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Increasing Alcohol content with sugar?

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jdaniels9

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Can I just add sugar to a wine kit and up the amount of alcohol in it?

How much sugar should I add? Do I have to add anything else to support the extra sugar? (more yeast or something)

Thanks
 

robie

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What kit are you trying to tweak?

Dissolve sugar in a small amount or warm water to make a simple syrup.
Amount depends on how much you want to raise the alcohol level.

The yeast you use for fermentation is rated as to how high an alcohol level it can tolerate. Make sure the total ABV does not surpass this level.

Make sure that total volume of must, with water and added sugar, does not surpass kit's recommend volume. In other words, if it is a 23 liter kit, try to keep the total volume at 23 liters. Otherwise, you will be diluting your wine.

1.5 oz. of table sugar per US gallon of projected liquid raises the ºBrix by 1°. Use the triple scales on your hydrometer to determine how much additional Brix you need to reach desired ABV.

Remember that raising alcohol can (but not always) cause wine to taste like jet fuel for several months after fermentation, so be prepared to age such wine a little longer. This doesn't seem to be a problem for mist kits. It is best to tell us what kit and to ask specifically of those who have tweaked your same kit.
 

MN-winer

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I agree with Robie. Tweaking kits can upset the balance of the kit. For a Mist kit it seems to work - in fact I have one brewing now that I upped the SG to 1.076 instead of the 1.05. But the other wines, tweaking may upset the balance of the kit. If you did this to a WE VR kit it would make the wine tasteless and like rocket fuel.
 

CoachPieps

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I also agree, becare tweeting kits. But if yo are making from scratch you can set the starting SG anywhere. I have started as low as 1.060 or as high as 1.10
 

brenjmull

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Oh no, I should or read this before I did anything. I have a kit of VR reisling working,, I just finished a VR chardonnay that is great tasting, but the alcohol is very low it seems.. no buzz after 2 glasses. So I read on another post to add some sugar to it to start the fermentation back up. So I added a cup of sugar to iit this morning, it started bubbling really good. So I am thinking it is still fermenting? Did I just ruin my wine? I was going to let it go another 4-5 days before racking..Now I read here that I might of turned it into rocket fuel!! Yikes.....................
 

Wade E

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Did you take a gravity reading before and after adding th sugar? What was the starting gravity of this wine kit? You may be ok but without knowing these things we really have no idea nor do you. Always use a hydrometer so as you know how much alc you are making.
 

PPBart

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Oh no, I should or read this before I did anything. I have a kit of VR reisling working,, I just finished a VR chardonnay that is great tasting, but the alcohol is very low it seems.. no buzz after 2 glasses. So I read on another post to add some sugar to it to start the fermentation back up. So I added a cup of sugar to iit this morning, it started bubbling really good. So I am thinking it is still fermenting? Did I just ruin my wine? I was going to let it go another 4-5 days before racking..Now I read here that I might of turned it into rocket fuel!! Yikes.....................
Relax... Adding a cup of sugar to a 6-gallon batch won't hurt anything. However, I do agree with the need for getting and using a hydrometer (and recording results for later reference!).
 

dj04

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So if I am looking to raise the % of alcohol in a mist (6 gal) how much sugar can I add without having a bad batch? I have heard four pounds of sugar you can add. And if I was looking to do the same only for a RJ Spangols kit how much can I add? Thanks
 

Noontime

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A good rule of thumb is 1 cup sugar raises 1gallon's s.g. by .020 (and 1# sugar = 2.36 cups). So you can see why PPBart said you have nothing to worry about...you need to add A LOT of sugar to significantly raise the SG. Make sure you take good notes as to what you add and the SG at the time, because you'll have to do some math to figure out what the final alcohol is when it's done.
 

nancy11254

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i have a zinfandel blush that i just started tonight. the beginning s.g. was 1.086. i want to raise the alcohol content, can i just add sugar or do i have to mix it with water prior to adding it. i don't want to add any more water to it because i kept the water content at the mark. i read where you can add a cup of sugar but wanted to make sure it was okay to add just the sugar to the fermenting wine that i just started. i know that zinfandel wines are usually high alcohol volumes originally.
 

ckvchestnut

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I've added it without any water without problems... Just give it a vigorous stir after each cup. How long since you pitched the yeast? If really close to your original SG reading you wouldn't have to recalculate how much sugar to add to get your finished abv. What size batch are u doing? You'll likely need to add more than one cup for a 5 or 6 gallon batch to bring the SG up by 10 points. Use your hydrometer after each time you add a cup or 2 until you get to the number you want...
 

