HELP!!!!

Discussion in 'General Wine Making Forum' started by Nurse Betty, Jun 26, 2018.

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  1. Nurse Betty

    Nurse Betty Junior

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    Scooter, where I live......if it's after Dec 1, I know several families in Hugo that I will call and they will EAT them! NOT JOKING! A few years ago, I decided I was gonna try it since they ALWAYS wanted them to eat. It stunk up my whole house, BUT it was delicious. True story!
     
  2. Johnd

    Johnd Large Member Supporting Member

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    Coons have scent glands that need to be removed, cuts out the stink. Never eaten one myself, but know several who have. Not on my bucket list.
     
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  3. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Old Enough to know better but....

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    Raccoon is not on my "Must try it" list about like Possum. Tanning is not something I've tried but... I might have to have go at it soon. Sometime after the 4th once all the family heads back down home to Texas
     
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  4. Nurse Betty

    Nurse Betty Junior

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    Hey guys, I'm still working on the blackberry wine....... I think it "looks" better. The bubbling in the airlock has slowed way down. I checked the SG on it this morning and it is 1.030. When I started it on 6-19-18 it was 1.090. Is there something i should do it to get it going again or am I ok.....just need more time? Since I have broken several hydrometers I purchased a refractometer and am using it now. IDK if that makes any difference or not. There is not a real "crisp" line showing the 1.030 but rather fuzzy. I tried to focus it but it stayed fuzzy. IDK if that means anything either. What are your thoughts? I included a pic of what the wine looks like now. I have "sampled" it and although it is still slightly sweet, the alcohol tastes pretty strong.
     

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  5. sour_grapes

    sour_grapes Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers

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    Yup, it makes a difference. It is not easy to determine the true state of a fermentation using a refractometer, because both alcohol and sugar change the refractive index. An alcohol-water solution will read >1.000 on a refractometer, and <1.000 on a hydrometer. See this page: http://valleyvintner.com/Refrac_Hydro/Refract_Hydro.htm
     
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  6. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Old Enough to know better but....

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    That's great. Does it have enough bite to it. A new wine should be a little on the sharp tasting side as well as that good alcohol burn. The wine looks good. Maybe a little stir to incite some activity.
    I responded also to your other thread on the plum wine. Do you have anything to test you pH with?
    Normally the pH should be in the low 3's during an active fermentation. Even in the high 2's is not bad. 2.90 to 3.60 Anything above 3.6 during a fermentation could be unhelpful for the process. Normally I shoot for a starting pH of 3.40 - 3.60 BEFORE starting the fermentation. Once it starts it normally drops due to all the gasses generated by fermentation.
    If the room is below 70 you might try warming it or the wine up to about 78-80 and see if that moves things along.

    BUT you do have a good start with an ABV of 7.9% approx.

    PS I haven't seen the raccoon in several days. Lucky for him, I now have my rifle scope sighted in.
     
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  7. Nurse Betty

    Nurse Betty Junior

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    Thank you sour grapes! It all gives me a headache! should be an easier way!
     
  8. sour_grapes

    sour_grapes Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers

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    There is. It costs about $8-10

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Old Enough to know better but....

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    Bite the bullet and get 2. That way you won't get caught in the middle of a ferment and have to guess.
     
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  10. Nurse Betty

    Nurse Betty Junior

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    Thank you Scooter68! It does have a bite to it and alcohol burn. It actually tasted better a few days ago, but I think because it was sweeter. I will give it a little stir and see if it will get it going again. I do have something to measure the pH......haven't yet, but will today and see where we are. Did not have it before I started them. I keep my house at about 72 degrees.....may warm it up a bit and see if that helps.

    Lucky coons! They have completely stripped my two pear trees. I really don't understand their thinking. One tree is an asian pear tree and they were starting to get ripe, so I understand them eating all of those, but the other was a Bartlett pear and they don't get ripe until fall. I hope they got a belly ache from eating green pears!!!!!
     
  11. Nurse Betty

    Nurse Betty Junior

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    Scooter68.....pH on blackberry wine is 3.5
     
  12. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Old Enough to know better but....

