Cellar Craft Old kit made good by South Hills Brewing

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Senior Member
Aug 18, 2009
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I want to report a good experience I just had with South Hills Brewing http://www.southhillsbrewing.com/
A few months ago CC anounced that the Yakima Syrah would be discontinued. Knowing that I already had one aging and have liked this kit in the past I ordered a second one before they were all gone. Two weeks ago I bottled number one CC Yakima Syrah and I realized how incredibly delicious this kit is. With number two now aging I got busy and found one last Yakima Syrah still floating around. It was at South Hills Brewing in Pennsylvania. I order it and when it arrived I noticed the grape pack was packaged differently and it had different oak than the two previous kits. I immediately wondered if this could be an old original Cellar Craft kit from prior to the WE take over. So I checked the date code on the box and compared to the date code thread on here. Yup it was dated December 6, 2011. But it was the new WE 4 digit date code not the alpha numeric that CC used so it must have been made about the time of the change, still quite old. I called S.H.B. this morning and they were extremely nice and assured me it would be taken care of. Come to find out they received some out of date kits from the supplier and offered any other kit I wanted (BooHooHoo no more Yakima Syrah). He offered a Rosso Fortussimo and naturally I bit. He also said he would send fresh yeast and that I should still do the YS with nothing to lose. I asked if they didn't want the YS as proof to their supplier but apparently someone owned up to sending out old product. I guess I'll know as soon as I open the juice bladder if it's still good or not. I do believe it has been stored properly. Has anyone actually done a kit 2 1/2 years old?
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What a nice story of GREAT customer support.

I haven't done a kit that was that old, but since it is a red wine, I would toss any chemicals, yest but the bentonite (and maybe that also if I had some on hand) and go ahead and make it. Not expect much from it and if it turns out, throw a party with the results.
That's top shelf of you to take the time to relate the story and give good ink to South Hills Brewing.

RJS 9L kits have a shelf life of 2 years. Any less of a concentrate and the shelf life goes down.

RJ Spagnol's Epirations...

  • Vino del Vida and Orchard Breezin’ brands a 24-month expiration from the box date.
  • Grand Cru products have an 18-month expiration.
  • ALL the rest of the wine kits have a 12 month shelf life starting from the box date.
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I'll bet you you're current cost of that kit ($0.00) that it will turn out fine:). Seriously, if the juice has not browned, I'm sure it will be fine.
I plan to start it in a day or two. Fresh yeast is on the way. The juice bladder doesn't indicate browning. I will use this thread to document the progress.
We bought 9 Wine Expert LE kits that were 3 years old off a guy that was getting out of wine making. All turned out fine as far as my taste buds go. You can change out the sorbate and suphite if you like.

I received my replacement Roso Fortussimo today and fresh yeast from South Hills. Opened the old Syrah and it smelled okay, not quite as fruity as I would expect but by no means bad or spoiled. The color has the tiniest hint of brick but that may be my imagination. So I started the kit by the instructions and bloomed the yeast rather than sprinkle. Primary tweaks were a couple ounces of untoasted American oak dust and a dose of FT Rouge. SG is at 1.080 but i will take the official starting SG tomorrow morning.
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This morning we have lift off. Nice fermintation starting. After squeezing grape pack the SG has increased to 1. 096, more than i expected. Looks good so far. No off smells.
This morning we have lift off. Nice fermintation starting. After squeezing grape pack the SG has increased to 1. 096, more than i expected. Looks good so far. No off smells.

Nice! I measured 1.098 on mine at its peak, so you're right there.
Secondary fermentation is complete. I will rack and clear one day this week. That will be my first tasting, I am very hopeful.
Did the degasing and clearing a couple days ago. It was a week later than I had intended but it was topped up in the carboy so no worry. All went well. Did the mix stir with the drill, added fresh k-meta and fresh sorbate. Used the provided clearing agents. I vacuum degased for about 20 minutes before setting aside for a month or so to clear.
This is all good news for me I hope?.. I just pinched two kits from RJS from 2012 and 2013. A Pinot Gris and Riesling. Both seem OK and are fermenting normally.

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