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Increasing Alcohol Content of Kit wines

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bein_bein

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Hi all,
I am bout 5 days away from bottling my first wine, a Cabernet with Blackberry and a hint of licorice.My initial S.G. was 1.05 which was in line with kit instructions. I checked my SG last night and found it to be 1.026, which according to my newbie calculations puts my wine at about 3.2% alc.
Is there a way to boost the octane , if you will, of the wine kits? I'm not talking about making jet fuel :) , just a nice healthy 12-13%.
TIA,
Brian
 

bein_bein

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It is a Wine Expert kit. I know that I can't increase the AC in this particular batch, I was inquiring more for future batches. From reading the forums I would think that I could accomplish that by using some cane sugar to raisse the initial SG. I should have also mentioned that my secondary fermentation stabilized at .998 after 10 days(instructions benchmark was .996) at which time the blackberry juice was added as well as sorbate,metabisulfite and clarifyer.
 

cpfan

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OK it's an Island Mist kit from Winexpert. Yes you can add sugar at the start to bring the initial sg up, and thus the final sg.

You should be doing the alcohol calculation using that .998 that you measured NOT the final sg. WHY? Because the blackberry pouch contains a lot of sugar to sweeten the wine, thus raising the sg, but not affecting the alcohol content.

Typically these mist kits run 7-8%. Other brands (without the fruit flavour pouch) wil run 12-13%.

I suggest that for your next kit you get either a 4-week Vintners Reserve or 6-week Selection brand. These brands are also from Winexpert. Of course, there are other manufacturers who also make good kits.

Steve
 

labs4mom

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How to calculate the alcohol content in your wine kit

Adding sugar to a wine kit is just adding sugar. Read below and see how to calculate. I've copy/paste the instructions on how to do it. They are pretty much on target here.

Test for Alcohol Content in Wine or Beer


1.Fill a test jar (a deep vessel, chimney-shaped), that will accommodate about ½ to 2 cups with water.

2.Float a hydrometer in the test jar and make sure that it rests at 1.000; this is the normal specific gravity (SG) reading of water. Sugar dissolved in water will read heavier, as it is heavier than water, and a liquid measured after fermentation will read lighter or equal to that of the water.

3.Take an "OG" reading of your wine or beer before adding yeast using a hydrometer and take note of the number. The OG refers to the original gravity reading of your wine or beer before you add the yeast and start the fermentation process.

4.Wait for the wine or beer to ferment and take a second reading with the hydrometer. This number is the "FG" or final gravity. Note this number.

5.Subtract the OG from the FG.

6.Multiply the resulting number by 131 to get the alcohol by volume content or ABV.
 

rjb222

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Hi all,
I am bout 5 days away from bottling my first wine, a Cabernet with Blackberry and a hint of licorice.My initial S.G. was 1.05 which was in line with kit instructions. I checked my SG last night and found it to be 1.026, which according to my newbie calculations puts my wine at about 3.2% alc.
Is there a way to boost the octane , if you will, of the wine kits? I'm not talking about making jet fuel :) , just a nice healthy 12-13%.
TIA,
Brian
Ok you are measuring the final after adding the Fpack. So you should have measured the final SG before adding the Fpack. Typicly this style kit should wind up at around 9%. The Fpack would give you a false reading for your alcohol content.
 

joeswine

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When to add the kick

I DO, BOOST THE ABV. ON MOST KITS ESPECIALLY IF THEY HAVE A FPAC,THE DEPTH OF THE FPAC FLAVOR CAN WITHSTAND THE ADDED BOOST,USUALLY I 'M AT 1.010,SOME WILL SAY ITS A LITTLE TO HIGH ,BUT NOT FOR ME AND THE FINAL FINISH,I US SIMPLE SYURP IN THE PRIMARY,THATS MYSTYLE OF WINE MAKING --A LITTLE DIFFERENT FROM THE NORM.:se
 

cpfan

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I DO, BOOST THE ABV. ON MOST KITS ESPECIALLY IF THEY HAVE A FPAC,THE DEPTH OF THE FPAC FLAVOR CAN WITHSTAND THE ADDED BOOST,USUALLY I 'M AT 1.010,SOME WILL SAY ITS A LITTLE TO HIGH ,BUT NOT FOR ME AND THE FINAL FINISH,I US SIMPLE SYURP IN THE PRIMARY,THATS MYSTYLE OF WINE MAKING --A LITTLE DIFFERENT FROM THE NORM.:se
joeswine...please learn to use the Caps Lock button. I read NONE of your posts.

