to overwhelm the fruit flavor

If I aim for a TA of around 5 g/L, what difference would it make to adjust with a gram or more per gallon after fermentation?
pH and TA both measure acidity, but there's no direct correlation between the two. Unless you're following a recipe you'll need to make small adjustments and taste test after each one. As long as the pH is in about the 3.25-3.65 range and the TA in the .5-.8 range only minor tweeks should be necessary. Just know that when you change one parameter the other will be affected and not necessarily in direct proportion to the one changed.
I know yeast prefer a pH in the low 3's, is a higher TA necessary for microbial activity to flourish?
Microbes (bacteria) flourish better in a high pH, low TA environment. However, you don't want microbial activity unless you're conducting MLF and you don't need to do MLF in a bannana wine. SO2 and a pH in the 3.0-3.8 range will control any spoilage bacteria.
Can tannin even be added after the fermentation process is over?
Tannin can be added at any time. Just be careful not to overdo it because it can't be removed.

Fred
 

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