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Low initial specific gravity

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So I'm on my second wine kit, identical to my first (which turned out really well), it's a Chardonnay. But with the second kit, the initial specific gravity was low (about 0.9 when it should have been over 1.05). I added sugar to get it up to where it should be, but my question is, why would this happen? It's a kit and I followed the instructions. Is there anything I should be worried about? Could it be a bad kit?
 

Ajmassa

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I assume you mean 1st kit was 1.105 and new on 1.090 correct?

Could be just reading hydrometer wrong maybe?
Or maybe you added more water accidentally this time?
Bad kit I guess is possible but not sure how sugar could be a little under on sealed kit juice. Since it’s 2nd kit my bet is on human error.
You can always add sugar or simple syrup mix to bump it up before pitching yeast.
 
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I assume you mean 1st kit was 1.105 and new on 1.090 correct?

Could be just reading hydrometer wrong maybe?
Or maybe you added more water accidentally this time?
Bad kit I guess is possible but not sure how sugar could be a little under on sealed kit juice. Since it’s 2nd kit my bet is on human error.
You can always add sugar or simple syrup mix to bump it up before pitching yeast.
The kit was supposed to be at 1.08 to 1.095, but it was closer to 0.95.

It's possible I added an extra litre of water at most. Would that make that much of a difference?

I think I was reading the hydrometer correctly, but if I wasn't, there's going to be a whole lot of sugar for the yeast!

I guess I was worried that the kit could be the problem in some way.
 

Ajmassa

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That “1.” is assumed the beginning number. Not until you reach the top of the hydromter bold black line into the red when your under 1.000. Not the easiest thing in the world to get used to.

You are right around 1.096. All systems go!
 
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Thanks! Will the extra sugar I added have a large impact on the wine? Its a 23 litre kit and I added maybe four cups.
 

Ajmassa

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If your fermentation gets down to around .995 than the kit’s intended to be 11.5% - 13.5%ish abv (1.080-1.095). But bumping up to 1.105 would be pushing 15% abv. Steamin hot! Hopefully not too hot. You could add water to drop it some. But lose some flavor.
Feel like making a 3rd? Could blend em together too.

“Sir you are registering .090 on the breathalyzer”
“But officer I only had 2 glasses of Chardonnay. I swear!”
“That’s what they all say ”
 
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Well that will certainly be a fierce wine! I think I'll leave it as it, wouldn't want to dilute the flavour, but I'll probably save it for the weekends when I don't have to get up too early...
 

Ajmassa

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Eh. Tough call actually. Because high abv also takes away flavor. Off balance and can taste too alcoholly. Maybe someone else can chime in. Don’t know which is the lesser of two evils. Adding water to drop abv 1-2%. Or leaving at 15%.
 

drainsurgeon

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If the high alcohol if overpowering the flavor of the wine, Ajmassa has a good idea to make another batch and blend them. I wouldn't water it down to dilute the ABV. You'll loose the good flavor that the kit intended. The only other thing to try (if the ferment isn't done) is to filter the remaining yeast out and try and stop the ferment above 1.0. Not easily done however.
 

Ajmassa

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If the high alcohol if overpowering the flavor of the wine, Ajmassa has a good idea to make another batch and blend them. I wouldn't water it down to dilute the ABV. You'll loose the good flavor that the kit intended. The only other thing to try (if the ferment isn't done) is to filter the remaining yeast out and try and stop the ferment above 1.0. Not easily done however.
I agree with ya. Making another and blending is probably the easiest and best option. Just costs more and takes more work. But likely end up with a more ideal abv around 13%
And stopping an active fermentation is likely a fools errand. Long-shot at best.
Another thing I’d look into is backsweetening down the road and some French oak cubes or spirals—to try and balance out the high abv and bring back some flavor.
But then again- you’d still have a +15% Chardonnay—- give that to a date and you might be accused of slipping her a roofie!
 

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