Newbie brewing Strawberry Wine

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Darrell Hawley

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Here's another interesting wine idea, for down the road some day. Pineapple-Mango - A great refreshing summertime wine. The mango is a background flavor booster but Pineapple will always dominate. It's also a early drinker - I've had batches totally ready to bottle in 6 months or less. Only thing I'll recommend - do NOT use any kind of canned pineapple. Use frozen or cut up fresh. Mangos are really messy so this is wine that requires a bit of work but the reward is really great. It's easy for someone to mistake it for a wine cooler by the name, until they taste it.
Happened to see in the local market a "Tropical" in the frozen fruit section. Pineapple, mango and papayas (I think they were 4lbs and used 3 bags. Added some canned pineapple juice and mango nectar to the batch. Tasted pretty good and will make it again.
 

winemaker81

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@Ijsbiertje, you're better off starting a new thread for your questions. This is a forum -- we go off on tangents more than we stay on topic -- but you'll get better attention with your own thread. Folks that have no interest in this topic will ignore updates, whereas a new thread might catch their attention. There are a LOT of experienced winemakers who happily help the newbies.

That said ... Get the wine out of the fridge! I'll explain why ...

Overall, everything you did is fine -- EXCEPT -- chilling the wine. 25 C is NOT a problem and is a common temperature for in-process ferments. Commercial yeast can handle 40 C, although we don't recommend it as the flavor and aroma may be negatively affected.

In general, I recommend beginners ferment in the 22-26 C range to initiate and maintain a good fermentation.

FYI - grapes are the yardstick for winemaking as they contain the water, sugar, acid, and flavorings all in one little round ball. Fruit wines (everything except grapes) don't have everything, especially water. Making wine from just the fruit with no water added doesn't work for most fruit -- apples are an exception as apple juice works great. So you're starting with a difficult situation. This doesn't mean it can't work, but in the future I suggest you look for recipes, and if you are uncertain, ask questions in the Country Wines forum.
 

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Making wine with or without water is one of those debate topics on here. There are basically 2 schools of thought:
1) NEVER add water to your juice
2) Add water to a predetermined poundage of fruit to bring up the volume to the desired starting level.
(AND there are any number of variations on the above.)

Of course the other issue is that some fruit will just never produce enough liquid to make wine unless you go to some crazy amounts of fruit.

Some fruit, elderberry is a common example, is often made by steam extraction of juice, that's yet another approach.

Some folks like their country fruit wine with a lighter flavor (They fall into number 2) above and may use as little as 2-3 pounds of some fruit.

Personally I like to strike a reasonable balance so I fall into group 2) Above but try to keep that water addition to a minimum. (Example: I use 6-7 lbs of blueberries per gallon on finished wine. BUT with peaches I use only enough water to dissolve the sugar I add to the peaches.

One thing I would suggest is if you are going for a high ABV (anything 14% or above, you are going to be more likely to enjoy a wine with a higher amount of fruit in it and probably a little sweeter wine too. Not always though - My latest batch of Blackberry wine is unsweetened at 16.58% ABV and at only 4 months of age is great. I normally back-sweeten all my wines but this one may be the exception because the flavor is so strong. It was made from a commercially prepared juice so there is no way to measure how many pounds of fruit are in it.

BOTTOM LINE: There is no hard fast rule (YAY !!! ) What matters is getting to the result you like.
 
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Scooter68

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Happened to see in the local market a "Tropical" in the frozen fruit section. Pineapple, mango and papayas (I think they were 4lbs and used 3 bags. Added some canned pineapple juice and mango nectar to the batch. Tasted pretty good and will make it again.
Sounds like a crowd pleaser there!
 
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The amount of knowledge I am absorbing from you guys is incredible. :D You are all amazing!
 
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With cleansed/sanitized spoon, stir vigorously for 5 minutes, changing directions every 20 seconds.
Hey soooooo question....when did you last degas by hand? πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Did you forget the trauma? Is it like women when they give birth and like a year later they're like "ahhh it wasn't so bad! Labour just flew by"...???

Asking for a friend. πŸ€”πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜˜

Degassing took me 75 mins. πŸ˜… Like me, she was a gassy b**ch. πŸ™ƒ

R.I.P arms. I think I inadvertently found a cure for bingo wings tho.

Joking aside, I found some ways online to test that it's degassed and she passed them, so I've added the Kieselsol. Package (and you) say to wait an hour so that's what I am doing. When I've added the Chitosan I'll rack her back into demijohns and then I guess the waiting begins? I need to go back and read everything again. πŸ˜‚
 

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Hey soooooo question....when did you last degas by hand?
15+ years ago. I purchased a drill mounted stirring rod and have NOT looked back.

75 minutes? You are a serious glutton for punishment!!!

I've never tested for CO2. I stirred for 5 minutes, changing directions every 30 seconds. The wine continues to emit CO2, possibly for a couple of days, but the agitation kicks the process into high gear. With the drill mounted stirring rod it's a couple of minutes -- I don't use a watch, so it's entirely possible it's only 20 seconds per iteration. IME the wine degases quite quickly with regard to non-degassing.