Steve
 

Randyman

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You should be doing the alcohol calculation using that .998 that you measured NOT the final sg. WHY? Because the blackberry pouch contains a lot of sugar to sweeten the wine, thus raising the sg, but not affecting the alcohol content.
Is that acurate?? Isn't the alcohol content based on volume, thus when you add the fruit for the back-sweeting it also dilutes the alcohol content since the volume is diferent ??

Not an expert here, just tring to understand as I normally base my ABV % on the finished value myself and this my be wrong..
 
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dralarms

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Unless you are fermenting then use your final sg, then add f-pack and sweeten to taste. If you add the f-pack and then take sg your alcohol content could be wrong. Unless I'm missing something.
 

Randyman

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I wish I new how to calculate this.. If you start with 23L and end with 23L, but somewhere in there you trade out 1 or 2 liters of fermented wine (that contains all of the alcohol) for room to add the F-pack.. I would just think this some how dilutes the ending alcohol since we are measuring it by volume and we adjusted the volume with alcohol..
 

Bartman

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I'm not certain how to calculate the exact ABV without initial volumes and S.G. readings, but the issue here is the ABV on the hydrometer is an approximation of the final potential alcohol. Specific Gravity is essentially the relative density of the liquid in solution, as compared to water at STP (standard temperature and pressure), which is 1.000. We use S.G. for winemaking because it gives us an estimated but precise means to determine what stage the fermentation is at. Grape juice has lots of dissolved sugar (and other stuff) that makes it denser than water, so the S.G. is significantly higher than water. Alcohol is less dense than water so the S.G. drops significantly as the sugar is fermented. By comparing the initial S.G. with the final fully fermented S.G. (of only the juice), we can estimate the alcohol content relatively easily and accurately. Another way to measure the alcohol level would be to boil off the alcohol from a sample and compare the volume of alcohol to the sample volume (yielding grams of alcohol/grams of total volume - ABV). Removing a portion of the wine does not reduce the percentage of alcohol of the remainder; adding the f-pack dramatically alters the specific gravity, but NOT the alcohol percentage by nearly as much, because that f-pack is much, much denser than water - it's usually very syrupy. S.G. goes way up, but alcohol concentration is only slightly changed. Thus, the S.G. is no longer an accurate gauge of the alcohol level because you have introduced a totally different liquid into the solution.

Does that help?
 
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beggarsu

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I'm not certain how to calculate the exact ABV without initial volumes and S.G. readings, but the issue here is the ABV on the hydrometer is an approximation of the final potential alcohol. Specific Gravity is essentially the relative density of the liquid in solution, as compared to water at STP (standard temperature and pressure), which is 1.000. We use S.G. for winemaking because it gives us an estimated but precise means to determine what stage the fermentation is at. Grape juice has lots of dissolved sugar (and other stuff) that makes it denser than water, so the S.G. is significantly higher than water. Alcohol is less dense than water so the S.G. drops significantly as the sugar is fermented. By comparing the initial S.G. with the final fully fermented S.G. (of only the juice), we can estimate the alcohol content relatively easily and accurately. Another way to measure the alcohol level would be to boil off the alcohol from a sample and compare the volume of alcohol to the sample volume (yielding grams of alcohol/grams of total volume - ABV). Removing a portion of the wine does not reduce the percentage of alcohol of the remainder; adding the f-pack dramatically alters the specific gravity, but NOT the alcohol percentage by nearly as much, because that f-pack is much, much denser than water - it's usually very syrupy. S.G. goes way up, but alcohol concentration is only slightly changed. Thus, the S.G. is no longer an accurate gauge of the alcohol level because you have introduced a totally different liquid into the solution.

