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My First other than kit wine!!! ohhh no

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pwrose

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Well it isn't as bad as it sounds.

This is my first wine that I have made that was made from something other than a kit. It is a strawberry run, it started like this

6lb Fresh strawberries (99% ripe to over ripe hand selected out of 24lbs)
5lb sugar
5 qts water (tap water which is about 7.8 ph, this is the first time I have ever used my tap water, I normally use bottled distilled water.)
2 sweet hands from my 6 year old diabetic daughter (who is watching me type this)
1 tsp citric acid
1 tsp acid blend
2 tsp yeast energizer
1 pkg Red Star Pasteur Red

Cut the tops out of the berries and let the little one with clean hand get a little sticky with strawberry juice. (She loved this because it was like getting to lick the spoon after making a cake, except she got to lick her fingers when she was done. LOL) Boiled the 5 qts of water and poured it over the berries added the sugar, stirred and let it set until the temp read 85 F. Added the yeast energizer, citric acid, acid blend, and piched the yeast.

Initial SG 1.120 (and this could be a little off as my tube wanted to leak and I couldn't get a new one until the Saturday after I started this, about 3 days)
Looking to stop the fermintation at 1.010 or there abouts.

I forgot the pectic enzyme.

This all was done last Wednesday, April 28, 2010. The fermintation started within less than 12 hours. I made it and went to bed, by the next morning it was going. I first left the lid off and covered the 6.5 gallon primary with a light weight towel and once the bubbling started I put the lid on and added an air lock. This 6.5 gallon primary is a little much for a little over 2 gallons but it was the only primary that I had available. The must has been stirred twice a day for the first 3 days and then once a day since. I am looking to take the berries off of the must either tomorrow or Thursday.

So let me have it what would you do different and have I messed this one up or do you think it will turn out as a medium sweet strawberry wine.

PW
 

Wade E

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Looks decent. The only thing I would do differntly is use sulfite to kill off any wild yeast in the beginning, wait 12 hours and then add the pectic enzyme which you really should use when making a wine with any fruit in it to help extract color and flavor from the fruit and to help rid the wine of any pectin haze, and then wait another 12 hours and add the yeast but pouring the boiling water over the fruit has probably killed off any wild yeast anyways. Im curious what you mean about stopping the fermentation at 1.010 though cause unless you plan on putting this wine into a fridge and eposing it to very cold temps to stun the yeast and then sulfiting it and sorbating it. This is not a guaranteed process and could backfire on you and start again fermenting at a later time. Stopping a fermentation in progress is very hard to do and just adding those 2 chemicals most likely wont work as they are designed to prevent a refermentation, not to stop a fermentation in progress. Let it finish fermenting and then sweeten back is the way to go by using a simple syrup consisting of 2 parts sugar and 1 part boiling water.
 

pwrose

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I was thinking of putting it in a fridge to slow it to a point that the sorbate would stop it completly. However starting with a 1.120 SG I was hoping that the alcohol % would help stop the ferment. I would not normally start with something that high. But I also have never done a fruit wine. So I will be taking the advice of one of the main men/women here and letting it finish and then adding back some simple syrup.

I dont use sulfates of any kind, well at least I try not to. I have a bad reaction to high sulfates and therefore don't even buy wine made by the big guys because of that. I got hooked on this about three years ago and don't have any adverse reactions to the kit wines as long as I leave out the campden tabs or any other sufates. In case you are wondering what reactions, try after having one glass of commercial wine and having the worst hangover from it. I guess that wouldn't be bad if it was after a really good drunk but when you can't even tell you drank and end up with one it sucks, lol. I don't have that problem with homemade so I keep on making it.

Something else,,,,
will it hurt to add the pectic enzyme after I take the fruit off and put into the secondary, or is it too late to do that? I just forgot it when I was mixing, sidetracked I guess.

PW
 

pwrose

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Ok I started with a SG of 1.120 (PA 16% for those that like this scale) and tonight I notice that the lees were really building up in the bottom so I decided to rack it a bit early. Checked the SG and it was at 1.042 (PA 5.5%) and even though the bubbling had slowed down to about 1-2 every 2 mins, it looks as if it still has a ways to go.

I had about 1.5 lbs of very ripe strawberries that I had cut up and boiled to take the juice out. I didn't add any sugar but did give it a shot of pectic enzyme. Left it for about 3 days and decided to go ahead and add it to the must. This worked out for the about of lees that I had lost in the racking. I didn't however check the SG of the juice but I don't think it will alter the over all SG that much. It was only about a pint or so of juice.

So now the question that I have about this,
How long or what SG should I be looking for to make a semi sweet to sweet wine?
I know about back sweetening but where should this all stop and sorbate be added to slow or stop the fermentation. I also used a high alcohol tolerant yeast in the red star pasture red, it said up to 18%. The best I can figure is that I am at about 10.5% - 11% right now.

PW
 
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this is probably going to be a 15%+ alc/vol wine. for strawberry that's really high. it will probably need alot of sugar to be drinkable. strawberry isn't a really heavy wine, so higher abv will show up in the flavor. i would almost recommend mixing this wine with a heavier more fullbodied wine with less abv to smooth it out. got anything going or sitting? i mean this could be fine, but it's not going to be easy to pull of a descent tasting strawberry at above 14% abv.

hopefully it comes out good for you. maybe the yeast will die off early? i don't recommned trying to stop the yeast, unless you can get them in 50 degree temps for awhile and stabalize after a few days.
 

