Is my wine bad?

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Brian222

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I started making wine and beer 6-7 years ago, went all gung ho. I made a raspberry wine from the garden and bottled it successfully, I made some others too, they were drinkable. I then bought more gear and made three batches in the fall about 6 years ago. Alas, things happened and everything got burried in the utility room where it sat. I want to know what chances there are its good and what concerns I should have. I suppose I should trot a jar of each to the local homebrew but I am too embarrased to share the story in public. I was letting the wine settle before bottling with the airlocks on, which are of course completely dried out. My goal is to find that I have made a new discovery in how to make wine, the new propoer way as it is so good. HA! But seriously, how do I check and what should I expect. I figure a sip and probably spit technique might be in order. What sorts of concerns should I have with this? One is made from a canned wine grape, another is a mix of muscadine and some other fruits (apples plus) to reduce acitidity overall, and the third is raspberrries and possibly some of the native grapes. Thanks for your input!
 
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@salcoco is far braver than I am! ;)

Look at the wine first. If there are chunks or things floating (or swimming) in the wine, dump it.

Then sniff. If it smells bad, there's no need to taste. If it smells good, then taste it. [I ran a LHBS and learned the hard way to look, sniff, then taste -- always in that order!]
 

BigDaveK

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Oh, wow, I am really curious about this!
I think you're "lucky" and we can ALL learn something.

Absolutely smell it first - carefully! - and then taste a bit if it doesn't smell like a chemical weapon.
Can you test the pH? Vinegar would be below 3.0 and probably closer to 2.0.

As I said, I'm curious. You have to let us know what you find!!! Will it be wine? Will it be vinegar? Will it be....something else?
 

Brian222

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Thanks for the comments. I will share the results, we are in the end of our move and that stuff if coming to the new home tonight. Any other comments or insight is still greatly appreciated, I might not be able to get to it tonight.
 

Raptor99

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If the pH is around 3.5 and there is a normal alcohol level, then the wine is well protected from anything that might harm you. Even if it has turned to vinegar, it won't hurt you and you can use it for cooking.

Look, sniff, and taste. That should be our new motto!
 

QuiQuog

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At first I read it as it being forgotten for 6 years, which would be bad without a doubt. But, roughly a year in the carboy? How long before an airlock dries out? 3 months max? So, 9 or 10 months with a dry airlock. Off-gassing for quite a while, which may reduce the amount of oxygen going in for a while. Then quite a while without any real air movement, and just a small hole for air to get in. Still, I would guess it it's pretty badly oxidized. But, maybe not?
 
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I will share the results, we are in the end of our move and that stuff if coming to the new home tonight.
If we don't hear back, we'll assume it ate you. ;)

I honestly don't have much hope, but weirder things have happened. I have my fingers crossed, and spilled a few sacrificial drops of wine to Dionysus in your honor.
 

Rice_Guy

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Thanks for the comments. I will share the results, we are in the end of our move and that stuff if coming to the new home tonight. Any other comments or insight is still greatly appreciated, I might not be able to get to it tonight.
From a food point of view a 11% ABV beverage which is below pH 3.8 isn’t a food poisoning risk, ,,, but it may taste bad
From a traditional point of view Acetobacter will colonize an 11% ABV beverage that is exposed to air and create vinegar. One of my mom’s peach wines forgotten in the basement with a rusty cap was a really delicious peach vinegar. She made salad dressing with it. The black raspberry next to that jug was very good.
From a chemical point of view alcohol which has a large head space frequently reacts with oxygen producing acetaldehyde which is the chemical that reacts with antabuse and helps folks stop drinking, ,,, and that lecture also said acetaldehyde gives hang overs. I would describe 20ppm as pleasing but high levels produce a sharp burn in the back of the throat when swallowing. In normal levels it isn’t a poison.

Floaters usually indicates that the clarification wasn’t the best. Acetobacter produces a mat on the surface with air but that scoops off.

The conclusion is, ,,, is the taste pleasing? and yes you could swallow. ,,, Finally, Any storage I do over a year has a solid cork on it.

I should add welcome to Wine Making Talk,
 

Brian222

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I was able to try it over the weekend. I also tried the last bottle of raspberry wine I made before. My wife didn't like it too much before, and I was probably just a proud parent. It now tastes a bit sour/bad. Though I do like sours, this was in a bad way. Didn't taste like vinegar though, just bad. The gallon of it was pretty similar to the bottled version so I don't think it was the sitting for a year, the recipe was a disaster. Worth tossing out for sure.

The native grapes and other fruits smelled pretty good. It was again a tiny bit off, not so much sour, just not right. I wish it tasted like it smelled. I could actually have a few extra sips so on a scale of 1-10, 1 being undrinkable and worrisome 2-9 being different levels of good qualities, I would give it a 3 or 4.

I found some notes on the canned wine grape and was worried it was bad with an early taste, but was letting it site in case it helped. Then I smelled it. It was like a vanilla explosion. I could not believe how strong and wonderful it smelled. Then I tasted it. Gag worthy for sure a 1 on that scale.

I had to rush it so that is all I did. I plan to test the ph and anything else I can with the kit I have just since I was given some numbers above. At any rate, I will be starting from square one. I will post my results of the ph and such when I get them.
Thanks for all the feedback
 

hounddawg

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@salcoco is far braver than I am! ;)

Look at the wine first. If there are chunks or things floating (or swimming) in the wine, dump it.

Then sniff. If it smells bad, there's no need to taste. If it smells good, then taste it. [I ran a LHBS and learned the hard way to look, sniff, then taste -- always in that order!]
WHAT? no chunks LMFAO, jeeze you're tough,,,
Dawg
 

Rice_Guy

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I was able to try it over the weekend. I also tried the last bottle of raspberry wine I made before. My wife didn't like it too much before, and I was probably just a proud parent. It now tastes a bit sour/bad. Though I do like sours, this was in a bad way. Didn't taste like vinegar though, just bad. The gallon of it was pretty similar to the bottled version so I don't think it was the sitting for a year, the recipe was a disaster.
Worth tossing out for sure.
HIGH TOTAL ACIDITY IS AN EASY FIX
A guideline for where to balance TA on wine;
after club contest this year I collected eight first place wines which are the red triangles
View attachment 81200
The sample set "cloud" is primarily commercial wines, with some collected in the vinters club and here on WineMakingTalk
NOTE: TA is one of several quality traits which a first place wine has as absence of flavor defect, appropriate aroma for the variety and clarity , , , etc.
NOTE 2: this is an easy test, if ya'll are interested in your wine ,,, PM me
 

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