Kit Wine Taste

Discussion in 'Kit Winemaking' started by facn1989, Apr 10, 2018.

Wine Making Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk by donating:

  1. Jul 30, 2019 #81

    ras2018

    ras2018

    ras2018

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2018
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    33
    Same here. Although, even not using sorbate I still feel there is “kit taste”. I would agree though that this is simply a young un-aged wine as I have made plenty of great tasting wine.
     
  2. Jul 31, 2019 #82

    Rocky

    Rocky

    Rocky

    Chronologically Gifted Member WMT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
    Messages:
    5,793
    Likes Received:
    1,729
    I have not used my barrels for quite a while now and I am a little concerned about putting them back into use without some major work on them. But, I have found in the past that aging a kit wine in a barrel for a year or so really improves the product. I am just too old and lazy to do it now.
     
  3. Jul 31, 2019 #83

    jbo_c

    jbo_c

    jbo_c

    Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2019
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    20
    Gender:
    Male
    Yeah. Not the sorbate. I almost never use it and get that bubble-gum/jolly rancher taste to varying degrees in most Kit reds.

    It does seem that some people don’t identify it and, so are equally convinced it doesn’t exist as those of us who do taste it are that it does.

    I spent a fair amount of time 20 years ago corresponding with the honorable Tim V. About it and his take is that it may be a byproduct of the concentration or pasteurization step that the yeast are unable or not efficient at metabolizing. - and some people are more sensitive to than others.

    The problem with using competitions as a barometer is that most scoring regimens are geared toward lack of fault, not simply identifying a unique unqualified attribute. Using the scoring sheets I’ve seen would still rate even the wines I’ve had with heavy kit taste pretty high.

    The most effective combatant I’ve identified to combat what I personally identify as ‘that taste’ is degassing WAYYYY over what is otherwise suggested. Many people suggest that bulk aging will degas a wine, but in my experience, that’s not the case with carboys. Barrels are another animal since evaporation will pull a small but consistent vacuum as age time goes on. Age alone doesn’t help. I’ve aged kits as long as 5 years and still had ‘that taste’ be so strong that I poured out the whole batch.

    Minimally concentrated kits (larger format) also do seem to have less of it, lending credence to Tim’s hypothesis about it being related to the concentration process.

    All that said, I have some very pleasant kits and I have high hopes for future batches.

    Jbo
     
    Chuck E and Wayne Freeman like this.
  4. Jul 31, 2019 #84

    jsiddall

    jsiddall

    jsiddall

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    71
    For me I have found a few "tells" for kits.

    Candy/bubble gum is one. I don't generally use sorbate so don't have a lot of experience with it, but I have at least one sorbated kit that didn't have a candy-ish taste so I know it doesn't _always_ cause it.

    Most kits I have made, especially the reds, have a strange flavor. In most cases I can't identify a kit's varietals so whatever it is it makes kits taste unlike any other wine. They all sorta taste like blends of something I can't put my finger on. Also, some kits have specific strange flavors. For example, I can pick out some Cellar Craft Showcase kits I made 5 years ago from a single whiff because they have a strange aroma. Early on it was kinda like bananas but has evolved into something less describable.

    But even more prevalent seems to be a flavor/aroma I can best describe as "musty". I find it in most kits, including whites. It tends to mute the flavors a bit, but I can pick it out even when it is subtle. I suspect this might be a result of the concentration process.

    Anyway, I find using grapes, or fresh pressed white grape juice, tastes so much better that I have stopped making kits. YMMV.

    Agree with others that barrel aging definitely improves kits significantly. For the record I use high vacuum to degass all my reds so residual CO2 is not an issue.
     
  5. Aug 1, 2019 #85

    bstnh1

    bstnh1

    bstnh1

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2012
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    156
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    In the woods of New Hampshire
    I'm sure glad I don't have an uber-sensitive pallet or nose. I can usually smell things that others can't, but I can honestly say I've never detected any unusual odors in a kit wine.
     
    cmason1957 likes this.
  6. Aug 3, 2019 #86

    BABRU

    BABRU

    BABRU

    Junior

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2012
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Same here. No off taste or odor in kits I have made however I generally only make the sweet summer fufu kits for the gals and high end seasonal special edition kits for their unique flavors. Mostly I make wine from juice, Chilean in the spring and California juice in the fall. Here I can get 6 gallon juice buckets for just around $50 each so it is not only makes very good wine but much cheaper than the kits. Just opened a spring 2017 vintage Chilean Zinfandel that was fermented dry, oaked in the primary and bottled in June 2018. It is fantastic! I’ll have to order several buckets of that juice again this spring.
     
  7. Nov 2, 2019 #87

    Swedeman

    Swedeman

    Swedeman

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2018
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    About the mystical wine kit taste; a quote from Tim Vandergrift:

    "If you read between the lines, an awful lot of commercial wine is made exactly like wine kits, with the same raw materials, and the same techniques. That's why I find it consistently funny when anyone says they don't like 'kit' wine—they're usually already drinking it, but paying way more from a commercial source!"

    Full text here: https://www.midwestsupplies.com/bot...o-make-wine-at-home/wine-skins-in-recipe-kits
     
    cmason1957, bstnh1 and Brian55 like this.
  8. Nov 2, 2019 #88

    Brian55

    Brian55

    Brian55

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2014
    Messages:
    875
    Likes Received:
    341
    The last paragraph explains where most of the people making kits fail. I was guilty of this for at least the first three years of this hobby.
     
  9. Nov 2, 2019 #89

    jsbeckton

    jsbeckton

    jsbeckton

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2016
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    121
    I’ve followed the last paragraph, as good as I can so far anyways, but I am starting to get the impression that I don’t like most kit wines. For me it’s mostly the WE kits that I’m not really liking as I find them to have a “jammy” finish. I have been much happier with the RJS kits so maybe it’s just something with the WE process.

