Can I substitute citric acid for lemon juice?

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vinny

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There is a ton of lemon juice in DD's Dragon Blood. Is this to impart flavor, nutrients, acidity, or all of the above?

I forgot to pick up lemon juice today. I am keen to start another ferment and it's a good drive to town. I have a LOT of citric acid, also grapefruit. Can I work with this? Substitute grapefruit if it is nutrients and use citric acid to up the acidity and tartness?

Also there are no clearing agents available locally, any tips or tricks? Would a cold crash drastically affect flavors?

Cheers!
 
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The lemon juice affects flavor, so use of powdered acid provide no flavor other than an acid bite. Substituting grapefruit juice will change the flavor, but sounds interesting. I'd use that instead of powdered acid.

Cold crashing/stabilization drops excess tartaric acid, and if there's not much in there (lemon juice will be citric), you won't get much change, although the cold temperature may precipitate other solids anyway. Beyond that, time will do it, although DD is designed as a quick drinker.
 

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You could try the "Dragonette" version of Danger Dave's recipe... it essentially replaces the lemon with acid blend (which has citric acid ~40-45%). I did it once and it was good... but not as good as the Danger Dave's in my opinion...but I like the tartness of the lemon. Also, I use less lemon juice than the quart recommended in the DD recipe... I think I am down to about 20 ounces (vs 32 in the recipe), where I like it the best (made about 7 batches so far). Hope this helps.
 

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Thanks for the reply's. I had every intention of getting a batch going this weekend and when I realized I forgot the lemon I was frustrated. I had some time to contemplate yesterday and patience set in. I'm excited to learn. I do that best with trial and error/success. I can be patient, but I struggle to invest years of time and effort on a complete guess.

I've already decide to let my Raspberry age out as long as that takes. I started something involved with the interest of a quick experiment and a steep learning curve. I am totally fine waiting on that one, but I have a strong desire for more understanding.

I think in the interest of science I am going to do a couple small batches of Dragons Blood and either a Skeeter Pee, or hard lemonade, maybe both. I found sparkolloid on trusty old Amazon. I want to run out a Dragon's Blood as fast as possible, then let another clear on it's own. Keep a bottle to compare apples to apples when the other is clear. Maybe even try grapefruit in a third one to see how minor changes affect things. Then armed with a little understanding I can embark on a mission to create something I know I will enjoy.

Looks like I sparked up a whole lot of curiosity I didn't know I had. I have done a bit of a deep dive and the things that are really piquing my interst are the flavors and nuances we can infuence. Malic acid bringing out that bright green apple flavor, or raisins added to the must to affect mouth feel. Has anyone done a write up about the different flavors that will come from certain additives, or how certain ones will compliment each other? Which will change mouth feel, intensities of certain flavors, etc?
 
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Fencepost

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Vinny, all I can is is be careful with the grapefruit... it was one of my least favorite wines that I have tried, and I would not want to see you mess up a batch by adding it to a recipe like DD. I know that a lot of folks use grapefruit zest in their wines but the grapefruit itself did not do great imho. And I tried it twice.... I will let it age to see if there is any mellowing (going on 2 years). In my limited experience it is very hard if not impossible to detect some of the "additives", I could not with and without sparkalloid, or with/without superkleer, nor could I tell the kmeta or sorbate... (some I did dry and some backsweetened). One would have to have a very refined palette to detect the things you mention... I just go for "Do I like it?" and if the answer is yes, I'm happy... as well as my friends and family. I am not an expert by any means, only been at this 4 years and 30 batches (5 or 6 gallon), so press on with your analysis and let us know what you find. There are experts galore on here, who have helped me become a much better winemaker. Good luck.
 

vinny

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I was tempted to say earlier that I am not a refined wine drinker at all. I like a variety of reds, and I like tart fruity dry whites. Pinot Grigio, Reisling, etc. I either like it or I don't. Not much middle ground. I cook with more wine than I drink at the moment, but I also know I will sample a lot more of something I have made.

