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SpiritWolf

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Hello. First time wine maker here. Figured as I love wine that I would try my hands at making some myself.

Been planning this for about a year or 2 doing research and prepping. Well i have started with a recipe now and am about 2 weeks into my first batch. It is time to switch from the fermenting bin to the demijohn... the recipe was suppose to make 1 gallon of wine. Well when racking to the demijohn i realized i have closer to 2 gallons. I had only anticipated the smaller amount so I only got 2 one gallon demijohns.

This posses a couple questions. The first, I had added yeast only for 1 gallon, can I add more to compansate for the extra amount or am I stuck? The second, if I split the batch between the 2 demijohns will this affect my wine or should I get larger demijohns?

Thank you so very much in advanced. I look forward to everyone's advise.
 

tjgaul

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If your SG has stabilized below 1.000 (hopefully closer to .990) then the yeast has done its job and there's no sugar left to ferment. When the yeast first interacts with the must it colonizes itself before setting to work on the larger task at hand - converting sugar to alcohol. Thus, a small amount of yeast can handle a large amount of must. No further yeast should be needed.

As for splitting the batch. There's no harm here either. The only caveat is that whatever modifications you choose to make in the future will need to be made equally to both batches if you want all the wine to end up the same. You can always blend the 2 gallons back together just before bottling to ensure consistency.

Remember to keep the headspace in each jug to a minimum. Good luck.
 

SpiritWolf

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Thank you so much. This is what I figured with splitting the batch but wanted to double check from others that had first hand experience. As for the yeast, I was not aware of that so great news there. Will continue down the path and look forward to extra wine. As a side note I still have enough fruit for another batch and a half so if it turns out well I will have enough wine and extra to give out to family.

Hoping it comes out tasting great. If so I am hoping to start up a small winery and do this professionally. If it doesn't come out great, well, I do have extra ingredients to modify and try again.
 

BernardSmith

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Hi SpiritWolf - and welcome. You don't tell us very much about the recipe for wine you are making. If the main ingredient was simply fruit juice (whether from grapes or from other fruit) and you added no water to increase the volume or sugar to increase the gravity (and so the potential ABV) then the fact that you are fermenting two gallons rather than one is a gift (a pack of yeast under normal conditions can ferment up to about 5 gallons with no problems). If , however, you added water to a quantity of fruit or puree or flowers etc then you might find that you have diluted the flavors far more than the original recipe called for. In other words, if the recipe called for say, 6 lbs of fruit to make 1 gallon but you now have 2 gallons using that same quantity of fruit then you have in fact used 3 lbs of the fruit per gallon. That said,
There is absolutely nothing harmful or "disgusting" in any part of the wine making process from the moment you pick (or buy) the fruit to the moment you bottle the wine. My suggestion is then to buy a new baster or wine thief, sanitize this and taste a sample of the wine. Of course it is going to taste "green" and in need of aging, but the taste should tell you (IF you added too much water) if this wine is too dilute by way of flavor. Also...
If you know the starting gravity that would give you some idea whether you had somehow started with too watery a must or a must that was just right.
 

SpiritWolf

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Sorry for the lack of details. It is a fruit wine, crushed the berries myself. The recipe did call for adding a gallon of water to the crushed berries as well as 2.5 lbs of sugar. This could explain the increase in fluid as I did a little research into the berries. The ones I am using typically have more juice per berry than the standard due to how they were grown and bred. Gravity before adding yeast was about 1.08. It was late last night so I don't remember the gravity it read after in the bin for a week with yeast.

I do have a wine thief and I will taste it tonight after I get back home to get a feel for how watery it may be.

I know not that big of a deal in giving all the details on the recipe but it was my grandmother's and trying to keep it a family recipe. Her tools differed greatly from mine though. She did this with a couple milk jugs and a balloon.
 

BernardSmith

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:b The details you may want to keep secret - (though, in my opinion, the secret of a recipe is rarely in the ingredients themselves but rather in the quality of those ingredients and the protocol of the wine maker. This is why, for example, a meadery like Groennfell Meadery in Vt can publish their recipes) - but using "milk jugs and balloons" is not really very different than using a carboy and a bubbler.
 

NorCal

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Healthy, growing yeast colonies double in size every 45 minutes, so starting with half the yeast for a gallon batch is no biggy. I could see a Dragon's blood type wine with 10.5% abv, just like Grandma used to make. I'm assuming that the wine is also back sweetened?
 

BernardSmith

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Back sweetening is just the technique of stabilizing a wine at the end of active fermentation when all the sugar has been fermented dry to prevent further fermentation and then adding more fermentable sugar to that wine to make it sweeter. The stabilization is typically done using two chemicals working in tandem - K-meta and K-sorbate and these chemicals have the effect of preventing any yeast cells left in the from reproducing and continuing to ferment. Back sweetening works when there are few cells left and the way to reduce the number of cells is by allowing most of the cells to drop out of solution and to rack the wine off those cells. "Cold crashing" is another related technique as chilling the wine in a fridge knocks out the cells and they then drop to the bottom of your fermenter after which you rack the wine off whatever lees are in the bottom of your carboy or fermenter.
 

SpiritWolf

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Okay, yeah I did know what back sweetening is. Yes the recipe does call for it... "as needed to taste." Per the instructions of the recipe, as any great recipe does
 

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