Mustang Grape Wine

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

MPM

Junior
Joined
Jul 31, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Hello! First-timer here! I'm fermenting about 1.8 gallons (juice and skins) of Mustang Wine in an 8 gallon fermenting bucket.

Ingredients:
Mustang Grapes, 8 lbs
Granulated Sugar, 2 lbs
Boilding Water, 5 pints
Campden Tablet, 1 crushed
Pectic Enzyme, 1tsp
Yeast

7/28/20 around midnight Starting SG 1.080 Temp 78'F
7/31/20 morning SG 1.060, Brix 15, Alc 8%

I think the target is 1.095 SG?

What should I do? We leave town on Monday and I don't know what to do!

Should I move juice to carboy on Sunday? What size carboy should I use?
 

Attachments

KCCam

Always Thirsty
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
284
Reaction score
232
Hello! First-timer here! I'm fermenting about 1.8 gallons (juice and skins) of Mustang Wine in an 8 gallon fermenting bucket.

Ingredients:
Mustang Grapes, 8 lbs
Granulated Sugar, 2 lbs
Boilding Water, 5 pints
Campden Tablet, 1 crushed
Pectic Enzyme, 1tsp
Yeast

7/28/20 around midnight Starting SG 1.080 Temp 78'F
7/31/20 morning SG 1.060, Brix 15, Alc 8%

I think the target is 1.095 SG?

What should I do? We leave town on Monday and I don't know what to do!

Should I move juice to carboy on Sunday? What size carboy should I use?
How long are you gone for? I don’t know where you get 8% alc from. And you probably mean 0.995 as a target, although it’s a bit more complicated than that. What to do depends mostly on the SG on Sunday and how long you’ll be gone. What size carboy?
 
  • Like
Reactions: MPM

KCCam

Always Thirsty
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
284
Reaction score
232
7/31/20 morning SG 1.060, Brix 15, Alc 8%
Ahhh, I know where you get 8% from. Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. You take the difference between the starting potential alcohol and the current one. So currently you are at about 2.8% (10.8 - 8).
 

MPM

Junior
Joined
Jul 31, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Ahhh, I know where you get 8% from. Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. You take the difference between the starting potential alcohol and the current one. So currently you are at about 2.8% (10.8 - 8).
Thank you! I'm obviously still learning. LOL

It is currently in a 7 gallon bucket. I have 1-gallon and a 1/2 gallon carboy, but I could go get a larger one.

We are going on a 6-day camping trip (travel trailer), so I am crazy enough to take the fermenting bucket/carboy with me. I'm just not sure how that works for stirring?

Should I find a warmer location to speed things up? I can probably put it nearer a sunny window.

One final question, should I add more sugar? I didn't add anything after the yeast.
 

KCCam

Always Thirsty
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
284
Reaction score
232
Thank you! I'm obviously still learning. LOL

It is currently in a 7 gallon bucket. I have 1-gallon and a 1/2 gallon carboy, but I could go get a larger one.

We are going on a 6-day camping trip (travel trailer), so I am crazy enough to take the fermenting bucket/carboy with me. I'm just not sure how that works for stirring?

Should I find a warmer location to speed things up? I can probably put it nearer a sunny window.

One final question, should I add more sugar? I didn't add anything after the yeast.
Hahaha, you are kidding right? Please, don’t take it with you. That would be a disaster. You do sterilize everything that touches your wine, right? You shouldn’t have started it 5 days before your camping trip, but you did, so that’s a moot point.

Your starting SG sounds about right. Is there some reason you would want to add more sugar? Does your primary have a lid? Does it have a hole for an air lock? Even with just a towel over it, I think you would be fine to leave it for 6 days, especially if you have a cool place to put it.

What is the SG now? Would you even have time to rack it before leaving on Monday? The couple days before a trip around my place are pretty hectic as it is. Unless it is really fermenting fast, I think leaving it in a cool place is your best bet.
 

MPM

Junior
Joined
Jul 31, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Hahaha, you are kidding right? Please, don’t take it with you. That would be a disaster. You do sterilize everything that touches your wine, right? You shouldn’t have started it 5 days before your camping trip, but you did, so that’s a moot point.