So, you are telling me I am overthinking things? Sometimes it has to be said.;)

My concern is I don't like sweet. I don't think Dragons Blood is going to be sweet enough I will find it unpleasant, but I don't want to make a large batch until I understand enough to know that I won't need to backsweeten heavily to make something palletable. If it's too sweet I won't drink it.

I would also like to know how to aim for certain characteristics in the wines I really enjoy that would be worthy of making gallons and gallons.
 

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My advice... fwiw, is to do what I did, go with DD recipe... do it with berries, mixed berries, blackberries, whatever you like. Ferment it to dry, then do some testing when backsweetening. The recipe calls for about 3 cups of sugar to back sweeten (but says do it to your taste), and I like it just slightly sweet and only go with 1 cup of sugar, for 5 gallons. It works for us. It's an easy, hard to mess up recipe. People have made thousands of gallons of it. You may want to cut back on the lemon as well. It's a crowd favorite and does not last long. As you get the understanding of wine making, broaden your horizons... or just do a few kits (I did those along the way too.) Good luck.
 

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My place to start looking at additives/ chemicals is the vendor. They have experience from several facets of the industry and with an experienced tech person can guess what might happen in my product. A concept to keep asking is what threshold? Ex acetic acid adds complexity and yeast naturally produce some, but acetobacter make lots at which your wine makes a good marinade, but not so much a drink.
One reference to look at is the ScottLabs Handbook which you can pull off the web. In Europe/ France BuchlerVaslin would have similar products. General info on wine and processing The AWRI puts out good papers. Have you looked at a flavor wheel and can you visualize every flavor on it? , , , , , , just putting a name on something often points at a solution.
When you are talking flavors, you are basically cooking. Do you cook? Practice! ,,, The grocery lab has a test system for their products which helps predicts flavors a year out. What I do with new food ingredients is that I try em in a pie with different percentages. Ex 25% grapefruit in an apple pie is good, it builds in long/ bitter flavor notes. If I wanted to do 100% grapefruit then I would have to increase the sugar or drop the TA or both, ,,, rebalance the whole food. Another tool is the name on the bottle, an extremely high TA is OK if it is cranberry but not if it is peach. ,,,, Read up on bench trials. Even with a basic food component like tannin Scott tells customers to try it with a ul syringe on a series of samples from a customer’s problem tank.
Wine is a living chemical soup. There is oxidation chemistry and complexes as tannin (decrease bitter/ astringent) which happen, some of which are good and some make it worse. , ,,,, a lot of the volatile aromas are reductive (low oxygen).
of a deep dive and the things that are really piquing my interst are the flavors and nuances we can infuence. Malic acid bringing out that bright green apple flavor, or raisins added to the must to affect mouth feel. Has anyone done a write up about the different flavors that will come from certain additives, or how certain ones will compliment each other? Which will change mouth feel, intensities of certain flavors, etc?
 

vinny

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My advice... fwiw, is to do what I did, go with DD recipe... do it with berries, mixed berries, blackberries, whatever you like. Ferment it to dry, then do some testing when backsweetening. The recipe calls for about 3 cups of sugar to back sweeten (but says do it to your taste), and I like it just slightly sweet and only go with 1 cup of sugar, for 5 gallons. It works for us. It's an easy, hard to mess up recipe. People have made thousands of gallons of it. You may want to cut back on the lemon as well. It's a crowd favorite and does not last long. As you get the understanding of wine making, broaden your horizons... or just do a few kits (I did those along the way too.) Good luck.

Done... Thanks for reining me in. I really don't need 5 wines going at once with limited direction. I struggle with enthusiasm at times.

I'll fire up a full batch of DD and go from there.

