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Hi,
I've been reading this site for months and I've decided to take the leap... I've started two batches of 1 gallon wines! I'm considering these two learning experiences. I have several questions, and would welcome any comments.

Here's the recipes that I've used, both are Jack Keller's. My secondarys are imperial gallons so I adjusted the qtys of everything (times everything by 1.25), except the sugar, since I'd rather have it dry and sweeten later, if I need to do so.

Wine 1: Pineapple juice
2 pts pineapple juice
2½ lbs granulated sugar
6 pts water
1 tsp acid blend
½ tsp pectic enzyme
¼ tsp tannin
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 pkt Chablis wine yeast (I used Lavin 1116)
I boiled two bananas in some of the water for 10 mins and added the water.
Dissolve sugar in water. Add remaining ingredients except yeast, stirring well. Cover primary and set aside 12 hours. Add activated yeast and ferment 7-10 days, stirring daily. When specific gravity falls to 1.010, rack into secondary and fit airlock. Rack, top up and refit airlock every 30 days until wine clears and no new sediments form over 30-day period. Stabilize and sweeten to taste if desired. Wait 10 days and, if stable, rack into bottles. May taste after 6 months.

I put the yeast in the pineapple on Aug 23rd, the SG was 1.09. I checked it on the 27th and it was 1.04. It went crazy the first 2 days and now it's settled down. I think it's doing exactly what it's supposed to do. Anything I should watch for? Comments?

Wine 2: Cinnamon Wine

12 six-inch cinnamon sticks
3 lbs granulated sugar
7-1/2 pts water
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1/8 tsp tannin
3 tsp acid blend
1 crushed Campden tablet
Champagne wine yeast (I used Lavin 1118)
Put cinnamon sticks and one quart water in a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a simmer and hold for 10 minutes with the lid on, turn off heat, and let steep for two hours. Strain the water into a secondary and discard the cinnamon sticks. Add sugar to remaining water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add all remaining ingredients to secondary except Campden and yeast and then pour in the sugar-water. Cover with a napkin held in place with a rubberband and allow to cool. Add Crushed Campden, stir, and allow to sit 24 hours covered. Add activated yeast and recover. Ferment 5-7 days, or until specific gravity falls below 1.030. Fit with airlock and continue fermentation 30 days. Rack into sanitized secondary, top up, and refit airlock. Ferment another 3 months, rack again and ferment additional 3 months. Stabilize, sweeten to taste, and let sit under airlock additional 10 days. Rack into bottles and store in dark place.

The cinnamon was started on the 24th. The SG was 1.115, which seems really high, but I went with it anyway. I checked it on the 26th and it was 1.111, and on the 27th it was still 1.111. I started it in the secondary, as per the recipe, but it doesn't have much headspace. It's a little foamy but nothing like the pineapple.
Ok, now the questions begin: Am I correct in thinking the SG of 1.115 is too high? Should I have added more water and lowered it? Would it have been better in an open bucket? Am I making rocket fuel or really sweet wine? Will the SG be able to drop to 1.030?

Any comments are welcome!!
 

Luc

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I think the pineapple wine will come along nicely. No comments on that.

The cinnamon is something different alltogether.
The SG of 1115 seems indeed rather high but I have done higher without a problem.
The difference is that I always use a vigorous fermenting starter to get the fermentation going.

You could take out some must. Dillute it and make a starter with that.
When it is fermenting add it to the original batch.

I miss the sulphite in the recipe but then again Jack never mentions sulphite as he presumes that good winemaking practices means that you always add sulphite.
So I presume you have added it ???

Luc
 

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Hi Luc,

Thanks for responding... by sulfite, do you mean a Campden tablet? I crushed one and added it to each wine, then let it sit for 24 hrs, then added the yeast.

Do you suggest that I test the SG tonight and if it hasn't lowered, then make a yeast starter? Which yeast should I use? There are limited options at the homebrew store, only Lavin 1118, 1116, or 1122.
I think I can order Lavin 47 & 212, but that would take a few days.

Would putting it in an open primary help at all?
Does more oxygen = happier yeast?
 

Wade E

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Getting some more 02 to it would surely help and is always recommended as yeast need 02 to thrive and multiply. Campden tablets is a form of sulfite so yes thats what Luc meant. That is a rather high starting sg and always test before adding all the sugar tom any recipe as sugars will always vary and a good starting sg is 1.090 like your pineapple. I would make a starter with the Lalvin 1118 at slowly introduce some of your must a little at a time until your starter is double or triple in size and then add it into your wine witha decent temp of around mid 70's.
 

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Hi again,

Ok, I ended up adding water to the cinnamon wine until the SG was 1.090. I did as was suggested and made a nice yeast starter for it. It seemed fine for several days, lowered to SG 1.050 and then stopped, no movement for 3 days straight. At that point, it had been sitting on my kitchen counter for too long for me to be comfortable so I dumped it out.

But I'd like to try to understand what happened, before I try another type.
Is cinnamon wine simply difficult to ferment? Or did the high SG doom it from the start? Was the pineapple easier because of the addition of the banana water?

BTW, the pineapple is coming along perfectly, it's clearing and the lees are settling nicely on the bottom. Fun to see.
 

wines just fine

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Hi again,

BTW, the pineapple is coming along perfectly, it's clearing and the lees are settling nicely on the bottom. Fun to see.
Well? How did it turn out?

I just started a batch based on this recipe but I used a blend of orange juice and pineapple (2 L of each for a 3 gallon batch).

I added raisins but didn't add bananas. I'm hoping I can mix it with soda water and end up with something that tastes like Palm Bay Spritzer. :h
 

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It cleared very well... but... it was very dry and high alcohol. The starting SG was a little too high. I decided to backsweeten with a little pineapple juice which of course, clouded it again. I added the additional juice mid March so I'll give it another couple of weeks and I should be able to bottle it.

Note to self: Don't wait until the wine is clear and ready to bottle to decide to sweeten it!! :slp
 

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