Help Me Make Strawberry Wine

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Winemanic

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Hi

I now have the following ingredients, so hopefully I'll be able to make better wines. (wine-making materials are not available where I live so my previous attemts have been using bread yeast and also natural, on the fruit yeast.)

Yeast: EC-1118
Pectic Enzyme (Powdered and drops)
K-Meta Powder
K-Sorbate
Citric and Tartaric Acids

This is what I did:

1. I started with 22lb strawberries. Stemmed and washed them, then mashed them in a food grade plastic pail. Let's say I was left with about 20lb strawberries.

2. I dissolved 3lb sugar in enough water to make approx. 4 gal must, and added it to the strawberries.

3. Added a little less than 1/4 tsp K-Meta to the must.


This is what I intend doing:

After 12 hours, add 2 tsp pectic enzyme, let the must stay for 24 hours, then filter out some of the must using a clean (sterilized) cloth to try and take the SG, add sugar, again take SG, and repeat this painstakingly until a SG of around 1.090 was reached, before pitching in yeast.

Just a while ago I found a recipe very similar to mine on Wine Maker Magazine

It is similar to mine in that they use 25lb strawberries for a 5 gal batch, which is in the same ratio as mine (20lb in 4 gal.) I found they recommend adding 12lb sugar to their 5 gals to get the starting SG of 1.086 for 11% ABV. That would mean I should be using 2.4lb per gal. Don't you think that is an awful lot of sugar? Do you think if I add a total of 9.6lb sugar in my 4 gal must (3 of which, I have already added,) the yeast would be able to ferment all that? Lalvin EC1118 is said to have a high alcohol tolerance

Please, I need your help soon as I cannot hold the must for long without fermenting it.

Thank you!
 

Bodenski

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My only comment would be that there isn't much reason to filter the must prior to fermenting that i'm aware of. Strawberries don't always have lots of flavor, so you want to give as much contact as possible. I don't think the floating bits will impact the readings that much (if that's why you are filtering prior to fermenting.)

If you look at the recipe for DragonBlood, it has 20 cups of sugar for 6 gallons, and I think that comes to about 1.5 pounds per gallon. So I think 2.4 lbs sounds pretty high. But 1118 will take you up to 18% I think, which is pretty high. I have only taken one recipe that high so far, and it's one I plan on aging forever.

Take all this with a grain of salt. I've only been making wine/mead since last Tuesday ;)

(OK, 6 months. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!)
 

Winemanic

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My only comment would be that there isn't much reason to filter the must prior to fermenting that i'm aware of. Strawberries don't always have lots of flavor, so you want to give as much contact as possible. I don't think the floating bits will impact the readings that much (if that's why you are filtering prior to fermenting.)

If you look at the recipe for DragonBlood, it has 20 cups of sugar for 6 gallons, and I think that comes to about 1.5 pounds per gallon. So I think 2.4 lbs sounds pretty high. But 1118 will take you up to 18% I think, which is pretty high. I have only taken one recipe that high so far, and it's one I plan on aging forever.

Take all this with a grain of salt. I've only been making wine/mead since last Tuesday ;)

(OK, 6 months. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!)
Thank you Bodenski, You got me wrong when I say I wanted to filter some (juice + sugar) out of the must to take a hydrometer reading. I never would want to throw away the pulp before the primary fermentation is over... the crude filtration was only intended to remove enough solids to enable the hydrometer to move freely - just a small sample.

Cheers!
 

Johnd

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Hi

I now have the following ingredients, so hopefully I'll be able to make better wines. (wine-making materials are not available where I live so my previous attemts have been using bread yeast and also natural, on the fruit yeast.)

Yeast: EC-1118
Pectic Enzyme (Powdered and drops)
K-Meta Powder
K-Sorbate
Citric and Tartaric Acids

This is what I did:

1. I started with 22lb strawberries. Stemmed and washed them, then mashed them in a food grade plastic pail. Let's say I was left with about 20lb strawberries.