Tom

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FIVE pounds of sugar for six pounds of Strawberries to make ONE gallon?
Rocket fuel for sure
 

non-grapenut

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Strawberry blends well with a low alcohol grapefruit...the result is like a strawberry tart. If you have a very sweet apple wine, it blends well, too.
 

pwrose

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I was looking for a higher ABV when I started but wasn't sure how it would turn out. Now I am hoping that I can get it sweet enough to be good. After adding the strawberry juice back to it last night it has colored up very nice. It looks more like a red wine than a blush now. It is still blowing bubbles but only at a rate of 1 every two minutes or so. I do have a bit more head room than I should but I don't think its hurting anything atm.

I will just let it go now for 30 days or so and see what happens. When it finally stops I will try to sweeten it up if it needs it.

I picked up the stuff to start some skeeter pee today, but I dont think that would mix with it very well. The strawberry is the only thing I have going right now and the celler is pretty much emptied out for now.

PW
 

pwrose

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FIVE pounds of sugar for six pounds of Strawberries to make ONE gallon?
Rocket fuel for sure

Just noticed that you thought it was one gallon, it isn't it is 2 gallons, but a little closer to 2.5 gallons.

So not quite rocket fuel, but maybe drag car fuel. :rdo:se
 

pwrose

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The fuel is done,
Starting SG 1.120
Finished SG .998

Starting acid unknown
Finished acid 1.1 (dont know how to go about fixing it)

Starting pH unknown
Finished pH 3.2

Added the following
1 tsp sorbate
1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp sparkolloid
Stirred in all the additives and degassed

Plan to let it sit until it clears (crossing my fingers it will be done in two weeks).

Questions
1. How do I get the pH up to 3.4 - 3.6
2. How do I get the acid level down from 1.1% to .65%
3. Do you think I added enough sorbate (for 2.5 gallons) to stop any further fermentation when and if I decide to backsweeten
 

Wade E

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1.1! You could cold stabilze if you have the means of keeping it around 40* for a few weeks or you could use calcium carbonate to lower this down, You wont be able to get it in range most likely but you should be able to drop it down some to make a decent difference. Do you like the taste of it now as it stands?
 

pwrose

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actually it isn't bad to be that high of abv. I would hope that it mellows over time, but it certainly isn't flat
 

pwrose

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More questions,,,,

1. (repeat) Did I add enough sorbate to stop any further fermentation? there is about 2 gallons and 1 tsp of sorbate was added per directions on the bottle of 1/2 tsp per gallon.

2. It has been clear for about 1.5 weeks now and I was thinking about backsweetening some, Should I wait until just before I bottle it or should I go ahead and backsweeten now so that I have time to watch for any restart on the fermentation?

3. Would 3 months of bulk aging be good before bottling or should I let it go a little longer?
 

Tom

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1... Yes

2...You can do it now as sometime when you add simple syrup it becomes cloudy again. Add simple syrup to your taste

3...I would age it longer. You will see more sediment as you go

4. when aging keep the sulfite up and aitlock filled.

BTW how does it taste?
 

pwrose

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No sulfites in it at all, well at least none that I added.

As far as taste,
It has excellent strawberry taste and smell at the begining but once out of the mouth a very strong alcohol flavor follows. I am hoping that it will mellow out with ageing. The only reason for possible backsweetening is it is a little dry right now. I was thinking about adding just 1 cup of sugar and leaving it alone after that. If it stays dry then it just stays dry, it really is pretty good right now other than the split taste, strawberry first then alcohol.
I just wish I had made more to begin with. Hopefully my blackberry will make up for it until next season when I can get more strawberries.
 

Tom

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I would add 2 campton tabs asap..
reason you taste alcohol is you added way to much sugar as I said in an earlier post. You need to shoot for 1.080 tops for fruit wines. This is how we learn from our misques..
 

pwrose

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I would add 2 campton tabs asap..
I dont use sulfites!!!!

I know you can't keep track of all the members here and whether or not they have reactions or don't have reactions to sulfites but I am one of them that does, and that is why I dont put them in the wines I make.
 

non-grapenut

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I dont use sulfites!!!!

I know you can't keep track of all the members here and whether or not they have reactions or don't have reactions to sulfites but I am one of them that does, and that is why I dont put them in the wines I make.
then tannin (or that 1 cup of very strong tea at the end b4 bottling) should be very important to you for preservative, I am sure! I use very little sulfite, too...only in the beginning to kill all the beasties.
 

pwrose

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(or that 1 cup of very strong tea at the end b4 bottling)
What do you mean by this,
I have never used any kind of preservative other than the alcohol and the sorbate if you consider sorbate a preservative. What is this cup of tea that you speak of?
 

non-grapenut

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tannins also can act as a natural preservative if you choose not to use sulfites to do so. Tea provides tannins, as does some types of fruit, stems, etc. Elderberries are high in natural tannins, as well as aronia berries and more. I am sure you will find a lot of natural tannin info on any search engine (Google, Yahoo.) The only caveat with high tannins is that your wine may need to sit longer in bottle to mellow.
 

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