No "legs" & an off smell

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Novice Vintner!
May 20, 2009
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Hey Wine Making Talkers, this is my first post on the forum!

I have taken two stabs at home winemaking, neither particularly satisfactory:
The first was a hard apple cider recipe I pulled off the internet, after it came out a little rough around the edges I decided I would try a kit and stick to the directions religiously so I picked up a cellarcraft cabernet sauvignon kit.

Both came out with no "legs", and both had a rather "off smell". The ciders smell and flavor has improved by spending more time in the bottle (the cider was also niether 'fined' nor filtered). The cabernet came with a few pouches of clear chemicals which the instructions indicated were to degas/fine/clear the wine.

Could these problems be solved with proper filtration, or does it sound like there is something else going on here?:?

Thanks all!
Hello Joe and nice to see you here

..I haven't made the kit you mentioned, however I do make a lot of cider.. What exactly do you mean by 'rough around the edges'? Cider does need a good 6 months in the bottle in my opinion, especially if you finished it as a 'dry still cider'. Kits are often viewed as rapid wines for early drinking, however they still need time to mature. Are you just drinking them too early and being disappointed because they are young..?

If you could be more descriptive, we can help you more

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First off, welcome aboard and thank you for stepping forward and contributing to the forums. Now to your wine. It sounds to me like you suffer an acute case of non-patience. :)

Your wine is going to take some time in the bottle to age, develop, and mature. Often at the end of fermentation people smell the spent yeast and think they have an issues. This is quite normal. As you noticed with the cider, it is starting to improve. You should notice the same with the kit wine. Just need to give it some time.

I started making wine in early 1995. I am just now enjoying many of the wines I made that year. In regards to the legs, we would have to see your recipe for the cider and what kit you made. Some lower line kits just don't have the "legs" as they are too thin and light bodied.
I totally agree with what was already said...the missing ingredient is far as things tasting 'rough' (we commonly call it 'green' in the beermaking hobby to denote something that is a bit too young).

The cheaper wine kits apparently always lack good body, but taste fine. I started making wine because my wife does a lot of cooking with wine, so these inexpensive kits that come to $2-$3 per bottle are fantastic.
Patience is free, I can afford that :D

The above comments seem to line up exactly with what I am experiencing. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't doing anything profoundly wrong, I am a little bit 'green' myself at this.

I guess the best thing to do now is start the next batch and wait!

Thanks for helping me with this and welcoming me to the forum.

For those interested here are my recipes:

"Dorm-room hard-cider" (I'm 22 no worries)::
6 gallons pastuerized ('un-preservativized') orchard cider
1/2 gallon mineral water with 6 cups dark cane sugar heated to simple syrup
Juice of 1 Lemon
--Yeast nutrient
--Lalvin D47 yeast (this is from memory, it was w/e the wine guy rec'd)

By rough around the edges, I will consult the diary: "lethargic primary fermentation, vinegary/yeasty smell developed in secondary--but no visible 'mother of vinegar', racked and all looked well, smell still pretty yeasty, bottled, 3 months later very tart still w/ a harsh nose"

The wine kit is a cookie cutter deal, I couldn't tell ya what went into it if I tried (most was not labeled), I do know there was a crushed grape pack and a bunch of grape juice, the rest is "add pouch #4 while stirring vigorously for 2 minutes" etc etc.
I didn't see any mention of meta bisulphites, I hope you used some. I too suffered from the lack of patience when I first started this obsessive hobby. About half the inquiries I made in the begining were directly related to impatience. The above replies are true to the word so I don't need to repeat them. Sanitation is equally as important as patience, that where the sulphites come in. make sure everything is clean and sterile, bottles, mixing sticks, tubes, etc. You're on the right track, keep it up and listen to the advice in here, these people know what there talking about, I am indebted to all in here for the help they have given me. Keep us posted, wine makers enjoy sharing their knowledge. And yes, wine stinks while it's growing, and this can be intimidating, but it does go away, after time, of course. Different yeasts and lack of nutrients can and do contribute to this "pleasent" order, but it is just the way it is, if it were to smell good in the begining you may be doing something wrong. LOL

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Ifyou are looking for a wine with body get a wine kit with a grape pack and you will be chewing it insetad of drinking it. I like a lot of body in my red wines and will not buy any wine kits without a grape pack. i buy the RJS Cellar Classic Winery Series, or En Primeur, or Cru Select(only the ones with the pack) and everyone of these are chock full of body!
ehh, even if you didn't sulfite, not a huge deal.
first 'wine' I made was Ed Wort's Apfelwein and it doesn't use any sulfites or sorbate. You just make sure it ferments dry, and most don't backsweeten.
ehh, even if you didn't sulfite, not a huge deal.
first 'wine' I made was Ed Wort's Apfelwein and it doesn't use any sulfites or sorbate. You just make sure it ferments dry, and most don't backsweeten.

That's some good stuff ain't it?
its not too bad (the apfelwein). not quite my preference, but I also haven't tried any that was aged (the initial bottles had a very floral flavor to them, from the yeast and being a bit young). i'll probably go on a bender this holiday weekend though and sample several meads i've been aging as well as the apfelwein.

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