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maggly

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For my first batch of wine I used juice. For my second batch, I am in process of using pears in a proper nylon bag. I am nearing the end of primary, and will be racking possibly in a few days. I am using a 6-gallon primary bucket, and will be racking into a 6-gallon glass carboy. I am assuming that when I remove the bag of used fruit, there will be quite a bit of space in the secondary carboy once racked. I am not sure how much space will be created, but I am guessing quite a bit. I understand that I can fill the space with pear wine, but I am going for extremely dry wine, and most of the time, pear wine is sweet. I also don't want somebody else's wine in my wine. So, can folks provide a solution for the space I will be creating when the fruit bag is removed? Thanks!
 

Jovimaple

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You can top off with a dry white wine. In future batches, if you don't want to do that, you have a couple options:

1. Make extra to account for the volume lost to lees (you may want to get a 7.9 gallon primary fermentation bucket if your target batch size is 6 gallons)

2. You can rack down to a 5 gallon carboy or a 3 gallon and smaller sizes

3. You can add sanitized marbles (make sure they do not contain lead)

4. You could get more pears and make another small batch and then combine them after the second batch is done with primary fermentation

Many of us have a collection of gallon, half gallon, and smaller size jugs and carboys. I also use wine bottles with a universal bung turned upside down with an airlock.

Edit: just reread the part about you not wanting to add other wine, so options 2 or 3 are your best bets, if you can't get more pears quick enough for option 4.
 
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Rice_Guy

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You are still at the primary so you have active fermentation. This means that you could take any low flavor/ color juice for topping off, my choice would be frozen apple concentrate from the grocery, but I could see any convenient juice like rhubarb or grape or even one of the shelf stable clear juices. ,,,. (I keep half gallon milk jugs of recent batches in the freezer for topping off)
When you rack a second time you really don’t want to add a sugar source which will reactivate the yeast. At the second racking I would consider a dry wine like white grape etc
At some time like when you rack a second time you really need a five gallon.
 
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I concur, either down size the secondary container, or fill the head space.

Consider that your highest priority is protecting your current investment. You must protect your wine. If that means doing something you don't want to do? Do what needs to be done.

99% of us have misjudged volume at least once. Think of this as your christening. ;)

As previously mentioned, you can make another small batch of pear wine. Apple will work as well.

For future reference, using a 6 gallon bucket to make 6 gallons of wine is tempting fate. Sooner or later you will over flow the fermenter. Get a 7.9 gallon primary fermenter or a 10 gallon Rubbermaid Brute.
 

BigDaveK

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What quantity of pears did you use?
Tomorrow I'll be starting my 5th batch of pear wine in the last 6 weeks and next week I'll start my 6th and final batch after they thaw. Each batch used 42-45 lbs of pears. I crushed and pressed but then recombined everything into a 6 gallon bucket. I lined the bucket with a mesh bag but didn't close it - it was just there to make removing the pulp easier.
There's is a point to this...
It almost reached the 5 gallon mark on the bucket. When I transferred to secondary and squeezed the heck out of the bag I had less than a gallon of pulp. I filled a 3-gal carboy and a 1-gal jug. There will be a boatload of sediment and when I rack for the first time I'll have 3-gal plus maybe a couple quarts to top off after the next racking.
Personally I never rack to secondary. I transfer. It's still fermenting and I don't see the point in reducing the amount of yeast.
Back to my original question - What quantity of pears did you use? You may not lose as much as you think but it's good to be prepared. Smaller containers would be my first choice. If not available, since it's still fermenting, adding juice would be my second choice like others have mentioned. I'd do apple or pear juice. Check for preservatives!!! I think it's too soon to add wine as a topping agent.
Good luck!!
 

maggly

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Thank you folks for great advice.

I don't know the exact weight of the pears, but if it helps, the bag with the fruit is approximately the size of a soccer ball (real helpful, right?). Based on the responses, I think I will start a small batch of apple wine from juice that I already have on hand. I don't have access to more of the homegrown pears. Then, I can use as much, or as little, as needed to top off the secondary. I will probably just let the pear wine ferment until the apple wine is also done with primary. I don't imagine this will be a big deal since I am going for maximum alcohol anyway and the pear wine is still real active.

