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Liquors for Fortifying.

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In the spring I will have about 9 gallons of a blend I will need to fortify that I want to turn into a Tawny. Just wondering on what type of liquors one would suggest.

I will really would like to avoid using a lot of liquor, to both save my bank and prevent too much dilutions, but also realize grain alcohol may not be the best option. Right now I am thinking about a 2:1 mix of Goslings 151 Rum and brandy. I am thinking I should only need about a gallon of the mix to bring the ABV from 15% to 20%.

Any thoughts?
 

NorCal

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I like the brandy flavor in mine and head to Costco/Sams club to get a generic brand if they carry it. 9 gallons of wine or the resulting 11 gallons of port is A LOT of port, or at least for me.

If your wine is 15 % and spirits 40% and you have 9 gallons and are shooting for 20%, you will need to add 2.3 gallons (8.7 liters) of spirits.
 

wineview

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What variety of red wine makes the best fortified wine?
 

jburtner

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I have used brandy in my most recent port'ish which is a raspberry chocolate kit as well as whiskey flavored oak chips plus a good amount of top-up wine from grapes... It's ended up as quite a blend and probably too high ABV - about a year on glass now but I'm about to move it into a 10 liter used barrel to get some micro oxidation out of it for a couple months before bottling. Even if it's quite strong I've thoroughly enjoyed testing it lol. Good empirical tests for the next port style!

Cheers,
johann
 

wineview

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I have used brandy in my most recent port'ish which is a raspberry chocolate kit as well as whiskey flavored oak chips plus a good amount of top-up wine from grapes... It's ended up as quite a blend and probably too high ABV - about a year on glass now but I'm about to move it into a 10 liter used barrel to get some micro oxidation out of it for a couple months before bottling. Even if it's quite strong I've thoroughly enjoyed testing it lol. Good empirical tests for the next port style!

Cheers,
johann
At what point during fermentation do you add brandy.
 

jburtner

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I added it after fermentation was complete and I had racked off the gross lees sediment. Adding the brandy will bring the ABV up to a point (theoretically 19%ABV) that will kill the yeast and prevent further fermentation.

Depending on whether you want to ferment out all the way and add sugar or stop the ferment early with some sweetness from the grapes still there...

What are you making it from?

Cheers,
johann
 

NorCal

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At what point during fermentation do you add brandy.
I've done it a few ways; trying to arrest fermentation by adding brandy around 5 brix, which is the level of sugar I like in my port. I have also let the wine go dry, add the brandy to 21%, then backsweeten to my desired level. What I found with the Avante yeast I have been using that it is very difficult to stop fermentation and it would chew through sugar even after bringing the ABV to 21%. As a result, if I am using this yeast for the fermentation, I let it go dry first, add brandy then backsweeten.

My favorite ports come from the BIG grapes, like Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot, You can throw a ton of oak at it and the grape still comes through even with the brandy on top of it.
 

wineview

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I added it after fermentation was complete and I had racked off the gross lees sediment. Adding the brandy will bring the ABV up to a point (theoretically 19%ABV) that will kill the yeast and prevent further fermentation.

Depending on whether you want to ferment out all the way and add sugar or stop the ferment early with some sweetness from the grapes still there...

What are you making it from?

Cheers,
johann
I just stumbled on this thread and thought I would give it a try. I have several red varieties in carboys now. Pino Noir, Cabernet, Zinfandel, Syrah, Sangiovese. What would you recommend?
 

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