Tasting primary fermentation wine

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LukeM

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Why does my wine taste horrible?

Sorry, I had to, it's actually really good I thought!

I have been lurking on here for a few weeks now and have tried to learn what I could from you guys. I thank you all for the insight on wine making! I came to the conclusion that I wanted to make wine as a new hobby (like I needed another one LMAO), It was a quick decision early this year. I got most of the stuff together (bucket, 5 gal glass carboy, and other utensils) and sat and pondered about what kind I wanted to make for my first one. I went with strawberry for my first choice with the idea to make a wild grape wine closer to fall. I have to say, this is fun! I have been fermenting since Tuesday (27Jun17) and read on here about trying your wine in primary fermentation, this is where I read a post that someone stated to taste it but not come on here and ask "why does my wine taste horrible". It's really good, I am hoping this means I have done something right LOL!

The only thing that I regret. I regret not finding the information of taking an initial hydrometer reading (didn't understand the process yet of course) I wish I would have read up on that! Does anyone know what a dumbass like myself can do to figgure out what percent I would be at? Here is what I know, when I decided to remove the pulp yesterday 28Jun17 (been sitting in there since Thurs 22Jun17) and took a reading it showed approx 1.080 SG and today was 1.060. Thank you in advance for any insight on this one! By the way, I am using 71B-1122 yeast with a temp around 68-73 (night and day) stirring 2 times a day.
 
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Johnd

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Welcome! If you'll post your ingredients (lbs strawberry, gallons water, pounds of sugar), we can get fairly close on the ABV.

As it stands, from 1.080, fermenting down to .995, would put you at 11.5%, but you've already been fermenting almost a week.
 

LukeM

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Welcome! If you'll post your ingredients (lbs strawberry, gallons water, pounds of sugar), we can get fairly close on the ABV.

As it stands, from 1.080, fermenting down to .995, would put you at 11.5%, but you've already been fermenting almost a week.

Thank you! This has been a fun place to lurk around trying to learn, you guys have a lot of knowledge to share with us newbies, and I for one am extremely greatful!

I have only been fermenting for 2 days (my first attempt I apparently killed my yeast at 104°f) I added my second attempt (72°f reconstitution) and it took off in less than 12 hours.

I used 14lbs (after removing stem and leaves) farm fresh (picked at the u-pick farm) along with 3 gal water (store bought distilled water) 9lbs regular granulated sugar and 1lb pure cane washed raw sugar. I have added tanin, citric acid blend, K2S2O5, and yeast nutriant per 5 gal instructions (24 hours before the yeast) I also added the yeast per 5 gal as I figgured that everything together was approx 5 gal. I know this is not an actual recipe as I was trying to do a 3 gal recipe, but with how juicy the strawberries were it added a lot of flavor and liquid.
 

LukeM

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So for fun, I decided to check it again with the hydrometer and it is now around 1.040. Not sure if it's going down too quick at this point, as like stated before, this is my first run.
 

Ajmassa

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Ok. We got this. So you added yeast Tuesday day, and by Tuesday night it was showing signs of activity?
Checked SG on Wednesday (Assuming maybe 24 hours after first sign of activity?) and you were at 1.080.
If that's the case and after 1 day of initial activity you read 1.080 it most likely did not move too much. Days 2 and 3 is where it picks up steam. My opinion would be you started around 1.090-1.1000 range. If you got down to .995 your looking at 12.5-13.5%.

Well you definitely did your homework with those additions. Yet overlooked the SG reading. --all it takes is one time missed for you to remember forever.

Also, what is K2S2O5? Are you referring to potassium metabisulphite ?
 

LukeM

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Ok. We got this. So you added yeast Tuesday day, and by Tuesday night it was showing signs of activity?
Checked SG on Wednesday (Assuming maybe 24 hours after first sign of activity?) and you were at 1.080.
If that's the case and after 1 day of initial activity you read 1.080 it most likely did not move too much. Days 2 and 3 is where it picks up steam. My opinion would be you started around 1.090-1.1000 range. If you got down to .995 your looking at 12.5-13.5%.

Well you definitely did your homework with those additions. Yet overlooked the SG reading. --all it takes is one time missed for you to remember forever.

