Flavor Packs

Discussion in 'General Wine Making Forum' started by Morgan, Dec 5, 2012.

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  1. Dec 5, 2012 #1

    Morgan

    Morgan

    Morgan

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    I'd like to pick the collective brain about this one. I know a flavor pack is a fruit added toward the end of fermentation.

    My situation is I'm working on a cranberry wine and it was just pressed and transferred to secondary last night with a specific gravity of 1.015. I topped off an hour ago with a commercial 100% cranberrry juice and visual confirmation of continued fermentation. My goal is a cranberry wine with the character of a dry, full-bodied red wine with a pronounced cranberry flavor. I'm wondering if a flavor pack would help me achieve this.

    Questions: how much sugar per pound of fruit is needed, if any? Does it need additional water when you make it or is there enough in the fruit itself? Can it be added prior to the end of fermentation? Does one need to add additional pectic enzyme to help clear the addition? If adding a fruit pack after primary is completed, will it restart fermentation and make a mess? What if I want a dry wine - when should I add an f-pack?

    Any and all comments appreciated.
     
  2. Dec 5, 2012 #2

    Deezil

    Deezil

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    A flavor pack is usually added after a wine is stabilized (k-meta + sorbate) so that the sugars in the flavor pack dont cause refermentation / a mess

    Usually, if i want to make a drier fruit wine with bold fruit flavors, it takes a slightly different approach from the start; a higher pounds-per-gallon / less water per pound is usually how i'd go about keeping the flavor level high, in the beginning - with cranberries and blueberries though, this can be trickier because they contain natural preservatives which can give a fermentation some grief.

    The higher pounds-per-gallon is because of the flavor-pack-sweetening issue you're asking about right now; its difficult to add a flavor pack and not add a lot of sugar. It is possible though; you dont want your fruit wine to be "too dry" because then it will actually hide some of the complexities in flavor and aroma from you, mostly because the wine will be "out of balance".

    Balanced correctly, the wine can taste more on the dry side but actually contain a decent amount of sugar - but because of the acidity and alcohol level, it wont appear necessarily "sweet".

    To make a flavor pack, for this particular instance, what I would do...

    Let the wine finish fermenting, degas & clear the wine, get it off most of the sediment; then stabilize the wine with k-meta & sorbate.

    I'd find some cranberries & freeze them until they're definitely frozen completely through. Then take them out and let them warm up to room temp; when they hit room temp, mash them up really good and add some pectic enzyme to break down the fruit more, extracting more flavors and juices than you'd get out otherwise (will also eat up the pectin which could cause a hazing issue later).

    Strain the cranberry solids out of the juice after 12-24hrs (if you're living somewhere where its still 40-50F outside at night, you could saran wrap/airlock the container and put it outside, the cold will keep fermentation at bay for the night).

    From there, its up to your taste buds; you can do one of two things. If the flavor is a little weak, but the acidity is a bit sharp - add the juice as it is with the water it contains left in. If the flavor is weak & the acidity is decent (sometimes difficult to tell with really young wines, until you can 'look past' the 'young') then i'd think about putting that juice in a pot, and double-boiling it down to a syrup consistency or anywhere inbetween - whatever you're comfortable with. Putting juice directly on the stove for that long can lead to "cooked" flavors, altering the flavor of the finished product, which is why i'd recommend double-boiling the juice instead.

    The amount of fruit i'd use and how far to reduce the liquid, depends on the original 'recipe' used to make the wine, as well as the aim for the finished product.

    With most fruit wines, you can sneak some sugar in for balance without the wine coming across as "Sweet"
     
    Pumpkinman likes this.
  3. Dec 5, 2012 #3

    cpfan

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    IMO...if you want a dry wine, you should not be adding an F-pack. An F-pack is usually added post fermentation, and post stabilizing in order to sweeten and optionally add fruit flavour to a wine that has been fermented dry.

    Steve
     
  4. Dec 5, 2012 #4

    Morgan

    Morgan

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    Deezil - thanks for that informative response. I hadn't thought of double-boiling, and it hasn't occurred to me that I could "hide" the sugar in the natural acidity present in my wine. Actually though, you're totally spot on with that - I just bottled a lime wine based on Lon's SP recipe and added about 1/8 the sugar he calls for - it tastes just about dry but the bitterness was considerably tempered. I think I have some mental block against back sweetening for some reason, and I just need to get over it to produce a well balanced wine.

    I actually started with a higher fruit-to-gallon ratio than any recipe I had found online for that same reason - nearly 4.5 pounds per gallon. If I were to start again right now I think I would go for an even five pounds for every gallon of must, and anticipate a loss of 1 gallon per every 6. I feel guilty for topping off with commercial juice!

    CP - thanks for clearing up the timeline of adding the f pack. One question though, will adding an f-pack before stabilizing result in a more pronounced fruit flavor, or will it just unnecessarily drive up the ABV?

    I've been reading some references to Bill Smith's "Award Winning Wines," in which he evidently advocates adding fruit late in fermentation to extract maximum flavor. I have not yet read the original source. Was hoping to get some anecdotal evidence one way or or the other.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
  5. Dec 5, 2012 #5

    RegionRat

    RegionRat

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    Extracts?

    I came across this site. It is all organic. If you search their site you find there are extracts and juice concentrates. Maybe using one of these it will save you some extra work and a little time.

    I ordered some apple extract to flavor my next batch of hard cider after stabilizing. From what I have read 1 or 2 oz is enough to flavor 5 gal.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. Dec 5, 2012 #6

    Deezil

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    That sounds like an old meadmakers trick i've read about & used myself. When the fermentation is winding down - SG 1.020 or less, in my mind - more fruit can be added to bring back original flavors found in the fruit; a vigorous fermentation (like the first half of fermentation) can generate its own heat, and also with all the reactions going on within the wine, the flavors of the fruit change/morph into flavors that still taste somewhat like the original fruit flavor, but aren't identical.

    This addition helps bring back those original fruit flavors, giving complexity to the fermentation-altered flavors, because the fermentation isnt so active/hot in the latter stages, that it doesnt alter the flavor of that 2nd addition as much.

    I cant cite anything off the top of my head, but i've done it myself & it works
     
  7. Dec 5, 2012 #7

    ke3ju

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    Now I finally know what an F-Pack is...
     
  8. Dec 6, 2012 #8

    froeschli

    froeschli

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    Just wondering if that might increase the banana flavour in banana wine...
    i'm only not trying to make it because everyone says it doesn't end up tasting (much) of bananas...
     

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