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Help/Suggestions to finish up a batch

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buckhorn

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Several years ago I started to try my hand at wine making with a couple kits. I then progressed to trying a 1 Gallon Batch recipe - I got it as far as the bulk aging stage then things happened -- family changes, job changes, life events and I never finished up. I now want to finish up and see if things turned out ok (I know the batch risks being ruined since it was not racked at all during this time, but I won't know until I finish it.)

If I could kindly request some suggestions/guidance to finish this batch up and bottle it quickly - while I go back and dig up my notes and re-browse these forums to re-learn the process I was just starting to understand - it would be greatly appreciated.

I know in general the basics I have to do is rack the wine, back sweeten it, add chemicals to counter-act any oxygen it comes into contact with while working with it, and bottle. What I don't know is the exact order, any time needed to let sit between these steps, what chemicals to use (I need to relearn what they are and what they are used for) --- basically a step by step set of instructions on how to get this into a bottle and try it.

I know this is asking a lot, and I hang my head in shame that I am at this point, but I don't want to just throw this out and start my learning all over again if I can save this batch and enjoy it while restarting the learning.

Thank You
-brian
 

Stressbaby

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What kind of wine is it?
How many years?
Was it sealed? Or was it airlocked?

First thing I would do is to get some potassium metabisulfite in it. I would do this before I racked it. 1 Campden tablet, crushed, in the 1 gallon of wine. If you have powder, you can do what I do for the 1 gallon batches: mix 1/8tsp kmeta in 1 tablespoon (15ml) of water and add 1tsp (5ml) to the 1 gallon of wine.

Next thing I would do is smell it and taste it to decide if it was worth any more of my time. It might be the answer is "no." But if it is deemed worth, then I'd rack it next and check the SG to see if it is dry. At that point if I wanted it backsweetened, add 1/2tsp sorbate, wait a day or so, then add the sugar.

Pictures might help if you have any.
 

Scooter68

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The only issues are if it was treated with K-Meta before it was left and was it left completely sealed. If the answer to both of those questions is yes - Then you have a Large bottle of wine well aged.

If there was an airlock on it and that airlock dried up then your wine probably may have oxidized into an undrinkable solution. But if the airlock was maintained and not allowed to dry up then again you may very well have a large bottle of well aged wine.

Time to open it up and see. Get a wine thief and draw an ounce or two to test with the Mark 1 Human Nose and Tongue. If those say it's good declare it a success.

Let us know what you discover.
 

Scooter68

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Agree with Stressbaby except that the first thing I'd do is the taste test then go from that point.

BE CAREFUL not to move the bottle or disturb it any more than needed if there are some lees on the bottom. Tasted if and if good press on to what Stress baby suggested. Best thing is that unless it did spoil from oxidization the waiting for the aging part is all over!!!
 

buckhorn

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Thanks for the replies/suggestions. To answer the questions

I actually have several batches I started.
1. Pumpkin Pie -- made with paste pie filling and pumpkin spices - this is the one I am most excited about and want to know the result
2. Cranberry-Cutie (Clementine)
3. Dragons Blood/Triple Berry - Double the amount of fruit
4. Dragons Blood/Cranberry

From my notes, has been 3 years (gee, longer than I thought)

2 of them are in 1 Gal bottles with screw lids on them
2 are in 1 Gallon bottles with airlocks that have been maintained

All batches were treated with K-meta before my process stopped - I just didn't rack/add preserve at the 3 month intervals.

I just wanted a GOOD process/plan of attack ready before I did anything with them (like move, rack, ...) -- would hate to have got lucky with them aging this long and then do something stupid now to ruin it.

I'll let you know what I find.
 

Scooter68

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Sounds fine to me. As long as the airlock were maintained. While there is a chance that they could have issues - Let's not forget that once we bottle a wine we don't periodically open and re-treat with K-meta. So even if significant amount of material precipitated out of the wine there is no real reason to worry, just rack them off of that into clean carboys and march on.

Again - Taste each one first and hopefully you will find very mellow wines.


So don't rattle the bottles and stir things up but check them out. Unless they taste bad, you should be ready to rack, add K-meta (And K-Sorbate ones you are going to backsweeten) wait about a week, backsweeten and bottle.

