Other bzac Kit Tweaking Post

Discussion in 'Kit Winemaking' started by bzac, Apr 23, 2012.

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  1. Apr 24, 2012 #21

    harleydmn

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    I started making wine last Oct. and have 18 batches done so far and getting 2 buckets of Chilean juice this weekend. It is addicting!!! This is bad since I mainly drink beer and started making wine for my wife.
     
  2. Apr 24, 2012 #22

    bzac

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    LOL ,thats how it starts , my wife has me on an annual budget for wine stuff.
    Its going to be less from here on is as I actualy have just about everything a homewinemaker needs for the level of productin I do (2 tonnes a year grapes) I couldn't tell you how many carboys I have because I actualy don't know but everytime I see one at a garage sale I buy it.
    I've never paid more than 5 bucks for one.
     
  3. Apr 25, 2012 #23

    bzac

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    one thing I might add is that its good to know when not to tweak.

    for example with the crusheno type wine skins kits I don't tweak them apart from barrel or bulk aging or adding oak cubes
     
  4. Apr 27, 2012 #24

    bzac

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    Barrel fermenting a wine kit and using small barrels

    one of the things that challenges a kit wine maker is the small vollumes and the desire to make more commercialy styled wine.
    Small barrels have their challenges , a 23 litre 6 gallon barrel is often what kit winemakers want to use as its sized for one kit.
    I belive a 40 litre barrel is the idea size for a kit winemaker because its got a bit more moderate oak to wine ratio but I will write this thread based on a 23 litre barrell and most of the same ideas apply for barrels a bit larger than that.

    to barrel ferment a chardonnay (usually used althoug I have done a sauvignon blanc for a fume blanc style that came out well , but try chardonnay first )

    what you do is hydrate the kit in your primary as per the instructions . ( I leave out the bentonite)
    hydrate you yeast by adding the packet to 50ml of luke warm cholrine free water (I just use a britta filter an tap water) and stirr it up.

    after 10- 15 minutes add it to your primary full of juice.

    stirr the primary well , and fill your brand new 23 litre barrel 2/3 full ( I like hungarian oak , Vadai Barrels are good value for money)
    and leave the rest of the must in the primary.

    I usually put an airlock or cloth over the bung hole to keep bugs etc out . and cover the primary fermenter or put its lid on.

    when you hydrometer tells you the primary is dry ( its a bit tricky to get a sample out of a small barrel so I just use the primary for a guide)

    when its dry rack both portions together in carboy and continue as normal.

    rince the barrel with clean cold water , and start the process again , you can do another chardonnay or for a twist try a non-skins red kit .
    I like pinot noir or rhone vareitals or blends for this .

    I usually repeat this 3 times , then the barrel is ready to use for longer term 3 months plus ageing of your other reds.
    it will take a few uses untill your barrel gets broken in to the point where you can age a kit in it for a year without over oaking. but you should get progressivly longer times with each use.

    the active yeast metabolises buffers some oak compounds durring a ferment and gives it a nice integrated oaking , leaving some of the kit in the primary gives it its fruit back and moderates the oaking too. it also prevents the barrel from foaming over.

    its a good way to break in a small barrel , I have seen people soak a small barrel with percarbonate to break it in but that seems like a waste to me.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  5. Apr 27, 2012 #25

    ibglowin

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    Hey Zac,

    I have (3) 23L Vadai's. I use an A/O rig for SO2 testing. After only 3-4 months in the barrel the SO2 is down as low as 10ppm. I am a little concerned that the oxidation rate is so high you risk ruining your wine with a much longer barrel time frame. Have you actually gone 12 mo in a 23L Vadai? If so did you test your SO2 levels regularly and where they similar to what I have seen? I go back to glass after 3-4 months and I usually have to add several grams of KMETA to bump the wine back up to the safe level depending on pH. Interested in your long term small barrel strategy. I would like to age longer than 4 months as my first is now getting almost neutral.

    Cheers!
     
  6. Apr 27, 2012 #26

    George_A

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    Effect of adding raisins in wine largely depends on the type and quality of raisins used. Muscat and white raisins add only subtle caramel flavor and light hue, for instance, and dark raisins create a sweeter flavor and darker wine. The raisin cultivation, drying and manufacturing process also effect the wine. About 99% of the raisins produced worldwide are made from "table" grape ("Thompson seedless" and etc) for the 'sweetening' market and competes with other sugar sweeteners. That leaves 1% of Wine raisins which are dried from seeded wine varietals ("Cabernet", "Saperavi" and etc) and are marketed to the winemaking industry.
     
  7. Apr 27, 2012 #27

    bzac

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    I think if you go back and read post 19 you see that I specify a couple differnt grades of raisins .

    I know you sell winemaking raisins , but I've never tried yours , I first started using raisins when I lived in Montreal and could buy winemaking raisins from mosti mondiale and add them to kits and fruit wine batches.

    one warning I have with thompson seedless raisin like sunmaids is use less of them as they can give the wine a bit of a brown sherry charcter , so can any raisin even winemaking ones if you use too much , so don't go overboard a pound or less
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  8. Apr 27, 2012 #28

    bzac

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    with small barrels I just check the so2 every 3 months and bump it back up.

    I start with a 50ppm add , and then bump it to 30 every 3 months with kits.

    10ppm left is fine , what are you worried about ? zero is when to get a little nervous . as long as there is some free so2 and you are not opening the barrel up all the time to let o2 in , you can relax.

    I've got wine in a 23 litre neutral vadai that has been there for 18 months. just bump the so2 every 3 months and keep it topped up.
     
  9. Apr 28, 2012 #29

    ibglowin

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    Good to know Zac!
     