Your starting SG sounds about right. Is there some reason you would want to add more sugar? Does your primary have a lid? Does it have a hole for an air lock? Even with just a towel over it, I think you would be fine to leave it for 6 days, especially if you have a cool place to put it.

What is the SG now? Would you even have time to rack it before leaving on Monday? The couple days before a trip around my place are pretty hectic as it is. Unless it is really fermenting fast, I think leaving it in a cool place is your best bet.
I am obsessed enough to take it! I can't let this batch fail. LOL Plus, I have a smaller batch of fresh peach wine going, so I have the first-time mama jitters. Luckily we aren't traveling far and our camper is set up, so I have the time to do whatever needs to be done. Now that I know I can freeze the fruit first, I will utilize that techinique in the future. I have 12+ cups of mustang juice and peaches in the freezer for future use.

Yes, everything is sterilized before each use. The bucket has a lid, airlock & can be kept in a cool 65-70 degree pantry, if needed.

This morning, it was a 1.054 SG (12.5 Brix & 3.8% Alc)

The recipe I'm following mentioned that the desired SG should be achieved within 3-5 days, so, I used that as my guide. I'm definitely learning as I go, but I want to do my best with this batch. I'm going to watch more videos to even learn what to expect at this point. I didn't realize that the initial fermentation could be so slow, but also require daily (or twice daily) stirring.

Any advice is welcome. I purchased the purple Winemaker's Recipe Handbook, and one of their recipes calls for adjusting for acid level and SG at the beginning. I didn't do any of that.

If we are gone, the mash will be okay without stirring? I do think my husband will be going home about halfway through, so it can be stirred on Wednesday night and Friday morning.
 

KCCam

Always Thirsty
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
284
Reaction score
232
I think I'm getting a better picture now. The target SG you originally mentioned of 1.095 is a target starting SG, isn't it? I thought you just didn't understand SG very well, because if it was a target finishing SG that didn't make sense. It also explains your question about adding sugar.
The bucket has a lid, airlock & can be kept in a cool 65-70 degree pantry, if needed.
It seems to be going fairly slowly. If it were me, I would leave it in the pantry with just a towel over the top, held in place some how so it doesn't fall into the pail. At that SG and temperature, I think you'll find it still fermenting in a week. The towel allows more oxygen, which is good at this point, and is why you have been stirring. Many people, and some kits, even recommend fermenting dry in the primary.
This morning, it was a 1.054 SG (12.5 Brix & 3.8% Alc)
No need to quote the Brix & Alc, SG is the number most widely used. Temperature, however, can give useful information, as it strongly affects the fermentation.
The recipe I'm following mentioned that the desired SG should be achieved within 3-5 days
Yes, I've fallen into that trap before, once. Yeast don't go by the calendar. There are so many variables involved that there is no way to guarantee how long a fermentation will take. The one time I'm referring to was my first Dragon Blood. The thread said basically "From pitching yeast to bottling in 14 days." I started a month before Christmas, thinking I had lots of time, after all, I was used to 4-week kits, and this should be quicker. Wrong. I take over the kitchen when making wine. My wife wasn't happy.
also require daily (or twice daily) stirring
Not really required, but certainly helps the fermentation. All the kits I've done just say leave it. I'm sure yours will be just fine for 6 days without stirring.
one of their recipes calls for adjusting for acid level and SG at the beginning
Do you have a pH meter? You can't adjust acid level without one. When making non-kit wine, it is probably the most useful tool to have, after a hydrometer and thermometer. You can get a cheap one online, search this site for suggestions. Make sure it is more accurate than 0.1. Some will display to 0.01, but read the specs.
As for adjusting the SG to 1.095, you could do that now if you want. If it ferments dry now, it will come out pretty close to 12%. If you bump it up to 1.095, it would come out to about 14.2%. Your decision. Just make sure all the sugar is dissolved. You can feel it like sand on the bottom if it's not. Many here will recommend you make a simple syrup 2:1 sugar to water. That guarantees it's dissolved, but I don't bother.
I do think my husband will be going home about halfway through, so it can be stirred on Wednesday night and Friday morning.
I wouldn't bother asking him to sterilize a spoon and stir, unless he likes doing this too. But it would be helpful to leave the hydrometer floating in the bucket if there is enough wine for it to float. Your husband could take the towel off and get a rough idea of the SG. If he can't see the "10" below 1.000 (which is 1.010), then have him snap the lid on with an air lock half filled with water. You can put sterilizing solution in it when you get back.

