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sixdoubleo

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My current batch, WinExpert Selection International New Zealand Pinot Noir had a starting SG of 1.102.

Ten days into it, I'm now down to .996 which gives me 14.4% alcohol. That would be good if we ended there.

However, I know that it could still be fermenting...so per the instructions, I'm waiting for 2-3 consecutive days of the same SG before I drop in my sorbate and SO2.

Now if this thing ends up fermenting down to .991 or so, that will give me an alcohol level of 15%. A little higher than I'm used to with a Pinot.

Just a couple questions:

1. I cant just drop in my sorbate and SO2 now, right? My assumption is that until I see a couple consecutive days of no SG movement, I have to assume it's still fermenting. What would happen if I dropped the sorbate and SO2 now and the wine wasn't done fermenting?

2. If the wine is going to ferment all the way down to .991 (from 1.102) what can I do in the future to manage my desired alcohol level? Add water?
 

Wade E

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I come up with 13.92 @ .996 and 14.5 @ .991 myself but even those are higher numbers then I usually see for a Pinot. Did you ever calibrate your primary cause i have and the 6 gallon mark wasnt really 6 gallons on mine which is a Pale Ale bucket. When making a kit I always adjust water (or sugar) to my sg as I do with fruit wines. If it is high then I bring it down a bit by adding a bit more water then I have plenty for top up, if its getting to close to where I want it and I still have more water to add then I stir it a lot more to make sure its thoroughly mixed which I believe may be your problem or that you didnt add enough water cause the kits you are speaking of usually end up with people stating that they are low. Did you use a drill mounted stirrer as the spoon method doesnt always do a very good job at all of mixing the concentrate with the water or at degassing the kit when needed either. You are correct in your thinking about waiting till it is done fermenting before adding the other stuff. If it is truly that high you can dilute it down with water cause that is a very high abv for a Pinot.
 

sixdoubleo

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Well, I'm not at the degassing stage yet, but no...in my initial stirring I used a big paddle, but I was pretty vigorous with it.

Yes, I did calibrate my primary to exactly 6 gallons (twice just to make sure), and this batch was mixed at exactly 6 gallons. I did lose quite a bit of liquid when I transfered from primary to secondary due to sediment. Could I add water at this point?
 

Wade E

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I would considering its this high of an abv with this type of wine but thats on you. Have you tasted it it and is it extremely hot?
 

Wade E

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Hot as in very alcoholic. Like what a very bad 100% vodka would taste like.
 

sixdoubleo

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Well, I'm not the greatest at detecting these things, and right now it's so harsh/sweet, etc that it's hard to say. The alcohol content seems about comparable to other wines...maybe slightly high. Still extremely sweet.

I'm wondering if maybe I didnt stir well enough before fermentation, drew a pocket of highly concentrated juice and got a bad initial reading...
 

Wade E

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Sweet? with an sg of .996 people usually arent saying sweet! Like I said above, the paddle does a poor job of stirring though.
 

sixdoubleo

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Yeah wouldnt a .996 wine taste noticeably sweet? Or would it not be that obvious? This is definitely sweet.

Anyway, it looks like it's stopped at .996. It's been there for about 4 days now. I have not added any water yet. I was waiting to see if the SG dropped any more.

So at this point I'm thinking I will add the SO2, sorbate, then degass.

Then what?

a. Add some more water, stir, and retest until I bring the SG down a bit? Like maybe .994? Then if there is any more remaining headspace, top off with a another Pinot?

Or

b. Dont use any water at all and top off with another Pinot and leave it at .996?

What do you think?


PS - For grins, I tested my hydrometer and tepid tap water came in at 1.000.
 
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Wade E

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.996 is very dry! Dont add any water or any other liquid unless you need to top up. If the sg is stable then youll want to add the sulfite and sorbate and fining agent if you wish.
 

sixdoubleo

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.996 is very dry! Dont add any water or any other liquid unless you need to top up. If the sg is stable then youll want to add the sulfite and sorbate and fining agent if you wish.
OK, thanks Wade. Obviously I still have much to learn.

So is it common to have a commercial wine at .996? I guess I need to test the SG of some of the commercial wines I like just to get a feel.
 

Wade E

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Very typical if youre buying dry wihites or reds, a semi- sweet wine would be about 1.002- 1.015
 

sixdoubleo

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OK< good to know. I'm definitely going to test some of my favorite commercial wines just to see.

By the way, what is your formula for calculating ABV from SG? Maybe my formula is incorrect.

According to this website (http://www.countrywinebrewer.co.uk/sgabv.shtm)....

"The mathematics involved in the simple calculation are: Take the difference in Original Gravity and final SG, and divide this by the magic number of 7.36"

So in my case...
1.102 - .996 = 0.106
0.106 / 7.36 = 14.4%

Is this not a good formula?
 

ffemt128

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What's the difference in the 2 formulas. I generally saw the /736 formula.
 

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