  10. Apr 28, 2012 #30

    George_A

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    I live in Montreal and I could not find any raisins from wine grapes in Canada. I have tried a lot of different raisins which were included in wine kits. ( Mosti Mondiale, RJ Spagnols, Wine Expert and others). Surprisingly, they all are made from seedless table grapes which in "real"wine making are not used for big wines but only for blending in mediocre wines. My raisins are made from wine grapes, have stems and seeds with a bunch of acids, tannins and sugar, they are packed in Maylar bags which have moisture and oxygen barriers to prevent the oxidation.
     
  11. Apr 28, 2012 #31

    bzac

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    The ones I used to get from mosti said vinifera raisins on the bag. They were very large berries double the size of your regular sunmaids and they were red with thick skins. They had white ones too but I never bought any.

    ABC Cork also sells bags of south african vinifera winemaking raisins , they are a canadian distributer so any of their retailers can get them. They have a presence in the US too.

    thompson seedless are as you say not the best ,

    If you can't find winemaking raisins , then I'd reccomend the zante currants over thompsons , Zante Currants are not actualy a currant but a vinifera grape call black corinth. you can sometimes find these grapes fresh in the produce section , sometimes called champagne grapes , you can reccognise them because the berrys are black and very tiny in tight clusters.

    I would want to minimise any stems , others may want them . to each their own, if the stems were nice ripe and brown when harvested it could potentialy give some nice character .

    My prefered addition is not raisins as they by nature are oxidised , as is any dried fruit . But they are still a worthwhile tweak.

    If in season you buy a lug (36 lbs) of red wine grapes , you can hand stemm them fairly easily and add them to a 5 lb ziplock bags crush them and put them in the freezer. then when you make a kit add 1 or 2 of the five pound bags to the must .
    let them thaw over night in the must and pitch the yeast the next day.

    you get nice aromatics and the concentrate flavours are minimised . this is my favorite red kit tweak , it realy brings out the flavours adds some tannins and gives the wine a much more commercial wine charateristic. one or two bags of grapes won't throw the kit all out of balance in my expireince . don't worry about matching the variety exactly with the kit , a small amount like this won't mask the kit. a medium wieght grape like merlot is a good choice, but any ripe red wine grape will do. if useing cab sauv make sure its ripe or it can taste a bit green.
    here's a thread on adding grapes I did on the other forum
    http://www.winepress.us/forums/index.php?showtopic=19356&hl=bodega port gold&st=0
    its a port kit but the grape part is the same for any kit.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
    manvsvine likes this.
  12. Apr 28, 2012 #32

    grapeman

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    Great tips on the raisins. I also like the destemming a lug of them and freezing for later use in kits. Nice touch.
     
  13. May 5, 2012 #33

    phat

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    My biggest problem up here is finding any kind of source for fresh grapes. Edmonton's a bit far north and far away from any areas that produce anything like this..

    We do get of course the usual red and green eating grapes, and even on occasion a small black eating grape. Finding the likes of zante currents or the like is more of a challenge. That and fresh fruit up here can be pretty expensive out of season.

    I do like the idea of cheap kits as a concentrate/sugar to supplement a fruit recepie. However, in this case I am considering tweaking a complete un-concentrated kit (these kits come as a complete pail of "juice" - I suspect itself may be reconstituted with sugar, but it's not clear from the label)

    I've not yet decided.......... Funny nobody seems to be suggesting the Sauv. Blanc from the poll ;)
     
  14. May 8, 2012 #34

    altavino

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  15. Oct 27, 2012 #35

    Tyroneshoolace

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    I was thinking about taking a cellar Craft Showcase kit with the big grape pack and let it "cold soak" in the must before fermenting for a few days.

    Anyone see any real benefit to this or would I be wasting fermenter time?
     
  16. Dec 7, 2012 #36

    spiggots

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    Wondering, has anyone successfully employed barrels in their kit tweaking regime w/out the added expense of the ph meters and vinmetricas I read about ?
     
  17. Dec 7, 2012 #37

    ibglowin

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    It would not be very smart to drop $$ on a barrel but not spend the extra $$ on testing equipment to properly check your SO2 levels. These small barrels drop SO2 levels down to almost nothing in 3 months so when you pull your wine out you really have to know how much you still have and how much you need to add to protect it properly. How much you need is based solely on the wines pH and its current SO2 level.
     
  18. Dec 10, 2012 #38

    Trackinghound

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    Question on Step #3

    I just added the clearing agent ( I can't think of the name at the moment) the sediments are filling up the carboy niceLy. I am going to rack it after it sets 3 weeks. Is this where I add the kmeta and I plan on long term storage in the carboy min 6 months. Adding kmeta again in 3 months. It's a red blend

    Keep in mind this is my first 6 gallons...... Ever
     
  19. Dec 10, 2012 #39

    ibglowin

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    Kmeta is the first step after you have racked off the gross lees (normally). I would get it added ASAP so it will protect your wine. You will stir up the fines that have settled but they will fall back to the bottom quickly. If you plan on bulk aging add 1/8 tsp every 4 months. Make sure the carboy is topped up or you have racked down to a smaller carboy.
     
  20. Dec 24, 2012 #40

    FRANKC

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    I have 18 gallons of Brunello currently in MLF. I decided to buy a 40L Vadai barrel. After a lot of reading, I decided it would be best to break the barrel in a bit before putting the Brunello in. I want a significant amount of barrel time (at least 3-4 months) for it. I also have two Cellar Craft Showcase Argentinean Malbec kits with grape skin packs that I was going to start the break in with. I've read your posts re the Chardonnay barrel ferments for the first fill of the barrel. How do you feel about using the Malbec instead?
     

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