Quantcast

Welch's wine experiment - 4 different yeasts - results so far

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

kyle5434

Trying to fuse frugal/pragmatic with good results
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jan 1, 2018
Messages
124
Reaction score
73
So, being an engineer by training, and still fairly new to the hobby, I thought I'd try a relatively low cost, controlled experiment to see how different yeasts might render frozen concord concentrate. To that end, I made up (4) 1-gallon batches, all with the same ingredients expect for the the yeast strain:

- 4 cans Great Value (Walmart) 100% grape juice concentrate (12 fl. oz./can)
- water to a level of one gallon

Interestingly, the S.G. and acid were pretty much on target without having to monkey around with things.

I started the yeast strains with a bit of yeast nutrient, then pitched after about 30 minutes.

In the secondary I added 1/4 oz. of American oak chips and a dash of Ft. Rouge tannin for the heck of it, and let the wine finish fermenting for 3 weeks. Then one by one I racked them into a bucket, did a bit of degassing, added 1/16 tsp. of potassium metabisulfite, transferred to clean jugs, and topped up with water. They're all sitting under airlocks for now.

Here are my notes post-secondary:

Lalvin RC212 - Maintained reddish-purple color. Aroma is 100% Welch's-like, as is the flavor. RC212 is known to bring out varietal fruit flavors, and it definitely was true to that reputation here.

Lalvin BM4X4 - Color is more ruby. This actually has more of a wine-like aroma. Not a merlot or pino aroma to be sure, but definitely more complex than the one-note concord aroma. Flavor is slightly more complex than Welch's, but the flavor doesn't quite match the promise of the aroma, at least at this stage.

Red Star Premier Rouge - Ruby red in color. Welch's aroma, but flavor has a bit less fruit than the RC212.

Red Star Montrachet - Deeper reddish-purple in color. Welch's aroma. Flavor is a bit different - this one is definitely more tart than the other 3, with some other taste element that I couldn't quite put my finger on.

As it stands so far, this is not a wine I'd likely make again (short of some type of total economic collapse or SHTF scenario where this was the only red grape juice I could get my hands on). I'll probably taste them in another month or so and then decide what to do. On the one hand, I kind of don't want to use up wine bottles on these (and instead use bottles for something better already in the works). On the other hand, I've read that these concord concoctions do tend to improve after being in the bottle for a few months, so it could be interesting to see what happens over the course of a year.

I suppose one other possibility would be to back-sweeten as a summer wine, but I'm not really a fan of sweet wines, so that seems less enticing.

However, based on the results so far, if this was my only choice of juice, or I was experimenting with a grocery store concord to augment some other red wine recipe, the BM4X4 would definitely be my choice of yeast to help foster more complex aromas and flavors.

Since BM4X4 is recommended for both red and whites, I may at some point end up trying a gallon with 2x frozen concord concentrate + 2x frozen white grape concentrate with the BM4X4, just to see how that plays out.
 

ceeaton

Fifth year
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
Messages
5,064
Reaction score
5,124
Location
Southern PA
My wife and I opened a bottle of my 4th batch I ever made (started 1-24-15) which had 12 Welch's Concord Grape, five White Grape (basically all Niagara) and one White Grape/Cranberry. It wasn't bad, but I have an aversion to an aftertaste I get from Niagara. It was smooth, no oak apparent (I had added an Am Light spiral) and most liked it. I can't find any reference to the SG or what I back sweetened it to, but I did you K1-1116 yeast. So what I'm trying to say is, maybe bottle a couple of each and hide somewhere for a year or three and try them out. Bottles are cheap, so what the heck, it's worth the small investment, plus at that point you can do a tasting of each side by side and see if the wines converge in their taste or remain distinct in flavor.
 

dralarms

Overboard as usual
Staff member
Super Moderator
Joined
Jul 15, 2012
Messages
3,648
Reaction score
1,348
I'll have to check my notes but my concord is very good. Sounds like you used enough concentrate, and yes the choice of yeast does make a difference. I'll try and remember to check my notes to see what yeasts I use but I'm thinking it was RC212 or kv1116. I can tell you ex1118 wil. Strip flavor and color out so I don't use it unless necessary. For most of my fruit wines I use 71b-1122, it brings out the fruit without sacrificing color or flavor.
 

petey

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
113
Reaction score
25
I’m not into the sweet wine either but back sweet to about 1.06 or so and you’ll be surprised the flavor burst. But, it is only welches.
 

sour_grapes

Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
11,489
Reaction score
9,667
Location
near Milwaukee
I’m not into the sweet wine either but back sweet to about 1.06 or so and you’ll be surprised the flavor burst. But, it is only welches.
I think you mean 1.006, right? 1.060 would be absolutely cloying, IMHO.
 

RonObvious

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2016
Messages
111
Reaction score
22
Glad you posted this, thanks! It conforms with my limited experience with Concord, which is that our single Concord vine just started producing last year, so I only had a few pounds of grapes and had to supplement with Welch's. I used RC212 and, as you say, thus far it tastes... like Welch's. I'll give it some time and taste again. And plan on using BM4x4 next year!
 

wineforfun

Still Trying To Make The Perfect Wine and Now Tryi
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
2,707
Reaction score
896
Do a search for jsWordy's Super Sugar Welchs. Great recipe.

When we make it we generally use RC-212. We also use a starting gravity of 1.145 and it normally dies off around 1.020 - 1.030. We don't oak it. Have oaked in the past but doesn't lend a lot to this style of wine.
It ends up being a very sweet wine. I don't care for it as I am a dry red drinker. However, my wife and all her lady friends love this stuff, can't get enough.
 

kyle5434

Trying to fuse frugal/pragmatic with good results
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jan 1, 2018
Messages
124
Reaction score
73
Quick update - I ended up letting these sit a couple of months in gallon jugs, and after a pinch of K-meta, some final degassing, and clearing with Sparkolloid, just filled 3 bottles of each variety to see how they age as dry concord wines. The RC212 and Premiere Rouge still taste pretty Welch's-like, but the "foxiness" appears to be subsiding somewhat. The off-flavor element that I had detected in the Montrachet seems to be gone, and it's now more akin to the RC212 and Premiere Rouge.

The clear winner in terms of a slightly more complex wine-like aroma and taste is still the BM4X4.

The plan is to test/compare them every 4 months for the next year and see how each variety progresses.
 

JimInNJ

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
106
Reaction score
66
Thank you for doing the experiment and continuing to report the results. I look forward to seeing how things may change over the next year.
 
Top