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Messed up first batch - what to do?

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mac

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Hello all. Greetings from Long Island!

I've started making my first batch of wine from a kit and already I've hit a bit of a snag. My wine has been sitting in its secondary fermenter for a few days and only now I realize that I've only added enough water to make 5 gallons instead of the 6 gallons that the recipe calls for.

I don't know what I should do about that. Should I add the extra gallon of water at this stage, add it when I rack it next or just forget about it and maybe the wine will be be a little more full-bodied than it was supposed to be!

Obviously I'm clueless...so any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

Luc

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I am not a kit winemaker.
But I do know that a wine should be balanced.
Kits are balanced by the manufacturer and you should
not mess with that and certainly not during the first batch......

You are lacking 1/6 = 16% water
that means that all the ingredients like
tannin, sugar, acid, alcohol will be 16% higher as
the batch was intended to be.

So if the acid is calculated on 5 grams it will now be 5 grams+16% and that is almost 6 grams per liter.
Alcohol calculated on 12% will then be 12+16% = 13.9
etc...

So that being said I would add the extra gallon while
the batch was still fermenting. Be sure to add water of about the
same temperature as the batch is otherwise the yeast could stun
for a while from cold shock.

If it is finished I would taste and then decide.

But wait a bit to see if anyone else comes up with something
because like I said before I am not a kit winemaker.
There are more experienced guys out there.

Luc
 

cpfan

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Mac:

I have to agree with Luc that about the wine's balance. However, I suspect that 16% is not that big a difference. There are a number of winemakers (and some store owners) who regularly make 6 gallon wine kits as 5 gallons, and seem happy with the result (even win prizes).

It's basically your choice at the moment. If you tell us exactly kit, I will tell you what I would do. (BTW, always always tell us what kit you are making. It is way too easy for someone to ASSUME incorrectly and give wrong advice.)

Steve
 
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I started out making a few kits and my very first i did the same! Not a big deal. I do agree with "luc" and "cpfan" about balance, However When I shorted the water that was suppsoed to be added on the particular one i made i was told by my local homebrew store that it basically was up to me.. add it when i reacked or let it go and as you said have a little more body to it.. i left it for fear i was going to mess it up even more... And after all they said it was ok and at that point i knew nothing so...... it came out just fine at the end. The kit i made was Island mist Blackberry Cabernet. If that means any thing... maybe call your local store if you have one.. hope this helps! But try to always make it they way it says! Good Luck!!
 

mac

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Thank you all for responding and for the great advice. I have to say that I'm delighted I found this forum. It's great for a beginner like me to have access to such expertise!

The kit in question is a California Connoisseur Merlot. I picked up a new 6 gallon carboy yesterday - that's how I realized my other carboy was only 5 gallons - so it would be an easy matter of transferring my wine into that one and adding the extra water.

Thanks again,
Mac
 

cpfan

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Mac:

Excellent choice for a 4-week kit. I know that one well, although I have never made it for myself. It was the second best selling red when I ran a Ferment on Premises store.

Based on feedback from customers this kit makes a very good wine when made to 6 US gallons. I have sampled a bottle or two, and found it quite nice. Not as full bodied as some other wines. If I was making this kit, I would make it to 6 US gallons (ie a full 23 litres). I think I would put a pound of raisins in the primary at the beginning (but it's too late for you to do this now).

Just my opinion, Steve
 

mac

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Thanks Steve, that settles it...I'll definitely add the extra water!

I'm very interested in your suggestion of adding raisins during primary fermentation. Maybe I can do that for my second batch. What does that do for a wine? Is it just Merlot that this would be done for, or any red wine kit?

Mac
 

cpfan

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Mac:

On the winepress.us forum, and the rjspagnols.com forum, there are many people advocating adding raisins to just about any red kit. I have not tried it yet.

Personally, I would NOT add raisins to a high end kit. I can see myself buying the Cal Conn Merlot (esp if I found a good sale price) and it seems like a good choice for adding raisins.

The sugars from the raisins will raise the alcohol slightly. In addition, the wine should be a little more full bodied. (Of course, bananas are supposed to add even more body.)

Steve
 

mac

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That's very interesting...I'll definitely give it a try. Thanks for the suggestion, Steve.
 
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