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How to determine the amount of water to be added to canned juice for full bodied fruit wine?

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michael77

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....I am planning to make a 5 Gallon batch of fruit wine....the result to be a dry, 11% alc./vol. dinner wine....I have a good 5 Gallon, Apricot Wine Recipe which I will follow....the wine will be made from store bought bottled or canned juices....the juice quantity per bottle or can is 32 oz or 1 litre....I plan to use a pineapple or mango or Welch's grape juice bottled product....unfortunately, many of these bottled juices do not state the amount of water added to the juice....How do I determine the amount of water to be added to the bottled juice per 1 gallon or per 5 gallons for full bodied fruit wine?....also, Can a Hydrometer be used to verify the proper water to juice ratio?....any advice or suggestions would be most helpful....thanks
 

Scooter68

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Are these concentrates or just pre-mixed juices? Most pre-mixed juices are not the greatest for wine making. They are not really "Full Strength" but often watered down to some degree or mixed with other juices. (Typically a juice like peach or cherry might also have apple or white grape juice mixed in with it as those are much less expensive juices. ) With concentrates you still need to check out the list of ingredients - you might be surprised,.
Certainly you can make wine 'on the cheap' using such juices but you may find the flavor a little too light on the palate.

One great example of the pre-mixed juices is the Ocean Spray juice selection. Many are Cranberry and some other juice Like Cranberry cherry (I've posted a copy of the nutritional information below) - BUT on closer inspection you will find that the list of ingredients is different than what the label would lead you to believe. Cranberry is not even the leading ingredient.

So - First thing is to read that list of ingredients VERY VERY Carefully. That should be no problem if you are buying them in person other wise if buying online - check it out, email or call seller/manufacturer if need be.
If you are using a juice like say bottled Tart Cherry Juice concentrate - most often the will provide you mixing instructions per serving and the calories per-serving. That's critical information to have. Generally I like to go the route of making my wines VERY full bodied. Example: 16oz Tart Cherry Juice concentrate per instructions says it will make 16 x 8oz servings (128oz/1gallon) When using that concentrate I use 4 bottles to make 3 gallons of wine. and actually for Tart Cherry I use 3 tart cherry and 1 sweet cherry)
So You really can't just go by the hydrometer - difference fruits have different amounts of sugar in them. (See this thread for more info: Sugar content of Fruit ) You will have to know what is in them and taste it to see how strong the fruit flavor is in that particular juice.

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michael77

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Are these concentrates or just pre-mixed juices? Most pre-mixed juices are not the greatest for wine making. They are not really "Full Strength" but often watered down to some degree or mixed with other juices. (Typically a juice like peach or cherry might also have apple or white grape juice mixed in with it as those are much less expensive juices. ) With concentrates you still need to check out the list of ingredients - you might be surprised,.
Certainly you can make wine 'on the cheap' using such juices but you may find the flavor a little too light on the palate.

One great example of the pre-mixed juices is the Ocean Spray juice selection. Many are Cranberry and some other juice Like Cranberry cherry (I've posted a copy of the nutritional information below) - BUT on closer inspection you will find that the list of ingredients is different than what the label would lead you to believe. Cranberry is not even the leading ingredient.

So - First thing is to read that list of ingredients VERY VERY Carefully. That should be no problem if you are buying them in person other wise if buying online - check it out, email or call seller/manufacturer if need be.
If you are using a juice like say bottled Tart Cherry Juice concentrate - most often the will provide you mixing instructions per serving and the calories per-serving. That's critical information to have. Generally I like to go the route of making my wines VERY full bodied. Example: 16oz Tart Cherry Juice concentrate per instructions says it will make 16 x 8oz servings (128oz/1gallon) When using that concentrate I use 4 bottles to make 3 gallons of wine. and actually for Tart Cherry I use 3 tart cherry and 1 sweet cherry)
So You really can't just go by the hydrometer - difference fruits have different amounts of sugar in them. (See this thread for more info: Sugar content of Fruit ) You will have to know what is in them and taste it to see how strong the fruit flavor is in that particular juice.

View attachment 68561
...Thanks Scooter68 for your speedy reply....I have checked the Pineapple container I plan to use & their contents info is very close to as what you posted...it states 32 oz, 100% Juice-Pineapple & the sugar content states 25g and 25%....My question is should I dilute the 96 ounces of juice further with water or use 5 gallons of undiluted juice for the complete recipe....here is the recipe, I plan to use...It is taken from a 5 Gallon, Apricot Wine Recipe.....Any feedback would be appreciated.....

