Port question

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Custom Label Printing & Design
Oct 7, 2007
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Has anyone used the canned Alexander's concentrate to sweeten a port? I have a zinfandel kit that I'd like to make a port wine from, and I'm weighing my options. I could halt fermentation with the fortification to retain sweetness, I could hold off some of the juice and then back sweeten after complete fermentation, but I was also thinking a can of Alexander's Zinfandel might work for back sweetening as well. Since it's just being used as a sweetener and not being fermented, is there a down side to using a "cheaper" juice to sweeten a high end kit? Is there a difference in the end result between halting fermentation to retain sweetness and back sweetening with juice?

Thanks for any and all input.


Mar 30, 2013
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Here is a recipe I've used
1 gallon can Red Grape Concentrate
12 lbs fine granulated sugar
5 gallons warm water
6 oz dried elderberries
16 oz dried, non-glazed, banana chips
2*tsp*yeast energizer
3 oz acid blend
5g sorbate
1 package Port wine yeast
60 oz brandy
Preparing the ingredients.*Prepare the yeast starter three days in advance.*Mix together the banana chips with the elderberries, grape concentrate, water, six pounds of sugar, yeast energizer, acid blend, and the crushed*Campden*tablets into a big container.*Stir*until the sugar is dissolved, cover well, and wait*24*hours.
Adding the yeast. After the*juice*has rested for 24*hours, add the*yeast*starter. Stir*gently until it has*dissolved.
Checking*the right density of the wine. Use the hydrometer to measure the specific gravity (S.G.) or density of the wine. When it reaches the 1.040 value, draw off four to six cups of wine, slowly dissolve an additional three pounds of sugar into it and*stir the result back in. When*the*S.G. reaches*1.030, strain out the*elderberries and banana*chips. Attach the air lock and check the S.G. daily until it reaches*1.010. At this point, draw off another four to six cups of the wine and slowly dissolve the remaining three pounds of sugar into it. Once the sugar has dissolved, gently add the wine*back in the container with the rest of the wine.
Draw off the wine*as deposits form.**Do not*draw off the wine from its deposits*more often that every three weeks. When no more deposits form, allow one month for wine to clear. If wine fails to clear,* add a finning agent. Wait ten days,*draw off the*wine from its deposits one last time, sweeten to taste, then add 60 oz brandy Campden and sorbate to stop fermentation and bottle wine.
Age one year minimum .
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FeRmEnTaTiOn FaNaTiC
Dec 8, 2011
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Noontime....do not forget the concentrates available at www.homewinery.com; I used their CabSauv concentrate for the very step you speak of. I found that after I fortified with brandy the addition of wine grape concentrate versus simple syrup brought the nuance of the grape even more forward. There was not a concentrate taste, all was balanced, at least that is what I thought and every bottle disappeared (even the three I had hidden and a house guest stole--no longer has invites to my home to say the least).
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Staff member
Super Moderator
Jul 7, 2009
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Northern Nuevo Mexico
I bought a can this Fall just for that exact same purpose. I have 12 gallons of Petit Syrah from fresh grapes from 2012 my crush and I will be taking 6 gallons and turning it into a Port Wine. This stuff is inky BLACK and the final ABV is ~ 16.5% so won't need that much Brandy to bump it to 19%. I purchased a can of Alexanders Zinfandel Concentrate and will be backsweeting this around next fall at the earliest.


Senior Member
Apr 24, 2012
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I actually used the Alexanders Cab-Sauv to make a port. Just made it higher abv to start with, then ever so slowly fed it additional concentrate until the yeast finally died out at around 18%. Then I backsweetened with even more concentrate after adding a really nice brandy to bring it to 20%.

I named it "Liquid Sin" because nothing should taste THAT good. I would definitely make it again.