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making a sweet wine

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Todd

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I'm still at the research stage of what kit I want to do but I did notice there are pretty much no sweet wines. How would I go about making a sweeter style? From what I have read I think I need to monitor the FG and stop fermentation when it reaches about 1.010. I've also read you can add surgar at the end, does that change the flavor drastically?
 
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Caplan

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Sweet wine kits are out there i'm sure. I have to admit I'm not a fan of sweet wines so I never brew them. If you decided to try your own version (with say concentrate) back sweetening would work - kill the yeast with the usual combination of sorbate and sulphite and use more concentrate (or at a push dextrose etc) to sweeten. I'd think that you'd be right in not fermenting the wine out 'dry' first. It'll leave some 'body' and residual sweetness before you finally sweeten to taste.
This is just my initial thoughts - I'm sure someone who brews sweet wines will be able to offer more help!:)
 

Todd

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Sweet wine kits are out there i'm sure. I have to admit I'm not a fan of sweet wines so I never brew them. If you decided to try your own version (with say concentrate) back sweetening would work - kill the yeast with the usual combination of sorbate and sulphite and use more concentrate (or at a push dextrose etc) to sweeten. I'd think that you'd be right in not fermenting the wine out 'dry' first. It'll leave some 'body' and residual sweetness before you finally sweeten to taste.
This is just my initial thoughts - I'm sure someone who brews sweet wines will be able to offer more help!:)

thanks, I'm also not sure how sweet it needs to be for my wife. Do you normally just let yours fully ferment out or do you stop them at some point?
 
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Caplan

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thanks, I'm also not sure how sweet it needs to be for my wife. Do you normally just let yours fully ferment out or do you stop them at some point?
You need to at least taste the wines your wife likes to get an idea as to her palate to get it right. I only brew dry wines and let them ferment out and then age them for at least a year or two on average.
 

DarkStar

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Doing sweet wines it is best to allow them to complete fermantation first, it is extermley hard to stop a ferment in progress. Sorbate will only stop the yeast from multipling and most wine yeasts are tolerant of normal levels of sulfite. So to sweeten it is, wait unil clear either through waiting and racking, or usage of fining agents, can sterile filter if so desired now. Adding recomended dosage of sulfite to prevent MLF (50 ppm) and sorbate 1/2 tsp gallon, add sugar through taste test to proper amount, how much sugar for taste will depend on acid level and tannin content and personal preferance, wait 2 to 3 weeks checking gravity to make sure there is no signs of fermentation or you will risk bottle bombs and then bottle.
 

JSin

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If your wife likes wine that is only a little sweat try a leapframil if she likes medium sweet try a gewürztraminer and if she likes very sweet try an Ice wine there are kits for all three.
 
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conboss

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Doing sweet wines it is best to allow them to complete fermantation first, it is extermley hard to stop a ferment in progress. Sorbate will only stop the yeast from multipling and most wine yeasts are tolerant of normal levels of sulfite. So to sweeten it is, wait unil clear either through waiting and racking, or usage of fining agents, can sterile filter if so desired now. Adding recomended dosage of sulfite to prevent MLF (50 ppm) and sorbate 1/2 tsp gallon, add sugar through taste test to proper amount, how much sugar for taste will depend on acid level and tannin content and personal preferance, wait 2 to 3 weeks checking gravity to make sure there is no signs of fermentation or you will risk bottle bombs and then bottle.
Instead of sugar save some of the juice before adding the yeast. You can freeze it and then after the fermentation is complete and you've done everything DarkStar said to do add it back to the wine. I understand that process is called sweet reserve. I'm doing it with my blackberry.

Greg
 

djamwolfe

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I just got done making a Strawberry white zinfandel kit Made by RJ Spagnols and it is a sweet dessert type wine - not wine cooler sweet, but my wife loves it. They have a whole series of "Breezin" kits that are sweet.
HTH Devon
 

cpfan

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Generally kit makers allow the wine to ferment to dryness and then add sorbate and sweetener. This is because, as Darkstar said, it is very difficult to stop an ongoing ferment.

The mist style kits (like the Orchard Breezin mentioned) follow this approach. The fruit flavour and sweetener is in a bag that is added after the sorbate and before the clearing agent(s). These are too sweet for some people. The strawberry mentioned is probably a 4 or 5 on the BC liquor board scale.

Some other kits (eg blushes, gewurztraminers) include a sweetening pouch to be used similarly. Generally these make the wine a 1 or 2 on the BC scale.

You can sweeten any wine kit by adding wine conditioner after the sorbate. It can be difficult to figure out how much sweetener.

Steve
 

Todd

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Generally kit makers allow the wine to ferment to dryness and then add sorbate and sweetener. This is because, as Darkstar said, it is very difficult to stop an ongoing ferment.

The mist style kits (like the Orchard Breezin mentioned) follow this approach. The fruit flavour and sweetener is in a bag that is added after the sorbate and before the clearing agent(s). These are too sweet for some people. The strawberry mentioned is probably a 4 or 5 on the BC liquor board scale.

Some other kits (eg blushes, gewurztraminers) include a sweetening pouch to be used similarly. Generally these make the wine a 1 or 2 on the BC scale.

