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Bulk aged Apple, Ginger and Tomato bottling question

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renegade66

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Hi all new user to the forum.

I have 3 batches of wine that have been bulk aging under air lock for some time. I am looking to get them into the bottles which is raising some questions for me.

I cannot find my original notes on these wines so i do not have the original SG readings. I do know the yeast was EC-1118.

All the wines are very strong so i am assuming at least 18 percent, because of the high alcohol content i am going to need to balance the sugars to bring back the flavors.

Here is the specs on each wine.

Green Apple Wine is from May of 2014 and reads 1.040 S.G.
Strong Ginger Wine is from May of 2014 and reads 1.040 S.G.
Tomato Wine is from Sept 2015 and reads 0.990 S.G.

The green apple was a chapped boxed wine while the Ginger and Tomato wines where made from fresh ginger and my garden tomatoes.

I have not added any clearing agents to any of these wines, they were all clear enough strictly by racking over the years. I have also not added any sulfates to these wines either.

2 days ago i passed all 3 wines through a 6 pad Super Jet using Number 3 filter pads.

My question is this.

The Ginger and Apple both have residual sugar so i think i can assume the EC-1118 passed away at max alcohol content. I would have chapped the tomato as well for max and it finished out extremely dry with 0.990 S.G.


All three wines need to be sweetened before bottling to take into account the 18 percent alcohol. They all taste pretty dam smooth in comparison to last year or the year before so they are mellowing as they age.

Do i have to add chemicals to stabilize?

I really don't like sulfates if can avoid them.

How do i go about getting the sugar/alcohol in balance in way that tells me how much to add to each wine, can it be done using the SG readings.

I have both sorbate and meta on hand if its advisable my aim is to get then in balance and bottle to let age more. I suppose they will be more like a sherry or almost brandy in the end

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Stressbaby

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Hi Renegade.

You say "racking over the years" indicating that these are at least a year old. You also say they have had no sulfites. The pics show a lot of headspace. It all adds up to oxidized wine in my opinion. The one on the right certainly looks oxidized to me, but I'm not familiar with the appearance of tomato wine.

If the SG of both apple and ginger is 1.040, I can't imagine that they need any additional sugar. I personally would find 1.040 undrinkably sweet.

EC-1118 has an alcohol tolerance of around 18%, so the ABV is probably not any higher than that. How do you know these wines are at 18%, as compared to just having gotten stuck? Do you know the starting SG? Did you track how much sugar you added?
 
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salcoco

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one detailed bench trial you can accomplish begins with developing some sugar syrup. dissolve two cups sugar in one cup water. use a blender for good results. once syrup is clear , establish three or four samples of wine about 1/4 cup which equal 60ml. take 1/8 tsp which is .625ml into sample one. use two x 1/8 for sample two and 3 x 1/8 tsp for sample three. do taste test to determine best ratio . if not sweet enough continue with sample and increasing by one the sugar syrup. once sample is selected develop a small batch about 500ml in size. bottle for about two weeks and taste test again to see if it continues to meet your expectation. you must add sorbate to the sweetened wine along with k-meta otherwise fermentation will restart. if small batch is good add calculate sugar syrup needs for big batch and add thereto.

I also recommend racking wine into smaller containers to reduce headspace.
 

renegade66

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Hi Renegade.

You say "racking over the years" indicating that these are at least a year old. You also say they have had no sulfites. The pics show a lot of headspace. It all adds up to oxidized wine in my opinion. The one on the right certainly looks oxidized to me, but I'm not familiar with the appearance of tomato wine.

If the SG of both apple and ginger is 1.040, I can't imagine that they need any additional sugar. I personally would find 1.040 undrinkably sweet.

EC-1118 has an alcohol tolerance of around 18%, so the ABV is probably not any higher than that. How do you know these wines are at 18%, as compared to just having gotten stuck? Do you know the starting SG? Did you track how much sugar you added?

I know i chapped them to the max my goal was to get something near sherry or brandy. The wines do not have and oxidation the head space has private preserve in it which i purchase here

https://www.midwestsupplies.com/private-preserve

I did track the original S.G readings but moved and lost my records, the apple and ginger wines are 2 years old now, with the tomato wine being 1 year old at this point.

I made a black cherry the same way years ago, i believe the sg ended up at 1.080 which seems like a lot of sugar but with the high alcholol and 5 years of aging it turned out to be a real nice sipping almost brandy drink. My aim for these is the same. Just takes a lot of aging to get them nice and smooth.