2. I dissolved 3lb sugar in enough water to make approx. 4 gal must, and added it to the strawberries.

3. Added a little less than 1/4 tsp K-Meta to the must.


This is what I intend doing:

After 12 hours, add 2 tsp pectic enzyme, let the must stay for 24 hours, then filter out some of the must using a clean (sterilized) cloth to try and take the SG, add sugar, again take SG, and repeat this painstakingly until a SG of around 1.090 was reached, before pitching in yeast.

Just a while ago I found a recipe very similar to mine on Wine Maker Magazine

It is similar to mine in that they use 25lb strawberries for a 5 gal batch, which is in the same ratio as mine (20lb in 4 gal.) I found they recommend adding 12lb sugar to their 5 gals to get the starting SG of 1.086 for 11% ABV. That would mean I should be using 2.4lb per gal. Don't you think that is an awful lot of sugar? Do you think if I add a total of 9.6lb sugar in my 4 gal must (3 of which, I have already added,) the yeast would be able to ferment all that? Lalvin EC1118 is said to have a high alcohol tolerance

Please, I need your help soon as I cannot hold the must for long without fermenting it.

Thank you!
Your plan looks pretty good. When taking SG of a pulpy must, try sterilizing a colander and pushing it down into the must, scoop out the liquid with a sterilized cup and put it into a tube to measure your SG, it's pretty easy that way.

Your plan to add sugar until you reach 1.090 is just fine. The quantity (in pounds) of sugar you add is immaterial, as long as you get it to 1.090. Your yeast doesn't know how much sugar it takes to get to 1.090. You can cause fermentation problems if you put too much sugar in and your SG gets too high, and you'll be producing a very high alcohol content in a wine which is reportedly a little light on body. 11% is probably plenty for strawberry. A pH in the range of 3.3 - 3.6 is desirable.

Go slow and stir plenty as you add your sugar, you can always add more, but if you get too much, you'll have to consider adding water to reduce the SG, reducing the body of the wine even further.

Keep us posted with your progress and ask if you need any help.
 

Scooter68

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It's always a good idea to take a 'final' pre-fermentation SG reading. Since the 'normal' process is to prep ingredients and treat with K-Meta 24 hrs before starting - Then just before pitching the yeast take one more SG reading and one more pH reading. It's amazing how much changes in that 24 hour period. Most times the SG reading goes up and the acid reading drops. Those readings are what you will use to find for your final ABV calculations after the fermentation is done.
As far as the solid and hydrometer - I normally don't bother with any real filtering. As long as the hydrometer can be pecked down and rise on its own that's fine. I have popped it down several times with my thicker musts but except for my peach where blended the peaches (MISTAKE !!!) the hydrometer has always been able to work for me.

As John D says a colander works well. I also take my measuring cup and push it up against the side of the bucket (Top against the side) and let the liquid seep in. Just remember to sanitize the inside and outside of the measuring cup before and after use) That way I can see what's getting in. Later during fermentation the same process works to keep out the foam cap so you aren't trying to read through a layer of foam in the testing tube.

Also when you have that much solids remaining before you start fermentation - that's another reason to take that last SG reading. As the fruit breaks down it's going to release a number of things including more sugar and more acids.
 
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wineforfun

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All great advice above.
I will only add that I would consider adding an fpac after fermentation is complete and before clearing.
My strawberry is made with a 6:1 ratio (6lbs. strawberries/1 gal. water) and I make a fpac with approx. 1.5lbs. of strawberries per gallon.
In the end, this has a nice strawberry flavor.
Without the fpac, it would be ok, but the strawberry flavor is very faint.
 