Also, what is K2S2O5? Are you referring to potassium metabisulphite ?
Thank you! Yes potassium metabisulphite, sorry quicker to type the other one lol. Thank you for the compliment on the other addition, learned as much as i could here before i started. I did get a little excited and missed the SG.

I noticed that the bubbling went down and was thinking about transferring to the carboy from the bucket. Would this be too early to think about this transfer or would it be ok to do?
 

Scooter68

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So for fun, I decided to check it again with the hydrometer and it is now around 1.040. Not sure if it's going down too quick at this point, as like stated before, this is my first run.
The only issue if it "goes down too quick" is a [possible foam overflow. My first batch of wine fermented completely dry (.990) in less than 4 days. I was afraid I did something wrong. Second batch almost as fast. They were both dark/red wines Blueberry and Blackberry so there was no problem with loss of flavor. "White" wines are said to be better fermented at lower temps and slower to preserve the flavor and 'essence' that is lighter in a White wine.

So you have no problem other than getting ready for the secondary fermentation/racking to a carboy. As you've probably read there is no hard fast rule about when to do that. Commonly folks rack between 1.025 and 1.010.
 

Ajmassa

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Thank you! Yes potassium metabisulphite, sorry quicker to type the other one lol. Thank you for the compliment on the other addition, learned as much as i could here before i started. I did get a little excited and missed the SG.



I noticed that the bubbling went down and was thinking about transferring to the carboy from the bucket. Would this be too early to think about this transfer or would it be ok to do?

And just as i was about respond I see Scooter answered. But I was going to say something different and to relax and let it go dry ; (Until the SG stops dropping). Thankfully he prefaced his response with "there is no hardfast rule here".
You are no doubt anxious to some work. But at the very least you should wait until tomorrow and see where she's sitting before making the decision to rack. Seems like your getting bit by the winemaking bug my friend.
 

Johnd

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Thank you! This has been a fun place to lurk around trying to learn, you guys have a lot of knowledge to share with us newbies, and I for one am extremely greatful!

I have only been fermenting for 2 days (my first attempt I apparently killed my yeast at 104°f) I added my second attempt (72°f reconstitution) and it took off in less than 12 hours.

I used 14lbs (after removing stem and leaves) farm fresh (picked at the u-pick farm) along with 3 gal water (store bought distilled water) 9lbs regular granulated sugar and 1lb pure cane washed raw sugar. I have added tanin, citric acid blend, K2S2O5, and yeast nutriant per 5 gal instructions (24 hours before the yeast) I also added the yeast per 5 gal as I figgured that everything together was approx 5 gal. I know this is not an actual recipe as I was trying to do a 3 gal recipe, but with how juicy the strawberries were it added a lot of flavor and liquid.
3 gallons of water + 10 lbs sugar yields a solution with SG 1.122, which will produce a 17.5% ABV wine. Fortunately, strawberries don't have high sugar content, so will lower that scenario a bit, but I'm thinking it'll be pretty hot for a strawberry wine. Strawberries are low on the flavor scale, some backsweetening will help you manage the ABV. It tastes good now because it's still very sweet.

You didn't say what yeast you used, but if the ABV tolerance is low, it may not be able to finish, but time will tell that tale........ ALWAYS test your starting SG/potential ABV and make sure it's in line with your yeast and wine style.
 

Johnd

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71B-1122 he said
Dang, missed that. So 71B tolerance is 14%, if it goes dry, you'll be below that, if it stalls out in a few days, you'll know you're right around 14% and if you're lucky, the sugar that's left will be just right!! Lots see how it goes....and make some game day decisions if needed.
 

Johnd

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Something isn't adding up To go from 1.122 to 1.080 in only 24 hours? That's a big drop even for when it's peaking. No?
He couldn't have started at 1.122, that's what the sugar and water combo produces. The strawberries that were added lowered that, we just don't know how much, there's no starting gravity measurement. The OP added 14 lbs of berries to 35 lbs of sugar water, so the reduction in BRIX could be substantial, but it depends upon the berries used.

Addionally, I'm doubting that yeast added on Tuesday during the day was fermenting on Tuesday night, my bet is that the previously added yeast was a little pokey getting started, but it really doesn't matter which it is.

The real lesson is about matching up wine style, ABV, and yeast, and taking initial gravity readings.
 