Apricot Wine
(Makes 5 Gallons)

Ingredients

One 96 oz can of Apricot fruit wine base (128 oz. = 1 gal.) 96 oz = 3 litres
4.5 gal of boiled water (6 x 96 oz cans of water)

12 lbs. of sugar
3 tsp. Acid Blend

4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
2 1/2 tsp. Pectic Enzyme

1/2 tsp. Wine Tannin
5 Campden Tablets crushed or 5 liquid tsp.

1 Packet of Wine Yeast: EC-1118
2 1/2 tsp. Potassium Sorbate to stabilize
 

michael77

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...Thanks Scooter68 for your speedy reply....I have checked the Pineapple container I plan to use & their contents info is very close to as what you posted...it states 32 oz, 100% Juice-Pineapple & the sugar content states 25g and 25%....My question is should I dilute the 96 ounces of juice further with water or use 5 gallons of undiluted juice for the complete recipe....here is the recipe, I plan to use...It is taken from a 5 Gallon, Apricot Wine Recipe.....Any feedback would be appreciated.....

Apricot Wine
(Makes 5 Gallons)

Ingredients

One 96 oz can of Apricot fruit wine base (128 oz. = 1 gal.) 96 oz = 3 litres
4.5 gal of boiled water (6 x 96 oz cans of water)

12 lbs. of sugar
3 tsp. Acid Blend

4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
2 1/2 tsp. Pectic Enzyme

1/2 tsp. Wine Tannin
5 Campden Tablets crushed or 5 liquid tsp.

1 Packet of Wine Yeast: EC-1118
2 1/2 tsp. Potassium Sorbate to stabilize
...I am prepared to add to the recipe 2lbs of raisins or 2-3 bananas for body...your comments?
 

Scooter68

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What are the calories per serving and is this just a pour and serve juice or a concentrate? If it's a pour and serve, I'd use it straight and just add the sugar you need to get to the desired starting SG.

As to raisins or bananas, I've never added them to my wines but then, I've not had anyone do a critical review of them either so I can't give you a good answer on that. Just be aware that raisins (If not white raisins) might change the color of the wine. Pineapple wine is a beautful color on it's own.
 

JWA

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....I am planning to make a 5 Gallon batch of fruit wine....the result to be a dry, 11% alc./vol. dinner wine....I have a good 5 Gallon, Apricot Wine Recipe which I will follow....the wine will be made from store bought bottled or canned juices....the juice quantity per bottle or can is 32 oz or 1 litre....I plan to use a pineapple or mango or Welch's grape juice bottled product....unfortunately, many of these bottled juices do not state the amount of water added to the juice....How do I determine the amount of water to be added to the bottled juice per 1 gallon or per 5 gallons for full bodied fruit wine?....also, Can a Hydrometer be used to verify the proper water to juice ratio?....any advice or suggestions would be most helpful....thanks
The hydrometer would definitely give a specific gravity which could be used to determine potential alcohol. The rest is just math to figure out how much water to add.
 

michael77

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What are the calories per serving and is this just a pour and serve juice or a concentrate? If it's a pour and serve, I'd use it straight and just add the sugar you need to get to the desired starting SG.

As to raisins or bananas, I've never added them to my wines but then, I've not had anyone do a critical review of them either so I can't give you a good answer on that. Just be aware that raisins (If not white raisins) might change the color of the wine. Pineapple wine is a beautful color on it's own.
.... the 32 oz pineapple juice bottle states 120 calories per serving and it is a pour and serve juice....I will use it straight and just add the sugar I need....I will start the must with a specific gravity of 1.090 for a result of 11%-12% alc./vol. ....thanks so much for your good suggestions....Let you know how this batch turns out..... also, what fruit would you suggest to make a dark red wine similar to a red dinner wine made from grapes?
 
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michael77

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The hydrometer would definitely give a specific gravity which could be used to determine potential alcohol. The rest is just math to figure out how much water to add.
....Thanks for your info....
 

