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knight

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Good morning all, well after doing a bit of research I have dived into making my own wine. I've now got an Apfelwein and mixed berry and apple wine in secondary.

Since the mixed berry was my first wine from scratch I have, not surprisingly, made a few (I hope not critical) mistakes. Since I would prefer not to make the same mistakes again next time I figured that I would ask for your collective wisdom to critique where I went wrong.

I figure my log might help so:
Size: 1 Gallon
Yeast: 8g VR21
Sugar: A1, 450g dissolved in some water
Ingredients: 2x Woolworths Frozen Mixed Berries, 1x Woolworths Frozen Raspberries, Additional 150g Woolworths Frozen Raspberries, ~1.2L Berri Apple Juice, Pectanise
SG: 1.090
Primary: 19 Jan 16
Secondary: 22 Jan 16
Bottled:

Notes:
19 Jan 16 AM: Berries removed from freezer and placed on counter to defrost during the day.
19 Jan 16 PM: Berries squished as much as possible and placed in straining bag with ~1.2l of apple juice. Left for a couple of hours. After several hours the bag was removed and squeezed, SG was checked at 1.048. Sugar required was calculated at 400g and 450g of sugar dissolved in some water was added - extra was added to compensate for the extra water to dissolve the sugar. SG rechecked at 1.090. Berries were replaced and the lid replaced. Yeast to be added tomorrow afternoon. I don't know of I've been careful enough about sanitisation, I have added 2 crushed campden tablets dissolved in some water.
20 Jan 16: Potato masher used to mix the must and punch down the cap. 8g Vintners Harvest VR21 yeast and 4g yeast nutrient pitched.
21 Jan 16 AM: Cap punched down
21 Jan 16 PM: Cap punched down
22 Jan 16 PM: Gravity measured at ~1.004, attempted to rack to secondary... Failed badly. Was unable to establish a syphon with the auto syphon due to wrong hose diameter. Conducted syphon using mouth (gargled Vodka) eventually moved all into 1g carboy... Only half filled.... Added as much remaining apple juice as I had ~⅓ of a bottle. Refilled bottle with cold water and added that. Used ~1.75L of additional water.
Did taste sample for gravity check (before water and apple juice) dry and very tart/tangy unfortunately a good portion of that has probably been lost now, also expect that the final ABV will be much lower than planned.
From my reading since (and some discussion on another forum) I'm led to believe that the amount of berries I had was enough to flavour a Gallon of juice, but not enough to produce a Gallon of juice. I did some more reading on this forum this morning and would I be correct to say I probably need 10# of berries for 1 Gallon of juice?

Any other suggestions, please feel free to recommend better ways of doing things. (yes I know I need a mini auto syphon :) )

Thanks everyone
 

Stressbaby

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+1 for the good record keeping.

The amount of fruit per gallon of juice will be a matter for debate here. There are proponents of "straight juice" wines, and for this style of wine you need fruit totaling >=10# per gallon. The straight blackberry I made this year used 29# of fresh fruit and yielded 2.25 gallons of wine...just under 13#/gallon. Using 10#/gallon will mean you will need to add very little juice or water.

However, you do not necessarily need that much fruit per gallon to make a decent wine. Many good wines can be made with 4-5#/gallon, and you make up the volume with sugar water or juice.

You don't say whether the juice used to top up is regular juice or concentrate. Note that topping up with regular juice will reduce ABV (and flavor), since ready-to-drink juice has about 1/2 the amount of sugar as your must at the start of fermentation. Our typical concentrate has twice the sugar. Therefore, if I ever have the need to add juice, I generally try to use concentrate diluted 50:50 with water - this gets the sugar concentration of the added juice in the 1.090 ballpark, and leaves me with little to no dilution of ABV or flavor.

Your fruit was in a mesh bag - did you drip drain it, using only the free run? Or did you squeeze any additional juice from the bag when moving to the secondary? That can help your volume a little bit but will add some sediment as well.
 

knight

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Well the first time I tried to post a response the app decided to get rid of it. So I shall try again.

Firstly thanks for the welcome, I feel I'm likely to learn a lot here.

Secondly, Stressbaby, thanks for the advice about fruit/gallon, I'll have to have a think about my next wine. Fortunately I've got time to think, with only 3x1 gallon carboys I've got to wait until my apfelwein is Bottled before I can start the next one, probably a rhubarb.

As to your other question, it was regular juice. I'm in Australia and fruit concentrate is decidedly difficult to find. The closest our supermarkets carry is a liquid form of kool-aid. Which is no use.
 

Arne

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to your other question, it was regular juice. I'm in Australia and fruit concentrate is decidedly difficult to find. The closest our supermarkets carry is a liquid form of kool-aid. Which is no use.
They don't have concentrates in the freezer section? No grape, apple, orange frozen in small cans you mix with water?? Arne.
 

knight

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They don't have concentrates in the freezer section? No grape, apple, orange frozen in small cans you mix with water?? Arne.
Nope, nothing frozen. The only concentrate we have is in the fridge section and it's a 'fruit drink concentrate - contains 25% real fruit juice'

Yeah not so good for making wine...
 