Once again, I used ten times more words (100 times?) that I planned on, but I remember what it was like to be starting out and nervous. I hadn't found this forum, and only knew one other person that made wine. You'll no doubt get lots more good advice from people here much more experienced that I am too. And if any of it contradicts what I've said, chances are it's me that's wrong.

Keep us posted.
 

MPM

Junior
Joined
Jul 31, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
I think I'm getting a better picture now. The target SG you originally mentioned of 1.095 is a target starting SG, isn't it? I thought you just didn't understand SG very well, because if it was a target finishing SG that didn't make sense. It also explains your question about adding sugar.

It seems to be going fairly slowly. If it were me, I would leave it in the pantry with just a towel over the top, held in place some how so it doesn't fall into the pail. At that SG and temperature, I think you'll find it still fermenting in a week. The towel allows more oxygen, which is good at this point, and is why you have been stirring. Many people, and some kits, even recommend fermenting dry in the primary.

No need to quote the Brix & Alc, SG is the number most widely used. Temperature, however, can give useful information, as it strongly affects the fermentation.

Yes, I've fallen into that trap before, once. Yeast don't go by the calendar. There are so many variables involved that there is no way to guarantee how long a fermentation will take. The one time I'm referring to was my first Dragon Blood. The thread said basically "From pitching yeast to bottling in 14 days." I started a month before Christmas, thinking I had lots of time, after all, I was used to 4-week kits, and this should be quicker. Wrong. I take over the kitchen when making wine. My wife wasn't happy.

Not really required, but certainly helps the fermentation. All the kits I've done just say leave it. I'm sure yours will be just fine for 6 days without stirring.

Do you have a pH meter? You can't adjust acid level without one. When making non-kit wine, it is probably the most useful tool to have, after a hydrometer and thermometer. You can get a cheap one online, search this site for suggestions. Make sure it is more accurate than 0.1. Some will display to 0.01, but read the specs.
As for adjusting the SG to 1.095, you could do that now if you want. If it ferments dry now, it will come out pretty close to 12%. If you bump it up to 1.095, it would come out to about 14.2%. Your decision. Just make sure all the sugar is dissolved. You can feel it like sand on the bottom if it's not. Many here will recommend you make a simple syrup 2:1 sugar to water. That guarantees it's dissolved, but I don't bother.

I wouldn't bother asking him to sterilize a spoon and stir, unless he likes doing this too. But it would be helpful to leave the hydrometer floating in the bucket if there is enough wine for it to float. Your husband could take the towel off and get a rough idea of the SG. If he can't see the "10" below 1.000 (which is 1.010), then have him snap the lid on with an air lock half filled with water. You can put sterilizing solution in it when you get back.

Once again, I used ten times more words (100 times?) that I planned on, but I remember what it was like to be starting out and nervous. I hadn't found this forum, and only knew one other person that made wine. You'll no doubt get lots more good advice from people here much more experienced that I am too. And if any of it contradicts what I've said, chances are it's me that's wrong.

Keep us posted.
Four followup questions:
1. How do I go about floating the hydrometer? That sounds like a great idea!

2. I do have pH strips, so I will make sure they are accurate. I'm sure you'll receive an update tomorrow with the results. HAHA

3. I'm more of a bourbon or Prosecco drinker. LOL I'd love to make this a sparkling wine, but for now I just want it to taste fruity, a little dry, and not overly sweet. The Purple Winemaker's Handbook mentions a SG of 1.030 after initial fermentation. What would you recommend the final SG be before syphoning into a carboy?

4. Also, I edited my original post to show that the Starting SG was to be 1.095-1.100. The recipe calls for syphoning to a glass secondary when the SG reaches 1.030. Is there anything I can do to help this now?
 
Last edited:

sour_grapes

Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
10,992
Reaction score
8,788
Location
near Milwaukee
Four followup questions:
1. How do I go about floating the hydrometer? That sounds like a great idea!
He is suggesting just putting it into your fermentation bucket and leaving it there.

