WineXpert Blueberry Pinot Noir -- adding 5lb sugar

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steviepointer

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so I got bit by the winemaking bug..been doing a lot of research..wife is skeptical. bought equipment online.

We were out of town, and stopped at a wine making supply store, run by an old gray haired italian woman. She gave us a sample of Island Mist Blueberry Pinot Noir, which my wife immediately enjoyed (big plus there -- the wife is not a wine drinker). The woman said the key is to add 5lbs of sugar to the kit before you start. She said you want to target 15% alc.

If I can dupliate the results, I think I will have the full approval of my wife.

So, I bought the Blueberry kit (this is my first ever attempt). But now I have some viliage idiot questions here:

a)How do you do that? do you boild some water, add in 5lbs to disolve it, then add it to the kit (substitute the sugared water for the plain drinking water)?

b)just add it to the kit and stir (kinda doubt that one, as I don't think it would disollve all of it)

c)Once the 5lbs of sugar is in, do you just follow the directions like normal? or, does anything else need to be adjusted?

d)what would the SG before and after the sugar is added? Is there a target SG she would be shooting for?

Thanks a bunch for any help.
 
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summersolstice

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Yes, if you want to add more sugar then just dump it in and stir to dissolve the sugar and complete the kit per the directions. I'd submit though that the "mist-style" kits aren't designed for more alcohol. These wines are basically wine cooler drinks and it would really be no different than adding Everclear or vodka to a wine cooler. The kit manufacturers spend a lot of time and research designing these kits and, as with all wine, balance is the key. IMO, you don't have enough body in a mist style kit to support the added alcohol. Having said that, though, give it a try and if you like it then by all means enjoy!
 

steviepointer

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Thanks!

That's fine if they aren't true wine. I'm hoping it's a good kit to cut my teeth on, and something that both me and my wife can enjoy.
 

ffemt128

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As you will find, several people add sugar in the begining when making the Island mist kits. I am on my second one now, a Green Apple Reisling. I'm not sure about wanting to target 15% alcohol though. I added roughly 3 1/2 lbs to each kit. My Black Rasberry Cabernet came out about 10.5-11% alcohol and is quite tasty IMHO.

I made a simple sugar mix 7 cups sugar to 3 1/2 cups water and used this in place of water added to the kit when filling to 6 gallons. Check your SG with he hydrometer and shoot for 1.080 roughly.

Can't comment on the Blueberry Pino as I haven't made that, but I'm sure you will get more advice than I can offer as I'm relatively new to all this also.

Happy Wine making and remember Patience, Patience, Patience......
 

steviepointer

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my only concern about making it by the book is:

a)we really liked what we tasted
b)my wife won't like it

to me, I like just about anything decent, but I want something we both can enjoy, and she has picky tastes.
 

robie

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People bump the alcohol in mist kits all the time. IMO they can use more alcohol, especially this particular kit. 15% ABV is a lot for a thin mist kit, but whatever you like. If the lady at the LHBS did it that way, so can you. The main thing is that your wife liked it.

I would NOT throw the sugar directly into the must. I will be hard to get it to dissolve completely. I'd heat up a few cups of water and slowly dissolve the sugar into it, making a simple syrup. When it gets to where no more sugar will dissolve, add some more hot water and keep going.

I would add it such that you end up with a total of 23 liters of must. That way you won't end up with diluted must, like I did with my first mist kit, which ended up tasting watered down, because I had so much extra water trying to bump the alcohol. These mist kits are already pretty thin, anyway.
 

robie

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We all have our opinions.
Again, Stevie, make it the way your wife liked it. Make a simple syrup out of 5 pounds of household sugar and hot water and make sure you don't end up with more than 23 liters (6 gallons) of total must. You will be fine.
 

jdeere5220

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If you don't go overboard you won't do anything to ruin it.

My first kit was the Blackberry Cab which I made by the book and it's going fast. Now I've got the Berry-Shiraz kit going, and I added 5 cups of sugar (dissolved in warm water) and about 1/3 of the F-Pack at the start. So I'm raising the alcohol and reducing the final sweetness just a tad. The initial SG was 1.068, which I think gets me to about 9.5% for the finished product.

Or you can just make it by the book, and if it's not strong enough for you when you are done you can "fortify" it by adding Vodka. I guess that's pretty common.
 

steviepointer

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thanks for all the great feedback.

