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Cellar Craft CC Showcase Amarone Kit Tips?

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ericsmithcpa

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Folks, I'm about to start my second kit - CC Amarone. If any people have tips or tweaks that work well for you, please do share.

I'm, thinking about doubling the volume (buying a second kit and a bigger fermenter). Might as well get twice as much wine for about the same amount of work. Is it any more difficult, or maybe even easier, to buy two kits and double the batch (aside from obvious racking time and weight of a larger fermenter)? Any fermentation issues? I assume not if the pitch rate is the same, but let me know if I'm missing something.

Do folks generally like the oak dust in the kits? I'm thinking about just changing up the oak (buying cubes or staves or xoakers). Not sure if I should add oak in addition to the sawdust, or instead of the sawdust (want to avoid an oak bomb).
 

jgmann67

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Doubling your volume should not create any issues.

Throw that oak dust in the primary as directed... good sacrificial tannins.

If you want to add oak, take a look at morewine.com. Add in the finish.
 

jumby

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I just did a double batch. It's not a problem. I did 3 tweaks. I added extra sugar to the primary to bump up the ABV. I also added 2 cups of raisin to primary. In addition to that I added French Oak Medium Plus Toast Spirals while bulk ageing.
 

ericsmithcpa

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I just did a double batch. It's not a problem. I did 3 tweaks. I added extra sugar to the primary to bump up the ABV. I also added 2 cups of raisin to primary. In addition to that I added French Oak Medium Plus Toast Spirals while bulk ageing.
How'd it come out? What was your starting/finishing gravity with those tweaks?

I dig the raisins idea. Do you just use regular sunmaid raisins? Any kind of prep for them or just toss them in the fermenter?

Do you think it has enough tannins between the kit oak and the spirals, or would you add more if doing it again?
 

joeswine

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Adding the rasins to the primary is the correct way to go, of your intention is to do 2 batches at once the add two cups of sunmaid rasins directly in.
Adding tannins and oak is also a good investment. Take a PH reading you should be in the high 3.6 to. 9.
Adding simple syrup to the primary 2 quarts should bring thABV to adout 13% 14 would be better but that's just me.
When you move to the secondary don't top off leave empty head space in the carboys ,this will allow you to let them sit for at least two weeks, every day shake the carboys at least twice a day.after 2 weeks rerack and add chems then let it sit until your ready to bottle allow at least 1 year before tasting.this process will make your effort worth while.
 

jumby

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How'd it come out? What was your starting/finishing gravity with those tweaks?

I dig the raisins idea. Do you just use regular sunmaid raisins? Any kind of prep for them or just toss them in the fermenter?

Do you think it has enough tannins between the kit oak and the spirals, or would you add more if doing it again?
I use regular old raisins. I bumped the starting SG up 1.09 - 1.10 and fermented dry .994-.996.

I do think it has enough tannins with the addition of the raisins and spirals. This wasn't my time 1st time making this kit. I've made it many times over the years, it's by far 1 of my fave's. It does take time to come into its own. I would age it at a minimum 2 years. Preferably longer. I'm just now finishing up a batch I made in 2015. Saluti!
 
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ericsmithcpa

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I use regular old raisins. I bumped the starting SG up 1.09 - 1.10 and fermented dry .994-.996.

I do think it has enough tannins with the addition of the raisins and spirals. This wasn't my time 1st time making this kit. I've made it many times over the years, it's by far 1 of my fave's. It does take time to come into its own. I would age minimum it at a 2 years. Preferbale longer. I'm just now finishing up a batch I made in 2015. Saluti!
Outstanding, thank you!
 

Rocky

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I routinely make multi batches in 20 and 32 gallon fermenters using either 3 or 4 kits or 3 or 4 buckets of juice. I have triple batches of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gewurtztraminer going at present. Much less work than making three separate batches.
 

joeswine

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Use sunmaid , better product for wine making, check out what chems are added to the Rasins????
Making big batches is ok but it doesn't let you put your personal touch on each normal batch.
 

ericsmithcpa

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Started this over the weekend... added a cup of raisins, lightly chopped, and chaptalized to 1.1 SG.

Interestingly, folks have said that raisins are full of sulfites, but the sun maid box says “Ingredients: California seedless raisins.” It also says: “Naturally sun-dried, no preservatives.” Are they high in sulfites just because they are grapes? Anyway, I let sit overnight before adding yeast.

Chaptalization to 1.1 SG required an astonishing 3 lbs of sugar... (!) I was pretty disappointed with SG out of the box. I let it sit for 18 hours and stirred several times, hoping the sugar was all in the grape pack... it did go up (from 1.07 to 1.075 or so, but that’s where it stopped). I didn’t add too much water either, if anything at that point I was about a liter short of 6 gallons.

Now I might have too much liquid volume after a massive chaptalization... or maybe 3 lbs of sugar isn’t that bad?
 

joeswine

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What was your starting SG again?
Usually it's about 12% and the you add from there.
1 quart of simple syrup steps up the ABV by 1% with addition of the dried skins pack another 1/2%..
Check it out again some things incorrect, also what was the Mfg.process stating you should be at for this kit at the beginning of the primary process?
Adding 3 lbs. Of sugarís a lot even for ec1118 if that was the yeast typé given.
 

ericsmithcpa

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What was your starting SG again?
Usually it's about 12% and the you add from there.
1 quart of simple syrup steps up the ABV by 1% with addition of the dried skins pack another 1/2%...
Check it out again some things incorrect, also what was the Mfg.process stating you should be at for this kit at the beginning of the primary process?
Adding 3 lbs. Of sugarís a lot even for ec1118 if that was the yeast typé given.
Starting SG out of the box was 1.07 before adding the grape pack (and about 1 liter short of 6 gallons). I didn't top up all the way to 6 gallons because I figured I'd have a liter worth of simple to add (it turned out to be more than that). Then I added the grape pack, stirred and waited, and it went to roughly 1.075 (so 10.71% potential alcohol out of the box). Stirred multiple times and waited all day... up to 1.077. Added half the sugar got to 1.0875, let it sit overnight. Stirred and checked again in the AM, 1.0875. Added the rest of the sugar to 1.1.