You can sweeten any wine kit by adding wine conditioner after the sorbate. It can be difficult to figure out how much sweetener.

Steve
Thanks guys, I'll just have to give it a try and see. I think we will do a reisling or gewurztraminer for the first batch, she tends to like those the most. I say she likes it but I like it also.
 

cpfan

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Todd...there's lots of good Riesling & Gewurztraminer kits out there. Since I don't know where you live (update your profile to give us a clue), it's difficult to recommend one. You could ask your retailer or check the websites to see which ones include a sweetening pack.

For example, my favourite gewurztraminer (Vineco's Ken Ridge Showcase German Gewurztraminer) comes with about 1 litre of Suss Reserve juice. Unfortunately, Vineco products have limited distribution in the US.

Steve
 

Todd

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Todd...there's lots of good Riesling & Gewurztraminer kits out there. Since I don't know where you live (update your profile to give us a clue), it's difficult to recommend one. You could ask your retailer or check the websites to see which ones include a sweetening pack.

For example, my favourite gewurztraminer (Vineco's Ken Ridge Showcase German Gewurztraminer) comes with about 1 litre of Suss Reserve juice. Unfortunately, Vineco products have limited distribution in the US.

Steve
Ok updated.. I was planning to start with a wine expert vinters collection. Fairly inexpensive and I have read good things about them.
 

cpfan

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Ok updated.. I was planning to start with a wine expert vinters collection. Fairly inexpensive and I have read good things about them.
Todd:

WE Vintners Reserve are a good 4-week kit. The Gewurztraminer comes with an F-pack to sweeten it. Should be a nice wine, ready to drink fairly soon.

Steve
 

Todd

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Todd:

WE Vintners Reserve are a good 4-week kit. The Gewurztraminer comes with an F-pack to sweeten it. Should be a nice wine, ready to drink fairly soon.

Steve
great that is what I'm looking for, we will need to build up our stock before I get into any longer aged wines. She likes to drink.. lol. These should be ready to drink in 28 days right?

One of the sites I found the guy made 5 gallons with a 6 gallon kit, said he thought it gave a better body, is this worth trying or just follow the directions the first time? I ask because I have a 5 gallon carboy already.

Todd
 

cpfan

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great that is what I'm looking for, we will need to build up our stock before I get into any longer aged wines. She likes to drink.. lol. These should be ready to drink in 28 days right?

One of the sites I found the guy made 5 gallons with a 6 gallon kit, said he thought it gave a better body, is this worth trying or just follow the directions the first time? I ask because I have a 5 gallon carboy already.

Todd
Well I don't think that they are ready to drink in 28 days. Depends on questions like filtering, and your tatse buds. Whites will be ready sooner than reds. Of cousre, many of my customers start drinking the wines made in my Brew on Premises right away. Then I hear comments like 'the last bottles were much better'.

I do not recommend making as a 5 gallon kit. The Winexpert tech guru also does not recommend it. As you read, some people do it. In a white, the acidity will be off, the alcohol higher, and more sulphites in the wine. In addition reds will feature higher tannins. Perhaps other differences. You would probably need more aging.

Steve
 

Todd

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Well I don't think that they are ready to drink in 28 days. Depends on questions like filtering, and your tatse buds. Whites will be ready sooner than reds. Of cousre, many of my customers start drinking the wines made in my Brew on Premises right away. Then I hear comments like 'the last bottles were much better'.

I do not recommend making as a 5 gallon kit. The Winexpert tech guru also does not recommend it. As you read, some people do it. In a white, the acidity will be off, the alcohol higher, and more sulphites in the wine. In addition reds will feature higher tannins. Perhaps other differences. You would probably need more aging.

Steve

Thanks for the input. I'll do my best to follow the directions. Any thoughts on using the T corks for short term storage. less than six months I would guess.
 

cpfan

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Todd:

There are several types of T corks, some better than others. I have several customers who are pleased with the ones that they use. There are some new ones made with from synthetic cork with a plastic top. No real experience with them yet, but they look to be a better seal.

Steve
 
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Caplan

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I'm personally not sold on the concept of T corks for long term storage (yet). If you want give them a go then the plastic top and synthetic cork versions would be the better option to try.
 

Todd

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I'm personally not sold on the concept of T corks for long term storage (yet). If you want give them a go then the plastic top and synthetic cork versions would be the better option to try.
What do you consider long term storage? I can picture this wine lasting about 2 months or less once we start drinking it. I'll be doing a wine and try to give it alteast a couple weeks to age.

I'm asking because I don't want to buy a corker if it is not needed yet.
 

Luc

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Don't bottle at all !!!! That's an option too.......

Hi Todd,

If you are thinking of a way to store your wine for such a short time and are not interested in all the fuzz of bottling, corking etc. why bottle at all.

There is something called Bag in a Box. It merely is a plastic bag which you fill with your wine and then put in a more or less attractive carton box (which is supplied with it). It will cost only a few dollars and there is a little disposer on it from which you can fill your glass everytime you pass by.

They are available in different sizes and I have several of them for my small, directly consumable wines.....

It is not as romantic as opening a bottle but it is very practical and not much of a fuzz in filling an using. Then again a T-Cork is also not very romantic.

Luc
 
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