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Reserving juice for back sweetening

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azuredepth

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Hello, I will be getting 6 gallons of California reisling juice and expect I will want to back sweeten once fermentation is completed. I've read the suggestions of reserving a portion of the juice before fermentation to blend in later for back sweetening, but these suggestions didn't include recommendations on the how. So this raised a few questions.

I assume the best way to store the reserved juice during fermentation would be to freeze. If that is the case should anything be done to the juice prior to freezing? When going to use for back sweetening should it be treated like the rest of the wine and be sulfited and stabilized prior to blending? And are there any sanitation concerns in this approach?

Thanks
 

Treeman

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I would suggest freezing a gallon jug 3/4 full and not adding any additional chemicals at this point. Most juice buckets already contain sulfite. You could add sorbate, but that might fall out of solution during your freeze thaw process.

I ferment a bit less than 5 gallons in a carboy. Once the fermentation settles down you can slowly add the rest of the juice ending with a topped off carboy by the end of primary fermentation. Add kmeta once ferment is done and let sit on lees for 2-3 months to clear. You can stir the lees up if you want over this time. Rack after 3 months and thaw frozen juice by turning the jug upside down over a pitcher. You should get about half the original volume of sweet juice to add to the racked wine. Add sorbate and kmeta again when the sweet juice goes in. Add bentonite to clear and you should be ready to rack and bottle after another month.
 

Floandgary

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You should be sure to stabilize your fermented portion (or any wines) if you plan to backsweeten. Most use Potassium Sorbate along with the Potassium Metabisulfite when racking to the carboy-secondary. This will assure that fermentation will not restart after you add your sweetener, be it simple syrup, flavored syrup, or grape juice set aside! No need to treat the sweetener..
 

pete1325

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Hi, it might be best to ferment to dry instead of stopping the fermentation process, that method will change the ABV. Let it ferment completely then back sweeten later. I'm not sure if adding the juice will get it sweet enough....but I've never tried it that way. Be sure to Sorbate before adding any sweetener, this will stop any left over yeast from coming back to life. I made some Muscato last year for my daughter.....it was too dry for her so I started to experiment, I mixed 3/4 of a cup of plain sugar in a one gallon jug, that was too sweet so I backed it down to 1/2 cup per gallon and that turned out pretty good. It really depends on how sweet you want yours.
 

Julie

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Why don't you just ferment it all and then take some of the wine out, add some sugar to that then put it back.
 

azuredepth

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I appreciate the responses. My main concerns have been with making sure the reserved juice didn't go bad or that I didn't contaminate the whole batch when using it to back sweeten.

My plan is to let the wine ferment to dry before stabilizing with kmeta and sorbate to prevent yeast from restarting. Then it will be a matter of sampling and figuring out how much of the thawed juice I need to add to back sweeten.

I've read that back sweetening with sugar can have a distinct taste to it. By using the same juice that was fermented to back sweeten you get a more natural flavor. I'm not sure how true this is but I figure that since I'm getting a 6 gallon bucket of juice now would be the time to give it a try.

Thanks.
 

Floandgary

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There are calculations which can be made to give you SG numbers when sweetening. However, your tastebuds do not relate to numbers so enter the experimentation world! The K-meta and Sorbate treatment you give to your fermented wine should be enough to protect it from whatever you add. I have used dried fruits found in the natural profile of the particular wine with no problems so there should be no issues with unfermented juice. Experiment with a cup at a time to hit your "I like it!" mixture then do the math for the larger amounts....
 

Treeman

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I appreciate the responses. My main concerns have been with making sure the reserved juice didn't go bad or that I didn't contaminate the whole batch when using it to back sweeten.

My plan is to let the wine ferment to dry before stabilizing with kmeta and sorbate to prevent yeast from restarting. Then it will be a matter of sampling and figuring out how much of the thawed juice I need to add to back sweeten.

I've read that back sweetening with sugar can have a distinct taste to it. By using the same juice that was fermented to back sweeten you get a more natural flavor. I'm not sure how true this is but I figure that since I'm getting a 6 gallon bucket of juice now would be the time to give it a try.

Thanks.

I think you will like using juice. It does bring more depth of flavor and aroma to the wine. Be sure your wine is clear before you add the sorbate, and go easy on the additions. Excess sorbate can have a bubble gum flavor to the wines finish. The sensory threshold is around 135 mg/L, I try to keep mine under 100 ppm. Here is a good resource link https://www.extension.iastate.edu/wine/sites/www.extension.iastate.edu/files/wine/SorbicAcid1.pdf
 

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