Ajmassa

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Gotchya. Never did anything with berries before. Just grapes.
Hopefully it works out. Luke, the best part about adding sugar or simple syrup is the ability to check along th way. Giving you the ability to make the wine EXACTLY to what you want in terms of ABV. Can always sweeten later.
Perfect world, your wine stalls at around 14%. And there's enough residual sugar left over in there perfectly complimenting the taste.
 

LukeM

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The yeast was added Tuesday afternoon and found to be fermenting on Wednesday morning. Through the entire time of adding the first batch of yeast there was no change in the way it acted until Wednesday morning.
I would be happy with 12-14% ABV in this batch, I was not sure what it would yield to when I started and was thinking around 6-10% ABV.
When you add sugar, do you add before the yeast is done or after you "kill it off"? I am not sure when to add in different circumstances. Also what amount would you add for a starting point (I don’t think 10lbs right now would be a good starting point LOL), would 1-2lbs for starters be sufficient?
 

BernardSmith

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Hi LukeM - and welcome. If the sugar was about 10 lbs and the total volume of must close to 5 then we are talking about 2 lbs of sugar per gallon. One pound dissolved in water to make a gallon raises the gravity by 40 points so 2 lbs raises the gravity to 80 (1.080). Not sure how much sugar is in strawberries but I read there is about 27 g /pound so 14 lbs = 378 g - Let's call that 1/3 of a lb and let's say that 1/3 of a lb added to 5 gallons is pretty insignificant for all intents and purposes so we are looking at a good 2 lbs of sugar per gallon and so the potential ABV is going to be about 10.5 - 11% % (1.080 * 131)

You ask how much fermentable sugar to begin with? That depends on the volume of your must, but with wine I would say that you want to aim for 11-12% and so 2 - 2.5 plus /minus is right on target. But as others have suggested you want to consider the flavor richness of the fruit and the TA of the wine and the relative sweetness vs dryness at the end of the day. Simply aiming for an ABV of X may mean that your wine is off kilter and is unbalanced. Cider, for example is wonderful when fermented to about 6%...
Last point - Strawberries are often a challenge in that if the pH is too high (the must is not sufficiently acidic) all or most of the color drops out. I am not sure but I think you also want to ferment strawberries at the higher end of the temperature at which your chosen yeast prefer to help set the color AND added tannin (I think) also helps prevent the color fade. I made a very small batch of strawberry wine last year (used only the juice from the strawberries as I was not looking to dilute the flavor) and I was lucky as the color was as rich and red as the strawberries were when we picked 'em.
 

LukeM

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Thank you Bernard Smith for that information!

I added another pound of sugar with 16oz of water to it. I checked the SG and it's at 1.030, I am going to hold off on the transfer to the carboy at this time and check on it over the next couple of days.
 

Scooter68

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Thank you Bernard Smith for that information!

I added another pound of sugar with 16oz of water to it. I checked the SG and it's at 1.030, I am going to hold off on the transfer to the carboy at this time and check on it over the next couple of days.

Was that the SG AFTER you added the additional sugar?
 

LukeM

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Was that the SG AFTER you added the additional sugar?
Yes, after. It was about 1.010-1.015ish when I added it. My wife wants a sweeter wine rather than a dryer wine. I figured from what all of you were saying that if the sugar content is higher then it will be sweeter when the yeast reaches the potential of 14% whereas if the sugar content is used up before the yeast stalls then it will be a dryer wine (hopefully I understood all this correctly lol).
 

BernardSmith

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But you don't need the yeast to die of alcohol poisoning to have a sweet wine. All you do is determine the amount of sugar in the must and allow the yeast to ferment that bone dry. You then stabilize the wine by adding K-meta and K-sorbate. This inhibits the remaining yeast from reproducing and from refermenting any sugar that you now add precisely to sweeten the wine. Simply adding more and more sugar until the yeast give up the ghost may allow you to make a wine that can compete with rocket fuel but what it is unlikely to do is compete with other wines that are rather more balanced and drinkable. And know that the higher the ABV the longer the wine needs to age before it is really drinkable. Rocket fuel can take years to smooth out the sharp edges that such fermentations typically produce. Ask yourself whether you and your wife prefer the buzz from a drink or the pleasure of a really good glass of wine. Looks like you may be aiming for the first rather than the second... ::
 
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