The wine on the left in the pictures is the Tomato wine the dark one on the right you thought might be oxidized is the Ginger wine which used raisins in the recipe giving it the nice dark golden color. The apple wine is not shown but looks a little lighter than the tomato wine.
 

renegade66

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one detailed bench trial you can accomplish begins with developing some sugar syrup. dissolve two cups sugar in one cup water. use a blender for good results. once syrup is clear , establish three or four samples of wine about 1/4 cup which equal 60ml. take 1/8 tsp which is .625ml into sample one. use two x 1/8 for sample two and 3 x 1/8 tsp for sample three. do taste test to determine best ratio . if not sweet enough continue with sample and increasing by one the sugar syrup. once sample is selected develop a small batch about 500ml in size. bottle for about two weeks and taste test again to see if it continues to meet your expectation. you must add sorbate to the sweetened wine along with k-meta otherwise fermentation will restart. if small batch is good add calculate sugar syrup needs for big batch and add thereto.

I also recommend racking wine into smaller containers to reduce headspace.

Do i need sorbate and K-meta or can i just use the Sorbate given the high alcohol content in the wines. I am trying to avoid putting sulfate in the wines. I did pass the wine through 6 pads at 0.5 microns

If i do need both how much will i add of each to the wine, how long to wait after adding to do the bench test you suggest to get the sugars right. How long to wait after doing that before i bottle the end product.

thanks for your help and suggestions
 

salcoco

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if you are in fact at 18% you will not need the sorbate as the environment is to poisonous for the yeast. sulfate keeps the bacterial content down and it is also a oxygen scavenger. sulfate is usually a 1/4 tsp for 5 gallons. the sorbate is per bottle instructions. sorbate should be less than 6 months old. process is add sugar to wine add sulfate and sorbate wait two weeks make sure nothing starts again then bottle.
 

renegade66

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if you are in fact at 18% you will not need the sorbate as the environment is to poisonous for the yeast. sulfate keeps the bacterial content down and it is also a oxygen scavenger. sulfate is usually a 1/4 tsp for 5 gallons. the sorbate is per bottle instructions. sorbate should be less than 6 months old. process is add sugar to wine add sulfate and sorbate wait two weeks make sure nothing starts again then bottle.
To the the most safe i will add the sulfate, i have a feeling from the taste of these wines that they had gone through a spontaneous Malolactic Fermentation i thought i had read somewhere to not add sorbate to these wines? I assume this by taste as they have that milk like texture that was not there a year ago.

should i add sorbate if i suspect MLF but i am not sure?
 

Stressbaby

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Hi Renegade,

What type of acid (if any) did you add to the ginger and the tomato wines?

You are correct, no sorbate in wines that have undergone MLF.
 

renegade66

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Hi Renegade,

What type of acid (if any) did you add to the ginger and the tomato wines?

You are correct, no sorbate in wines that have undergone MLF.

Do you think the two wines sitting at 1.040 may have been the result of stuck fermentation? I am wondering if i should try and restart those batches to get the rest of the sugar out. Is this a good idea or would it ruin the batch. How would i do it if it sounds feasible.

Or is it better to stop now and sulfate to end any possible activity. Unfortunately i have no way to test the actual alcohol content so I am not sure if that was the reason for them to still have the sugar.

I had detailed notes on these wines but lost them when a hard drive crashed on the computer. Best i can tell these are the recipes i used.

Experimental Strong Ginger Wine

-1Kg Ginger
-2Kg Sugar
-200g Raisins
-1 Lemon
-1 Lime
-Yeast
-Yeast nutrient
-4 Liters of water (aprox)

I chopped off the moldy bits of the ginger. Grated it up. Washed the raisins. Boiled up all the ingredients including the lemon and lime juice for 15 minutes. Added 1kg of sugar. Waited for it too cool. (At this stage the OG was 1.100) I then pitched the yeast and yeast nutrient. Going to let it ferment out for a couple of days. Then add half of the remaining sugar (500g). Allow to ferment for a couple more days. Then add the last 500g of sugar! Fit airlock and leave to mature for another couple years or so! See what it turns out like!

I have staggered the amount of sugar im feeding the yeast, because I don't want them to die. Im looking for it to ferment out anywhere between 16% and 20%. I know that's hopeful especially because im using 'young's super wine yeast'.



