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Want to make a quick, small batch of hootch. :p

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yaeyama

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Hi, I have my first batch of wine (peach, 6 gallons) in secondary now. I have been trying to follow recipe and sanitation instructions to the letter, with the ultimate goal of producing a very fine wine to be bottled and consumed about 8 months to a year from now. (BTW: what is the expected shelf-life of a fruit wine after it has been bottled? I will be storing the bottles in an inner closet which can range from about 10C in winter to about 28C in summer.)

HOWEVER...as you yourselves are aware, the process of making wine is fun, fascinating, and the prospect of drinking a wine you have created by hand is exciting. Therefore, while I am "waaaiiittiiiiing" for my perfect peach, I would like to brew a small batch of "hootch" that I can ferment quickly and drink within about a month.

I have a plastic beverage container, which is tall and fairly narrow. It can hold exactly 2 litres but that is at the absolute brim. Therefore, I was thinking I could use the same container as both primary and secondary, and prepare say, 1.7 or 1.8 litres of a stronger-than-needed must, and topping up with spring water when moving to secondary. For secondary, I was thinking of covering the top with several layers of plastic wrap, into which a hole has been cut to allow me to insert an airlock. I would then use several layers of scotch tape to provide some stability to the airlock.

For the recipe, I was thinking a litre and a half of 100% grape juice (Welch's, NOT concentrate but just juice...can't get frozen concentrate here), followed by a generous portion of sugar. Maybe half a packet of cote de blancs yeast?

Any advice, including for the recipe? Would I end up with something half-decent to drink as a table wine? Cloudy with suspended particulate is NOT a problem. ;-)
 

Sacalait

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Check the product information on the grape juice, if it contains sulfites or sorbate you may have trouble getting it started.
 

yaeyama

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Check the product information on the grape juice, if it contains sulfites or sorbate you may have trouble getting it started.
Japanese products don't contain that much information. :|
Anyway, shouldn't I be able to bring the juice to a quick boil and gas out the sulphites? And, I assume I would have better luck if I used a yeast starter.

BTW, would I run into any problems if I used "100% grape juice -- from concentrate"? It's the cheapest and most readily available. :/
 

Luc

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Take apple juice.

Add per liter 200 grams sugar and some wine yeast
and you have a perfect wine which is early drinkable.

I just made a 5 liter batch myself.

Great summer drink with about 11% alcohol.

But indeed make sure no preservatives are in the must
otherwise it will not ferment.

Luc Volders
 

smurfe

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Also, don't worry about the half packet of yeast. Just use it all. Won't make a difference.

Scratch that, I didn't see you were only trying to make a liter of wine.
 
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yaeyama

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Two litres, actually. Well, almost. :)
By the way, if I used a product with preservatives, it won't ferment? Or will just be harder to START fermentation with?
 

Luc

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Depends on what kind of preservatives are in the juice and in what quantity.

Most yeast are sulphite resistent so that would not harm the yeast, again depending on quantity.
Sorbate will prevent yeast multiplication so a big yeast starter would help, but then you are just making 2 liters !!!! No room for a yeast starter.

Why just 2 liters. It will be gone in one evening serious drinking :p

I even find that 5 liter batches are to small. Great for experimenting but then on to
at least 10 liter.
If a wine is good or great or just fun to drink you will be sorry you made
such a small amount.

Luc
 

yaeyama

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Why just 2 liters. It will be gone in one evening serious drinking :p

Luc
Okay, I found a 5 litre demijohn in the local DIY store, so I grabbed it. (About $35 US!!) There was also a 10 litre, but my wife put her foot down (actually, I was shopping by myself, but I had visions of her foot coming down later).

I've decided that I would really like to make a berry wine. I am sure I can find some decent blackberry or blueberry wine recipes out there for a 5 litre batch. However, fresh fruit is really expensive here, so I would like to buy frozen berries (which for some reason are cheaper...maybe they freeze berries which they couldn't sell retail before they got too ripe? ;) ). The question is, frozen berries would be heavier than fresh, right? So if a recipe specifies x kg. of fresh berries, how many kg. of frozen berries should I get?

Also, would a blackberry/raspberry/blueberry mix result in a nice wine? Or is simple better? :)

Any advice would be appreciated. Can't wait to start brewing. :D
 

Sacalait

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Why will frozen fruit weigh more than fresh? Do the folks on your side of the pond add water to fruit before freezing?

Blackberry/blueberry/muscadine make a fantastic wine when fermented together but I doubt you'll find muscadines where you live. Check out Jack Kellers site for berry recipes. If his recipe calls for 10# of blackberries you could substitute 5# blueberries with 5# blackberries and would go with 5 & 5.
 

yaeyama

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Why will frozen fruit weigh more than fresh? Do the folks on your side of the pond add water to fruit before freezing?
Actually I contemplated that while I was typing my post. Now that I've read your reply, I believe I may not have contemplated that enough before posting. :D

Check out Jack Kellers site for berry recipes. If his recipe calls for 10# of blackberries you could substitute 5# blueberries with 5# blackberries and would go with 5 & 5.
Jack Keller's recipes don't seem to specify how much the recipe will make. From the ingredients, I would assume I'd end up with a gallon and a bit left over for topping up?
 

