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WineXpert Low starting gravity on LE kit ?

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D_D

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Hi all, first post for me,

Been brewing beer for a number of years and decided to give wine making a try.
I purchased 2 WE kits at different price points to see the difference in quality, but also to have a lower end kit that does not require the same aging time as the higher end kit.

1. Italian Sangiovese 10liter 4 week
2. Italy Barbaresco Style (LE18) with grape skins.

Kit no. 1 finished primary fermentation a few days ago with 1.092/0.995 gravity which looks good to me.

Today I stated with the LE kit but to my surprise the starting SG was only 1.081, can this be normal ? I did give it a good amount if stirring, both manually, and with my degasser. Looking a commercial Barbaresco style wines the seem to be around 14% ABV, which will not happen with only 1.081.
I´m pretty sure my water addition is correct, filled to the 23l/6gal mark of my fermenter, just like with the previous kit. After adding the grape pack I´m at around 24.5 liters.
Could the grape skins add any significant amount of sugar that I could not measure this early ?
 

jgmann67

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Hi all, first post for me,

Been brewing beer for a number of years and decided to give wine making a try.
I purchased 2 WE kits at different price points to see the difference in quality, but also to have a lower end kit that does not require the same aging time as the higher end kit.

1. Italian Sangiovese 10liter 4 week
2. Italy Barbaresco Style (LE18) with grape skins.

Kit no. 1 finished primary fermentation a few days ago with 1.092/0.995 gravity which looks good to me.

Today I stated with the LE kit but to my surprise the starting SG was only 1.081, can this be normal ? I did give it a good amount if stirring, both manually, and with my degasser. Looking a commercial Barbaresco style wines the seem to be around 14% ABV, which will not happen with only 1.081.
I´m pretty sure my water addition is correct, filled to the 23l/6gal mark of my fermenter, just like with the previous kit. After adding the grape pack I´m at around 24.5 liters.
Could the grape skins add any significant amount of sugar that I could not measure this early ?
This happens with some regularity. And, to answer your question, yes - skins will add significant sugars. But, not enough to get you from 12% to 14% ABV. You could conceivable get to 1.090, which will get you to about 13%... maybe.

What I might do: leave your skins in the juice for 24 hours before dropping your yeast. Mash your skin bag every hour or two while you’re awake to release the sugars. Then, after the 24 hours, give it a good stir and see where you are. If you’re at 1.090 or better, just go with it.

If you aren’t, or you want a higher abv than you could potentially get, consider adding simple syrup until you get to where you’re comfortable. Simple syrup is simple to make: 2 parts sugar, 1 part water, boil, stir until clear. Let it cool and use.

Personally, if you get above 1.090, I’d let it alone.
 

rustbucket

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Jim is right, the grape skins will increase the sugars in the must. If you want to prove it to yourself, add the skins to the must and mash them with some frequency as Jim suggest, but hold off adding the yeast. Then take a specific gravity reading the 24 hours later. The SG will be higher.

Some fruit sugars will continue to be extracted from the skins over the next few days.
 

D_D

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Thanks for your answers, unfortunately I have already pitched the yeast.
Went ahead and poked the bag a bit and then stirred, and the SG went up 2 points. I hope the rest will get extracted during fermentation.
I don´t really care if I can reach 14% ABV, I just thought that 1.081 was way low for the style.
 

jgmann67

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Thanks for your answers, unfortunately I have already pitched the yeast.
Went ahead and poked the bag a bit and then stirred, and the SG went up 2 points. I hope the rest will get extracted during fermentation.
I don´t really care if I can reach 14% ABV, I just thought that 1.081 was way low for the style.
Don’t sweat it. I think you can anticipate an SG of about 1.085 or more with you skins.

Your yeast won’t build up a head of steam for another day or two. So, there’s no real harm in going ahead and doing the mash n’ stir till tomorrow. Your measurement might give you some piece of mind.
 

D_D

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One more round poking the bag and it is now 1.085, guess it will extract even more in a few days.
Would be interesting to know the potential yield from the grape package, almost so I think they should mention it in the instructions.
 

Swedeman

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If you look at Winexpert.com it says you get 14% for this kit if you follow the instructions
 

D_D

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If you look at Winexpert.com it says you get 14% for this kit if you follow the instructions
Yep, I actually checked that before I started. To reach 14% i would need around 1.100/0.995 , and maybe there is enough sugar in the skins to make that happen even if I doubt it, but it will be impossible to measure anyway, since the fermentation will start before all of that leeches out. No big deal really, in a couple of years I will know how it turned out :)

Nice to see a fellow Swede here by the way. Skål!
 

ras2018

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I just did this kit and also was at 1.08 at the start. I bumped it to 1.09 with some corn sugar. This kit also has a larger than normal skin pack, so more extra sugar is to be expected from that. First taste was promising!
 

D_D

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I just did this kit and also was at 1.08 at the start. I bumped it to 1.09 with some corn sugar. This kit also has a larger than normal skin pack, so more extra sugar is to be expected from that. First taste was promising!
Good to know, since it is just my second kit, my first guess was that I did something wrong. But as you said, the skin pack was around 2.8kg so it might solve itself, not going to add anything, I will just see how it turns out.
My main concern now is that I am fermenting in a 26.5 liter SS Brewtech stainless bucket, and i have 24.5 liters in it. Fitted a blow-off tube and hoping for the best, maybe even remove the lid once fermentation kicks off.
 

Swedeman

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Nice to see a fellow Swede here by the way. Skål!
Skål på dig själv! :)

I have done all my kits that comes with a skin pack in a 27 liter FerMonster without any issues. And besides, if you used the RC212 that came with the kit, it's a low foaming yeast. It's not like brewing beers.
 

D_D

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Skål på dig själv! :)

I have done all my kits that comes with a skin pack in a 27 liter FerMonster without any issues. And besides, if you used the RC212 that came with the kit, it's a low foaming yeast. It's not like brewing beers.
Seems to work fine so far, fermenting like crazy, but not much foam. There were two yeast packs, one RC212 and one EC1118 that was pitched at the same time as per the instructions, which made me a little worried about headspace.
 

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