Cherry Barbera

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deboard

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OK, I'm starting a new batch tonight, I have an Alexander's Barbera concentrate can, and I'm going to add 10 lbs of frozen cherries to make a 3+ gallon batch.

So I've read that cherries can be challenging, particularly that they are high in malic acid. Plus, Barbera is known for being high in acid. Any suggestions/lessons learned that anyone can share? I will obviously test the acid level and adjust accordingly.

I also saw a suggestion to use Lalvin 1122 which neutralizes malic acid as it ferments, but I'm not sure how I can predict how much it will neutralize. If I balance the acid and then use 1122 is there a good chance it will be too low in acid?

I was also thinking of doing mlf, which will reduce some of the malic acid, but obviously not the total acid as it replaces it with lactic acid.

Anyways, I always figure I can get useful tips here. And yes, I chose this blend just so I can say the name. It makes me happy.
 

AlFulchino

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i like the sound of this whole project and the name too!

the concern you have calls for testing all along the way...and you mentioned that you would.....since you are trying to get rid of the malic anyways then i would not worry about ho well that yeast does..you could always adjust acid later...are you trying to keep some malic in your end product?
 

Julie

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Hi Deboard,

I don't do any acid test until after fermentation. This is working well for me. I make cherry wine as well. And 1122 is good for fruit wines, that is what I use on my fruit wines. I think you are on the right track.
 

deboard

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Thanks for the replies, I would like to cut the malic acid down, but if some remains that will be ok. I tried the cherries after they defrosted, and boy they are tart! So this should be interesting!

I probably will wait until after fermentation to balance acid , but just for curiosity's sake I'll test it beforehand as well. I'd like to know just how much the 1122 yeast reduces the acid.
 

Wade E

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Actually its the Lalvin 71B that does the most for reduing alic acid. I would get a test kit for malic acid before doing mlf on a wine from concentrate as its usully not a good idea due to the pastuerization process.
 

deboard

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Oops, I'll learn the lingo one day or at least learn to just type the whole thing. Yeah, I meant 71b-1122, I just got lazy typing!
 

deboard

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Wade, what kinds of things go wrong when doing mlf on concentrates? Just curious since I currently have a blackberry pinot noir made from alexander's concentrate that is doing mlf. Just started mlf saturday, it's not doing anything vigorous, but there are tiny bubbles and the airlock is slowly working it's way back up past level.
 

Wade E

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To be honets I dont know so maybe its bull but Ive read it so many times especially from Tim Vandergrift the W.E. tech advisor. Maybe its because the acids have already been dealt with and balanced unlike a fresh juice or grape.
 

deboard

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I'm not sure I'd call Alexander's concentrates balanced, the instructions call for 6 +/- 2 tsp of acid addition, so a range of 4-8 tsp. That tells me to test it for sure. On the blackberry pinot I only had to add 4 1/2 tsp after I measured. I assume the blackberries added some acid as well. I guess I'll find out in a few months!

Adding the cherries to this new batch will give me quite a bit of malic acid I think, I'm actually worried it will be too high after tasting them!
 

Wade E

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So Im thinking thats its not high in acid if you have to add that much.
 

deboard

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True. I think a malic acid test kit is a good idea for these batches. No point in MLF if there's no malic acid.
 

deboard

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Just an update on this project: I racked it today for the 4th time, and it's perfectly clear, but I did have to adjust the acid. I checked the pH and it was around 4, so I brought it down a bit, adding tartaric acid. Seems like the MLF worked fine, it's done and it's pretty mellow. I'd say it's only about average on the body side, but otherwise it tastes very nice. I ended up with 1/2 a bottle after racking that I just put in the refrigerator. I tried a small glass just now. Very nice but subtle cherry taste. I've never had a barbera wine before, but it did not end up very dark. It's red, but on the light side. It's definitely a room temperature wine though, the taste is vastly different when cold.


Overall I'd say I'm pretty happy given it started with a 15 or so dollar can of concentrate and 10 lbs of tart cherries. I actually think that if you prefer a semi-sweet or sweet wine you could skip the MLF and this would make a great blend for you as well.

I'll be bottling in about a month. I'll post the recipe if there's anyone else out there that is a concentrate junkie and wants it.
 
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