I am not trying to be snobbish or anything by wanting it to be my wine. Since I am a beginner, I want to see what flavors I can achieve instead of relying on somebody's wine who knows what they are doing. Hope that makes sense.

In the future, I can see the need to acquire more carboys of varying sizes. Then, this won't be a problem no matter how much space the fruit takes up.

Again, thanks for excellent feedback!
 
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I am not trying to be snobbish or anything by wanting it to be my wine. Since I am a beginner, I want to see what flavors I can achieve instead of relying on somebody's wine who knows what they are doing. Hope that makes sense.
Cool. Some come into winemaking with unrealistic expectations, and we (as a group) have to reset expectations.

This pear wine should be successful. It may not turn out as you originally expected, but if it tastes good, you've succeeded. The next batch of pear wine can be pure pear -- the plus is that you will have 2 wines to compare.

It is worth reserving a few bottles of wine to use for topping up future batches. Batch planning normally works, but sometimes things turn out differently than anticipated, and having topup wine on hand saves the day.

Record your winemaking notes, and record tasting notes. You may not believe how beneficial both may be to you in the future.
 

vinny

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I am not trying to be snobbish or anything by wanting it to be my wine. Since I am a beginner, I want to see what flavors I can achieve instead of relying on somebody's wine who knows what they are doing. Hope that makes sense.
Just for another perspective, when I started my first 2 kits I didn't verify my primary fermenter volumes. I ended up 4-5 bottles short in each carboy. I was not pleased. In fact, I was angry about it. I wanted to follow the directions to the letter and make the wine just as the manufacturer had intended it. I had screwed it up and I wasn't going to know if I had made something as it was intended, or if it was as good as it was supposed to be.

I kept them in vacuum while I thought about how to fix it. I ended up topping them up with store bought wine and they are both great wines.

The other day I took two kits that are still in secondary, one with very prominent acidity, the other a little light for my preferences. I sampled each and a blend of them together. I found them both to be best on their own, but my intent was to blend the two together to make one wine in between the two acid levels.

My point is that you are the winemaker. If you CHOOSE to add wine or juice to your wine, it is still your wine and it is still as good as you can make it. Topping up my Shiraz with a store bought Shiraz didn't make it taste like the wine I bought. I gave it extra time to age and it actually came out better than the wine I bought to top it up with.

There are many variables that will effect how your final wine turns out. Original recipe, what you add after fermenting (juice, back sweetening, etc.), the time you let it age, and so on. The thing is, you control all the variables all the way along. People intentionally blend all the time. Adding another wine is not a failure, cheat, or a lessening of the final product. It may just be part of the process you choose in making your wine.

As we make wines and have more on hand we have more choice as to what to blend or top up with. That will allow you to use your own wines to top up in the future and keep them 'pure', but if you choose to top up or blend with a store bought wine, you still get full credit as the winemaker!
 

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So, can folks provide a solution for the space I will be creating when the fruit bag is removed? Thanks!
Buy a bag of marbles, sanitize them, and gently place them into your carboy till the heat space if removed.

Edit: If afraid the marbles will break the carboy when dropping (they should not ... but just in case you fear they might), bend a bit of wire (stainless is best, but copper is okayish in a pinch -- but do not use zinc coated or mild steel wire) into a little marble "holder" and lower each into the carboy. Another option is a rubber tube larger than the marbles, put into the carboy and drop each marble down the tube.
 
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Rice_Guy

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pears, , , the bag with the fruit is approximately the size of a soccer ball
some recipe clarification? The total pears used was about five liters > to this you added fifteen liters of water and 2.5 kilos of sugar and acid ? (4.5 gallons water and sugar)
For my second batch, I am in process of using pears in a proper nylon bag. , , . I am using a 6-gallon primary bucket, and will be racking into a 6-gallon glass carboy.
Pears are fairly low on acid/ solids/ flavor and folks usually run 100% pear juice with added sugar, acid and yeast nutrient and possibly tannin.
The lots of water/ nylon bag process is usually done with high acid/ high flavor fruits like raspberry or rhubarb or currants. ,,, Are you pleased with the level of flavor/ fruit solids?
 

maggly

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Thanks for the continued feedback. I am sure I will use all of this good info either now or on future batches. The pear wine is actually tasting pretty decent. It has very subtle pear flavor so far, but has a high alcohol taste. I am shooting for dry and subtle, so we will see how it ends up.
 
