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How much alcohol is too much alcohol?

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Heidi

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How much alcohol is too much? I am a very green newbie at making wine. My first batch of peach wine isn't quite done and has an alcohol content of about 23%! I've made a delicious Muscadine that is 16%. Is there a guideline that is considered too high?
 

Sacalait

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Heidi, what I'm looking for is a wine with an alc content of 10-12%. With a little aging the " alc hotness" will generally dissipate in 6-12 months.

An alc content of 23% means your starting SG was 1.160. To achieve those numbers would require some sort of turbo yeast and they "are" available. About all you can expect from a high alc yeast like Lalvin 1118 is 18% so what kind of yeast did you use?
 

Heidi

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Believe it or not--I used plain ole regular yeast. I sure wished I had researched wine making in much more detail in books and multiple internet sites first.

I had a peach tree that produced hundreds of peaches this year. They all became ripe at the same time. I viewed a few sites on winemaking and followed one recipe. I took the peaches, yeast and sugar and placed them in the primary fermenter. Then (according to the directions), I stirred the contents every day and tasted it. If it wasn't "sweet", the directions were to add sugar until it was. If fermenting stopped--add yeast. LOL This process went on for a month until I talked to someone who has made homemade wine. He said all I did by adding the additional sugar (and yeast) was boost up the alcohol content. I thought I really screwed it up, but he took a quart with him, did some magic and it's pretty good. It's strong, but good. (He added super smooth and a peach flavor pack). Had I only researched a little more! He told me to let the remainder of the wine sit until fermentation is complete, so it still sits.

What's the key on the right amount of sugar? Although I have friends that will drink anything, I prefer something a little milder.
 

Sacalait

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First of all, get yourself a hydrometer. This simple instrument will tell you what the % of alc will be when you start your wine and allow it to ferment completely. Get yourself some tried and true recipes, it's as easy as baking a cake if you follow the directions. Jack Keller has an excellent recipe section on his web site along with all the how tos for the beginner. Googling his name should bring you to it.
 

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