Going to re-tool and start over

Discussion in 'Beginners Wine Making Forum' started by Half Life, Jan 6, 2019.

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  1. Jan 6, 2019 #1

    Half Life

    Half Life

    Half Life

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    In the past 2 weeks have been doing searches and listened to some very fine replies to a couple of my posts

    Gone back over everything I made with the hydrometer and compared to my original notes

    In summary wound up with some very sorry batches of Kool-aid , everything is crystal clear as I kept racking to remove lees but some final SG readings are at 1.050 and that is after 3 months , lowest I had was 1.008 and 1.012 ...... was originally starting out with SG readings between 1.134 and 1.120

    Thought I did all my homework beforehand but not close , wish I thought of coming here a few months ago but thought all was good with my plans

    Not all is a loss as some batches actually measured up OK and I have since bottled ,originally was not going to use any chemicals but reversed course on this now .....I degassed, used K-meta and potassium sorbate prior to bottling ( I do keep in a 55 degree area and surrounded in cardboard just in case )

    Thanks for the good information from those who responded to my messages and now after I get everything In order with the stuff that I have originally made we are just going to start over , probably going to toss a few gallons and call it a loss an move on but that's the price you pay for being so smart

    Many years back learning to be an Electrician the first few years were very dangerous and we thought we knew so much but after 5 years and passing the state license we then began to realize how little we really knew and the started to learn ..... am repeating a process again and should have remembered from that experience long ago ( Did I ever get hurt or blow anything up , No nothing like that )

    I now have experience in wine making mistakes so that counts for something and now we move ahead slowly , am not discouraged by the mistakes but sometimes wonder if that lump that sits above my shoulders needs to be examined for being so thick , thanks again to the members offering their experience

    Half Life starting over
     
  2. Jan 6, 2019 #2

    NorCal

    NorCal

    NorCal

    Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I’ve learned the most by the marginal wine that I made.
     
    sour_grapes and Boatboy24 like this.
  3. Jan 7, 2019 #3

    Scooter68

    Scooter68

    Scooter68

    Fruit "Wine" Maker

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    The tough part is getting enough information to understand the basics without getting hit by either a firehose of information or an overly simplistic 'guide.'

    I guess I was both fortunate and lucky on my first 5 or 6 batches. I started out with a simple Starter kit for Country wines "Master Vintner Fresh Harvest 1 Gallon Homemade Small Batch Fruit Wine Making Kit ($50.00) That kit came with a most all the basic chemicals and a fairly simple booklet on wine making. I realized after I started that I needed some other key items such as a testing tube for measuring the SG and a meter for checking pH instead of test strips. BUT the kit provided most of what I needed including some fairly reliable instructions on wine making.

    Within about 6 months I had managed to get pretty much all the equipment and a few additional chemicals I needed AND I produced (Got into the aging process) about 5-6 batches only one of which I wrote off as a failure. Fortunately I started with 1 gallon batches so the costs were low as was the space needed to store my batches.

    At the risk of repeating something I've said it in a previous post I recommend that you follow the KISS principle for at least your first 3-4 batches. Use a wine kit if you want but you can keep costs lower by getting a basic starter kit and then some juice. After you have a few batches through fermentation and into the aging process you will know a lot more - even though your previous experiences have taught you a lot already, sticking to basic wine making without delving into High ABV wines or 'exotic' varieties will get you a much better feel as to how things should go. Your past experiences with the protracted 'fermentations' are just one example of how things can go awry.

    The key is understanding basic chemistry of the process and knowing the 'norms' for the processes. Unfortunately your "helpful person" who told you 3-4 months for fermentation had some "Interesting" concepts on the process.

    The following contains links to a number of 'guides' of varying complexity: https://www.winebags.com/Beginner-s-Guide-To-Making-Wine-At-Home-s/1836.htm

    Keep in mind that a lot of terms get tossed around with varying interpretation - the following are a couple examples:

    I list these two examples because they are commonly used and very often mis-understood.

    1) Primary Fermentation & Secondary Fermentation - In reality it's all one process but most folks discuss them as if they are two distinct processes. For MOST folks Primary Fermentation is that time when the yeast if fermenting at a fast and furious rate and in many cases creating LOTS of foam. What often called secondary fermentation is actually an ambiguous point in time when the foaming slows or stops and the bulk of the fruit and yeast debris settles to the bottom of the fermentation container. There is no hard fast rule or measurement for determing that magical point in time

    2) Sterlization (vs Santization) - For the majority of home wine makers sterilization of equipment is not needed or practiced but you will see 'experts' tell you to sterilize your equipment.
    A) Sterilzation is a process used to remove all micro-organisms. Nothing survives sterilization. Not yeast, bacteria, or fungus.
    B) In food plant operations, sanitizing refers to the process of reducing the number of microorganisms on any surface to a level judged by public health standards to be safe. This safe level is known as a 5 log reduction or, 99.999%. Since microorganisms can number in the billions, a 99.999% reduction could still leave thousands of microorganisms on those surfaces, but this level has been determined to be the safe level for food health standards. Sanitizing your facility on a regular basis maintains this safe operational level.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  4. Jan 7, 2019 #4

    Scooter68

    Scooter68

    Scooter68

    Fruit "Wine" Maker

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    Stumbled across the booklet that came with my Country Wine starter kit. Price is $6.95 & Free Shipping : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071V6KZPS/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

    I recommend it for getting started because it's not too simplistic but not an overload of data either. Only issue I really found is that their recipes are really light on the amount of fruit. (Double their fruit quantity and you'll be on target) Explains a lot of the basics and provide some simple calculations to use as well.

    (Also found same booklet at Austin Homebrew for $1.26 but they want almost $8.00 to ship it to Arkansas from Texas - a bit silly on their part.)
     
  5. Jan 8, 2019 #5

    Mismost

    Mismost

    Mismost

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    I tell my shotgun students we learn more for our losses than our wins.... true in a lot of endeavors. Pain can be a great teacher.
     

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