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@maggly, something to keep in mind that is if the wine doesn't smell and/or taste bad, there are uses for it. Sangria (or other wine drinks), marinades, cooking, etc.

Note -- fruit wines typically need a bit of backsweetening to bring out the fruit aroma and flavor. A surprisingly small amount of sugar can do the job. Perform bench testing (pour several 4 oz glasses, add varying amounts of sugar to 3, keeping the 4th as a base) to see what works.

In your situation, I'd consider making a low ABV (10-11%) wine from pear juice (no water), and blend it in. Also, instead of sugar, backsweeten with pear juice. Note that if you backsweeten with juice, the wine will need to clear again, as juice will have solids.

Your situation is actually good for you -- you are getting experience that folks whose batches come out as expected, will not get. And in the end, you'll have a good result anyway, even if there were a few twists in the road to getting there.

Ya know how folks say that when life gives you lemons, made lemonade? Not winemakers. We make Skeeter Pee!
 
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I am not exactly sure what Skeeter Pee tastes like, but it sounds real appetizing.
Hard lemonade! This wine is so popular it has it's own dedicated thread:


Oddly enough, I've never made it. I have too many other balls in the air. However, I make Limoncello (lemon zest macerated in vodka) and have a lot of lemon juice leftover each time, so it makes sense to make Skeeter Pee with fresh juice (instead of bottled) next time I make Limoncello.
 

maggly

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Ok Experts: I need more help with this pear wine. I removed the fruit a week ago. I then started taking SG readings every couple of days. The wine seems to be stuck at 1.019. The wine started at 1.140, so I believe that means that it has high alcohol content. I tasted the wine, and it is really good. In fact, if this were the finished product, I would be proud to share it with friends. I started this batch on 10-5-22.

So, my question is: Can I rack into the secondary and add camden tablets to stop continued fermentation, or does it work that way? I would degass immediately after racking if that is suggested as well.
Thanks!
 
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@maggly, by my calculation your wine is at 16.4% ABV. Unless you used EC-1118, it's almost certain the yeast has given up the ghost, e.g., produced enough alcohol to poison its own environment.

K-meta does not stop a fermentation, so if you had an active ferment, adding it wouldn't do anything unless you added way too much. But it's highly likely your ferment is done.

Rack the wine, give it a good stir (no need to make froth), add K-meta, and put it into a secondary. Ignore it for 2 to 3 weeks, and see how much sediment builds up. If you get much sediment, rack again, add K-meta, and bulk age at least 3 months.

Give this wine time -- you like it now? Cool! The better news is that it will get better with aging.
 

Jovimaple

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Yes, you can rack into secondary and add either crushed campden tablets (1 per gallon) or 1/4 tsp potassium metabisulphite (K-meta) per 5 to 6 gallons of wine. That will help protect the wine against oxidation. If you plan to bulk age it for a while, plan to add the same dosage of either campden tablets or K-meta every 3 months. I also add another dose at bottling time.

If you plan to backsweeten, either bulk age it for 9-12 months to make sure the yeastie beasties are really dead, or else add a dose of potassium sorbate per package directions before adding more sugar. Postassium sorbate + Kmeta will make sure the yeast doesn't start eating the new sugar and fermenting more.
 
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If you plan to backsweeten, either bulk age it for 9-12 months to make sure the yeastie beasties are really dead, or else add a dose of potassium sorbate per package directions before adding more sugar. Postassium sorbate + Kmeta will make sure the yeast doesn't start eating the new sugar and fermenting more.
Given the current amount of remaining sugar, unless the wine ferments more, sorbate is unnecessary.

OTOH, if it does ferment more, sorbate is still unnecessary, as that is strong wine. ;)
 
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