Experimenting with fruit concentrates

Discussion in 'Country Fruit Winemaking' started by kyle5434, Jan 15, 2018.

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  1. kyle5434

    kyle5434 Trying to fuse frugal/pragmatic with good results

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    I thought I'd experiment with some fruit wines, so I picked up some of the Vintner's Harvest concentrates and purees - apricot, plum, and peach.

    My basic plan for a 3-gallon batch is as follows:
    1 - 96 oz. can apricot concentrate
    1 - 49 oz. can apricot puree
    1-2 cans of frozen white gape concentrate (depending on where it puts me for a target S.G. of 1.080)
    water to a bit over 3 gallons

    Planning to let it soak with potassium metabisulfite and pectic enzyme for 24 hours, then verify/adjust S.G. and acid (I'm guessing a pH of 3.4 would be appropriate), potentially add a bit of tannin, then pitch the yeast (71B?).

    That's the basic formula I'd use for all 3 fruits. My goal, if I can pull it off, it to ferment to dry and not back-sweeten.

    My basic practice for the kit wines I've done is to rack to secondary when the S.G. gets down to around 1.02, then let it sit and slowly finish fermenting for 2-3 weeks. But I know some folks don't bother with a secondary vessel if they're not using grape skins or adjunct fruit. They just go straight from a ~3-week single-vessel fermentation to bulk aging.

    What would be the best practice for these concentrate/puree mixtures?
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  2. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Still getting started at 26 batches & 2 1./2 years

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    Do yourself a favor - carefully read the labels. You may be overpaying for a juice you can produce yourself with Natural fruits and have them in t concentrations that you know. E.G. Ocean Spray 100% fruit juices are mostly apple, and grape juices with flavoring done by the fruit listed on the label. You can probably get 100% juice concentrate "X" and then add in other juices, for the same or less money AND know exactly how much of each is in your wine.

    Also you really don't need to dose it with K-Meta, Any canned or bottled juice is already treated to remove any harmful impurities and to prevent any existing yeast from fermenting the juice. In fact most commercial juices already have presevatives in them that you need to be aware of before trying to start your wine.

    Just thaw, mix and get the must balanced so you can pitch the yeast.

    As to the last question - I try to rack to secondary at about 1.010 or when the activity slows enough to permit me to move to a carboy without producing a foam fountain. Remember once the fermentation slows you begin to lose that CO2 Blanket that protects the wine so finishing fermentation in a bucket is adds a bit of risk.
     
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  3. dralarms

    dralarms Overboard as usual Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I use www.homewinery.com for my concentrates. The only one I was disappointed with was the Niagara. It never would clear like it should but that was probably my fault.
     
  4. kyle5434

    kyle5434 Trying to fuse frugal/pragmatic with good results

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    Thanks for the tip. Thankfully, the Vintner's Harvest fruit concentrates/purees are 100% concentrates of ONLY the specific fruit. They have wine recipes on the cans, and looking through comments/reviews on the web, it looks like my proposed recipes should make for a full-flavored end result. I just wasn't sure if one long fermentation in a single vessel (to extract the maximum flavor) was advisable in this case. Sounds like I should plan on utilizing a secondary.
     
  5. kyle5434

    kyle5434 Trying to fuse frugal/pragmatic with good results

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    I saw their site as i was searching, but I wasn't sure if their concentrates were a pure, single fruit concentrate or if they were a mix of fruits/juices. Some of the fruit wine concentrates I've seen also have high fructose corn syrup, and I didn't want to pay for sugar that I could easily add myself if needed.
     
  6. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Still getting started at 26 batches & 2 1./2 years

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    Basically the reason I would avoid the a lot of these 100% fruit juices on the supermarket shelves and in the frozen concentrate aisles is because when it's a mix of different juices you don't know what amount of each juice is present. The big thing that got me started on making my own wine is that I am in control now of what is in my wine. I get to determine, if I do mix juice types, how much of each one is there AND I can change it or repeat that mix the next time depending on how it turns out. Since these cans or bottles don't tell what percentage is Apple, Grape, Pear etc, you don't know which flavor may dominate after the fermentation completes. That "Blueberry juice " may get overwhelmed when fermented so that you end up with an Apple wine with a hint of blueberry,


    AH - Vintner's Harvest - Yes they are 100% as labeled. There is another brand with a similar sounding name that has Apple, Grape, Pear and then the fruit on the label in many cases. And their prices are better but that's why, Apple and White Grape juice is a lot less expensive than Blueberry juice.

    I use Vintners Harvest Black Current Wine base - one 96 oz can makes a very nice solid flavored 3 gallon batch of wine. Stick with the 3 gallon batch recipes and I think you'll be happy with the results. (Unless you use 2 cans for 5 gallons)
     
  7. dralarms

    dralarms Overboard as usual Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I was assured by the owner they are pure, whatever the label says is what's in the bottle
     
  8. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Still getting started at 26 batches & 2 1./2 years

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    So yes for Vintner's Best it is what on the label but While the front label states


    Vintner's Best® Blackberry Fruit Wine Base 128 oz.'

    Here's the back label:

    PRODUCT ANALYTICAL SPECIFICATION

    Product: Blackberry Wine Homebrew Base 1+4 50936.27 (1 gallon makes 5.00 gallons juice at 18.6o B)
    Product Code: 50936.27
    Product Description: A blend of juice concentrates, HFCS, citric acid and natural flavor designed to make a fermentable base for blackberry wine blend at 18.9o B. The product is blended, pasteurized, filled into gallon containers and stored at ambient temperature.