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    That's in range for a starting point but might be considered a little low during a ferment. Normally the acidity increases due to the fermentation process. Not sure though of how much it would be expected to increase. You could try adding some acid blend perhaps 1/2 tsp per gallon to see if that increase activity for you. That amount is not going to dramatically increase the acidity but it might help the yeast. At least it won't harm the flavor of the wine.

    Room temp is fine. Fermentation itself produces heat and therefore if your wine was really cranking along in fermentation it might measure near 80 degrees - IF it was really active. At 1.030 the process may start to slow a little/
     
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  13. Nurse Betty

    Nurse Betty Junior

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    Ok. THANKS! I will try the acid blend and see if that makes any difference.
     
  14. Nurse Betty

    Nurse Betty Junior

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    Scooter68 and sour_grapes......GUESS WHAT!!!! I got my new hydrometer (ordered 3) in the mail today.........checked the SG on my blackberry wine.....guess what it REALLY is........ 0.995!!!!!! Yes, I am pumped!
     
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  15. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Old Enough to know better but....

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    Fantastic ! Now on to the fun stuff.
    Looks like you're ready to rack off the lees and treat with K-Meta/Campden Tab(s)

    So the wine now should be totally dry and fairly sharp tasting as a new wine. While it ages, you can decide if you like a dry wine or want an off dry or sweet wine. Plenty of time to decide.

    Oh.... and it's time to look for more fruit for the next batch. That's the best way to wait out the aging process.

    Congrats Blackberry has remained one of my favorite wines. Right now I am out of blackberry and we've had a terrible season for wild blackberries. I might have to go raid the freezer for some blackberries from past years. I don't want them getting freezer burned or dried out...

    Now how about that plum wine in process?
     
  16. Nurse Betty

    Nurse Betty Junior

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    Soooooo....... K-Meta/Campden tablets and let sit for a little while and then back sweeten? Definitely something sweeter than it is now. It was delish a few weeks ago, it's quite sharp and dry now. yucky!

    Plum wine has SG of 1.070 now with the hydrometer. So, it's slowly getting there. It still has a weird smell, but tastes good, but is less sweet and more sharp than it was a few days ago.

    I am going back and forth on next wine.......peach or watermelon?????? Both are in season right now.
     
  17. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Old Enough to know better but....

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    PEACH !!! Watermelon is a challenge for many folks, tends to spoil before it ferments.

    Yes, a new Blackberry has quite a sharp taste. I have found with most my wines I need a little back-sweetening before bottling. The hardest part starts now though... the waiting. You should really age it 9-12 months before back-sweetening and bottling. IF you can't do that...(I failed to wait on my first couple of batches), at least wait 4-5 months before bottling. It will improve and after back-sweetening I think you'll be impressed. I thought I was happy with my first Blueberry wine at 5 months. Then I held out and opened another bottle at 12 months from fermentation completion. A world of difference.

    Right now you should be focused on letting it clear, I've had no problems with blueberry or blackberry clearing. Peach on the other hand, and Apple, grrrrrr test my patience. I have a Peach fermented August of last year and it still isn't clear enough to bottle. Key with Peach is Pectic Enzyme, double any dosage you find in a recipe. PE will not harm the flavor, color or aromatics.

    One thing I did with one batch of blackberry - for back-sweetening I used about 2-3 ozs/gallon of White Grape Juice concentrate and then simple syrup for the rest. The aroma and fruitiness was great. Only problem is that a White Grape Juice concentrate can cloud the wine but as little as I used it wasn't an issue. Especially if you defrost a can of concentrate part-way and use just the clear juice.

    Keep an eye on that plum. If you can describe the smell we might be able to tell if it's got a problem. Burnt Rubber, Sulfur, Geraniums odors are all symptoms of problems that need to be addresses sooner rather than later.
     
  18. Nurse Betty

    Nurse Betty Junior

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    OMG! 9-12 mo!????? . Ok. I will put it somewhere out of sight/out of mind. Can i at least backsweeten a couple glasses to tease myself and my daughters in law? lol. I will steer clear of watermelon and focus on peach next. I don’t know what tb plum smells like. Strange smell, but tastes good. Not sure what geraniums smell like.

    Scooter68...... thank you for always coming to my aide and giving me great advice. I appreciate it very much!
     
  19. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Old Enough to know better but....