Noontime

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You can the sugar dry, but if there is already fermentation going DO IT SLOWLY. The sugar crystals will create thousands of nucleation sites for the CO2 being produced by the yeast and you will have an explosion of foam. There's no problem doing it...just start off slow to make sure you don't get any surprises.
 

Noontime

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I also just realized the tardiness of my reply, so...um...never mind. :)
 

Loxalibations

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Along the same line, typically how much sugar (roughly) does a kit take to raise must to 1.085 +\- .005. ? My 6 gallons from frozen berries (not grape)needed 10# sugar plus 5 cans of grape concentrate to get that level. The price of kit would not be bad if it does not require a lot of additives. I am new at this, but need to keep what I am spending in mind.
 

ckvchestnut

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I have an app on my phone called wine calc, you just plug in your numbers and it tells you how sugar you need to put in to get to a certain SG. I'm sure there are wine calcs for the computer also. I think there is a thread in the beginners section that has info on wine calcs too.
 

grapeman

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Along the same line, typically how much sugar (roughly) does a kit take to raise must to 1.085 +\- .005. ? My 6 gallons from frozen berries (not grape)needed 10# sugar plus 5 cans of grape concentrate to get that level. The price of kit would not be bad if it does not require a lot of additives. I am new at this, but need to keep what I am spending in mind.
Most kits should already be at that level so there would be no reason to add sugar. Exceptions could be the Island Mist and related type which are more of a cooler type alcohol level.
 

turkeylipz

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Along the same line, typically how much sugar (roughly) does a kit take to raise must to 1.085 +\- .005. ? My 6 gallons from frozen berries (not grape)needed 10# sugar plus 5 cans of grape concentrate to get that level. The price of kit would not be bad if it does not require a lot of additives. I am new at this, but need to keep what I am spending in mind.
For 6 gallons of must? 12.2447037532966 oz of sugar.....roughly

((Liters of Must*Start SG*(Desired Brix - Starting Brix)/(100 - Desired Brix))*35.2739619 = Sugar in OZ

Starting Brix = 261.3*(1-(1/StartSG))
Desired Brix = 261.3*(1-(1/DesiredSG))

I just did this with my last kit. A WE Eclipse Lodi. Starting SG was 1.084. I added enough bump to 1.090..ish. With the sugar from the fruit it should help it finish closer to 14 instead of under 13. I like a little more kick. Nothing wrong with experimenting as long as you are prepared to ruin the kit if you deviate wildly. Basically someone has given you a recipe. You can stay close and experience their creation - maybe you can add a little salt and pepper - but don't say you love (or hated) someones recipe after you have substituted or removed half of the stuff they listed. That is what lugs of grapes are for.
 
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joeswine

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Capitalization of wine

Most straight up kits are and can be boosted to a higher abv,but you first have to know the rules and how to balance out a particular wine in order to make it your own and that comes with understanding the process ,simple syrup for example:

MOST MIST KITS AND THE LIKE ARE AT 1.06 OR 1.08 AND CAN TAKE A BOOST TO 1.010 WITHOUT A PROBLEM,BECAUSE OF THE ADDITION OF THE FPAC ,THE ADDITION OF THE ADDED ABV . REALLY DOESN'T EFFECT IT IN A NEGATIVE WAY ,BUT YIELDS A BETTER TASTING WINE FINISH TO THE MIX, RECENTLY MOST STRAIGHT WINE KITS LIKE WINEXPERTS ARE AT 1.08 TO 1.010,NO ADDED ABV.SHOULD BE REQUIRED ,RESULTING IN OR AROUND 12/13%ABV..THAT'S THE STANDARD IN THE US INDUSTRY.. SOMETIMES HIGHER IN FRANCE.

BY OVER PRODUCING ACHOLO IN A WINE CAN AT THE END RENDER IT HOT,AND THAT'S NOT A GOOD ATTRIBUTE TO HAVE ,BY DISSOLVING THE SUGAR AND WATER TOGETHER YOU HAVE CREATED A SOLUTION AND A MORE SOLVABLE MIXTURE TO THE WINE .

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