    Concentrate
    Brix : 73.1o B min. (as sucrose, corrected for acidity)(AOAC Method 983.17) Acidity : 2.4; 2.2 – 2.6 % w/w (as citric acid)(AOAC Method 942.15)

    Ingredient List : High Fructose Corn Syrup; Apple, Pear, Blackberry & Grape Juice Concentrates; Water; Citric Acid; Natural Flavors.

    Microbiological Analysis: APC : Less than 200 viable organisms per g (AOAC Method 990.12)
    Yeasts &Molds: Less than 50 viable organisms per g (AOAC Method 997.02)
    E. Coli & Coliforms: Negative (AOAC Method 991.14)
    Single Strength Brix: 18.6o B Min. (AOAC Method 983.17)
    Acidity: 0.61; 0.56 – 0.66 % w/w (as citric acid)(AOAC Method 942.15)
    Color description : Deep red; to match standard (Observational Analysis)
    Flavor description: Strong blackberry wine character; to match standard (Organoleptic Analysis)


    Sorry if some think I'm being a Hard A but like someone said - you get what you pay for and here you are paying for High Fructose Corn Syrup. And lists of ingredients are, by convention, listed from highest to lowest content. So there is far more Apple, and Peat Juice than blackberry juice. When I make a gallon of Blackberry wine I use at least 5 lbs of Wild Blackberries and less than 2 lbs of sugar. (I do add water to take the volume to about 1 1/4 gallons)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
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  9. kyle5434

    kyle5434 Trying to fuse frugal/pragmatic with good results

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    Yes, I'm glad the Midwest Supplies site shows the back label for the Vintner's Harvest products they carry (to verify the ingredients).

    Though the VH fruit bases and purees can often be found cheaper elsewhere...
     
  10. Mdrew

    Mdrew Junior

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    As a side note, but related, I've been told I can use frozen concentrate to make up for lost volume after rackings. I chose some 100% juice that had only grapes as the ingredient, but really changed the color of my finished product. Not a huge fan there! I got some other smaller jars so I can ferment my main 5G carboy, plus another gallon to make up lost volume and stick with ONLY the grape juice I started with.
     
  11. Stressbaby

    Stressbaby Just a Member Supporting Member

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    Not sure where you read that but topping up with concentrate (of any kind) is bad advice IMHO.
    1. Your adding sugar which risks refermentation
    2. You risk clouding up the wine every time so will be slow to finally clear
    3. If it doesn't referment you're backsweetening without much control over the sugar addition.

    You're doing it the right way, make a little extra for topping up.
     
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  12. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Still getting started at 26 batches & 2 1./2 years

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    Agree stress - If you thaw a can of frozen concentrate of any variety then pour is out - look at the bottom can. All that fine fine residue, grainy stuff, is what is now in your once clear wine and you are back to square one on clearing the wine. Far better off to start prepping your own topping-off ;/ sweetner when you start the wine and then you will have something you know is clear before you add it BUT you still have things like pectin to deal with when you use real fruit.

    Personal opinion - start with the proper amount of fruit to begin with and then all you have to add is a back-sweetening solution (Simple Syrup) -IF needed.
     
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  13. Mdrew

    Mdrew Junior

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  14. farmerjack

    farmerjack Junior

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    update?

    I like the idea of this fruit pairing. All the same type of fruit could make for a mellow yet complicated flavor. Not coincidentally the kind I gravitate to for snacks.

    Please keep updating this Kyle, I'll likely add it to the list if you get it all figured out for me :)
     
  15. meadmaker1

    meadmaker1 Member

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    Ive used concentrate to top up, but only after stabilization and if im back sweetening, not during fermentation
     
  16. kyle5434

    kyle5434 Trying to fuse frugal/pragmatic with good results

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    Due to limited space I'm only bulk aging these for 3 months, but the 3-month date for the dry Apricot and dry Plum experiments is coming up around the middle of May, so I'll try to remember to post an update then.
     
  17. kyle5434

    kyle5434 Trying to fuse frugal/pragmatic with good results

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    Here's the dry plum wine a few days after degassing and clarifying (with K/C). It's pretty much the originally posted recipe except I ended up using a single 64 oz. bottle of Old Orchard white grape juice instead of frozen concentrate. It was very clear before clarifying (after 3 months of bulk aging), but had a good inch of trub at the bottom of the carboy. (There was a lot of trub at the end of primary and secondary fermentation as well). Because of all the trub that dropped out during fermentation, it ended up needing a lot of topping up as it went into bulk aging, so I ended up using the equivalent of about 3 bottles of Bota Box pino grigio (which I had purchased for that very purpose).

    I tasted it just before degassing (there was almost no CO2 in solution), and it seems like it's headed in a good direction. Planning to bottle early next week, then give it a few more months.

     
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  18. Johnd

    Johnd Middle Aged Member Supporting Member

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    Looks like it's coming along nicely. Consider topping that carboy up into the neck, that's a pretty fair amount of headspace.
     
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  19. kyle5434

    kyle5434 Trying to fuse frugal/pragmatic with good results

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    Thanks for the tip. Since I'd just given the batch a fresh dose of K-meta, and it was only going to be a week or so before bottling, I figured it'd probably be OK.
     
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  20. JuiceMan

    JuiceMan Junior

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    For pure fruit juice concentrates, you guys need to check out https://www.brownwoodacres.com/fruit-juice-concentrates/ All cold-filled with nothing added. If it says blueberry or pomegranate that is all that's in there. No blending, highest brix content available and perfect for fermentation. Not sure why anyone would look elsewhere.
     

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