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G259

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I started a Chardonnay kit, but starting SG of the juice was low (1.065), and with the included EC-1118, this would be short work. I added sugar to 1.085, but I'm wondering what else that may do. This is a kit, and I realize that they want you to finish quickly and buy another kit!
 

katmike57

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I just recently bottled a chardonnay (RJS). Checked my notes and my starting SG was 1.104!! I realize there are going to be differences, but that does seem really low. Also, the yeast provided in mine was QA23.
 

cmason1957

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I started a Chardonnay kit, but starting SG of the juice was low (1.065), and with the included EC-1118, this would be short work. I added sugar to 1.085, but I'm wondering what else that may do. This is a kit, and I realize that they want you to finish quickly and buy another kit!
I suspect one of two things, to much water added or not stirred nearly enough to mix the ingredients. The mixing is probably the more likely culprit. Most non-wine cooler type kits come in at 1.080-1.100, without fail for me. You probably didn't mess things up by adding more sugar, hence making more alcohol, except to decrease the body a bit. Time will tell. Adding tannins later on may help, if you find it to thin or potentially adding glycerin (something I don't really like to do, myself).
 

G259

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I really stirred this up good, I wanted to add a bunch of oxygen to benefit the yeast (I always do this). This was a Wild Grapes Chardonnay kit. I stirred it up really good after adding the sugar as well, to make sure it was dissolved, and providing a good initial SG. My pail states that the 6 gal. mark is at the lowest ridge, and that's what the directions told me to to: Add juice bag and fill water to 6 gal. mark. Perhaps the bag was short of actual juice, so the water added was too much.
 
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G259

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I put a 1 star review on Amazon, but I don't expect much.
 

winemaker81

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@G259, not all kits vendors have good quality control. In the past I found all kits to be low on sugar, but in recent years Winexpert and R J Spagnols have fixed that.

You've done what I would have done. The only thing I might do is add aging oak, if the kit seems to need it.
 

G259

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The kit had small oak chips in it that I already added. I have some med. toast chips that I haven't used yet, maybe I'll throw in a tablespoon into each 3 gal. carboy. These are larger chips (feeling through the bag), I'll add after racking soon, first rack from the carboy.
 

G259

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. . . Or would a teaspoon suffice for each 3 gal. batch? I am concerned about OVER oaking.
 

Sailor323

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My pail states that the 6 gal. mark is at the lowest ridge, and that's what the directions told me to to: Add juice bag and fill water to 6 gal. mark. Perhaps the bag was short of actual juice, so the water added was too much.
When using a kit, I add water bit by bit and check SG after each addition. I only add enough water to bring the must to a SG no less than 1.085. Sometimes this means I end up with less must than the kit is supposed to make.
 

winemaker81

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. . . Or would a teaspoon suffice for each 3 gal. batch? I am concerned about OVER oaking.
I've been using oak cubes as the surface area is more consistent and I have a better feel for what a given amount will do (it's possible I'm fooling myself on the consistency, but it's working for me). Hopefully this will help you gauge.

I use 2 oz cubes for 5 gallons wines, although I've been oaking only reds. For 3 gallons, I'd use 1.2 oz. For oak I use a scale rather than a volume measure, so I have no idea how that translates to a measuring spoon, although my guess is you're using a lot less than that.

This picture is 2 oz cubes taken from a recent Cab, with a tablespoon measure for comparison. [Cubes are being saved for the next time I smoke something.]

IMG_20210423_094721414.jpg

Since you're worried about over-oaking, start with 1/2 oz chips and taste test every 2 weeks. After 4 months, if you don't have the flavor you want, add an additional 1/2 oz.

My oak stix experiment describes stirring the wine, read my notes from the 2nd taste testing which describes stirring the wine to ensure the oak flavoring is distributed.
 

G259

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I think mine are smaller than these, and the ones in the kit were tiny. The wine is clearing very quickly (as I suspected), I can even read things at a pretty good distance! But they are Better Bottles, and a little thinner. I think I'll rack, add 1Tsp. oak (each 3 gal. carboy), and wait a while.
 
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G259

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Racked today, and added a little oak, I didn't want to overdo it on my first chardonnay. I tasted it, it was ok, but a slight off flavor. I'm not sure if it's becase it is dry, or because of the excess water added.
 

G259

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Thanks for that Joe, I think I'll add 1T per 3 gal. batch, or do you think more? BTW, I have been reading about vendors frequently shorting juice in kits, should I shun kits altogether, or are some more reliable than others?
 

winemaker81

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should I shun kits altogether, or are some more reliable than others?
I made the WineXpert 10 liter Australian Chardonnay and Australian Cabernet Sauvignon last September, bottled last month. I'm very pleased with both. Based upon this, the new WE formulization appears to be as good as advertised.

IMO the vendor makes the difference -- don't go with the lesser names until someone else posts good reviews.

That said, a frozen juice bucket will cost what a high end kit does, but you'll be getting 100% juice. You might try that, then make a decision regarding the 2 options.
 

joeswine

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It really depends on you allowance for wine making doesn't it.
If you follow (tweaking cheap wine kits) you'll see you can make a decent everyday wine at a reasonable price 😉 or if your knowledge is advanced move on to better kits. IT'S really up to you know one else.
 
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