The only difference in how you stored these and what would normally happen is that you didn't cork the carboys and provide an absolute seal. One advantage you have is that barring any that are over-the-hill in age, those wines should have mellowed out nicely and not require as much back-sweetening to be very tasty.
 

buckhorn

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Update - I checked 2 batches. I am deciphering which is which as my tag labels fell of the jugs at some point...... *sigh*

1. Dragons Blood (taste told me it was probably the cranberry, notes indicate it should be triple berry) -- this one smells and taste fine. I had to remind the wife it is to be similar to a hard lemonade not a wine -- with that her mind adapted to what she was tasting. We know where agree on where I need to sweeten it to [success]
2. Pumpkin Pie Wine -- this one is good from being a wine standpoint. From a taste standpoint, it is like drinking fermented water. You can not taste the Pumpkin or the Pie spices. It would be drinkable, but being "tasteless", we question if we would ever actually open a bottle. I will leave it in the jug a little longer and think about whether I want to proceed or pour it and start over.
I considered trying to add more pie spices when I back sweeten, but I still wouldn't have the pumpkin taste. (ideas anyone??) I plan to try this one again sometime, after I get some other drinkable wine in bottles. I will also look over the recipe and see if there is something I think might help retain the flavors I am looking for.

The other 2 batches will be worked on in the next few days to see where they stand.
 

Arne

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Go to the store and buy some apple, cranberry, cherry, grape, whatever you like frozen concentrate. Pour 1 can per gallon and taste. It should give you a flavored drink, also sweeten it some. It is pretty old, but I think I would hit it with some k-meta (campden) and sorbate to be sure it doesn't referment. Good luck with it, Arne.

]
2. Pumpkin Pie Wine -- this one is good from being a wine standpoint. From a taste standpoint, it is like drinking fermented water. You can not taste the Pumpkin or the Pie spices. It would be drinkable, but being "tasteless", we question if we would ever actually open a bottle. I will leave it in the jug a little longer and think about whether I want to proceed or pour it and start over.
I considered trying to add more pie spices when I back sweeten, but I still wouldn't have the pumpkin taste. (ideas anyone??) I plan to try this one again sometime, after I get some other drinkable wine in bottles. I will also look over the recipe and see if there is something I think might help retain the flavors I am looking for.

The other 2 batches will be worked on in the next few days to see where they stand.[/QUOTE]
 

Scooter68

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Somehow the critic in me says - Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. What I mean, again being a critic here, is that somethings sound interesting in theory but in reality.... maybe not so good. Of course we all have our own preferences, personal likes and dislikes but of course that's how we learn. Thought I loved strawberries and a strawberry wine sounded great, so far, I'm not impressed with the results I've had so I moved on to others.

Maybe, as you said a different recipe might do the trick. Perhaps even a little sweetening might pull out the flavors, but if that fails, move on to another idea. And maybe someday come back and try it again. I've already decided that there are about 5 different wine types I've had pretty good luck with and that I'll just stick with those for now.

GREAT that the one seems pretty good and best of all they didn't turn into vinegar of some totally nasty tasting liquid. Hope to hear good news about the other two wines.
 

buckhorn

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Scooter, I agree with what you are saying. I just don't want to give up on the idea because in the back of my mind I question "was it the time length that messed it up." I will tell you during the whole fermentation process, the Pumpkin Pie smelled sooooo good, I wanted to grab the cool-whip and a fork. So, I will give it another try at some point (1 gallon, so not much loss if it just isn't going to work). But, first I want to finish out the other batches, make some different batches on my list, and get some in bottles as my supply of homemade is getting low, and friends/family are asking if I have "any more of that xxxxxx"
 

Scooter68

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Back-sweetening might get you some flavor back. Try taking a cup of the pumpkin wine and see what a little sweetening does for it. A lot of fruit wine need a little back-sweetening to bring out the real flavor
 

buckhorn

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I did a sweetness test when I was working with it yesterday,
I took 2 oz samples of wine and sweetened with .5, .7, and 1.0 g or sugar (used brown sugar in the case of the pumpkin pie). The wife and I found that the we liked the taste of the 1.0g sample best -- but, it just tastes like fermented sugar water. I am currently thinking I will put in a couple cinnamon sticks to infuse that flavor. This would theoretically give me a cinnamon wine, and if the pumpkin flavor does come out, the cinnamon will fit right in.
 

Scooter68

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Possibly the pumpkin flavor perished during fermentation or in the aging process. Did you get a taste of it after fermentation ended? As someone else mentioned they tried pumpkin and were not impressed.

I agree though that if that pumpkin flavor returns, cinnamom would be a great combo.
 

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