I like tart, sour, and lemon flavor. I imagine with fermenting it dry you are going to get that no matter how much lemon you add? Cutting back to your prefered level just limits the prominence of lemon flavor over the berry?
 

vinny

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My place to start looking at additives/ chemicals is the vendor. They have experience from several facets of the industry and with an experienced tech person can guess what might happen in my product. A concept to keep asking is what threshold? Ex acetic acid adds complexity and yeast naturally produce some, but acetobacter make lots at which your wine makes a good marinade, but not so much a drink.
One reference to look at is the ScottLabs Handbook which you can pull off the web. In Europe/ France BuchlerVaslin would have similar products. General info on wine and processing The AWRI puts out good papers. Have you looked at a flavor wheel and can you visualize every flavor on it? , , , , , , just putting a name on something often points at a solution.
When you are talking flavors, you are basically cooking. Do you cook? Practice! ,,, The grocery lab has a test system for their products which helps predicts flavors a year out. What I do with new food ingredients is that I try em in a pie with different percentages. Ex 25% grapefruit in an apple pie is good, it builds in long/ bitter flavor notes. If I wanted to do 100% grapefruit then I would have to increase the sugar or drop the TA or both, ,,, rebalance the whole food. Another tool is the name on the bottle, an extremely high TA is OK if it is cranberry but not if it is peach. ,,,, Read up on bench trials. Even with a basic food component like tannin Scott tells customers to try it with a ul syringe on a series of samples from a customer’s problem tank.
Wine is a living chemical soup. There is oxidation chemistry and complexes as tannin (decrease bitter/ astringent) which happen, some of which are good and some make it worse. , ,,,, a lot of the volatile aromas are reductive (low oxygen).
Thanks Rice_Guy

I'm out in the sticks and the local shop that carries wine making supplies in town has proven to be 'limited' in their experience. Short answers with little to add. 'works for us', or 'that's all we have ever stocked'. They just have a small 10x10 room at the back of the main business with some kits, carboys, and other supplies.

I will need to stock up on some bottles and they will be a good source for me, but I will likely be finding more through this forum and related sources. I appreciate the sources you included. I will follow them and see where it leads.
 
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I am not an expert by any means, only been at this 4 years and 30 batches (5 or 6 gallon), so press on with your analysis and let us know what you find. There are experts galore on here, who have helped me become a much better winemaker.
There are no experts on this forum -- we are all students. Some are more advanced than others, but we should all be learning and improving.

With 30 batches under your belt, you are far from a beginner -- do not sell yourself short. At the same time, cultivate that "I have more to learn" attitude, and you will. 🙂

I was tempted to say earlier that I am not a refined wine drinker at all. I like a variety of reds, and I like tart fruity dry whites.
Never apologize for your tastes. Enjoy what you like and if anyone else disapproves? Tough!

My advice... fwiw, is to do what I did, go with DD recipe... do it with berries, mixed berries, blackberries, whatever you like.
Based upon what I've read so far, I disagree. DD is not a good choice, as it's a low fruit, quick drinker. Go full fruit, 8 to 10 lbs per gallon of water, and hit it with a bit more lemon (maybe mixed with grapefruit) juice than average to give it a zing. This is a good area to make several 1 gallon batches, testing different mixes.
 

vinny

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Based upon what I've read so far, I disagree. DD is not a good choice, as it's a low fruit, quick drinker. Go full fruit, 8 to 10 lbs per gallon of water, and hit it with a bit more lemon (maybe mixed with grapefruit) juice than average to give it a zing. This is a good area to make several 1 gallon batches, testing different mixes.
This sounds like a brilliant idea to me, simply because I will be able to determine that this mix produces X and changing Y produces Z. I won't have enough in gallon batches that if something is not what I am interested in it will be a complete waste.

I am interested in a quicker drinker, just to be able to determine the result of ingredients vs mellowing and developing flavors.

I understand somewhat what to expect with a DD. What will the above suggestion be comparable to?

Could I use DD as a rough guideline with nutrient/energizer levels and aim for a similar ferment time with the increased fruit or do I need to find an appropriate recipe to follow?
 
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This sounds like a brilliant idea to me, simply because I will be able to determine that this mix produces X and changing Y produces Z. I won't have enough in gallon batches that if something is not what I am interested in it will be a complete waste.
Exactly. Keep in mind that if a wine isn't exactly what you like, it's still useful for cooking, and can be used for wine drinks.

One experiment is to vary the amount of fruit, e.g., batches with 4, 6, and 8 lbs to see the differences. Keep in mind that ABV affects aging, so making wines closer to 10% ABV should produce a quicker drinker. Lower body as well.

