Cellar Craft Starting first kit today - CC Mystic Red

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oppyland

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Hey all - since there's no fruit available around here this time of year (we call it mud season), and I just finished up bottling a batch of rhubarb, I thought I'd try a kit. Took delivery of a Mystic Red box the other day. Took quite a beating on the way here, but everything appears to be intact.

Does anyone have any recommended tweaks to this kit? One thing I'm wondering is: we kind of like "The Uprising" by 19 Crimes as a go-to cheap bottle when we have guests - could I add some rum barrel chips during bulk aging to infuse a bit of the rum flavor?
 

kuziwk

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Hey all - since there's no fruit available around here this time of year (we call it mud season), and I just finished up bottling a batch of rhubarb, I thought I'd try a kit. Took delivery of a Mystic Red box the other day. Took quite a beating on the way here, but everything appears to be intact.

Does anyone have any recommended tweaks to this kit? One thing I'm wondering is: we kind of like "The Uprising" by 19 Crimes as a go-to cheap bottle when we have guests - could I add some rum barrel chips during bulk aging to infuse a bit of the rum flavor?
You could yes and that actually sounds like a nice addition. I typically add cellaring tannins to all my kits as well, even the skinned ones. I do shy away from off dry wines though as nothing ruins a red wine quicker for me, so I’ve never done that kit. It’s marketed to the apothic red type of wines.
 

oppyland

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You could yes and that actually sounds like a nice addition.
Great, thanks! I'll give it a try and report back.

I typically add cellaring tannins to all my kits as well, even the skinned ones.
How much do you add, and which type? I think I have some grape tannin left from last year's wine, would that work?

I do shy away from off dry wines though as nothing ruins a red wine quicker for me, so I’ve never done that kit. It’s marketed to the apothic red type of wines.
To each his/her own I guess. I'm okay with off-dry reds, as long as the sugar isn't overpowering, and I can control this during backsweetening. My wife also is not a fan of super dry wines, so I try to cater to her tastes as well.
 

kuziwk

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Great, thanks! I'll give it a try and report back.



How much do you add, and which type? I think I have some grape tannin left from last year's wine, would that work?



To each his/her own I guess. I'm okay with off-dry reds, as long as the sugar isn't overpowering, and I can control this during backsweetening. My wife also is not a fan of super dry wines, so I try to cater to her tastes as well.
You can use grape tannin, i use to use chestnut tannin but i really prefer a quality tannin addition like scott tann laboratories Tannin complex...you can taste the difference quality makes, lol. They have a bunch of others, however the cellaring tannin is cheaper in bulk and seems to be the most oak neutral although I’m not 100% sure since this is just going off what i read. I prefer to get the oak flavour from actual staves or cubes over time rather than powder.

It’s personal preference how much to add, i use 1 tsp in higher end kits in the primary and 1tsp after the first racking off the fine lees that way its in the wine for 3-4 months before i rack again. I might add another 1 tsp in 6-10 months time if i feel it still needs more...typically not Though. The cheaper low end kits get 1 tablespoon in the primary and 1 tsp after the first racking off the fine lees, sometimes a bit more but not usually. I like tannic wines, obviously it depends on the grape as some like a Pinot noir might not get anything for tannins it just depends on how it tastes. If you are not bulk aging for 10-12 months just add in the tannin complex at the stage its left in the carboy the longest. I would say about 2 months before bottling should the minimum to get the tannins integrated aswell as minimizing sediment in the bottle. I heard somewhere that tannins in the primary go to waste a bit, where only half are used and the others are sacrificial however i also heard its the most important addition into a well rounded wine which is why i usually always add something in the primary now.

One more thing, Scott tann has a technical better product for the primiary which is marketed as a fermentation tannin. Im sure its better in the primary than the cellaring tannin, i just don’t have access to it in canada for a reasonable price. I pretty much only have access to the tannin complex in bulk, so i also have to use up a 1 pound bag which is why its also going in the primary.

a little sugar goes a long way i find. An alternative is food grade vegetable glycerin if you are concerned about the sugar itself, its about 60% as sweet as sugar.

Information overload Lol, don’t forget to have fun and experiment aswell because its as complicated as you want it to be. The more time you spend in this kit hobby the more opinions you will have. You will either swear by one method or another which may be opposite to what others do.
 
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oppyland

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Thanks for the info! I'm already about halfway through primary - it's happily bubbling away! I'll be sure to check out the various tannin options for secondary.

