First batch of plum wine

Discussion in 'Beginners Wine Making Forum' started by Eric Fjellanger, May 21, 2019.

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  1. May 21, 2019 #1

    Eric Fjellanger

    Eric Fjellanger

    Eric Fjellanger

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    Hi all! I am a new wine maker, working on my first batch of plum wine using fruit from my backyard. I was attempting to follow a recipe for two 6-gallon batches, but I have realized I did not add enough water to result in 6 gallons of liquid. What I did was to add water to the fermenting buckets until the level was at the 6 gallon mark. Now that I've removed the fruit, the fermenters have more like 5.5 gallons.

    My starting gravity was also really high, which seems to make sense. It started at 1.11, which I think is going to create a too-boozy wine, if the fermentation doesn't get stuck. So I would like to fix this if possible.

    What I'm confused about is running the numbers. Using a calculator tells me that if I started with a volume of 5.5 gallons with a gravity of 1.11, if I want to dilute to a gravity more reasonable like 1.08, I'd need to add about 2 gallons. As I was trying to follow a 6-gallon recipe, I guess I am just not sure how my numbers got this far off.

    Can I dilute these batches to fix my high gravity? If so, when is the right time?

    I'm right now on day 12 (the yeast was slow to start) and both batches are sitting near 1.030, so I think I will probably rack to secondary fermenters tomorrow.

    Thanks, I appreciate any help you can give!
     
  2. May 21, 2019 #2

    sour_grapes

    sour_grapes

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    You don't need to rack so soon. I'd prefer to see it down to below 1.010. You lose a fair amount of the yeast colony when you rack, and if your wine is slow to ferment as it is, you don't want to handicap the little buggers.

    My (fairly uninformed) opinion is that you could dilute at this time. However, I would not dilute down to the equivalent of starting at 1.080. I am worried about thinning out your product too much. If I were in your situation, I think I would finesse it a bit. Calculate how much it would have taken to get your starting must down to, say, 1.095 or so. If this is not an unreasonable additional volume to add, go for it now.
     
  3. May 21, 2019 #3

    Scooter68

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    Just a thought is that you can make your plum wine into a dessert wine quite easily. A comparison with a commercial wine would be helpful if you can find one of these two: Gekkeikan Sake Plum Wine, or Fu-Ki Plum Wine. Keep in mind that your plum wine being ALL plum should have a more full bodied flavor which works well for a dessert wine. (With a higher ABV and Sweeter)
    How much you back-sweeten is up to you.

    By the way which yeast did you use? With that high a starting SG you could end up with a stalled fermentation or one where the yeast simply hits the wall due to the ABV exceeding the yeast tolerance. Should that happen you would in fact already have a sweeter wine with a relatively high ABV. (Those two commercial plum wines are at 12.5 (Gekkeikan) and 13.5 (Fu Ki)) I have personally had the first and it was great.

    Just a thought on a way to save you a lot of extra work.
     
  4. May 21, 2019 #4

    salcoco

    salcoco

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    I would suggest let matters go the course. let wine ferment down to 1000 then rack. let wine clear then do taste tests.the perception of alcohol can be sweet not harsh. let wine sit at least three months before doing taste test. then if not satisfactory do bench trials with sugar syrup to determine if beneficial.
     
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  5. May 21, 2019 #5

    Eric Fjellanger

    Eric Fjellanger

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    To dilute to an "initial gravity" of 1.095 I would need to add about .8 gallons which seems reasonable.

    The dessert wine is an interesting idea. I would prefer something dry, but if the fermentation stalls out this could be a way to save it. I used Lalvin Bourgovin RC 212 yeast. I have read some sources claiming it's good for 16%. Is there a difference between a backsweetened wine and one that has just stalled out? The must is in a cool basement right now, maybe I should warm it up.

    Are you suggesting I leave it in the primary until it gets to completion? If so, should I put a lid and airlock on instead of the towel it has now?

    Thanks!
     
  6. May 21, 2019 #6

    Scooter68

    Scooter68

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    Agree - messing with a fermentation in process should be avoided. Step feeding is one thing but changing overall content dilution etc is risky - could end up stopping fermentation.

    Also keep in mind that even if a yeast has a tolerance of say 16% or 18% those numbers assume a set of conditions that may be very different from the conditions in your batch - meaning fermentation may stop sooner than you might expect. So, personally if I want to make a batch of wine with an ABV of 16 % it would be wiser to use a yeast with a tolerance of 18% rather than one with a tolerance of 16%. Success is much more likely that way.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  7. May 21, 2019 #7

    salcoco

    salcoco

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    continue with towel on fermentor to sg=1000. rack into carboy with airlock. rack in three days of off gross lees, add k-meta. rack again in three weeks then again in three months should be clear do taste tests.
     

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