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the fruit wines I made turned out light bodied

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pkirtani

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Hi All,

I have now made 4 wines ( Pear - from a commercial kit and 3 other wines from a recipe book). All these wines have turned out to be light bodied - i.e. they taste like tableware -even lighter .. kind of watery.

What am I doing wrong?

thanks,
-Prasanna
 

meadmaker1

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I make fruit wine because I prefer a lighter wine.
Im sure there is a better explanation. But ive seen said there is a reason that grapes are the standard, they contain a balanced mix of acids , tannins , liquid ect.
On fruit wines you need to add things to ballance these.
For me some blending has done a great job. Added some JAO to a cranberry batch that was just empty but now has wounderfull flavor and mouth feel.
You might post the amounts of fruit per size of batch and type of fruit
I cant speak for the kit but as far as recipes go I never trust any single one. I always compair them to othrrs I find or that ive done.
A simple answer might be to use more fruit and to add some others for ballance. Lemon juice for acid. Bananas for natural sugars and minerals. Raisons for tannins ect.
Cruse the recipie section compair and rewrite you own recipie.
Give dragon blood a try
 
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Scooter68

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I...
You migjt post the amounts of fruit per size of batch and type of fruit
I cant speak for the kit but as farvas recipes go I never trust any single one. I always compair them to othrrs I find of that ive done.
A simple answer might be to use more fruit and to some others for ballance. Lemon juice for acid. Bananas for natural sugars and minerals. Raisons for tannins ect....
Exactly Mead - Not all fruits need to be heavy on the poundage (Blackberry Blueberry, and Black Raspberry come to mind, however: some are always better with as much fruit as possible. Peaches Strawberries, Apples, and probably pears (Never done a pear wine) need to be as heavy on the poundage as possible. I have done a peach with 6 lbs & 7 lbs /gallon and they both were very good, but the one I did with 4 lbs was too light for me. Keep in mind that the ripeness of the fruit governs two aspects, the sweetness and the flavor. Try a unripe peach vs an overripe peach. The latter is what you always want in your peach wine - unless it has mold on it, there is no such thing as a peach too ripe - cut off the mold and go with it. (That's one reason for the K-meta before pitching the yeast.)

Any Recipe should be checked against others for the same fruit. And as I also learned, too high an ABV will wash out the flavors or bury it with the burn so going lighter on the ABV will keep the flavors better. Some very good wine makers have published recipes that are exactly that, light on flavor and heavy on the ABV. Not sure if that was on purpose or simply a preference by that wine maker.

And as mentioned - tell us what your recipe contained - often folks can help you adjust for the next go at it.
 
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scodoublet

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What kinds of fruits were you using?
I agree with the above, fruit wine will generally be lighter, but you can add things to adjust that.
Raisins, apple juice concentrate, etc.

That's half the fun, experimenting!
 

salcoco

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visit winemaking.jackkeler.net. he has a number of fruit recipes. one thing he does add to most is frozen grape concentrate to increase body. some winemakers feel his fruit weight per gallon is light , but you can increase this at your desire. the other ting is fruit wine should be at about 10% abv otherwise fruit taste suffers.
 

Scooter68

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visit winemaking.jackkeler.net. he has a number of fruit recipes. one thing he does add to most is frozen grape concentrate to increase body. some winemakers feel his fruit weight per gallon is light , but you can increase this at your desire. the other ting is fruit wine should be at about 10% abv otherwise fruit taste suffers.
Learned right off the bat that Keller's recipes are always light on flavor with or without sweetening. Very few fruits turn out well with just 4 lbs (Common amount in his recipes). Have heard that elderberry is one exception but never have made elederberry wine.

So far all my fruit wines have been at 13% and higher and the flavor has been great. Trick is to backsweeten just enough.(Normally to no more than an SG of 1.005) Fruit wines also make great dessert wines when the ABV is high - just sweeten it up a bit more. Also make the wine last longer as folks can sit and sip a dessert wine a lot longer. Everybody wins. As to adding frozen grape concentrate... I've done that with white grape in a blackberry wine about 2 oz for a 1 gallon batch. Worked very well. As a rule though, I don't like to mix flavors - I prefer the pure flavor of the fruit.

Just my personal feelings on fruit wine - my wine of choice.
 
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BernardSmith

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I don't think that the issue is ABV. The problem with most recipes is that the fruit is diluted with water. It's as if wine makers want to treat their fruits as if they were brewers brewing ale. But fruit ain't grain and wine ain't beer. The only real purpose of water is to wash your equipment. Using none or as little water as possible will increase the body and the flavor. It won't significantly increase the ABV without the addition of sugar because the fruit is not likely to have more than about 1lb or 1.5 lbs of sugar in every gallon of pressed juice. To be sure, some fruit is very acidic and does need to be tempered with some water but people who basically ferment flavored water find themselves with watery wine when all is said and done.
 
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wineforfun

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I don't think that the issue is ABV. The problem with most recipes is that the fruit is diluted with water. It's as if wine makers want to treat their fruits as if they were brewers brewing ale. But fruit ain't grain and wine ain't beer. The only real purpose of water is to wash your equipment. Using none or as little water as possible will increase the body and the flavor. It won't significantly increase the ABV without the addition of sugar because the fruit is not likely to have more than about 1lb or 1.5 lbs of sugar in every gallon of pressed juice. To be sure, some fruit is very acidic and does need to be tempered with some water but people who basically ferment flavored water find themselves with watery wine when all is said and done.
ding, ding, ding, we have a winner.

Agree with Bernard. ABV has nothing to do with it being light or thin. If it is possible to make your wine with all juice, then it won't be light or near as light as the most water/some fruit version.
 