It's a Cellar Craft Amarone kit with grape skins, instructions say to start at a specific gravity of 1.08 to 1.1 (but at 1.08, I'd have an 11.4% ABV amarone, which wouldn't seem to be a good result). The kit seller indicated it should get to 14%, which suggests that one should be close to the top of the 1.08 to 1.10 range. The yeast is EC1118. I rehydrated it per instructions and had pressure in the airlock 2 hours after pitching. It's bubbling okay now.

Quite frustrated with this kit... even my Eclipse Pinot was 1.09 SG out of the box. I'm half tempted to pour this down the french drain and start over, glad I didn't double it LOL.
 

ericsmithcpa

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Anything I can do to balance out the big sugar addition? Or just wait and see if isn't a very hot wine, and defer judgment on the french drain solution until later?
 

sour_grapes

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Starting SG out of the box was 1.07 before adding the grape pack (and about 1 liter short of 6 gallons). I didn't top up all the way to 6 gallons because I figured I'd have a liter worth of simple to add (it turned out to be more than that). Then I added the grape pack, stirred and waited, and it went to roughly 1.075 (so 10.71% potential alcohol out of the box). Stirred multiple times and waited all day... up to 1.077. Added half the sugar got to 1.0875, let it sit overnight. Stirred and checked again in the AM, 1.0875. Added the rest of the sugar to 1.1.

It's a Cellar Craft Amarone kit with grape skins, instructions say to start at a specific gravity of 1.08 to 1.1 (but at 1.08, I'd have an 11.4% ABV amarone, which wouldn't seem to be a good result). The kit seller indicated it should get to 14%, which suggests that one should be close to the top of the 1.08 to 1.10 range. The yeast is EC1118. I rehydrated it per instructions and had pressure in the airlock 2 hours after pitching. It's bubbling okay now.

Quite frustrated with this kit... even my Eclipse Pinot was 1.09 SG out of the box. I'm half tempted to pour this down the french drain and start over, glad I didn't double it LOL.
Wow, that is unbelievably low. For the CC Amarones I have done, the juice was ~1.085, and the grape pack got those up a touch above 1.100.
 

ericsmithcpa

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Wow, that is unbelievably low. For the CC Amarones I have done, the juice was ~1.085, and the grape pack got those up a touch above 1.100.
I don't know how to convince you... I used two different hydrometers and let it sit on the grape pack overnight. I found it shocking myself, but I did ultimately believe that.

My fermenter has gallon markings (which I did myself by measuring water on a scale, since a gallon jug holds more than a gallon), and these markings have been used for a prior kit which worked fine.

I tend to prefer everything to be very precisely measured, it seems very unlikely to me that I over-diluted the concentrate juice base at all, and much less likely that it would be so diluted to cause such a dramatically low SG. I guess I can order another kit and hope for a better batch, it's not that much money... but I'm somewhat disinclined to buy another cellar craft product... :/
 

Johnd

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As Paul said, that's a really low starting point for and Amarone. Maybe let it sit / stir it a bit more to see what you get out of the grape pack, try mashing up the fruit some if you can, just don't break the seeds. If you're still not up to 1.100, go ahead and chaptalize it up to that point, then add some raisins to help increase the fruit concentration. After all, Amarone is made from partially dried fruit, and many of them taste raisiny anyway............
 

sour_grapes

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I don't know how to convince you... I used two different hydrometers and let it sit on the grape pack overnight. I found it shocking myself, but I did ultimately believe that.

My fermenter has gallon markings (which I did myself by measuring water on a scale, since a gallon jug holds more than a gallon), and these markings have been used for a prior kit which worked fine.

I tend to prefer everything to be very precisely measured, it seems very unlikely to me that I over-diluted the concentrate juice base at all, and much less likely that it would be so diluted to cause such a dramatically low SG. I guess I can order another kit and hope for a better batch, it's not that much money... but I'm somewhat disinclined to buy another cellar craft product... :/
I am now chuckling. I was not doubting you, I was commiserating with you!
 

jsbeckton

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If it really was that low I’d be calling the manufacturer. I wish you all the best but it’s hard to imagine it’s going to turn out well if you had to add that much sugar.
 

ericsmithcpa

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How long do folks usually wait after adding the grape skin pack for SG to stabilize?
If it really was that low I’d be calling the manufacturer. I wish you all the best but it’s hard to imagine it’s going to turn out well if you had to add that much sugar.
I have on my calendar to call them today. They were closed on Saturday afternoon, not to re-open until Tuesday. The email on their website bounced as undeliverable/not-found. I am guessing I probably cannot return it since I chaptalized, but I didn't want to let the must sit exposed to oxygen for 72 hours while I waited to talk with the manufacturer, nor did I want to start fermentation at at an unreasonably low SG. Will let you know what they say.
 

ericsmithcpa

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Talked to manufacturer this AM. They said they would have been fine with starting fermentation at 1.077, and they expected that the remaining sugar to reach 14% was stuck in the muslin back (in spite of my explaining that it had been there over night with multiple stirrings and no change in SG). She also said "people put too much emphasis on day 1 specific gravity, don't worry about it, the sugar is there." Not incredibly helpful.
 
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