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March 2018 WOTM Club

Wine Making Talk

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Jericurl

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I've actually gotten a few messages about the Wine of the Month Club threads, so let's try bringing it back again this month and see if it's popular.

This is the official thread for our unofficial club, open to anyone who is interested in making a one gallon (or larger) test/experimental batch and sharing the recipe, process, ups and downs with the rest of the club.

We like:
a) full recipes with all ingredients and steps as you go along
b) pictures
c) helpful suggestions on recipe ideas, stumped members
d) thinking outside the box
e) pictures! (did I say that already?)

At the end of the month, we would appreciate a recap of the good, the bad and the ugly of the primary fermentation, as well as periodic updates throughout the year as you go along. Recaps aren't required, but they could assist you or others later on down the road.

At the one year mark, we will all pop open a bottle of the previous year's wine and take pictures, post comments on how it turned out, and hopefully have a tried and true recipe to post in the recipes section.

Some months we have a lot of people participate, and sometimes life catches up with us and we aren't able to ferment as much as we might like. Feel free to drop in, drop by, drop a comment, whatever.
We welcome questions and suggestions from participants and casual observers alike.

If you aren't participating in this months thread, feel free to share your thoughts and ideas for any WOTM wines you have planned for this year.
 

dralarms

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Can I used one I already started?
 

Jericurl

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So this is the month where I will finally attempt to make some sort of hydromel. My aim is something below 9% ABV and carbonated. I don't have the funds to invest in a kegging set up so I'l be attempting some sort of bottle conditioning. I'm terrified!

As far as flavors, I do have a watermelon concentrate from Home Winery in my fridge that needs to be used.

Flavors for consideration:

1. Watermelon/mint

2. Cucumber/lime/mint (If I make this one I'll be adding some tequila wood chips)

3. Elderberry/ginger
 

patwik101

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Did a little Google search on Watermelon mint wine. Most the info I found looks like the watermelon wine has strawberries in it. Sounds more like a summer wine to start. I’d love to try it a few months down the line if you wanted to revisit the idea ?

IMG_4313.jpg

This might be a good starting point as far as a recipe goes. Just need to scale it down and substitute the sugar for honey.
 

Jericurl

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Did a little Google search on Watermelon mint wine. Most the info I found looks like the watermelon wine has strawberries in it. Sounds more like a summer wine to start. I’d love to try it a few months down the line if you wanted to revisit the idea ?

This might be a good starting point as far as a recipe goes. Just need to scale it down and substitute the sugar for honey.
Oh the concentrate is quite strong enough that I don't think I'll need to add anything other than honey, water, and nutrients if I end up making it.
I've heard all kinds of horror stories about using actual watermelon so I've no desire to go that route, lol!
 

patwik101

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Well. Option 2 is the Cucumber, Lime, Mint. Think it would be best to juice the cucumber and use that as the liquid ? Add Honey, some lime juice to give it the acid it needs to ferment. Than add mint tell it gets to the flavor your looking for ? Sense your looking for a carbonated wine, what yeast did you have in mind ?
 

Jericurl

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Well, I'm just wanting something light and carbonated for summer. More with a summertime flavor.

If I go with option 2, I've got a huge bag of frozen cut up cucumbers that I'll be using. I don't add acid until after fermentation is complete.
 

patwik101

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If I go with option 2, I've got a huge bag of frozen cut up cucumbers that I'll be using. I don't add acid until after fermentation is complete.
Hmm. Ive always been under the impression that honey is not acidic enough to ferment properly so it needed a bump to fully ferment over. I might be wrong, just asking sense I normally add acid before fermentation begins.
 

Jericurl

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Also...no idea what I'll be using for yeast. More than likely a neutral type of beer yeast but I need to do a bit more research on that.
Of course, I can always use a wine yeast and I'm rather partial to D47 and K1-V1116 so those are options.
I want to bottle condition so whatever I do will either need to taste good completely dry or I'll need to add a sweetener that won't ferment.
 

Jericurl

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Hmm. Ive always been under the impression that honey is not acidic enough to ferment properly so it needed a bump to fully ferment over. I might be wrong, just asking sense I normally add acid before fermentation begins.
I usually go by not adding something unless it is specifically needed. I know adding acid or bicarbonate is routinely trotted out as needed for meads but I know more than one pro meadmaker that don't mess about with it unless they have a legit stalled ferment. They wait until ferment is complete, then taste and make adjustments as needed. I have done quite a few batches and haven't found a need for adding it before it's complete. I've stopped adding it to wine as well.
I think it gives me more latitude over the final product to only add exactly what's needed to hit the flavor profile I'm after but ymmv.
I also now religiously follow TOSNA (nutrient feeding schedule) by figuring out how much nutrient my particular yeast strain actually needs and adding only that amount at specific intervals. I think those two things have been game changers in my mead making. It's always been pretty decent but now I would be willing to enter any of my meads into contests whereas before I didn't think they had much of a chance. (you know, If I could pry Manthing's hands off it long enough to mail it in)
 

patwik101

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I also now religiously follow TOSNA (nutrient feeding schedule) by figuring out how much nutrient my particular yeast strain actually needs and adding only that amount at specific intervals.
Whats TOSNA? Never heard of it before. Might be worth checking out.
 

Jericurl

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Here's the basics: http://www.meadmaderight.com/tosna.html

It does require a little legwork. Once you chose a yeast strain, you will need to go to that manufacturer's page and see if the strain has low, medium, or high nutrient requirements.
Once that is figured out, go here and plug in your info:

http://www.meadmakr.com/tosna-2-0/


ETA:
Now...that said....per Scott Lab's, yeast has trouble assimilating nitrogen after 10% ABV has been reached, so if you are doing a particularly high ABV, you may want to do further research and adjust accordingly.

http://www.scottlabsltd.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/ScottLabsCanada_2017FH.pdf
(Page 48. Top left. First paragraph.)
 