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    Drilled bung_.jpg Have you racked it into a carboy since it finished fermenting? Get that done ASAP What size is that batch? 2 or 3 gallons?? Remember to add the K-meta /Campden tab(s) at the standard rate of 1/4 tsp per 5 gallons or 1 tablet per gallon.

    Also, is there a recycling center near you? OR do you have some glass jugs like a 1/2 gallon one that has the same size opening as a one gallon jug(carboy) I find all sizes of glass bottles at our local recycling center. Many have the same size thread as a standard one gallon carboy.

    For example - Yesterday I racked 2 gallons (2 carboys) of a Peach-Riesling batch into the following containers
    1 gallon,
    1/2 gallon
    1.5 liter container.
    All are glass and have airlocks on them.

    Unfortunately.... there was about 10 oz of cloudy 'dregs' at the bottom of those two original carboys. (That's why I downsized the containers) Soooo I took those dregs and put them in another 16 oz container and popped it into the fridge. Last night we had that after supper. Wife decided she would like it sweetened up a bit - too dry for her.

    Sooo you do have that option of downsizing if you have some airlockable glass containers. As someone else mentioned if you have those drilled stoppers like this one, they can be turned upside down on a wine bottle to seal it... OR you can simply 'steal' an oz of wine to taste. You can even use cleaned wine bottles for aging with that stopper(bung) upside down on it. Just be sure to sanitize them before using.

    As for sweetening up the wine. Make up a simply syrup of 2 cups sugar to 1 cup hot water. You can force it to a 3 to one or even 4 to 1 if you want to take the time. Most of us here seem to use 2 to1 rations.
    Then take 8oz (1 cup) of your wine and start with a small amount of the simple syrup. I have used plastic syringes and started with about 5 ml for 8oz of wine. Stir and taste. You can continue with that until you are almost where you like it. Stop a little short of perfect because as the wine ages and loses that sharpness, you might find it slightly too sweet.

    Anyway that's one way to have something now and of course learn how much to sweeten the rest. Most times I end up adding about 1/4 oz per cup of wine. Of course the math then is to take the remaining amount (ozs) divided by 8 and that result times the amount of simple syrup you used to get the right sweetness. (Hope that isn't to confusing.)

    Here's a typical outcome for me.
    Simple Syrup needed 1/4 oz (.25oz) per 8 ozs,
    I used 8 ozs (1 cup) of my gallon (128 oz) (16 cups)
    So I have to sweeten now 15 cups (120 oz)
    15 x .25 = 3.75 oz of simple syrup to add to the remaining wine.

    ONE BIG THING TO REMEMBER. The wine can restart fermentation if not treated with Potassium Sorbate and K-Meta at least a couple of days before you back-sweeten the finished wine.

    So if the wine clears quickly, and blackberry seems to be one that does clear quickly, once it's clear you can do that downsizing of containers. As someone else mentioned since you boiled that juice it may be slower to clear and may need another dose of Pectic Enzyme to help it along. BUT for your tasting your samples don't have to be clear.

    I normally lose some volume in each racking with the most happening in that first racking. Since I know I am going to lose volume, I normally start with extra volume and extra fruit and aim at a slightly higher ABV than I want. (Aim at 14.5% for example) Then as I have to top off the container for my missing volume I'm not diluting it significantly. If my recipe called for say 5 lbs of fruit and I actually use 5.5 lbs then a little water is not going to ruin the taste. My ABV is still going to remain above 10% and that's the minimum you want for a wine.

    By the way if you get it too sweet you can always double your sample size and adjust the amounts from there. So if you had added 1/2 oz of simple syrup and found that too sweet, you could add another 8oz of wine and that would make your bring your rate back to 1/4 oz per 8ozs. Hope the math juggling for the back sweetening isn't too confusing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018 at 8:56 PM
  20. Nurse Betty

    Nurse Betty Junior

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    Thank you for the great advice. No recycling places anywhere close to where I live, but when I go back to work (Dallas area) I will see what I can find there. (I've been off work for foot/ankle surgery for about a month.) There are a few antique shops in Paris Tx which is about 25 min from me. I could go look around there for old wine jugs or old glass containers.

    Is there a way other than calculations of starting SG and ending SG to figure out ABV %..... like a tool that will measure it?

    Thank you again for taking the time to explain things to me. It helps tremendously!
     

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