I'm not opposed to sugar per se, so I'll just either make simple syrup or use the packets in the kit when I backsweeten to taste.

This is my first kit, but not my first wine. I'll be making rhubarb (probably with strawberries or raspberries), pear and maybe apple later in the year.

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge!

EDIT: okay, I was wrong - I have liquid wine tannin by Carlson, which I believe is chestnut-based. I went ahead and added a tsp into the primary - what the heck, right?
 
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kuziwk

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Thanks for the info! I'm already about halfway through primary - it's happily bubbling away! I'll be sure to check out the various tannin options for secondary.

I'm not opposed to sugar per se, so I'll just either make simple syrup or use the packets in the kit when I backsweeten to taste.

This is my first kit, but not my first wine. I'll be making rhubarb (probably with strawberries or raspberries), pear and maybe apple later in the year.

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge!

EDIT: okay, I was wrong - I have liquid wine tannin by Carlson, which I believe is chestnut-based. I went ahead and added a tsp into the primary - what the heck, right?
Yup should be fine, one thing I always do aswell is take a spoon and pin it between the lid of the fermenter and the skins in the muslin mag so it's always submerged. Twice a day I remove the lid, let the bag float to the top and press it against the side of the bucket with a sturdy metal sanitized spoon. After the SG has reached about 1.010 in about a week or so I pin the bag with the spoon again and close it up under an airlock for another week. I basically get a full two weeks with the skins fully submerged. Not really a tweak but a procedure.

The airlock is just the bucket lid drilled out to fit a stopper and airlock.
 

oppyland

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I just dumped the skins right into the primary. I'll deal with them when I transfer to a carboy (pretty used to that with fruit wines). I give it a big stir a couple times a day to keep the floating stuff (oak and some skins) wet.
 

kuziwk

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I just dumped the skins right into the primary. I'll deal with them when I transfer to a carboy (pretty used to that with fruit wines). I give it a big stir a couple times a day to keep the floating stuff (oak and some skins) wet.
Yeah I've tried that method before...never again lol it's a huge pain.
 

oppyland

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Nah - I usually just transfer to another primary bucket through a strainer. Piece of cake!
 

kuziwk

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Nah - I usually just transfer to another primary bucket through a strainer. Piece of cake!
I've actually been meaning to try a side by side comparison with two kits. One with bagged skins and the other loose.ive already done a comparison for clearing agents, one with and one without on two identical high end kits. They are both passing the 1 year mark, planning to do a blind taste test with the wife as some point soon.
 

oppyland

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That would definitely be interesting.

How did the clearing agent test turn out?
 

Ted Brumleve

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Just a thought, I made a batch of Merlot that was blah. I think the closet it was in for a year got hot over the summer. Office mate offered charred shavings from a bourbon barrel he was making into patio chairs. Added the shavings to the Merlot and it was markedly better. 1/2 oz shavings/gallon and left it on for three weeks before filtering.
 

kuziwk

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That would definitely be interesting.

How did the clearing agent test turn out?
I’m convinced having the skins submerged all the time releases more goodies. It also allows the skins to be submerged in a high alcohol environment for longer because alcohol is a solvent. The alternative is following the instructions and racking off the skins in 5-7 days right when the alcohol is just getting up there. I suppose you can leave the skins loose for the two weeks but i would imagine it would be risky as the skins could mould.

The Super Tuscan without the clearing agents I’m also convinced is better (more aroma, flavour, body) but that could all be in my head. I’m waiting for the bottles to settle from shock to judge them, and of course they haven’t reached peak aging since its just coming up on a year. I was also going to get others opinions but due to this virus having anyone over for a taste is out of the question.
 

oppyland

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Office mate offered charred shavings from a bourbon barrel he was making into patio chairs. Added the shavings to the Merlot and it was markedly better.
I got some Brewers Best rum barrel chips. Going to try adding some of those during bulk aging.
 

oppyland

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I’m convinced having the skins submerged all the time releases more goodies.
Yes, I think the more they contact the rest of the must the better, that's why I didn't bag them. I do stir at least twice a day. SG is down to almost 1.00, so I should be able to rack into secondary very soon!

The Super Tuscan without the clearing agents I’m also convinced is better (more aroma, flavour, body) but that could all be in my head.
It'll definitely interesting to know the results of a blind test!
 
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