2. I do have pH strips, so I will make sure they are accurate. I'm sure you'll receive an update tomorrow with the results. HAHA
How will you make sure they are accurate? Strips are not very useful. If you had another way to check pH, such that you could test the accuracy of the strips, well, then, you wouldn't need the strips, right?

3. I'm more of a bourbon or Prosecco drinker. LOL I'd love to make this a sparkling wine, but for now I just want it to taste fruity, a little dry, and not overly sweet. The Purple Winemaker's Handbook mentions a SG of 1.030 after initial fermentation. What would you recommend the final SG be before syphoning into a carboy?
1.030 seems awfully high to me. The absolute highest I rack is 1.010, but anything near 1.000 +/- a few points is fine.


4. Also, I edited my original post to show that the Starting SG was to be 1.095-1.100. The recipe calls for syphoning to a glass secondary when the SG reaches 1.030. Is there anything I can do to help this now?
Help in what way?
 

KCCam

Always Thirsty
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
284
Reaction score
232
Everything @sour_grapes said above, plus...
1. How do I go about floating the hydrometer? That sounds like a great idea!
I'm thinking with 1.8 gallons in an 8 gallon fermenter, the wine might not be deep enough for your hydrometer to float. If that's true, your husband will have to put a sample into a test container to get the reading, or you can put the wine into a smaller food-grade bucket or pot to make it deeper.
2. I do have pH strips, so I will make sure they are accurate. I'm sure you'll receive an update tomorrow with the results. HAHA
pH strips rely on colour matching. Red wine doesn't really allow that to work since it colours the test strip.
3. I'm more of a bourbon or Prosecco drinker. LOL I'd love to make this a sparkling wine ...
Sparkling wine is for advanced wine-makers IMHO. It requires champagne bottles and corks or some other assurance that pressure doesn't pop the corks or cause explosions.
3. ... but for now I just want it to taste fruity, a little dry, and not overly sweet. ...
The safest and most common way to get the sweetness you want, whether completely dry or very sweet, is to ferment the wine until completely dry. It is very easy to know you're at this point because the SG stops dropping and there is no hint of sweetness when you taste it. Once the SG is the same for at least 3 days in a row and below 1.000, it is ready to stabilize (adding k-meta and sorbate here very effectively prevents further fermentation when you add sugar for backsweetening), and to clear. Some backsweeten before clearing, some wait until after. Do bench trials to determine how much sugar to add. Almost everyone agrees that even if you like dry wine, you still need a little sugar to get it to "taste fruity." You should be able to bring out the fruitiness without adding noticeable sweetness. Then you can add as much sugar as you want to get it "a little dry, and not overly sweet."
3. ... The Purple Winemaker's Handbook mentions a SG of 1.030 after initial fermentation. What would you recommend the final SG be before syphoning into a carboy?
I totally agree with @sour_grapes here. 1.030 seems like a typo, that is very high for transferring to a carboy. Fermentation is still quite active at that point. I never transfer above 1.010, and usually closer to 1.000, as sour_grapes said. Many people wait until completely dry.
4. Also, I edited my original post to show that the Starting SG was to be 1.095-1.100. The recipe calls for syphoning to a glass secondary when the SG reaches 1.030. Is there anything I can do to help this now?
I am thinking your comment about doing something "to help this now" is referring to the starting SG. Yours started at 1.080, and the recipe calls for 1.095-1.100. Am I correct? If so, 1.100 seems a little high. But you're a bourbon drinker, used to high alcohol. My recommendation is that if you want to share this, leave it be. It should be 11.5-12% ABV. According to your stated volume of 1.8 gal, if you add one pound (about 2 cups) of sugar it would bring your effective starting SG to 1.100, with a final 14.5-15% ABV. I would leave it this time and after you taste the final outcome decide if you want more alcohol next time. Your are keeping notes in a log book right? ;)
 

MPM

Junior
Joined
Jul 31, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
@KCCam and @sour_grapes thank you for all of this information! Yes, I am keeping a log book (actually an online google form found on this site). I'm going to keep fermenting until it is below 1.000 for at least 3 days as you said. Again, thank you so much. I really learn so much better by doing, versus just reading, but I probably should have started with grape juice instead of the grapes we picked ourselves and went through the labor to clean!
 
Top