Tomato WIne

For our tomato wine I like 4 pounds of fruit for every gallon of finished wine. I will often add about 1.6-1.7 pounds of corn sugar for every gallon of finished wine to bring the alcohol level up to 11-12%. These two components then require about 0.6 gallons of water be used for every gallon of finished wine. For the very important yeast, I like to use 3-4x the recommended 1g/gallon and generally use 1g/liter of dry yeast properly hydrated and pitched into heavily oxygenated must – a healthy happy yeast is the key to great wine! For tomato wines try Lalvin?s KV-1116 or EC-1118 or one of my favorite yeasts for whites: Lalvin CY3079.

For a 19L (5 gallon) batch:
20 pounds of tomatoes
4 lb corn sugar initially and the remaining 4-5 lb about 3 days after fermentation starts
4 gallons of clean water
20g of dry yeast
9.5g of yeast nutrient added at yeast pitch and 3-days later
after about 4-6 days of maceration, remove the fruit by either racking off or straining (a straining bag to hold the fruit works OK too)
ferment at 60-70F
 

renegade66

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Not sure if this would be a valid experiment. I have filled my test beaker about half full of the ginger wine, added an 1/8th tsp of yeast nutrient and the same amount of yeast. If the alcohol is higher than ec-1118 tolerance this mixture in my thinking should not start.
 

Stressbaby

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According to my back-of-the-napkin calculations, it's stuck around 16.6% ABV. But at 16.6% it may be hard to restart.

1.54kg of sugar gets you to 16.6%. You have 2kg - 1.54kg = 460g of sugar beyond that, which in 4l of volume gets you back to 1.040.

A couple of other thoughts...
First, the ginger wine just has citrus fruit, and there is not much malic there for MLF. Tomatoes have some malic apparently, but citric is the predominant acid there as well.
Second, that is a helluva lot of ginger.
 

renegade66

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According to my back-of-the-napkin calculations, it's stuck around 16.6% ABV. But at 16.6% it may be hard to restart.

1.54kg of sugar gets you to 16.6%. You have 2kg - 1.54kg = 460g of sugar beyond that, which in 4l of volume gets you back to 1.040.

A couple of other thoughts...
First, the ginger wine just has citrus fruit, and there is not much malic there for MLF. Tomatoes have some malic apparently, but citric is the predominant acid there as well.
Second, that is a helluva lot of ginger.

Lol It was a lot of hand grinding on that ginger but the end product keeps getting smoother.

My experiment is fermenting although i don't think it would be wise to bother trying to re-start at 16.6 percent. These wines are going to end up sherry or dessert wines at that level anyway. I am going to make sure to use long term corks when i bottle. I think desert needs a min of 14 percent alcohol and a min SG of 1.040.

To me wine making is experimenting, which got me thinking maybe some blending can be done here.

I got two sweet wines and one dry wine. I am thinking tomato-ginger, apple-ginger for sure. Not sure about tomato-apple but i might taste it anyway, lol.
I wonder even about using real juices in the blend to punch flavor.

Should i blend them raw or should i add sulfate and based on what you said about MLF also add sorbate to them all now, then blend/back sweeten and bottle?

Thanks for all your suggestions along the way, i greatly appreciate it.
 

renegade66

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According to my back-of-the-napkin calculations, it's stuck around 16.6% ABV. But at 16.6% it may be hard to restart.

1.54kg of sugar gets you to 16.6%. You have 2kg - 1.54kg = 460g of sugar beyond that, which in 4l of volume gets you back to 1.040.

A couple of other thoughts...
First, the ginger wine just has citrus fruit, and there is not much malic there for MLF. Tomatoes have some malic apparently, but citric is the predominant acid there as well.
Second, that is a helluva lot of ginger.

I added sulfate and sorbate to everything yesterday, and moved some to 1 gallon jugs. In the picture from left to right, ginger, apple, a blend of all three, and then tomato. These are not sweetened yet they are just stabilized for now.

If i wanted to bottle them that way how long should i wait to do it.

The other picture is 10L of the tomato wine that i have back sweetened and added a bit pure vanilla extract to. It balanced out, at least by my taste to a finishing SG of 1.010. LoL. Before i sweetened it i used a vinometer i purchased to read the alcohol. If i read it right, and the wine was dry it reads between 20 and 25 percent. Is that possible?

I didn't test the other ones as they had residual sugar in them.

I just now added finished sweetening the tomato in the large glass demi. How long should i wait to get it in the bottles?

What is your thoughts on bottles, should i use clear bottles or the green ones?

I am going to use #9 long corks, how much head space should i leave between the top of the wine and the bottle of the full inserted cork.

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