I understand somewhat what to expect with a DD. What will the above suggestion be comparable to?
It's going to depend on the type and amount of fruit. DD is REALLY low fruit. The more fruit you add, the more the result will be a typical fruit wine. Keep in mind that heavier fruit such as Elderberry produce a more fuller bodied wine than light fruit like Strawberry, with less fruit. You'll have to experiment with quantities, and gallon batches are ideal for that.

You also mentioned "tart". Make a wine, with the intention of bottling at the 4 month mark. Bottle in five 750 ml or ten 375 ml bottles, and add varying amounts of fresh lemon, lime, orange, and/or grapefruit juice to each. Let them age a couple of months then taste test. When you find something you want to repeat, you'll want to age it longer, but for testing purposes you can have your first test batches ready in 6 months.

Could I use DD as a rough guideline with nutrient/energizer levels and aim for a similar ferment time with the increased fruit or do I need to find an appropriate recipe to follow?
The short answer is "Yes". I'd look at DD guidelines, look at the manufacturer's guidelines, and look at recipes. Regarding recipes, read at least five, maybe ten, as there is a LOT of bad recipes on the net. If you read ten, and compare to what you read on WMT, you can figure out which ones to discard.
 

vinny

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Well, I've gotten off to a strong start.

Last night I mixed up a basic white from Welch's grape juice.

Today was productive. I've started a gallon of Skeeter Pee. An exact reduced recipe. Just waiting on the settled yeast from the raspberry wine to settle after racking. I'd like to see the colour settle out so only a hint of flavor and no colour transfers over when I dump in the slurry.

I also mixed up a gallon of DD's Dragon Blood. Reduced exactly as written, with lighter lemon. Just pitched.

Finally I mixed up 2 gallons of Triple Berry. 1 gallon of water to 9 lbs of fruit. Sugar to 1.085 in hopes of not getting too hard of a hitter from all the fruit sugars. Waiting to pitch.

The plan? Does it sound like I even have one? :d

I intend to split the Triple Berry into 2 gallon batches. I left the recipe basic so I can play with added flavors, acid blend, and tannins in each to get some idea of basic structure and flavors affected by additional tweeks.

Skeeter Pee will give me something to sample in a few weeks. DD a couple weeks after that, and then a couple months or so after that, I can see where the Triple Berry is. I will get 6ish bottles of each, so I intend to make some bottling taste notes and sample incrementally as things age. 6 of each will give me a good spread to learn a thing or two about the aging process and where I would like to go with a larger batch.

Lastly, I am waiting on light malt extract and I will try a gallon of VinesnBines Hard lemonade. Well...Just 'cause. Summer will eventually be here. It won't hurt to have. Then I will be forced to restrain myself until a few secondaries are available unless I decide to try a kit and make a big batch of red, which I can play safe with.

Thanks for all the advice, and thanks for winding me up Bryan. Clearly, all I needed was a little encouragement.
 

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wine, good wine is about balance. Reading your Welches white grape batch I wonder about next time adding something to contribute longer flavor notes. A chardonay grape has lots of acid that gives impact, a red grape would have tannin that binds on the taste buds giving long notes. Cranberry, grapefruit, orange peel gives long flavor notes.
A style question “how sweet”? ,,, For balance a sweet wine needs a higher percentage ingredient to generate long flavor notes. In the graph below the “thin” via acid region could taste balanced with added powdered tannin or hot pepper or orange peel. In another variation on @winemaker81 375ml bottle test.
A guideline for where to balance TA on wine;
after club contest this year I collected eight first place wines which are the red triangles
View attachment 81200
The sample set "cloud" is primarily commercial wines, with some collected in the vinters club and here on WineMakingTalk
NOTE: TA is one of several quality traits which a first place wine has as absence of flavor defect, appropriate aroma for the variety and clarity , , , etc.
NOTE 2: this is an easy test, if ya'll are interested in your wine ,,, PM me
Example; To get balance I just bottled a white grape that had a can of vinters harvest grapefruit in it, ,, About 6% which tasted OK back sweetened to 1.018. If this would have been 1% grapefruit I would have let the wine stay dry or close to .999 for a balanced taste.
 
