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spleisher

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Well, I suppose if I am gonna ask dumb questions, this is the place to do it.

I'm sure this is actually pretty common, but I've just racked my first kit into the carboy, and now knowing what to expect, I'm nervous about its progress.

I think my big problem at this point is that every time I open things up to perform some necessary task (stirring skins, testing SG, or racking), I can't help but sneak a taste.

I've made mental notes of the transition my batch has gone through, and it's really been amazing. I guess I just want to check to be sure everything is "normal" at this point.

So I'm starting with a RJ Spagnols Grand Cru International California Red Zin. The kit comes with grape skins, and I have opted to add them directly to the wine.

During the first 4-5 days, I could tell something was happening, but things were slow. When I opened the bucket to stir the skins, the juice was beginning to taste like sparkly sweet grape juice with a hint of alcohol.

Then, on about day 5-6, there was a big change. The airlock really started bubbling constantly, really going nuts.

By the end of Day 8 (yesterday) the SG was down to 1.017 (from 1.098) and I deemed it ready to rack.

Siphoning went quite well, although I'm pretty sure some lees (and maybe a few grape seeds) took the ride into the carboy.

What really struck me this time was the taste. It had gone from being sweet to REALLY being able to taste the alcohol now.

The only thing that concerned me is that it KINDA tasted like wine, but almost tasted more like wine flavored alcohol (like a spirit) if that makes sense.

It smells fine (much like the grape juice first smelled, but not as sweet smelling).

Could there be something wrong, or am I just putting too much stock in the flavor of something that is nowhere near being done yet?

If you tell me to stop licking the spoon and just carry on baking cookies, I won't be offended. I guess I'm just wondering what to look for to make sure all is "well" in the process.

Thanks!
Scott
 

Tom

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Scott, Here we (I) go by SIX things to remember
1ST Patience
2ND Patience
3RD Patience
4TH Taste
5TH Taste
6TH Taste
There is no problem Tasting as you go. Just make sure EVERYTHING that touches the wine is sanitized.
What you are going through is "normal". Soon it will begin to taste more and more like wine.
Just READ, Follow and understand the directions. You can always ask here if you are stumped.
Everything looks normal so far. Relax as you should not rush it. That wine is a very nice one.
When are you gonna start KIT # 2 ?
 

spleisher

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Thanks for the reassuring words. I think another key is to just take what you are tasting with a grain of salt (not literally) at this point. It's a long way from being done. The more kits I do, the more I think I will become familiar with what to expect at the various stages.

Funny you should ask about the next kit. My wife and I are talking about that now. We've sorta fallen in love with Zin lately, so that was a no brainer for our first attempt. I'm really partial to reds, but my wife really likes white wine too, so I might go that route next. I'm thinking a Pinot Grigio or something like that. Any suggestions?

Thanks again!
 

cpfan

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Scott: Nothing wrong with tasting as you go. You just have to not be worried so much.

What white wine does your wife like. A couple of years ago, Pinot Grigio was being touted as the all-purpose white, so it's probably a good choice. My wide and I prefer Gewurztraminers and Rieslings.

Steve
 

spleisher

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I like Gewurztraminers and Rieslings too, but they might be a hair sweet for our taste to have in larger quantities.

I'm not sure about it being all purpose, but I can see where people might be going when they say that about Pinot Grigio. It's a nice middle ground between the sweeter whites, without going big like Chardonnay. Personally, I'd prefer a Chard, but I have to keep the wife happy.

We're also considering cost a little bit. Although it would be fun to try a really high end kit sometime, I think I've gone as fancy as I care to go with this Grad Cru international kit (about $85). I'd actually like to see if we can find some that we like that are even cheaper.
 

vvolf34

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Gewurztraminers and Rieslings are good. I have had commercial styles of these, but have not made a kit yet. Personally I am going to get a Piesporter as I have not had that wine in about 10 years. It is an off dry and very fruity!
 

spleisher

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The way I figure it, I've got another month or so before I start my batch of white, as I am not ready to buy more buckets and/or carboys... yet. Actually, I should clarify. I don't think I can convince the wife yet that an operational expansion is in order. I need to prove that I can make this work first. :w

It would probably be wise to use the time we have to sample a few varietals of white to see what she really likes. Maybe try to nail down the preference a little more. Another excuse to collect more bottles, right?
 

Tom

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I like Gewurztraminers and Rieslings too, but they might be a hair sweet for our taste to have in larger quantities.

I'm not sure about it being all purpose, but I can see where people might be going when they say that about Pinot Grigio. It's a nice middle ground between the sweeter whites, without going big like Chardonnay. Personally, I'd prefer a Chard, but I have to keep the wife happy.

We're also considering cost a little bit. Although it would be fun to try a really high end kit sometime, I think I've gone as fancy as I care to go with this Grad Cru international kit (about $85). I'd actually like to see if we can find some that we like that are even cheaper.
Nothing wrong with starting with a under $100 kit. Be warned.. Once you get a "pallet" for wine you will be doing higher end kits... :db
 

spleisher

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That's what I am afraid of.

I'm no stranger to obsessive hobbies. I work in an office, and I listen to music most of the day. Believe it or not, I actually have a pair of $1100 In Ear Monitors that I use. It's crazy, but they sure do sound good!
 

St Allie

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Scott


Don't discount the lower priced kits you can tweak them up a bit. Often the lower end whites are good BBQ drinkers. Drink your good whites first and the lower ends second.. most peoples palates are a bit neutralised by then.. esp after a bit of burnt meat.

Allie
 

Green Mountains

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I don't think I can convince the wife yet that an operational expansion is in order. I need to prove that I can make this work first. :w

Once she's as entrenched in this hobby with you, she'll give......

One week ago, Laura called me at work and said...."The electric vacuum you bought on Ebay was delivered today....come home so we can do some degassing."

I love wine, making wine, and my sweetheart of a wife.

Welcome to the fold and enjoy the hobby (obsession).



Darren
 

cpfan

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spleisher;

It would be easier for me to help you with kit selection if I knew roughly where you lived. Please update the Location field in the Control Panel.

Usually when we make a g'wine or riesling that comes with a Suss Reserve pack, we add it to the primary. So you could make the Grand Cru International German Gewurztraminer that way, and it would be a dry wine. I haven't done that kit dry, but have done a few others. We enjoy them that way.

Steve
 

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