Does that help?
I don't quite see that. The final ABV has to be altered by the F-PAck because there is more volume added and none of that had alcohol.
There is less percentage alcohol for the volume - has to be.
So the SG before the F-PAck cannot determine the final ABV.



But here is a way to cross check with basic math.
If for example 22.5 litres has been 11 percent alcohol determined by beginning and ending SG's before F-Pack then
absolute amount of alcohol = .11 * 22.5 = 2.475 litres pure alcohol in 22.5 litres liquid.

So now if I add F pack 1.4 litres then total fluid = 23.9 litres.

Percent alcohol of the final product (ABV) = 2.475 divide by 23.9 =10.35 percent which is less than 11 ABV and sounds about right.

So now do a SG of the final product after F-Pack - if the SG used with the beginning SG matches the first method of calculation then that method is correct (ie taking final SG after F-PAck,
If not then just use the method of the calculation to find the real SG.
 
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Bartman

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I don't quite see that. The final ABV has to be altered by the F-Pack because there is more volume added and none of that had alcohol.
There is less percentage alcohol for the volume - has to be.
So the SG before the F-Pack cannot determine the final ABV.
Yes, that is roughly what I was trying to say - ABV will be only slightly affected (change in the total volume is *relatively* small, so the ABV change will be small).
But here is a way to cross check with basic math.
If for example 22.5 litres has been 11 percent alcohol determined by beginning and ending SG's before F-Pack then
absolute amount of alcohol = .11 * 22.5 = 2.475 litres pure alcohol in 22.5 litres liquid.

So now if I add F pack 1.4 litres then total fluid = 23.9 litres.

Percent alcohol of the final product (ABV) = 2.475 divide by 23.9 =10.35 percent which is less than 11 ABV and sounds about right.

So now do a SG of the final product after F-Pack - if the SG used with the beginning SG matches the first method of calculation then that method is correct (ie taking final SG after F-Pack)
If not then just use the method of the calculation to find the real SG.
I don't quite follow your references to the S.G.es you mention in the last couple lines, but my point was that the S.G. of a fully fermented wine (say, 11% ABV or higher - like mine tend to be - around 13-14%) BEFORE the 1.4 L f-pack addition (say, 0.998) will increase significantly once you add and mix in the f-pack - like up to 1.020 or more (I think - that number could vary based on the sugar content/other solids in the f-pack). Some f-packs have different volumes, too.

Some of this simply perception though - the numbers don't lie (unless I screw them up! LOL) A few tenths of a percent change in ABV seems like a very small change to me, while a S.G. change from 0.998 to 1.020 seems like a dramatic shift (and much sweeter too!).
 

beggarsu

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Yes, that is roughly what I was trying to say - ABV will be only slightly affected (change in the total volume is *relatively* small, so the ABV change will be small).

I don't quite follow your references to the S.G.es you mention in the last couple lines, but my point was that the S.G. of a fully fermented wine (say, 11% ABV or higher - like mine tend to be - around 13-14%) BEFORE the 1.4 L f-pack addition (say, 0.998) will increase significantly once you add and mix in the f-pack - like up to 1.020 or more (I think - that number could vary based on the sugar content/other solids in the f-pack). Some f-packs have different volumes, too.

Some of this simply perception though - the numbers don't lie (unless I screw them up! LOL) A few tenths of a percent change in ABV seems like a very small change to me, while a S.G. change from 0.998 to 1.020 seems like a dramatic shift (and much sweeter too!).
Yeah, 'm just saying here that I've developed a formula to calculate the ABV (Alcohol by Volume)after addition of an Pack or any additional volume such as "simple syrup".

Using math, it seems true that taking the SG after F-pack addition cannot be used to calculate ABV but the ABV can be calculated without any instrumentation.

In the example below for a 6 gallon batch before addition of the F-pack the ABV was 13.09, after it was 12.27 (calculated using basic mathematics).
...
Taking the SG of the batch after the addition of the F-Pack and using that as calculation gave an ABV of 10.87 which is mathematically incorrect. Therefore SG reading after F-pack has no use - only the calculation has use.

See this thread:

http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/f84/starting-mist-wine-raspberry-white-zinfandel-aka-rockin-raspberry-44149/

thanks
 
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