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The plan? Does it sound like I even have one?
A lot of us have plans -- plans that are designed with great intentions, but get altered by reality. 🤣 IMO you're doing just fine.

"Boy, nothing ever goes as planned, It's a hell of a notion"
Styx, Nothing Ever Goes As Planned from the album Paradise Theatre

Historically, alcohol production was often viewed as a magical thing -- fruit and juice started churning and bubbling for no reason, and within days to changes into a totally different substance that causes people to sing and dance in ways no one could imagine! [Or would want to imagine!]

We get a LOT of beginners whose first post starts with, "OMG! I started a batch of wine and I think I ruined it!" Most of the time, they haven't, but winemaking is still a magical process to the uninitiated. Most folks need knowledge and encouragement, and we provide both, initiating more folks into the fraternity.

@Rice_Guy's tips are spot on. Play with adding small amounts of tannin and acid, with the understanding that it's MUCH easier to add more than to take some out.

Last night my wife asked me to make tacos -- she's not into spicy, and too much chili powder and cumin bother her stomach, so I tend to invent something new on occasions. Some years ago I created Mediterranean Tacos, which came out well. She had purchased a new bottle of chili powder, one with chipotle peppers in it. COOL! I used that and allspice for flavor but not heat. Unfortunately, neither of us read the label carefully ... it's not a Mexican chili powder with chipotle (Mexican is not pure chilis, it often contains oregano, cumin, and other things), this one is pure chipotle peppers. The flavor is a really nice change ... but it's a bit hot for her tastes as I used at least twice as much as I would have. OTOH, she asked me to save leftovers for her Friday lunch, so she likes it -- but the next time will be toned down.

When you're adding something to your wine, keep this story in mind ... :p

I will get 6ish bottles of each, so I intend to make some bottling taste notes and sample incrementally as things age. 6 of each will give me a good spread to learn a thing or two about the aging process and where I would like to go with a larger batch.
This is THE best thing you can do for your own learning! Cheers!
 

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wine, good wine is about balance.
At this point I don't know that I am ready to make 'good wine' which is why I am playing with the simple recipes to get a handle on the process. In my Raspberry wine thread I noted it has come out at 16%. A great error, although through following a written recipe, to have happen in a first and small batch. Seems I get to try to play with making it drinkable, but this is exactly what I am aiming for, a benchmark to better understand the next recipe and guage whether the ingredients will give me my desired result.

Reading your Welches white grape batch I wonder about next time adding something to contribute longer flavor notes. A chardonay grape has lots of acid that gives impact, a red grape would have tannin that binds on the taste buds giving long notes. Cranberry, grapefruit, orange peel gives long flavor notes.
This is an interesting point. I was in a sense using the white as a control. Straight up juice so I don't have multiple sources to discern the source of given flavors. I added 1/8 of acid blend, this might be a good candidate to split as well and add more acid blend to half to identify the results.

I like to cook. I really like involved and challenging recipes. Ethnic cuisine is a constant challenge for me. To try to identify the flavor profile of a curry with a dozen or more spices and be able to 'tweek' them to identify the ones that move the dish towards my personal preference is an endless pursuit. I struggle to fully understand the flavors as I can western cuisine because I don't have a full grasp of the process and the ingredients are not as familiar and as easily identifiable. I can take two or ten western recipes for the same dish and pick the ingredients I like from each and change the techniques to make exactly what I want the dish to be. This is much harder with curries for me, but when you understand the effect of the process, it is easier to identify the flavors of the ingredients.

This is how my mind works. I am basicall trying to dissect the process. To 'build' the wine differently to understand what I am doing that affects flavors outside of the ingredients as well as gaining an understanding of what they impart in themselves. Then, in hopes of when I decide to make a full batch, which I would prefer to do from scratch over a kit, I will hopefully be able to look at a recipe and identify what I will and won't like.

I have to admit that in the kitchen creating and tweaking mostly flow. With wine I feel much more like a mad scientist.

