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Rickochet

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I am working on my first batch of fruit wine. My wife really likes the sweet wines, so when I added my sugar, I added more than the recipe called for. My starting SG was 1.118. All has been going well, fermentation in progress, SG dropping and is now 1.022 which is right at 12.5% ABV.

If I let it go to 1.00 or below, the ABV is going to be 15.5% or higher. I have a few questions that some of you pros may be able to help answer.....

1. I'm sure the higher ABV will be nice, but is it going to drastically affect the taste?

2. Is it going to have a high alcohol flavor and be very dry?

3. Should I stop the fermentation and if so what is the best method?

4. Or should I not worry about it and back sweeten at bottling time and hope to get lucky? ::

Any advice you have is appreciated!

Thanks!!!
 

Wade E

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Do not even try to stop a fermentation in progress unless you have the ability to sterile filter your wine and that requires a filter set up with .45 micron filter to do so or you will likely end up with bottle bombs. Let it finish fermenting and then sweeten back. You shouldnt ever add more sugar in the hopes it will die early as it usually doesnt and you end up with a wine that has too much abv for a fruit wine. The best thing to do is to start off with a sg of around 1.085 and lt it ferment out and then stabilize the wine with sulfite and sorbate which will not let your wine referment. With what yo have you will have to let this age quite awhile and even then it may be a strong abv wine which usually hides lots of flavor. What yeast did you use as some yeast strains have a abv tolerance up to 18% while others are about 13% but even those can still make it to 15% or more sometimes and thats why we dont recommend upping the starting sg.
 

JasonH

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You could always make another batch with a lower abv and blend them, but that is a lot of work.
 

Wade E

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That above is another great option if you have more fruit available!
 

Rickochet

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Thanks for the fast responses. I used the Lalvin EC-1118 which is highly advertised to do the job up to 18%. The fermentation is still going strong as the SG is continually dropping. I probably will just ride it out & rack it when the SG is less than 1.00. It is only 3 gallons, so it will not be a huge issue to wait to see how it comes out. A rookie mistake!!!! Or, maybe it will be a delicious dessert wine if back sweetened to my wife's liking! Then I may get lucky!!!!!
 

Wade E

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At that abv and if you sweeten really high youll could call it a Plum Port!
 

Rickochet

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That is genius Wade! I am ready to call it anything but a failure!!!! :)
 

kegmeister

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With a lot of fruit wines you end up with a lot of lees in the carboy, requiring you to rack many many times. Each time you rack you will loose some volume which you can replace with water or another wine. If you have an alcohol flavor to your wine topping with plain old water when topping off might mellow it just enough. Hopefully you will not end up diluting the flavor too much as well.
 

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