Winemanic

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All great advice above.
I will only add that I would consider adding an fpac after fermentation is complete and before clearing.
My strawberry is made with a 6:1 ratio (6lbs. strawberries/1 gal. water) and I make a fpac with approx. 1.5lbs. of strawberries per gallon.
In the end, this has a nice strawberry flavor.
Without the fpac, it would be ok, but the strawberry flavor is very faint.
What is an fpac? How do I make it? Thanks!
 

Winemanic

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Your plan looks pretty good. When taking SG of a pulpy must, try sterilizing a colander and pushing it down into the must, scoop out the liquid with a sterilized cup and put it into a tube to measure your SG, it's pretty easy that way.

Your plan to add sugar until you reach 1.090 is just fine. The quantity (in pounds) of sugar you add is immaterial, as long as you get it to 1.090. Your yeast doesn't know how much sugar it takes to get to 1.090. You can cause fermentation problems if you put too much sugar in and your SG gets too high, and you'll be producing a very high alcohol content in a wine which is reportedly a little light on body. 11% is probably plenty for strawberry. A pH in the range of 3.3 - 3.6 is desirable.

Go slow and stir plenty as you add your sugar, you can always add more, but if you get too much, you'll have to consider adding water to reduce the SG, reducing the body of the wine even further.

Keep us posted with your progress and ask if you need any help.
Thank you John! I have a fine mesh nylon bag. Would you suggest filtering the must through it so it would hold most of the pulp during the primary, thereby making life easier later? This bag is red in color. Would the color release/become a problem?
 
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wineforfun

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What is an fpac? How do I make it? Thanks!
It is a fruit pac. Basically take strawberries and simmer in a frying pan until they reduce down to liquid. Some people will add a cup or so of wine to give it a liquid base to start with.
What you are doing is turning the whole strawberries into liquid to add back to your wine for some extra flavor.
 

Winemanic

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It is a fruit pac. Basically take strawberries and simmer in a frying pan until they reduce down to liquid. Some people will add a cup or so of wine to give it a liquid base to start with.
What you are doing is turning the whole strawberries into liquid to add back to your wine for some extra flavor.
Thank you D.J.

Sorry to bother you again, but won't the addition of that affect the clarity of the wine?
 

Johnd

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Thank you John! I have a fine mesh nylon bag. Would you suggest filtering the must through it so it would hold most of the pulp during the primary, thereby making life easier later? This bag is red in color. Would the color release/become a problem?
Use a food safe bag, like the ones for beer, or a similar product, can't tell you if yours will leach or not. Why not just strain it later, before you go into the carboy? Let if float free and ferment away, strain later.
 

wineforfun

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Thank you D.J.

Sorry to bother you again, but won't the addition of that affect the clarity of the wine?
Yes it will , but notice I wrote I add it after fermentation was complete and before clearing. I normally add mine, let it sit for 2-4 weeks, then add clearing agents, if I add any at all.
A couple of the batches I just let "time" do the clearing for me.
 

Cxwgfamily

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Winemanic,

A couple of comments,
1) my recipe for strawberry wine call for 15 lbs for a 6 gal batch. this usually gives me a starting SG around 1.1.
2) I take a SG measurement directly in the must. this way I only have to sterilize the hydrometer. I am paranoid about contamination so the fewer things I put in the batch the less likely contamination will occur. I figure if my original SG is off by + / - 0.02, it really will not matter so long as the wine does not get contaminated. This is just my hang up. But I easily get over it when I am able to drink a glass of good homemade wine.
3) I used a bag in my first batch of Strawberry wine and the taste was a little thinner than I like. So the next batch i used essentially the same recipe and no bag. the wines strawberry flavor was much better. I think it is from the better contact from the berries during fermentation. It would be interesting to get feedback from others on this theory!!!