Scooter68

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How much Fruit per gallon really depends on two factors 1) Your preferences for full bodied flavor and 2) The strength of flavor in the fruit. Those who grow fruit will tell you that when there is less rain fruit, of all kinds tends to be smaller but the flavor is so much more concentrated in that smaller (And typically less juicy) fruit. When the weather has been very wet some fruit will be larger but much less flavorful. This past year we had a very cool spring with plenty of rain but the wild berries we have were great.
So the answer depends - BUT this year I made a 1 gallon batch of Blackberry wine with 4.5 pounds of fresh wild blackberries from our property and I am very very dissappointed - That I didn't make at least 2- 3 gallons! This stuff is awesome. With backsweetening to about 1.005 the fragrance is like flowers and the taste is like pure blackberry juice - the ABV (using the infamous Vinometer) comes out at 13%. If I could only make one type of fruit wine this would be it. Tonight I allowed myself 1/2 glass of this young wine (Started in mid-July 2015). I cannot imagine how it could be anymore flavorful. I will try to save one bottle for at least a year but I don't if that will happen.
Meanwhile my wife (the blackberry picker) has agreed to let me have enough more of her frozen berry stash for another gallon. Hope to start that this week so it the very young batch 2 might be ready for 4th of July family visit cause I don't know if I'm willing to wait or share this with anyone else.
 
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WineYooper

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You sound like the perfect candidate for making lots of skeeter pee. Lemon juice and lime juice availability hopefully is not a problem. Good luck.
 

knight

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Thanks Yooper, your right, lemon and lime juice are available (All be it in 250ml bottles) alas I fear the preservative 223 in both of them probably makes that more challenging.

It seems my best options are apfelwein type bases and fresh fruit + water.
 

knight

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Well after 5 months I've had my first look at what this wine might finally look like.

I racked it to secondary this evening and got to taste some....since it was there <.< >.>

Anyway here are the logs:
18 May: Racking off lees, greeted with some slightly off smells when removing the airlock but these quickly remove. Remainder of observations from the glass.
Colour: The red is beautiful, but still very cloudy
Smells: The berry is distinctive, there is also something there slightly less pleasant but can't identify it.
Taste: The front of the wine is a nice berry flavour, no noticeable alcohol taste. However the follow on taste is less pleasant, not vinegar but definitely a cousin there of. May benefit from sweetening?
150ml water added to reduce headspace.
Any suggestions other than aging it more? My gut feeling is adding anything at this point (oak etc) will just result in a random mix of non-complementary flavours (though quite willing to be told I'm wrong.
I'm sure age will help a bit too but no idea how much.
 

wineforfun

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You are definitely going to need to backsweeten to bring some of the flavor out and cut down on the "sourness".
How much backsweetening will depend on your likes.
Personally, I would start with 1/4c per gal. and go from there. You can always add more but you can't subtract.
 

Scooter68

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By the way - Have you been to your local recycling center? Ours often has used 1/gal or 4/liter carboys that work just great. I actually have switched to the 4 liter carboys so that at the end, when I bottle I usually have a couple of glasses of wine I can drink without popping open a bottle.
I get my wine bottles there now as well as carboys. I now have about 15 or more of the 4 liter and a couple of 1 gal ones from there. Occasionally I run across a 1/2 gal or 1.5 liter bottle and the work great for storing partials when my batch runs long or for my sanitizing solutions. Along with 70 to 80 bottles. Takes a little time to remove labels and I make sure all the bottles for each batch match up but that's just a little time and effort for free bottles.

Taking a little time to drop by that recycling center has saved me quite a bit of money that I can use toward MORE WINE MAKING !!!
 

WineYooper

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As noted in previous post, the amount of juice definitely varies from year to year and fruit to fruit. I like to use 5-6# pounds of fruit/gal and when making 5-6 gallon batches add water to 5 1/2 or 6 1/2 gal mark on my primary. I have never made a country fruit wine with all juice from berries, when I do cranberry I use around 30# and even after pressing only end up with about 2.5 gallons of juice. I just cannot afford the fruit to make with all juice. When doing a 6 gal batch of cranberry I have to use my 10 gal primary just because of the bulk of the berries. I may be wrong but my wines taste just fine to me and my testing friends with the addition of water. Another comment is two crushed campden tablets is a bit much for one gallon my normal amount is 1/4 tsp for 5 gallons, I think it says on the KMS bottle 1 tab per gallon. It should be added 12 hours before yeast is pitched, for two tablets you made need to wait longer or have a hard time starting fermentation. By the way, welcome to WMT.
 

Tnuscan

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@knight, Hi.

Did you use sodium or potassium campden tabs?

If sodium, try the potassium next time and as stated above, only use 1 per gallon.

SMS, or to much K-meta may throw the taste off.

Cheers!
 

Scooter68

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As noted in previous post, the amount of juice definitely varies from year to year and fruit to fruit. I like to use 5-6# pounds of fruit/gal and when making 5-6 gallon batches add water to 5 1/2 or 6 1/2 gal mark on my primary. I have never made a country fruit wine with all juice from berries, when I do cranberry I use around 30# and even after pressing only end up with about 2.5 gallons of juice. I just cannot afford the fruit to make with all juice. When doing a 6 gal batch of cranberry I have to use my 10 gal primary just because of the bulk of the berries. I may be wrong but my wines taste just fine to me and my testing friends with the addition of water. Another comment is two crushed campden tablets is a bit much for one gallon my normal amount is 1/4 tsp for 5 gallons, I think it says on the KMS bottle 1 tab per gallon. It should be added 12 hours before yeast is pitched, for two tablets you made need to wait longer or have a hard time starting fermentation. By the way, welcome to WMT.

In full agreement with you on the qty of berries per gallon. Blackberries, and Black Raspberries (at least our wild berries) have much more flavor per pound than grapes and other fruits in my opinion. All juice wine for me would be a waste of berries. If I get a solid crop of blueberries next year I might go with a test of blueberries of 8-10 lbs / gallon. This years crop is going to a bit light on quantity and quality so I may not make any blueberry wine. ( Have 30 Blueberry bushes but this year only 10 are producing the others are 1-2 years away from contributing to the harvest - sigh)
This year I hope to do a couple of gallons of blackberry wine and maybe 2-3 of peach if I can find a good price on fresh peaches.

Hey knight Welcome !!
 
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