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Dec 9, 2009
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Hi guys

I started a thread here the other day about my batch of candy cane wine and what to do to get it to start. I took your advices about testing the acid. Found it to be low. Added acid to about .65%. Gravity still high at 1110. First time I ever had an acid issue. I'm learning a little here also - this is good.

After all the testing and worrying, I pitched a new yeast later the same night. Next morning nothing at all happening, next afternoon nothing. Is it time to forget about this candy cane experiment and stick with more traditional vints or do you think there is some hope for this batch yet.

Still need advice.

make a starter yeast for this and once you get this going good start adding some of your must to it, there may be some other issue with that candy and we can most likely overcome this issue by making a starter yeats and doing this. get yourself another packet of yeast and a cup of Orange juice and warm that up to around 75* add a little nutrient and then add the yeast, let that get going good and then add a 1/4 cup of your must, give it a few to get going well and then do that again and just keep repeating until you have tripled the size of your starter and then add that to your must at a temp of around 75* and she should fire up. If not then there is some ingredient in those canes that cant be fought.
Thanks dj, I use EC- 1118. Good performer for me in the past. Hydro is reading 1110 right now, same as the original gravity. Thanks again Wade

I'll be battleing all W/E with this. I'll try the new starter method of yours. I usually buy a couple of the yeasts at a time just for a circumstance like this. I have a few handy here. My gravity at the very first innoculation (9 days ago) was a little high at 1110. It has stayed there through out all this tampering. Never moved. I did actually see some activity in the must the very first evening when I pitched the yeast the first time.

I'll keep trying. I'm convinced I can make it happen.

I must say I'm watching this saga with a lot of interest, because after your first post about it, I decided to make a batch of this wine for christmas gifts next year. Haven't started yet, I think I'll wait!
Saga is right - more like a soap opera!!

At first my thinking was "how hard can it be", melt some candy canes, throw 'em in some water and go. I never had these kinds of issues before, but I've never tried anything like hard candy before either.

I know it can be done because I've read about it on this forum. Maybe I should have asked the folks who were making CC wine and asked for some specifics. Oh well, I feel I'm getting good advice here.

I'll just keep pluggin' away, I am going to make a new starter ans see if I can get it going that way. If not, the batch will become part of the back yard snow pile. I'll have the only kids in town sleddin' on a pink hill !!

See ya guys

Candy cane wine was mentioned on this forum some time ago. It peaked my interest and I considered making some. But, the more I thought about it, the less sure I was. Candy canes are simply sugar cooked to the hard crack stage, with color and peppermint oil added. So, it’s just like making a neutral flavor sugar wine and adding peppermint flavor.

So, I’m wondering if a candy cane wine should be made with the original ingredients. Maybe sugar, peppermint leaves, and something to add a red color.
Oh, right… Just brainstorming a bit.

Did you add sulfite to your batch? You may also want to look at the ingredients on your candy canes and make sure there are no preservatives in there. I recently did a batch of cider wine and there were small amounts of sorbate in it. In addition, I added sulfite. It eventually started, but it took like 3 or 4 days and even then was a pretty slow ferment.
I bought some candy canes on christmas clearance in preparation to make this, but I'm waiting a bit to find out how this turns out.

Anyways, the ingredients on mine are pretty simple ("Bob's" is the brand, standard red/white peppermint canes)

Sugar, Corn Syrup, Peppermint Oil, Artificial Color (Red 40, Red 40 Lake)

I assume there's a more or less standard recipe for these. Not sure if the artificial colors could cause a fermenting problem.
I read a bit on peppermint oil, and it does have some antimicrobial properties, mostly towards bacteria though, but it's possible that it could be inhibiting the yeast (even though they are fungi officially).
I took advice you guys gave me and after a Friday night (last night) nurseing a starter of yeast, yeast nutrient and a little bit of my must at a time I ended up with just over two cups of starter. It was rolling pretty good this morning when I poured it slowly into the must. This is my third and final innoculation of this batch. I now have a little action in my primary after all day. I'll be pretty happy if after the whole W/E its still rolling and showing me a little foam in the primary.

The extremely low acid content at first must have been an issue. Luc was the one who said I should test it and correct it. After I tested it, I reacidified to about .65%. I think I'm showing progress at this point, although not out of the woods yet.

I'll keep ya'll posted.

Started my batch of this over the weekend. Today it is going pretty good, so I think the advice in this thread is great. I did modify the recipe a bit, I added 6 cans of welch's niagara concentrate for some body.

I made a simple starter by rehydrating the yeast, then adding some must and letting that get started for about an hour. Then I added the same amount again and let it get going. When it was rolling I put it in the primary. That seems to have worked as it's going great right now.

I also went a little heavy on the yeast nutrient 5 tsp for a 3 gallon batch.

It is a pretty cool neon pink kinda color. I hope it stays that way!
1 tsp of nutrient is all that is required but it will be fine. I usually use 1 tsp of nutrient and /2 tsp of energizer per gallon.
Sounds good deboard

I still have a battle raging, as the CC is now in the secondary with 24/7 heat applied to try and motivate the yeast. Funny you should tell me this when you did, I just walked upstairs from dropping the hydro in it and seeing absolutely no progress. The only shred of evidence in this stuff is that there is a very small bubble every ten minutes or so in the air lock. Something is going on in the secondary if thats happening!! I finnally got tired of having my primary tied up with this batch so I moved it to the secondary and have since ran a batch of Pineapple-Orange-Banana through. Yet another to watch.

Pine-orange-banana, by far the most voilent ferment I've ever seen!! I had about 5 inches of wobbleing foam on top of the primary !! Racked this new batch into the secondary and WOW, the ol' air lock was workin' overtime!

The kids got a huge laugh out of watching dad's wine "perk".

Good luck with your batch there deboard, I'm afraid mine has eluded me for now, I'll keep letting it perk away.

Steve, I did a Pineapple Orange Banana with Dole concentrates a few months back. That was an incredible ferment. Looked like someone tossed a chunk of dry ice in there!! No kidding. LOL. I was waiting for an eruption myself. I mean it was really "boiling" away. Sure makes all other ferment seem slow huh?