Your usage of kieselsol/chitosan is what I recommended. You will probably see results within an hour -- let the wine rest for a week to let the sediment compact, before racking.

BTW, I've never experienced childbirth, although I was present for the conception & delivery of both sons. The start is far more pleasant for all involved than the finish. In my defense, I've experienced kidney stones twice and strongly recommend against it.
 
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When it still had a ton of gas after five minutes I went hunting online and folks were saying as much as an hour by hand so I just went for it. I was scared the finings wouldn't work if I didn't πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ gotta do whatcha gotta do and what I did after was immediately order a wand for my drill πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ #neveragain

As per finings, I bought the ones recommended by the recipe when I first picked up everything I needed but he didnt really show the results of the finings and I was so shocked by how quickly there was more sediment than there was when I racked after letting it just sit for 2 weeks!

It was crazy. How long do you reckon I should let it compact for before I rack again?

Speaking of conserving as much wine as possible, I'm a little worried about headspace, and the wine oxidizing if I end up with too much, but I haven't any extra wine to top up the demijohns with... πŸ˜• not really sure what to do about it, I can't really go buy a bunch of 1L demijohns right now, hubby is already moaning about my expenditures πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ how much headspace is too much? I mean when does oxidation become a real threat?
 

winemaker81

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Searching online is a mixed bag -- folks that sound like they know what they are doing are merely convincing, not experienced. [Yeah, I know, I'm some faceless dude on the net telling you want to do ....]

Fining agents can do amazing things! Also keep in mind that CO2 keeps solids suspended, so what you are seeing is a mixture of the two actions, degassing and fining.

"How long?" is a tough question. Because every wine is different, there's no single answer that works.

Watch the wine. If necessary, mark the sediment line with a grease pencil or other wipeable marker. Sediment will build up quickly over a 1 to 5 day period (normally), then it will compact. Let it go 3 to 5 days, or until the sediment level doesn't decrease for a couple of days. The total duration can be more than 2 week, but is normally less.

Headspace is another toughy. The ratio of headspace to wine volume has a lot to do with it. For a 4 liter jug? I'd want the wine within 3 to 5 cm of the stopper.

Contrary to common belief, oxidation does not happen instantaneously. It's a factor of headspace volume vs wine volume AND time. A week or two of a larger headspace is probably not a problem. That said, I keep headspace to a minimum as much as is feasible.

You can top with white wine -- anything lightly flavored will do.

I purchase Carlo Rossi (California) jug wines in 4 liter jugs. The wine is cheap and makes great cooking wine, and I keep the jugs. I also have a large collection of 1.5 liter, 750 ml, 375 ml, and smaller bottles for topup wine. While it doesn't help now, plan all batches for your container size. If you have a 4 liter jug, plan 6 liters of wine and keep the excess in smaller bottles.
 
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I've a bottle of a very fruity and mild white that should do the trick, it's a cooking wine-- we don't typically drink white-- but it's good quality. Thank you for the suggestion 😊 It's hard to calculate what you will need when you are just getting started, and I haven't amassed a collection of containers yet. Working on it :D

How will I know when the wine is ready to be back sweetened and bottled? I know I have a couple more rackings first, but what is the sign post that says "ok, bottle me now"? Is it just when there's been no new sediment for x amount of time?
 

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Just to be a little contrary. I tried "degassing" Once and decided Hmmm That's work OR I can just let it age and de-gas all on it's own. Meanwhile I can be working on another batch, making labels etc. That's just what works for me.
 
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About 3/4 of a litre. It could have been worse but I'm still salty πŸ˜‚ I also caught my bloody sleeve on it later on and opened it a bit by accident-- guess who will be running a second syphon hose from the spigot into a sanitised second container as a failsafe in the future?? #LearningTheHardWay :slp

I can laugh about it now but yikes. πŸ˜…πŸ˜‚
 
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One thing I do is clearly mark on my plastic buckets which side is open and which is closed. In the heat of the moment it is easy to forget.
That's a really good idea. I shall attack that bucket with a sharpie later. I did have it shut to begin with, I checked after sanitizing but I must have caught it on my sleeve or something at some point like I did later on. It was my own stupid fault for not double checking immediately before I started but the bucket was turned the other way around and I just forgot all about the spigot until I saw a big lake of blood red on the floor.

I may have to call this mixed berry blend Blood Wine, it did literally look like a pool of blood. I'm a trekkie, it's not without its appeal. πŸ˜‚ though my husband might find it tedious if I'm overcome with urges to scream "IwlIj jachjaj!!" at him every time I serve it. (Klingon for "Cheers!" ...literal translation is β€œMay your blood scream”)
 
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Just wanted to update you guys, I just backsweetened and bottled the strawberry wine and I'm so happy with it, it tastes fantastic! Thank you so much for all your help πŸ₯°

I also just racked the bloodwine, wlIj jachjaj! It's also tasting great! I've also got elderberry wine in the fermenter and am about to start a blackberry port 😁 There's no stopping me now πŸ˜‚
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