I may cut the difference in 1/2 and go for 2.5lbs of sugar.
 

robie

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People bump the alcohol in mist kits all the time. IMO they can use more alcohol, especially this particular kit. 15% ABV is a lot for a thin mist kit, but whatever you like. If the lady at the LHBS did it that way, so can you. The main thing is that your wife liked it.

I would NOT throw the sugar directly into the must. I will be hard to get it to dissolve completely. I'd heat up a few cups of water and slowly dissolve the sugar into it, making a simple syrup. When it gets to where no more sugar will dissolve, add some more hot water and keep going.

I would add it such that you end up with a total of 23 liters of must. That way you won't end up with diluted must, like I did with my first mist kit, which ended up tasting watered down, because I had so much extra water trying to bump the alcohol. These mist kits are already pretty thin, anyway.
 

robie

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Hope that makes your wife a happy camper.

Let us know how it turns out.

Be sure to fully degas it at above 75 degrees F. That CO2 really tastes bad. If you have any questions about degassing, be sure to ask on this forum.
 

grapeman

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I didn't want this kit to finish too sweet when I made it, but wanted to bump the alcohol. I added half the f-pack up front and 3 pounds of sugar. The combination brought it up to about 12% alcohol in the end. It had all the blueberry flavor and just a touch of sweetness and everyone who tried it liked it. I kept it for Sunday cookout time. I would open a bottle of it around 4:00, sit around for a while sipping and enjoying and then cooking dinner on the grill. It made a great combination for that.
 

steviepointer

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villiage idiot question here:
What is the f-pack (I know it's the smaller juice bag)?
What does it do?
What does adding 1/2 of up front do?

Thanks for all the great feedback.
 

steviepointer

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Ok, a quick google turned up this about f-packs:
If you enjoy sweet styles of wine you will want to try a wine with an F-Pack. Added after stabilisation when fermentation is complete, an F-Pack will give the appropriate sweetness to specific styles of wine. As a result F-Packs are only found in styles where sweetness is appropriate such as 'blush' wines and German styles as well as sweeter dessert styles.

Found only in Winexpert wine kits (Vintners Reserve & Selection). F-packs are formulated from a combination of varietal grape juice concentrate and selected special ingredients sourced from around the world which contribute to natural flavour and aroma. This method of sweetening is modelled on the German süss-reserve method. The benefit of making a wine with an F-Pack instead of sweetening with sugar or wine conditioner is that an F-Pack increases the aromatics, bouquet and flavour of your wine.
So, do you add 1/2 up front for the additional sugar, to raise the sg?
 

BillK

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Use Dextrose instead (Corn Sugar). It dissolves faster and the yeast can convert it easier. Dump it in right before you add the yeast and stir it well.

You can get Dextrose at many Health Food stores.
 

grapeman

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villiage idiot question here:
What is the f-pack (I know it's the smaller juice bag)?
What does it do?
What does adding 1/2 of up front do?

Thanks for all the great feedback.
The f-pack is the smaller pack included in the kit. It contains a sweetener and extra fruit flavor for the kit. If the whole thin is added, it can make the wine sweeter than a lot like it. By adding half at first, the yeast eats the extra sugar up adding to the alcohol and retains the extra fruit flavors. That way you get all the flavor and the wine isn't so sweet.
 

steviepointer

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well, just an update. Finished cleaning & sanitizing everything. I decided to add in 8 cups of sugar (4lbs). Decided to not add the fpack in, because I came across a reference some where that said the fpack has preservatives in it, that may kill the yeast.

I was going to add in 5lbs of sugar, but I was heating up 2qts of water at a time, and dissolving 4cups of sugar in it at a time. I was getting concerned about how much sugar was going in there, so I stopped at 4lbs.

Initial SG was 1.075 (which is higher than the 1.048-1.052 as called for by the instructions). I was expecting a higher SG, just didn't know how much it would be.

So, with a target sg of .996, I'm estimating about 10.7% abv

Just finished sprinkling in the yeast, and put a brew belt on the primary. Hopefully, it should be hopping by tomorrow.

If any one has any feedback, it would be appreciated.

Wish me luck!

Thanks!
 

steviepointer

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wow...so it's been only 1 1/2hrs or so, and it looks like the yeast has already started.

the primary is nice and warm from the brew belt, and there is a think layer of 'something' floating in the center of the primary, about 10" in diameter.

it smells like bread/beer combination, which I'm assuming wine yeast is supposed to smell like.

woo hooo!
 

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