    Note that I’ve never used sorbate but after 40 months I pretty much use my WELodi Cab as top up wine...
     
  10. Nov 2, 2019 #90

    Brian55

    Brian55

    Brian55

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2014
    Messages:
    875
    Likes Received:
    341
    The other big fail is not fully degassing. If it's not fully degassed prior to bottling, there's no fixing it, it really won't change much over time and will retain that young jammy flavor for years. In the earlier days, we'd have bottles that we're going on 5 years old that tasted exactly like they did at year one, sure enough, every one of them failed the shake test after uncorking. I now pull a fairly deep vacuum before bulk aging and again just prior to bottling to insure they're fully degassed.
    I too prefer RJS kits, but we've made plenty of respectable WE, CC and Mosti kits as well.
     
    Rice_Guy likes this.
  11. Nov 2, 2019 #91

    Ajmassa

    Ajmassa

    Ajmassa

    Just a Guy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,250
    Likes Received:
    2,556
    Gotta remember too—even if it’s not intentional, Vandergraft has a strong bias and he makes his nut off kit sales. So he can speak truth, but it’s still said in a way to lend to his bias and paint the narrative that kit wine is no different than a lot of commercial wine.
    I have certainly noticed the mysterious “kit taste”. Some more than others. In wines with & without age. But never noticed in cheap commercial Mondavi ever.

    Who knows. Maybe it’s partially psychological. Gotta grab some Mondavi now and run some “tests”!
     
    tjgaul and stickman like this.
  12. Nov 3, 2019 #92

    jsbeckton

    jsbeckton

    jsbeckton

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2016
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    121
    This. What I perceive in many kits I’ve never perceived in any commercial wine, ever.

    Something unique to the process or maybe I have just lost my mind!
     
    Ajmassa likes this.
  13. Nov 3, 2019 #93

    jsbeckton

    jsbeckton

    jsbeckton

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2016
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    121
    I don’t subscribe to the “shake test” because I get a puff of gas even when shaking water...but my kits have all been bulk aged in carboys for at least a year so I don’t think it’s a degassing issue.
     
  14. Nov 3, 2019 #94

    Brian55

    Brian55

    Brian55

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2014
    Messages:
    875
    Likes Received:
    341
    If that's the case I'd have my water checked. It's more than just a puff, it's pretty obvious when it's not degassed. I've had several wines make it through a year of bulk aging which still weren't fully degassed, which is why I now pull a vacuum prior to bulk. Bulk aging doesn't do much if there's still a lot of gas, just like bottle aging doesn't work in the same scenario. If you're going to continue making wine I highly recommend investing in a vacuum pump.
     
  15. Nov 3, 2019 #95

    jsbeckton

    jsbeckton

    jsbeckton

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2016
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    121
    A temperature difference between the wine/water and the air can easily create a pressure difference during shaking. Also, there are other dissolved gases in wine besides CO2. Therefore I personally don’t put any weight into the ‘shake test’ and instead use time and the lack of very tiny bubbles under vacuum be my degassing guide. I use the AIO but the same can be observed with a simple VacuVin.

    Also, I bulk age with a breathable silicone stopper rather than a solid stopper so any remaining CO2 can escape.
     
    Ajmassa likes this.
  16. Nov 3, 2019 #96

    Brian55

    Brian55

    Brian55

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2014
    Messages:
    875
    Likes Received:
    341
    Like I said, the shake test makes it obvious if there's any significant amount of gas remaining, clearly more than a little burp. Since I've started putting a vacuum on before bulk, and again before bottling, I've yet to experience the ole jammy kit taste in any of my wines. I switched to silicone stoppers a couple years ago as well. Much better than the old solid stoppers.
     
  17. Nov 3, 2019 #97

    jsbeckton

    jsbeckton

    jsbeckton

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2016
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    121
    I really don’t notice any CO2 at all when pouring my 40mo Lodi Cab but I’d be pleasantly pleased if the AIO removes the jammy taste from future batches. Only time will tell but I’m hesitant to try WE kits at this point in favor of RJS.
     
  18. Nov 3, 2019 #98

    Brian55

    Brian55

    Brian55

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2014
    Messages:
    875
    Likes Received:
    341
    Not sure how much vacuum the AIO pulls, but vacuum racking definitely helps as well. I pull the carboys down to 20 inches of vacuum after stabilizing, but I will go as deep as 25 prior to bottling if I see any sign of bubbles at 20.
    Another possible cause of "kit taste" I can think of other than not properly aging and/or degassing would be not quite fermenting completely dry. That could certainly leave reds with a bit of a jammy flavor.
     
  19. Nov 3, 2019 #99

    sour_grapes

    sour_grapes

    sour_grapes

    Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2013
    Messages:
    9,723
    Likes Received:
    7,162

    IIRC, the AIO pulls about 25 as well.
     
  20. Nov 3, 2019 #100

    jsbeckton

    jsbeckton

    jsbeckton

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2016
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    121
    So, pulled a SLM today that was made before I had the AIO and immediately put the VacuVin on to see if there was any CO2. Nothing. Maybe I’m not describing it correctly but something is just off/missing on the finish especially compared to commercial wine, even cheap commercial wine...

    Also, all of my reds have finished about 0.995-0.996 and I measure with a finishing hydrometer so it’s pretty accurate so that isn’t it. I don’t want to be part of the ‘kit taste’ club but to me something is just noticeably different and I wish I could pinpoint it.

    Maybe next test to make sure I am not biased is to have my wife give me 4 blind samples of a varietal with just 1 being a kit. I have no doubt I could pick the kit!
     

Share This Page