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patwik101

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Great info. Thx Jeri. So. Lets try this Cucumber Lime wine !? If everyone is down to try something really out of the box.

I need to buy some cucumbers. Was going to juice them. I was thinking 16 cups of liquid? That should be about a gallon. How much honey were you thinking about getting to start with ?
 

Jericurl

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Great info. Thx Jeri. So. Lets try this Cucumber Lime wine !? If everyone is down to try something really out of the box.

I need to buy some cucumbers. Was going to juice them. I was thinking 16 cups of liquid? That should be about a gallon. How much honey were you thinking about getting to start with ?
Oops, I didn't explain it well enough. Everyone does their own recipe for whatever they want.
You are welcome to do Cucumber Lime, but just letting you know you don't have to!
I won't start mine until Sunday or Monday probably. I'll probably start with 3 quarts of water, all my frozen cucumbers, and shoot for a beginning SG of 1.05. eta, not sure how much honey that will be, probably 1.5 lbs or so
 

the_rayway

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I started this in Mid-February, but as Jeri said, it's more about getting back on the horse - right??

The plan: 2x1 gallon batches, carbonated for summer beveraging. I want fruity, creamy, and light with a medium level of carbonation. Plan is to use lactose to sweeten, and bottle prime without any pasteurization.

Day 1: Starter to share: Honey, Booster Rouge, Go Ferm, and a 50/50 split of BA 11 and ICV D254 ('cause it was old, and I had a bit of each).

Orange Creamsicle Hydromel:
Day 1: 1 L Cara Cara Juice
1 Banana
Honey to S.G. 1.060 (Western Family brand for neutrality)
Day 4: 2tsp Vanilla Extract
Frozen zest of 5 Cara Cara Oranges
Day 1-5: SNA with Ferm K

Strawberry Creamsicle Hydromel:
Day 1: 1.75 Lbs Strawberries (picked in summer 2017)
1 Banana
1 Meyer Lemon Juice Ice Cube
Honey to S.G> 1.060 (Western Family brand for neutrality)
Day 4: 2 tsp Vanilla extract
1.75 Lbs Strawberries - still frozen

* I added the strawberries still frozen as I am getting sulfur smell with this one. It seems to be running quite hot, to the strawberries were added frozen to cool the must down. Started whipping the snot out of it 3-4 times/day to aerate.
Day 6: Ice bomb dropped in to cool the must again (lunch box ice pack in a sanitized ziplock bag)

Day 1-5 SNA with Ferm K
 

BernardSmith

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A thought or two. The thing about honey is that it tends to behave as if it is far more acidic than you imagine. Honey has no chemical buffers that control how it responds to yeast and that means that the pH can drop alarmingly. In fact it can (I think) drop so low that the fermentation will stall.
Bottom line with honey is that you really do not want to add any acidity to the primary. A must that is too alkaline is not a problem for yeast except that the yeast now has to compete with bacteria that prefer a less acidic environment... but yeast tend to create an environment that suits it (and disfavors both other yeasts and bacteria).
OK
I have started some "hydromel" experiments - I want to call them "session meads" using 1- 1.5 lbs of honey in a gallon of water. The thing is that I have been bottling such meads 7 -14 days after pitching the yeast and In have been using the same yeast for multiple batches. The yeast is WLP 066 and the honeys I have been using include "pine" honey, chestnut honey and avocado blossom. The mead does not always fully ferment before I bottle so the bottles are self primed. I store these bottles in a cold fridge to inhibit fermentation and these meads are quite delicious. (I use about 1/2 t of nutrient (Wyeast wine nutrient) and I ferment at a higher temperature using an aquarium heater in a water bath that keeps the bath at about 72 F
 

Jericurl

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I have started some "hydromel" experiments - I want to call them "session meads" using 1- 1.5 lbs of honey in a gallon of water. The thing is that I have been bottling such meads 7 -14 days after pitching the yeast and In have been using the same yeast for multiple batches. The yeast is WLP 066 and the honeys I have been using include "pine" honey, chestnut honey and avocado blossom. The mead does not always fully ferment before I bottle so the bottles are self primed. I store these bottles in a cold fridge to inhibit fermentation and these meads are quite delicious. (I use about 1/2 t of nutrient (Wyeast wine nutrient) and I ferment at a higher temperature using an aquarium heater in a water bath that keeps the bath at about 72 F
Oh
thanks, this is all great information. What do you think the SG is around when you bottle? And what do you bottle in? So I'm assuming you don't find that it needs pasteurization? I have flip top bottles that I can use for bottling so I'll likely go that route.
 

BernardSmith

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Rule of thumb with honey is that 1 lb of honey dissolved in water to make 1 gallon will raise the gravity of the water by 35 points (1.035). If I assume that 1.5 lbs of honey making 1 gallon will raise the gravity to about 1.050 then when I bottle I the ABV is between about 4.5 - 6.5%.
I don't pasteurize.
The ABV means that this is like a strong beer and that means that this is meant to be drunk by the half pint or pint and not sipped by the glass. But I have been bottling this in wine bottles - because the fridge I use for this is not so large (and it doubles as a cheese cave - so I keep it warmer when I have made cheese I am aging ). But beer or flip top bottles would work great.
When you use less honey - and so produce lower ABV meads - the flavor is less intense (all the flavor comes from the honey as does the alcohol) - but with 5-7% ABV there is not very much honey so I want the mead to be carbonated and those bubbles give a stronger perception of flavor
 
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