Other Serendipitous event while making Zinfandel

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Rocky

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I think I may have stumbled upon something that may be worth pursuing. I am making a kit of Finer Wine Forte Zinfandel and, as all of the FWK wines, the juice was refrigerated when I got it. The only vessel I had for a fermenter was an insulated Home Depot Igloo 10-gallon water cooler. I started the kit in the HD cooler and the wine temperature was only 50 F. I did not want to pitch the yeast mixture until the temperature increased so I waited (unfortunately not long enough) and pitched the yeast when the temp hit 58 F. I should have waited a little longer because I think I killed of some of the yeast and my fermentation was at SG 1.002 when I went to the secondary fermenter (Better Bottle). It appears to be stuck there.

I like to think that in every challenge we face in life there is a gift for us if we can recognize it. My gift is that I may have stumbled upon a way to do cold soak maceration without major investment in refrigeration. Had I left the juice in the cooler for a few more days and the temperature had risen to the mid 60's F, I would not have the SG problem. However, I did get the benefit of a few extra days of maceration because of the insulated cooler. Just for kicks, I will order another kit, put the juice and skins into my basement refrigerator and start it in the insulated cooler at an even lower temp. I will wait until the temperature rises to the mid 60's F before pitching the yeast. I would estimate that the cold juice will take a week or two to come to that temperature.

The Home Depot 10 Gal Orange Water Cooler-FG1610HDORAN - The Home Depot
 

my wine

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Hi Rocky, glad to hear you cranked up the fermenting skills once again. I did something similar with a cold soak approach last spring with one of the first FWK zins and double skin packs. What I did was prepared the must in a fermenting bucket then placed it outside by my wine basement door. Outside temps ranged from mid-30s to mid-50s. After several days, I brought it in to warm up and pitched the yeast. It is aging now in a carboy I bought from an Italian guy in Columbus. :) I tasted it the other day. Good but needs at least 6 more months in a carboy.
 

G259

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I am doing a FWK ZIn. and it finished at .999, and is aging in 2 - 3 gal. BB's. When I transfer, it will go to 5 gal.
Did you put the sorbate in yet? If not, you could warm it up, and see if it drops that couple of points, but just a 'bit' sweeter, not much.
 
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@Rocky, great idea!

I stopped adding sorbate to dry wine kits. The sorbate is included in kits as a failsafe in case the newbie doesn't let the wine ferment dry, to avoid bottle volcanoes. If we ferment to dry, it's not necessary.

I write the month/year on the package and drop it in a drawer. A year later, if I haven't used it in another wine, I bin it. Sorbate has a finite shelf life, but I've never found a reference that says what that is. Since I have no idea how long the kit vendor had it, nor now long their distributor had it, I arbitrarily choose 1 year as my nuke point.
 

Rocky

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I am doing a FWK ZIn. and it finished at .999, and is aging in 2 - 3 gal. BB's. When I transfer, it will go to 5 gal.
Did you put the sorbate in yet? If not, you could warm it up, and see if it drops that couple of points, but just a 'bit' sweeter, not much.
I very rarely use sorbate in my wines and only when I am making a dessert wine or something that I want to be sweet such as a Port. Sorbate reminds me of an old bubble gum we used to have, Fleer's Double Bubble. I liked the gum by not in my wine. Because the "finishing" packs are coming more and more with the Sorbate and K-meta mixed, I usually trash the packet and just add 1/4 teaspoon of K-meta to 5 or 6 gallon carboy. There are some other yeast choices out there for stuck fermentation and I may add that.
 

G259

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I use sorbate (or the kit packet), I have not noticed any off flavors. I have not tried it without it either, but I'll stick to safety, I guess my palate is not as refined as yours! I mean, I could try it 'head to head', but that's a lot of work for what I see as minimal possible gain, but that's just me!

BTW, did warming it up help?
 
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use sorbate (or the kit packet), I have not noticed any off flavors.
With kits from a reputable vendor, you won't. The geranium odor is produced when too much sorbate is used, or when malolactic bacteria are present. With kits the dosage should be correct and MLF doesn't normally occur, so the risk of odor should be zero.

As I said, if your wine is bone dry, there's no need for sorbate, as there's no sugar for a re-ignited fermentation. But if you prefer to use it, there's no harm in it.
 

G259

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I don't usually drink my wine 'bone dry', so I will add sugar to my liking. These Finer Wine kits seem to have been formulated to end fermentation at the correct time, allowing the sg to be right where it is supposed to be. I think that small amounts of sugars will bring out aspects of a wine, not present without it.
 
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