Regards and best of luck
Cxwgfamily
 

wineforfun

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Winemanic,

A couple of comments,
1) my recipe for strawberry wine call for 15 lbs for a 6 gal batch. this usually gives me a starting SG around 1.1.
2) I take a SG measurement directly in the must. this way I only have to sterilize the hydrometer. I am paranoid about contamination so the fewer things I put in the batch the less likely contamination will occur. I figure if my original SG is off by + / - 0.02, it really will not matter so long as the wine does not get contaminated. This is just my hang up. But I easily get over it when I am able to drink a glass of good homemade wine.
3) I used a bag in my first batch of Strawberry wine and the taste was a little thinner than I like. So the next batch i used essentially the same recipe and no bag. the wines strawberry flavor was much better. I think it is from the better contact from the berries during fermentation. It would be interesting to get feedback from others on this theory!!!

Regards and best of luck
Cxwgfamily
Couple of comments/thoughts.

15lbs. for 6 gal. is extremely light on fruit, hence the thin flavor. I use 5-6lbs. per gallon.

You said "15 lbs for a 6 gal batch. this usually gives me a starting SG around 1.1". You did add sugar to get to SG 1.1, correct? as the strawberries alone aren't going to give you that number.

Interesting thought on the bag, no bag issue. I always use a bag with my fruit wines as clean up, squeezing of fruit, etc. is much easier. Never thought about the contact aspect.
 

Winemanic

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Okay friends,

Just pitched in the yeast. Waiting now, finger crossed! :fsh

I dissolved 1kg (2.2lb) more cane sugar in as little water as possible, heating it slowly, and added it to the must. I then took the SG using @johnd 's method, and on the Baume's scale it read 12 or 13, which corresponds to 1.820-1.100 approx.

I am highly skeptical though... Doesn't all that pectin in the must add up to the initial SG? :?
 

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When you placed 15# sugar to 6 gallons? How much of 1118 yeast would you pitch with that
 

Arne

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When you placed 15# sugar to 6 gallons? How much of 1118 yeast would you pitch with that
One packet. One pkg of yeast is enough for six gal. Havn't read a package for a long time, but believe it says so right on the yeast pkg. At least is says so on the red star yeast, lavlin should be the same. Arne.
 

Winemanic

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Update:

Day 5: Racked into secondary
Day 10: Fermentation stopped. Wine completely dry.

I took 2 more pounds of fresh strawberries, stemmed and washed them, froze and thawed 3 times, then crushed them; added a little K-meta and pectic enzyme, left in the fridge. Dissolved about half a cup sugar in a little water. Added the hot syrup to the strawberries, and then filtered out the juice through a sieve, and added to the re-racked wine to enhance flavor.

Being always adventurous, I did do a silly mistake in the beginning. I washed a multivitamin tablet to remove the sugar coating and added it to the must in the start of the fermentation. It did work as nutrient but left behind some undesirable smell that has diminished with successive rackings. Hopefully this would disappear with time.

The wine is crystal clear now. I have to do a final racking before bottling. Shall post a photo one I test it
 

Johnd

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Update:

Day 5: Racked into secondary
Day 10: Fermentation stopped. Wine completely dry.

I took 2 more pounds of fresh strawberries, stemmed and washed them, froze and thawed 3 times, then crushed them; added a little K-meta and pectic enzyme, left in the fridge. Dissolved about half a cup sugar in a little water. Added the hot syrup to the strawberries, and then filtered out the juice through a sieve, and added to the re-racked wine to enhance flavor.

Being always adventurous, I did do a silly mistake in the beginning. I washed a multivitamin tablet to remove the sugar coating and added it to the must in the start of the fermentation. It did work as nutrient but left behind some undesirable smell that has diminished with successive rackings. Hopefully this would disappear with time.

The wine is crystal clear now. I have to do a final racking before bottling. Shall post a photo one I test it
You say that you made a strawberry/sugar flavoring liquid to add to your wine, did you add any sorbate to keep the yeast in your wine from fermenting the sugars you added with your flavoring liquid???? If not, you may see renewed fermentation or worse, it might not happen until your wine is bottled, we're not going to talk about that............
 

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