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Best sugar for back sweetening?

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blumentopferde

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Hello there!

Which sugar would you recommend to back sweeten a wine? Is there any significant difference in taste?
And are there any non-fermentable sweeteners that you could recommend? At the moment I am using sorbitol syrop but I have the impression that it leaves a weird aftertaste...

Thanks for any recommendations!
 

Boatboy24

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I just use plain white sugar. Castor sugar is also a choice - it dissolves more easily.

I have the same impression with the non-fermentable sweeteners, though no actual experience.
 

cmason1957

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I don't have direct experience with nonfermentable sugars, but I do know that about two years ago one of the members of the wine club i belong to did a test of several of the fake type sweetness. I remember he did stevia, saccharine, and one or two others, plus a sugar one for comparison. As I recall all of the non-fermentable ones had somewhat of an odd taste to them.
 

Rice_Guy

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Honey is “less” fermentable than table sugar, with a clean flavor, ,BUT it will make the wine look cloudy since bees put protein in it.
Most artificial sweeteners have an off flavor, the cleanest flavor is aspartame however it breaks down over a year in high acid liquids like soda (pH approx 2.5) Wines are approx pH 3.5 which would slow the reaction.
 

blumentopferde

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Thanks for your replies! So i will just stick to regular sugar for back sweetening.
But for sparkling wine I would still like to use a non-fermentable sweetener... What do you think about birch sugar (Xylit)? Any experience with that?
 

Venatorscribe

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I use Erythritol to back sweeten both still and sparkling styles... as I have a sugar intolerance issue. Erythritol works beautifully.
 

blumentopferde

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I use Erythritol to back sweeten both still and sparkling styles... as I have a sugar intolerance issue. Erythritol works beautifully.
Thank you for that hint! that sounds like a useful product! Do you have any experience if it keeps its sweeting power over long time periods? I had the impressions that some of my wines that I sweetened with Sorbitol lost sweetness over time...
 
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Venatorscribe

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I have never had a loss of sweetness and it doesn’t have that metallic tingle that some of the other sweetners seem to have ... however - just like all of them - don’t overdose - as it can cause a bit of intestinal gas. Around 350 to 400 gms in ten litres is more than enough. That will give you a dry to medium wine, dependent upon your fruit base. the flavour profile develops over the period of one or two months. So you need to trust your instincts. And back sweetening whilst you are initially still holding it in bulk
 

blumentopferde

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thanks for these insights!
Just found it on a local store for 6 EUR (about 7$) per kg... So I'll give it a try!
Just one more question: You say the flavour develops over time: So will the impression of sweetness also change over time? So should I rather use less sweetener than my tongue actually tells me to use?
 
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Venatorscribe

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Yes. That’s my experience. i found that I don’t get the full sweetness profile in the beginning. Hence when I first started using Erythritol a few years back I added far too much. I now use those early still and sparkling pear wines for blending in with other fruit wines and only pop a bottle for direct drinking when a couple of sweet wine drinking friends turn up. So in summary my 0.035 to 0.04 % is basically half what I used to do when I shifted to it. And I would recommend you aim for that level. Erythritol is only 80% of the general sweetness of sugar. Your price is similar to what I pay in New Zealand. It’s not cheap. But it is worth it. Cheers
 

blumentopferde

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Thanks for the clarification! Just bought me a bag of Erythrol and will try it out this season!
 

E-man

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I use xylitol to back sweeten sparkling ciders and it tastes ok and has worked fine. Most recently tried Erythritol to backsweeten a sparkling concord wine which I have yet to taste, letting it bottle carb now. Xylitol is a little different taste than sugar but I don't use a lot as we prefer and off-dry cider.
 

hounddawg

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i tried honey a few years ago tasted great, but around 4 to 5 years it completely changes the taste, i did not like that, i use regular cane sugar, I pour it in dry, stir using a carboy stir attached to one of my cordless drills, each year my wines get better and better with age, but i do country wines done sweet, i bulk 1 to 2 tears except for elderberry, 8 to 10 years and skeeter pee port around 6 to 8 months, ( and i admit as a lot say,, I ain't right in the head )
Dawg
 

blumentopferde

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Pleased I could help. What fruit are you using in the wine. All the best. Cheers
This year I only made wine from grapes. The sparkling wine will be done with sweetener instead of sugar so I can sweeten the wine before secondary fermentation and don't have to reopen the bottles afterwards. The goal is an "extra dry" style with an equivalent sugar content of about 15 g/l.

i tried honey a few years ago tasted great, but around 4 to 5 years it completely changes the taste, i did not like that, i use regular cane sugar, I pour it in dry, stir using a carboy stir attached to one of my cordless drills, each year my wines get better and better with age, but i do country wines done sweet, i bulk 1 to 2 tears except for elderberry, 8 to 10 years and skeeter pee port around 6 to 8 months, ( and i admit as a lot say,, I ain't right in the head )
Dawg
8-10 years for elderberry? Wow, thats quite some time! 😮How come? I just recall that I still have an unopened elderberry wine from 2012 - maybe it's time to give it a try! 😉
 

hounddawg

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This year I only made wine from grapes. The sparkling wine will be done with sweetener instead of sugar so I can sweeten the wine before secondary fermentation and don't have to reopen the bottles afterwards. The goal is an "extra dry" style with an equivalent sugar content of about 15 g/l.


8-10 years for elderberry? Wow, thats quite some time! 😮How come? I just recall that I still have an unopened elderberry wine from 2012 - maybe it's time to give it a try! 😉
the old timers sold their elderberry at 4 to 6 years but kept for themselves 8 to 10, it becomes as smooth as silk, now i do a 2 to 1 blackberry-elderberry that's very good at 2 years, not a lot of people like elderberry, but the longer you age the smoother it gets,
Dawg
 

blumentopferde

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Hounddawg, How much water do you add to the elderberry juice before fermentation? My 2012 elderberry wine was an experiment - I fermented pure elderberry juice and only added some sugar. Unfortunately this turned out to be undrinkable. It had an extremely harsh and medicine-like taste... so maybe I should give it even more than the suggested 8 to ten years before I try it again...
 

hounddawg

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Hounddawg, How much water do you add to the elderberry juice before fermentation? My 2012 elderberry wine was an experiment - I fermented pure elderberry juice and only added some sugar. Unfortunately this turned out to be undrinkable. It had an extremely harsh and medicine-like taste... so maybe I should give it even more than the suggested 8 to ten years before I try it again...
yes that's why most don't like it, i use 5 lb. elderberry to the gal of water and it still takes forever to smooth out, the juice you used was it single strength, or condensed, did you press the juice yourself, elderberry is a extremely strong juice, i'm sure other would know different ways, but if you used straight pressed juiced, i'd dilute it, with either water, or blackberry wine, the way i make mine is 5 lb. elderberry to each gallon of water, and during fermentation i stir with a drill, which breaks down the berries, was your juice pressed by you, or bought,
Dawg
 

blumentopferde

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It was straight pressed juice. As far as I remember I fermented it with the skins, then boiled it up to 80°C to break down the Sambunigrin and pressed it by hand (didn't have a press back then). It was quite a mess....
 

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