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RJ Spagnols Cru Select Sherry

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Skyhawk

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I don't make kits unless I get a premium kit on sale, and I thought I'd give this a try. $30 instead of $69 isn't bad... right?

The guy selling it said the yeast was likely expired, and that I should use my own. So I hydrated some EC-1118, and added it to the undiluted must as per directions. 24 hours later - no sign of fermentation. Weird... pH in the must is 3.3, TA is close to 60.

I took a SG reading... and OMG! SG was 1.140! So, perhaps this was a factory error and I diluted it to 1.110. Then I immediately started a starter with another packet of EC-1118 in diluted must and poured this very active concoction in after 12 hours. Over 12 hours later? NOTHING!

So I decided to dilute the must more... down to 1.100 and just poured the original packet of yeast on top. It's not doing anything. In fact, the yeast just sunk to the bottom after an hour or so. That kinda sucks.

I've got three fresh juices on order to pick up tomorrow, so if this kit doesn't start by morning I'm throwing it out and freeing up a carboy for a fourth juice to be decided.
 

cpfan

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So under the category of dumb questions...what was the date on the box? what was the date on the original yeast? how many packages of yeast were in the original box?

None of the above should have stopped your yeast from starting. So what was/is the temperature of the room, and the must? Did you stir the must AGGRESSIVELY to ensure that there was oxygen in the must?

BTW, I strongly suspect that 1.140 was right for this product (what do the instructions say). If I recall rightly, this product starts and finishes with a high sg. The high finish gives that sherry sweetness.

But also the high starting sg can give the yeast headaches. That's why many sherry/port kits include two packages of yeast.

Steve
 

Wade E

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Copied from instructions off RJS site which is right under RJS post uner main link.

(Specific Gravity 1.140-1.150 for Ice Wine Style Specific Gravity1.110-1.130 for Port & Sherry)

Its just a tad high but fermentation should have been fine. Ive made quite a few of kits with very high starting gravities and had no problems at all.
 

Skyhawk

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cpfan, there is no date on the box. If there was one on the outer plastic, it went out with the garbage this morning. Same with the empty yeast packet. But my 2 EC-1118 were recent editions that I've never had problems with in any other wine.

The ingredients on the box include sorbate. I figure if they were off on the SG by 10, perhaps they put too much sorbate and sulphite in it, which is why it was also on sale? :p

Who knows. But if this concoction isn't fermenting by morning, I'm officially designating this must as an antiseptic to be used for cleaning hands to fend off the swine flu.
 

cpfan

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Skyhawk:

The date sould be on the variety sticker on the box not the plastic wrap.

Yes, the ingredients list sorbate. It's a little package as an additive. I don't believe that it is in the must.

You should call the 800 Help line and ask them for help. They will likely ask about the date.

Temperature? Too cool could be a problem for this kit.

Steve
 

Wade E

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What packages did you add in the beginning? What are the #'s on the box as it is code for the date made? there are 2 sets of numbers and the long set is the date code.
 

Skyhawk

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What packages did you add in the beginning? What are the #'s on the box as it is code for the date made? there are 2 sets of numbers and the long set is the date code.
A package of oak (tea bag type) was added at the beginning only, after aeration in the pale. Temperature of must is around 23 C, or 74 F? That's the air temp down there as well.

cpfan, the number on the sticker says 20050825D. Ummm... does this seriously mean that the kit was made in 2005? :s
 

cpfan

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A package of oak (tea bag type) was added at the beginning only, after aeration in the pale. Temperature of must is around 23 C, or 74 F? That's the air temp down there as well.

cpfan, the number on the sticker says 20050825D. Ummm... does this seriously mean that the kit was made in 2005? :s
Yes Skyhawk. That kit was made Aug 25 2005. Now you know why your retailer discounted it. You also now have a very good reason to look for another retailer.

That temperature should be fine. I'm kinda surprised that you aren't getting any fermentation. BTW, sherry is an oxidized wine. I'm pretty sure that your must was oxidized. Might still make a decent sherry, if you can get it going.

Steve
 

Wade E

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I guess they have changed the way their codes read since then. That is insane that they still have a kit that old!!!!!!!!!!
 

cpfan

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I guess they have changed the way their codes read since then. That is insane that they still have a kit that old!!!!!!!!!!
Wade:

My Cru Select RQ Meritage reads 20090225. That's Feb 25 2009. IE, no change in 4 years. Actually I started selling RJS products in 2001, and using about 1999. No change in the format since then. To those that are computer illiterate yyyymmdd sorts very nicely in a computer, and possibly that is why RJS uses this format.

The way your message reads, you are blaming Spagnols. I doubt that it is their fault. Blame the retailer. Heck if the retailer received a product that old from RJS, he should be YELLING at RJS, and talking about a new supplier.

Steve
 

Wade E

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Okay, I had gotten bad info on this awhile ago or just translated it bad when I brought it over here. I highly dought that RJS had sent out a kit that old and was not blaming RJS. That has to be a retailer and they should be ashamed of themselves I.M.O.! I still see no reason why it wouldnt ferment fine by replacing the yeast.
 

Skyhawk

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Well the old kit just started fermenting this morning. It's not an incredibly vigorous fermentation, but it's certainly going steady now.

I figured the directions would include letting it oxidize, but instead the must has that sherry oxidized taste already. It also includes this little plastic bottle of oxidized smelling flavoring that's supposed to be added after fermentation. They also recommend that a bottle of brandy be added to it. I better taste it after it's finished before wasting a good bottle of brandy.

Since I've diluted the must a bit, I'll just ferment it to dryness and then back sweeten to taste.

I also started 4 20L pails of juice today... it's been a busy Saturday so far.
 

St Allie

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Finally a little movement, glad to see you have something happening.

What juice did you get ?

Allie
 

Skyhawk

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I got a cab, a red zinfandel, a pinot noir, and a gewurztraminer. It's a new supplier that I've just recently tried, and the 3 first ones I did last month are turning out really promising so far and should stand up well to several years of aging. According to the retailer, they're from a mega-grower somewhere in Sonoma.
 

Wade E

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Glad it got going for you, you could add some sugar like about 3 lbs to get it back to where it should be. You will also need a bigger carboy now since you diluted with water. That flavoring pack will also sweeten your wine so make sure you add that after adding both k-meta and sorbate and then taste after adding those before doing any additional sweetening.
 

St Allie

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I'd like to get my hands on some malbec. Sounds like you will have to start collecting more bottles and designing new labels SkyHawk, are you blending any of the juices together?.

Will have to investigate juice sales here in NZ.. There must be someone selling it bucketed surely..

Allie
 

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