Increasing alcohol in a mist kit?

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DageonYar

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Going to be picking up a Blackberry/Merlot kit this afternoon, and I was wondering what the safe way would be to increase the alcohol content without ruining the balance? The last Mist kit we got was a little light (6%?) and we'd like to bring it up to maybe 9 or 10%. Can we just add plain white sugar to raise the SG? Or should we perhaps use some of the fpac to raise the initial SG?

Many thanks -
 

rawlus

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there are a number of threads hidden in here on how to do that.
usually it involves adding between 1.5 lbs and 3lbs of sugar (usually in the form of simple syrup) to the concentrate during the hydration stage... if you want a drier final product instead of sweet, you can also add 1/2 of the f-pack to reduce final sweetness and cut back on the amount of sugar - (ex. 1.5lbs of sugar+ 1/2 f-pack)
the times on your instructions will be off a bit as a result of the added sugar because it will take a bit longer to ferment out.

but you can shoot for a starting SG of around 1.075-1.080 and that should give you a final AVB of 10-11% before you add in the rest of the f-pack.

it will always be sort of experimental as increased alcohol can sometimes make the wine taste a bit thinner because the intended engineered balance is thrown off. you don't want to get it too hot with alcohol. but the blackberry/merlot may be able to handle it a bit better than an already delicate white mist kit.
 

smurfe

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Rawlus is spot on. You can simply add sugar at the beginning. Basically you add the juice to your fermenter. Check the SG. Then add sugar or a sugar solution till you reach the SG that will produce the alcohol lever you desire. Another great idea a Rawlus mentioned to to add part of the F Pack if you do not desire a really sweet wine in the end. Use some of it in the beginning to boost the SG instead of only adding part of it at the end and throwing it away. I have only made one Mist kit in the past so I can't offer much more than that. I have read a ton of threads about it though. I am sure others will pop in here this evening. I am pretty sure Wade has done a few of them and given them a boost.
 

JakeSnow

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Look at my post titled 'Green Apple Riesling' under the WineExpert thread.
 

melissa44

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Years ago I met a gentleman who really knew his wine making…we made about 400 bottles of wine in a couple of years. Unfortunately he moved away and I didn’t take notes. Now I feel the urge to make my own wine again. I thought I it might be wise to start with a kit--kind of ease into this. I bought a Island Mist Black Raspberry Mist (I fondly remember making a kit of this variety with Harvey and quite enjoyed it). Upon closer inspection of the kit I learned that the alcohol content will only be 6.5% and then I remembered that Harvey had added frozen raspberries, raspberry juice and maybe sugar…he had a way of tweaking everything. Any ideas?
 

Minnesotamaker

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While it's true that adding sugar will bump the alcohol content, you are wise to be concerned with balance. The mist kits are designed to balance acid, sugar, alcohol, and flavor. Once you start tweaking, you need to be prepared for the results. Harvey obviously was able to rely on his knowledge (maybe some from trial and error) to hit a product you liked. Here is what I tell new winemakers who take my classes. Make a few kits following the instructions as written. The wine may not be the perfect wine for your tastes, but if you follow the instructions, it will be a nice wine that people can drink and enjoy. After you have some bottles done that everyone can enjoy, then start playing the part of the mad scientist. You will have some wines that turn out nice and you can be extra proud because they are your creation, but let me caution you; you'll also have wines that aren't all that great. You might end up dumping them, or while drinkable, you wouldn't serve them to friends. All home winemakers who have made wines from scratch have some batches they're not fond of. They may still drink them alone in the dark, but they don't pull them out when company comes. If you make a wine to the kit specifications, you're sure to have some wines available when company comes even if your experimental batches don't turn out the way you planned. Cheers, good luck, and above all, have fun.
 
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BobF

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While it's true that adding sugar will bump the alcohol content, you are wise to be concerned with balance. The mist kits are designed to balance acid, sugar, alcohol, and flavor. Once you start tweaking, you need to be prepared for the results. ...
As a point of reference, I added 3# of sugar to a Blackberry-Cab kit.

I'll be adding 5# next time.

I found the kit to be sweet enough to tolerate the alcohol from 3# easily.
 

Medieval

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The blackberry merlot I had was 6% abv and that was a fantastic drink. Very sweet and sparkling with a great blackberry aroma. ALL of that because the alc content was on the low side. Now if I could make a drink taste like that with 12% I would be in trouble. I want to get the same flavor profile in my wines but im not sure it's possible. This may be a magic number that gives the perfect balance.
 

MN-winer

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I added #3 of sugar to my Exotic Fruits white zin and kept everthing the same. It was fantastic and became a favorite of family and friends - go figure!! We are doing this again this year - maybe two!!! I think as long as you add the entire Fpak there is enough sugar in the final product to offset the higher ABV. Lots of people do this.
 

Dugger

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Another alternative is to try some of the Orchard Breezin' mist kits from Spagnols - they normally come in at about 8% alcohol. I prefer these kits to the Island Mist or Niagara Mist kits.
 

melissa44

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While it's true that adding sugar will bump the alcohol content, you are wise to be concerned with balance. The mist kits are designed to balance acid, sugar, alcohol, and flavor. Once you start tweaking, you need to be prepared for the results. Harvey obviously was able to rely on his knowledge (maybe some from trial and error) to hit a product you liked. Here is what I tell new winemakers who take my classes. Make a few kits following the instructions as written. The wine may not be the perfect wine for your tastes, but if you follow the instructions, it will be a nice wine that people can drink and enjoy. After you have some bottles done that everyone can enjoy, then start playing the part of the mad scientist. You will have some wines that turn out nice and you can be extra proud because they are your creation, but let me caution you; you'll also have wines that are all that great. You might end up dumping them, or while drinkable, you wouldn't serve them to friends. All home winemakers who have made wines from scratch have some batches they're not fond of. They may still drink them alone in the dark, but they don't pull them out when company comes. If you make a wine to the kit specifications, you're sure to have some wines available when company comes even if your experimental batches don't turn out the way you planned. Cheers, good luck, and above all, have fun.
Thanks for your wise words...sometimes I get a little carried away...when I first read your post I thought how much trouble can I get into?...then I remembered the jalapeño dill pickles I made one year and how I foolishly ignored the warning about wearing gloves when handling the peppers and if one pepper is good more is better...but that's another story...I'm taking your advice to heart and I will follow the directions religiously. Thanks!!
 

Brian

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I think that is a smart decision. I agree with Lon wholeheartedly!
 

Topcat

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I have had good luck making the kits as instructed, and then adding a splash of Vodka to individual glasses as needed / requested. The OWRTH (One Who Rules The House) likes sweet wine with light ABV but me, not so much.
 
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