Scooter68

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Well, Blueberries are great, Blackberries, Tart Cherry (But it IS tart if you make it as I do) The first two are sort of purple/red colored the latter is a dark red but can appear slightly brown tinted as the juice darkens very quickly. As to calories of course 120 sounds like a good start for the SG target. I use simple syrup* to get sugar dissolved because the closer you get to your target of 11-12% - the harder to get the sugar to dissolve. BUT on the other hand you don't want to water down your juice. You should be safe on the use of simple syrup because pineapple juice, when pure pineapple as I imagine yours is, has a very solid flavor
* Basic simple syrup is 2 cups sugar dissolved in 1 cup of hot water then cooled before adding to your wine must. You can push it up to 3 to 1 but that takes a lot of heat and stirring to get there. For my 3 gallon wine batches with a lower starting SG than I suspect you have, I normally don't have to add more than 2 batches of simple syrup (4 cups of sugar) as always, your results may vary.

Good luck and by the way Mango make a good blend into pineapple too,. Take a lot of mango to get the flavor but it is worth the effort. (Don't use store bought mango juice - it's ALWAYS watered down)
 
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BernardSmith

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Here's my opinion: if the manufacturer intends people who buy the juice to drink it without diluting it with water then you should not dilute the juice with any water if you want the same amount of flavor in your wine. If the manufacturer suggests that you dilute the juice before you drink it then you should consider whether to add that amount of water or more or less... Fruit syrups or purees made for fermentation are a little different. For those who want a lighter flavored wine the manufacturer suggests that you make 5 or 6 gallons with their cans. For those looking for a richer flavor they suggest that 3 gallons is the amount of wine per can.
 

winemaker81

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Also keep in mind that commercial juices for drinking typically contain sulfite, and may not ferment well. In my experience these will ferment, but will not cooperate nicely. In my youth I fermented OceanSpray CranRaspberry, and could not get the SG below 1.014, and got nearly identical results with Welches frozen juices.

For the best result, stick with natural fruit, concentrates designed for wine making, or 100% natural juices.
 

Scooter68

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I agree with Winemaker81 - I'm pretty sure they cut those bottled "Ready to drink" juices because people are "Happy" the strength even when cut - For just drinking. BUT when we make those into wine, that lower flavor/concentration, becomes more noticeable. That along with the presevatives in virtually all ready to drink juices makes those drinks more challenging for wine making. Not saying don't do it, just be prepared. Now Pineapple juice is pretty acidic on it's own so the amount of preservative might be lower.

In any case for a first time go at it - nothing wrong with your current plan as long as you know what to expect.
 

michael77

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Well, Blueberries are great, Blackberries, Tart Cherry (But it IS tart if you make it as I do) The first two are sort of purple/red colored the latter is a dark red but can appear slightly brown tinted as the juice darkens very quickly. As to calories of course 120 sounds like a good start for the SG target. I use simple syrup* to get sugar dissolved because the closer you get to your target of 11-12% - the harder to get the sugar to dissolve. BUT on the other hand you don't want to water down your juice. You should be safe on the use of simple syrup because pineapple juice, when pure pineapple as I imagine yours is, has a very solid flavor
* Basic simple syrup is 2 cups sugar dissolved in 1 cup of hot water then cooled before adding to your wine must. You can push it up to 3 to 1 but that takes a lot of heat and stirring to get there. For my 3 gallon wine batches with a lower starting SG than I suspect you have, I normally don't have to add more than 2 batches of simple syrup (4 cups of sugar) as always, your results may vary.

Good luck and by the way Mango make a good blend into pineapple too,. Take a lot of mango to get the flavor but it is worth the effort. (Don't use store bought mango juice - it's ALWAYS watered down)
....Thanks for all your info....
 

michael77

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Also keep in mind that commercial juices for drinking typically contain sulfite, and may not ferment well. In my experience these will ferment, but will not cooperate nicely. In my youth I fermented OceanSpray CranRaspberry, and could not get the SG below 1.014, and got nearly identical results with Welches frozen juices.

For the best result, stick with natural fruit, concentrates designed for wine making, or 100% natural juices.
....Thanks for all your info....
 

michael77

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Here's my opinion: if the manufacturer intends people who buy the juice to drink it without diluting it with water then you should not dilute the juice with any water if you want the same amount of flavor in your wine. If the manufacturer suggests that you dilute the juice before you drink it then you should consider whether to add that amount of water or more or less... Fruit syrups or purees made for fermentation are a little different. For those who want a lighter flavored wine the manufacturer suggests that you make 5 or 6 gallons with their cans. For those looking for a richer flavor they suggest that 3 gallons is the amount of wine per can.
....Thanks for all your info....
 
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