CBBaron

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Jack Keller's recipes don't seem to specify how much the recipe will make. From the ingredients, I would assume I'd end up with a gallon and a bit left over for topping up?
I believe all of his recipes make 1 US gallon unless otherwise specified.
Craig
 

Sacalait

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Craig is correct so just do the math for the amount of fruit you've got on hand but only use one pkt. of yeast for any quanity up to 6 gallons.
 

yaeyama

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Okay, I have equipment and found a source for -reasonably price- frozen mixed fruit (well, for Japan, anyway). http://store.yahoo.co.jp/nisshoku/7654567876678.html

Trouble is, Jack Keller's recipes call for quarts. :) I have no idea how to convert a non-powder, non-liquid entity into metric grams. I'm interested in doing an adaption of this mixed berry recipe:

http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/request.asp

I figure I would grab a few bunches of muskat grapes from the market, and for the rest of the berries just buy several 500 gram bags of the mixed berries from the yahoo shopping site above.

Anybody have an idea of how many bags I should buy? I don't want to overdo it, because they are expensive, and I would likely have too much body. And, I don't want to underdo it, because then I would have something too diluted.

Maybe just guesstimate 4 bags and top up with sugar until my SG is about 1.100?
 

yaeyama

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I got impatient and ordered 3.5 kg of frozen berries. ;)
I figure about 4 cups to the quart? So I'll take it from there. :>
However I am a little scared about acid blend, etc. And I do not have any citric acid. (I have tannin powder, however). The fruits I ordered were:

- blackberries, 1 kg.
- blueberries, 1 kg.
- strawberries, 1 kg.
- raspberries, 0.5 kg.

Any obvious adjustments for Jack's mixed berry recipe needed for this?

Thanks! :D
 

Luc

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I would not worry about the acid.
I think the berries itself contain enough acid.
A titration kit might help here.

I certainly would go easy on the tannin with this mix.
Maybe leave it out alltogether..

Try tasting as an initial test it might give you the answers
you need.

Luc
 

yaeyama

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I would not worry about the acid.
I think the berries itself contain enough acid.
A titration kit might help here.

I certainly would go easy on the tannin with this mix.
Maybe leave it out alltogether..

Try tasting as an initial test it might give you the answers
you need.

Luc
Titration kit will have to wait until next year, I think. I already spent far too much on this hobby so far, and I've only got 6 gallons of peach and soon 1 gallon of mixed berries being fermented. ;-)

I'll try the taste test and adjust from there, but as a newbie (and not really able to tell the difference between the finest bottle of Chablis and a bottle of Lonesome Charlie) I wonder how successful I will be. ;-)

Oh well, the berries are scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, just in time for the weekend!!! :D
 

yaeyama

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The frozen berries arrived! 2 lb. blackberries, 2 lb. blueberries, 2 lb. strawberries, and 1 lb. of raspberries. I also got a a few bunches of several varieties of grapes (white grapes, red grapes, and very small berry-like grapes I have never seen outside of Japan). I also got my 100% apple juice.

Some addititional questions, if I may. :)
I couldn't find seedless grapes. :| Do I have to cut them up and extract the seeds? :cross: Or just wash them and toss 'em and crush them in the primary?

Also, the apple juice has "sankaboushizai" in it. In brackets besides this word, is (Vitamin C). The dictionary only says that sankaboushizai means, "antioxidant". But if this is vitamin C, then I assume it is ascorbic acid. Is this likely going to affect fermentation?

BTW what kind of yeast should I use? I have Lalvin EC-1118 (which I don't think I want to use...I already have a peach going using that one, and I think it's going to like rocket fuel!), Red Star Cote des Blancs, Red Star Montrachet, and some no-name "Sachet A-Wine Yeast" from a kit I bought (only because I needed the grape concentrate).

By the way, this is going to make a red, right? So I don't have to worry about the air gap? And should I get some oak chips??

Heh, all I wanted to make was a quick bottle of "hootch" (yeah, I know the spelling was wrong), but it is looking like I'm going to be preparing, and aging, a smaller but hopefully excellent wine. ;)

BTW I start it tomorrow as soon as the yeast nutrient arrives! :D
 

Sacalait

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First of all you don't have to remove the seeds just wash and mash the grapes making sure all the skins are broken to release the sugars and allow the yeast to get at it.

Ascorbic acid shouldn't affect the ferment but read the product label to see if sorbate was added. If so, this could skewer your attempt. If it were me I'd get it fermenting vigorously before adding the apple juice just to be on the safe side. Just my opinion.

Any of the yeasts listed will do a good job so just pick one out and go for it.

Being red or white has nothing to do with the amount of head space. You want to keep it at a minimum regardless of color and yes it will be a red wine.

Good luck, keep us posted.
 

yaeyama

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Thanks for the advice. Well, here we go! (I really enjoy all the steps involved in winemaking...but the 5 or 6 hours from sanitization, mixing, and finally placing the cover on the primary IS a bit of a pain in the ass. ;) )
 

yaeyama

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Done! However, with the quantity being smaller than usual, and the thickness much greater than I expected (berry soup!), I was =NOT= successful taking a SG. :( I finally swore and gave up in disgust, hoping I have the initial sugar content correct.

The recipe I arbitrarily came up with is (a customized version of berry wines from Jack Keller's site and from the "Winemaking" book by Stanley Anderson is:

- 1.5 litres of HOT water
- sugar - 500 grams
- black currants - 1 kg.
- blackberries - 1 kg.
- strawberries - 1 kg.
- raspberries - 0.5 kg.
- blueberries - 2 pints
- table grapes - 4 bunches; mixed white, red
- citric acid - 1.5 tsp
- 3 campden tablets, crushed
- yeast nutrient - 1.5 tsp
- tannin - 0.5 tsp
- pectic enzyme - 2.0 tsp
- apple juice - 2 litres
- cote des blancs - 1 pkt (low alcohol - 13% but nice bouquet)

I'll guess I'll know tomorrow morning whether or not the yeast likes this combination. ;)
 
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