A style question “how sweet”? ,,, For balance a sweet wine needs a higher percentage ingredient to generate long flavor notes. In the graph below the “thin” via acid region could taste balanced with added powdered tannin or hot pepper or orange peel. In another variation on @winemaker81 375ml bottle test.

Example; To get balance I just bottled a white grape that had a can of vinters harvest grapefruit in it, ,, About 6% which tasted OK back sweetened to 1.018. If this would have been 1% grapefruit I would have let the wine stay dry or close to .999 for a balanced taste.
I look forward to playing with the triple berry. These are very interesting notes. I understand how hot pepper doesn't always come out as heat or intense in cooking, but I NEVER would have even considered it for an ingredient in wine. Grapefruit is something I look forward to experimenting with. Sound like it is often in moderation?

Because I want to directly see the effects the ingredients make to the same must I intend to split half way through ferment and leave 1 gallon as is, 'enhance' the second, and then play a little after fermentation with back sweetening, possibly other flavors, in both versions.

Is it common practice to add in orange peel for example during bulk aging, or is it best to add these during ferment to get the full effect. Also back sweetening is often done just before bottling. Is it common/practical to mix in juices or other flavors to impart changes in the bottle? In the same sense you would back sweeten, ensure no further ferment begins and bottle. Or even toss a cinnamon stick...ohhh vanilla sounds exciting.. Right to the bottle?
 
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& For me red grapes are the model which all wines are based on. Making red wine was kind of like falling out of bed. It naturally has sweet, acid, bitter, aromatics,salt, umami color, the ratios are well enough balanced that native yeast can take the juice,, work on it and one doesn’t have to worry about food poisoning. , , , , French and English ciders are another good model since folks can go to a specific tree and say this tree gives bitters and this tree gives sharps and this one gives aromatics and this tree gives color. (but US cider is kinda like soda pop)

$ if you look through past posts I have said that wine is a “preservative system”, ,, ex pH keeps specific micro out, polyphenols keep oxidation down, CO2 keeps oxidation down and selects specific anaerobes. ,,,, building/ cooking a country wine requires one to know what the fences are and sourcing ingredients for them.

BALANCE, this is ARTISTRY where the skilled cook takes their locally available ingredients and categorizes them as this contributes sweet or this contributes sharps, or aromatics, or bitters and looks for a pleasing result. Excellent choices/ hedonic choices are infinite. Sometimes just changing the name on what it is (preconceived idea) let’s the customer appreciate that it is hedonic/ will disappear at a pot luck. Balance is always in moderation and frequently at a threshold level.


(curry; after a restaurant tamarind Indian curry we started an apple/mushroom base/lemon curry on salmon)
Common practice?; with wine the choice is infinite, there are some rules as at three months the yeast are alive so anything which contributes sugar requires one to add sorbate for a carboy of home wine or run through a 0.45 micron filter for factory wine. At a year yeast are dead so skip sorbate and at nine month the odds are pretty safe.
Generally speaking do what ever you wish to doctor a 750 ml bottle (test) add peel/ oak cubes/ ginger/ pepper/ etc. With 15-11% alcohol micro isn’t a big risk with teaspoons of flavoring and if you go over that you probably are way out of balance.
Age is common practice; wine is a food preservation system. Things change with age! A new wine is filled with reduced chemicals (ex tannins & aromas) and they want to react. With red grape polyphenols reacting with oxidants create a smooth flavor so it increases how hedonic the beverage is/ but reduces fruityness. (I puzzle how to fix black raspberry that at two years became astringent/ will it go away at four years ie it’s a short chain tannin)

BUT I am wandering, as you can guess I play with my food. I look forward to learning from your journey
 

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BALANCE:
A guideline for where to balance TA on wine;
after club contest this year I collected eight first place wines which are the red triangles
View attachment 81200
The sample set "cloud" is primarily commercial wines, with some collected in the vinters club and here on WineMakingTalk
NOTE: TA is one of several quality traits which a first place wine has as absence of flavor defect, appropriate aroma for the variety and clarity , , , etc.
NOTE 2: this is an easy test, if ya'll are interested in your wine ,,, PM me
 

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