WeimarWine

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Great advice above. I generally prefer to add chopped up golden raisins to my fruit wines to add some body to the wine. It does not detract from or over power the fruit flavors.

WeimarWine
 

Scooter68

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I'll not respond to the adding raisins in wine subject. I've seen a number who see that as heresy. I haven't done it.....yet. I generally try to make sure I have enough fruit to limit any outside help for the body of the wine. (Except for adding a little glycerine.) Whatever works for you is what matters.

(Added - Reason for concerns people have expressed is that you are adding something that has oxidized (The raisins) to a wine where oxidation is not our friend.)
 
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pkirtani

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What kinds of fruits were you using?
I agree with the above, fruit wine will generally be lighter, but you can add things to adjust that.
Raisins, apple juice concentrate, etc.

That's half the fun, experimenting!
Agreed. I have made raspberry, strawberry and pear so far. All recipes.. I have added water - likely the reason why the light bodied nature of the wines.. the next one I will try adding apple juice conc. instead of water... thanks lot - Prasanna
 

pkirtani

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Learned right off the bat that Keller's recipes are always light on flavor with or without sweetening. Very few fruits turn out well with just 4 lbs (Common amount in his recipes). Have heard that elderberry is one exception but never have made elederberry wine.

So far all my fruit wines have been at 13% and higher and the flavor has been great. Trick is to backsweeten just enough.(Normally to no more than an SG of 1.005) Fruit wines also make great dessert wines when the ABV is high - just sweeten it up a bit more. Also make the wine last longer as folks can sit and sip a dessert wine a lot longer. Everybody wins. As to adding frozen grape concentrate... I've done that with white grape in a blackberry wine about 2 oz for a 1 gallon batch. Worked very well. As a rule though, I don't like to mix flavors - I prefer the pure flavor of the fruit.

Just my personal feelings on fruit wine - my wine of choice.
Thanks. good to hear from others than by repeating mistakes-- has helped me for sure.
 

Julie

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You are right the fruit wines that you have made should not have water added to them. Also, try to keep the sg around 1.080, fruit wines do better if the ABV isn't over 12%. PH should be between 3.5 and 3.6, I would use acid blend to bring your PH up. And add tannins at the begining and add more tannins after fermenation, this really helps with mouth feel. I know some have said to use raisins but I cannot tell you that, I look at a raisin as an oxidized dried up grape and I won't add something like that to my wines.
 

Scooter68

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At the risk of being a contrarian, I would say that fruit wines tend to have stronger more dominant flavors than grape wines. Especially the darker berry fruits. This assumes three things though -
1) Enough of the fruit is used so that no water, or minimal water is added in most cases. Exceptions being Elderberry and Black Raspberry.
2) Backsweetening is done to accent the flavor (A clear advantage to grapes on this point)
3) The fruit itself is not a wimpy flavor, such as pear wine.
BUT in reality - we all have personal preferences. For me, I've never been a fan of red wines but I love the strong dark fruit wines like Blackberry, Black Currant, and Black Raspberry. Peach wine has, however; become my flat out favorite when made properly (6-7 lbs/gallon)
 

WeimarWine

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In defense of adding raisins to increase body in a fruit wine, my best fruit wine I have made is a Pear Wine 4 years ago, including chopped golden raisins. The wine was entered into the Austin County (TX) Fair Non-commercial Winemaking contest where it won a Gold medal in the Fruit wine category and was Reserve Champion (runner-up) in a field of about 70 entries. I believe that this wine won because of the combination of the nice fruit aroma and taste combined with good body. A complaint of light-bodied fruit wines was the thread starter. This is one possible solution.

I agree with all of the other comments about using more fruit per gallon and less water than is called for in a lot of recipes; keeping an eye on alcohol level, and attention to pH. Lot's of good advice to making better fruit wines.

WeimarWine
 

Peter Gaulton

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What kinds of fruits were you using?
I agree with the above, fruit wine will generally be lighter, but you can add things to adjust that.
Raisins, apple juice concentrate, etc.

That's half the fun, experimenting!
The body of a wine can be predicted if you know the level of unfermentable soluble solids in each ingredient. For example, a medium bodied wine will have around 2.5% soluble solids. Gerry Fowles handbook "Must" gives some values for commonly used ingredients, or if you want to let a Windows pc do the calculations then you might want to try the HomeWineProgram from the website of the same name. It's free.
 

BernardSmith

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Wine recipes - in my opinion - are often untested and pretty close to nonsense. The only use for a recipe, I would argue, is to provide the wine or mead maker with an idea to use an ingredient or a technique that she or he has never thought to use previously. For example: this recipe is for making a coffee flavored wine: the author suggests boiling a pound of coffee grains to make a gallon of coffee "tea" . Will that not make for too bitter a wine? or that recipe speaks of boiling peanuts to extract their flavor and then chilling the tea to scoop off any layer of fat that forms on the top. What other effective ways are there to extract flavor from nuts and spices?
To slavishly follow recipes without having a deeper understanding of what is intended - and how what is intended may work will lead the reader right off the cliff. When someone says to use 3 lbs of fruit to make a gallon of wine or when they suggest that you add all the acidity up front before testing TA or when they write that for a bochet you need to caramelize honey until it's black and smoking or that you can add a handful of raisins to add to missing nutrients you know that the author has either never tested the recipe they have posted (how many trade published cookbook recipes are untested?) or worse, they really have no sound peer reviewed knowledge of their craft. They may as well be self published.
Bottom line: if you follow a recipe that you do not know has won several prestigious medals then buyer beware
 
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