Can you add sugar 2 days in, to give 6 gallon kit a higher Alcohol content?

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Jswo23

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Im making a world vineyard trinity blend 6 gallon kit, and when i read the sp gr for the first time it was around 1.092-1.093(before yeast) at 84 degrees. In order to proceed to the yeast stage i cooled the entire batch down to a 72-75 degree temp, then added the EC-118 yeast, and covered it. Even with a converted calculation on the Specific gravity reading it would only read 1.095ish. I want this wine to be very dry with a higher alcohol content, i know Ec-118 can be a very aggressive yeast, so it can handle higher sugar content batches. Could i re-check the spr gravity now get a basis even though its been a few days, add sugar and get it up to 1.100? Is this a bad idea, and by that i mean adding extra sugar, yet no more yeast? If it is possible, how much sugar should i add to get the batch to my desire Sp. Gr.?
 

Johnd

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Im making a world vineyard trinity blend 6 gallon kit, and when i read the sp gr for the first time it was around 1.092-1.093(before yeast) at 84 degrees. In order to proceed to the yeast stage i cooled the entire batch down to a 72-75 degree temp, then added the EC-118 yeast, and covered it. Even with a converted calculation on the Specific gravity reading it would only read 1.095ish. I want this wine to be very dry with a higher alcohol content, i know Ec-118 can be a very aggressive yeast, so it can handle higher sugar content batches. Could i re-check the spr gravity now get a basis even though its been a few days, add sugar and get it up to 1.100? Is this a bad idea, and by that i mean adding extra sugar, yet no more yeast? If it is possible, how much sugar should i add to get the batch to my desire Sp. Gr.?
Yes, add .778 pounds of sugar to get to 1.100.
 

DoctorCAD

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Kits with high alcohol taste like kits with high alcohol. They aren't meant for it. The alcohol will just overwhelm the grape.

However, adding a few cups won't be too bad, you will just need to let it sit in the carboy and/or bottle a long time for the alcohol harshness to drop. 1.092 is the suggested "best starting SG" for kit wines, BTW.

I have a Petit Syrah and Cab kits that are over 14% and at 2 years are just now getting good, too bad I finished drinking most of them.
 

Jswo23

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Kits with high alcohol taste like kits with high alcohol. They aren't meant for it. The alcohol will just overwhelm the grape.

However, adding a few cups won't be too bad, you will just need to let it sit in the carboy and/or bottle a long time for the alcohol harshness to drop. 1.092 is the suggested "best starting SG" for kit wines, BTW.

I have a Petit Syrah and Cab kits that are over 14% and at 2 years are just now getting good, too bad I finished drinking most of them.
So you suggest i just leave it alone? the other kit that i made was at a 1.097 start SP Gr. and when i bottled it it was around .0996, i tasted a small portion and it tasted amazing. It as reads 1.080-1.097 on the instructions. literally stating "depending on the wine" so it was definitely in the right range. I dont get why they dont just give you a lower window range on sp gr. they are packaging and selling the wine with instructions, and they know what wine is in the box, couldnt these kit makers just say hey, for the trinty Blend, you want 1.092, for a cab you 1.097 for a white Chardonnay you want 1.080, etc why make beginners guess what a particular wines sp gr should be?
 
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drainsurgeon

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Go for it! This is how you learn. Adding sugar after the ferment starts is called "step feeding" and some vinters do it to not stress out the yeast at the start. Re-figuring your ABV is a little complicated. Your have to measure your ABV made at each adding, and start with and new SG and add them up at the end to get an accurate finished ABV. I wouldn't over do it however. I have a friend that I got started brewing a few years ago. All he brews is cheap kits and adds 4# of sugar to each batch. They taste like syrup spiked with vodka. If you are using the EC-118 that most kits come with, you can safely run the starting SG up to 1.10. It is a pretty hearty yeast that will go to 18% if you want it to. Handy to have on the tractor with you in case you run out of gas. :d
 

DoctorCAD

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So you suggest i just leave it alone? the other kit that i made was at a 1.097 start SP Gr. and when i bottled it it was around .0996, i tasted a small portion and it tasted amazing. It as reads 1.080-1.097 on the instructions. literally stating "depending on the wine" so it was definitely in the right range. I dont get why they dont just give you a lower window range on sp gr. they are packaging and selling the wine with instructions, and they know what wine is in the box, couldnt these kit makers just say hey, for the trinty Blend, you want 1.092, for a cab you 1.097 for a white Chardonnay you want 1.080, etc why make beginners guess what a particular wines sp gr should be?
All depends on what you want, if high alcohol is wanted, feed it. I tend to like softer wines, not taste just alcohol, but then I'm not 21 anymore.
 

cmason1957

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Go for it! This is how you learn. Adding sugar after the ferment starts is called "step feeding" and some vinters do it to not stress out the yeast at the start. Re-figuring your ABV is a little complicated. Your have to measure your ABV made at each adding, and start with and new SG and add them up at the end to get an accurate finished ABV. I wouldn't over do it however. I have a friend that I got started brewing a few years ago. All he brews is cheap kits and adds 4# of sugar to each batch. They taste like syrup spiked with vodka. If you are using the EC-118 that most kits come with, you can safely run the starting SG up to 1.10. It is a pretty hearty yeast that will go to 18% if you want it to. Handy to have on the tractor with you in case you run out of gas. :d
Actually you have to do a bit more than that to get an accurate value. You also need to take into account that each time you add sugar, you also increase the volume of your wine. There is a formula for that somewhere around here.
 

drainsurgeon

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Actually you have to do a bit more than that to get an accurate value. You also need to take into account that each time you add sugar, you also increase the volume of your wine. There is a formula for that somewhere around here.
I'm sure you are right, but I would think the SG would compensate for volume.
 

cmason1957

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Here is the post I was talking about.
http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=32839
A user here (seth8530) spent a fairly long time figuring this out and it does make a difference. It might be a large difference, it might be down in the noise. It really all depends on how much sugar you added at each step along the way. Use it or not. To be honest, I normally don't when I step-feed to make port style wines, since I figure I am going until the yeast gives up and at that point it really doesn't matter, but for completeness and accuracy, just adding them together doesn't quite give the right answer.
 
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