Quantcast

When to back sweeten?

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

Mgwine

Junior
Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
I have a Cabernet Sauvignon wine that has a S.G. of 0.992. It is approximately 1 month old and is very bitter. I have it bulk aging in the basement. It is nice clear red color but it is still shedding a slight sediment. I would like to sweeten the wine slightly but I am not sure how much to add since I believe the wine will change. My plan was to bulk age for 2 months; 3 months in total before bottling. In your opinion, when is the best time to add simple syrup?
I guess I may have answered my own question--- add before bottling?
 

havlikn

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2013
Messages
290
Reaction score
74
Cab should be aged 12-18 months. I would sweeten towards the end of that time frame
 

Mgwine

Junior
Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
Thanks for responding....
I am just starting to build my wine "pipe line". The oldest red I have is only 4 months old. I keep drinking it. And I have been giving too much away to family.
How many 5 or 6 gallon carboys do you need to properly keep your red wine in bulk storage for 12 months and still practice this fun hobby?
 

salcoco

Veteran Wine Maker
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
2,797
Reaction score
1,106
Location
Kansas
regard bitterness. Possible to many tannin is this a kit or from grapes? you can try a fining with plain gelatin, type purchased at the grocery sore. dosage is on packet follow directions for liquefying gelatin. it will remove bitterness.

regard number of carboys depends how often you want to make wine. best suggestion is purchase cheaper kits and only bulk age a coupe months drink these while bulk aging higher priced units. 6 or so carboys would not be out of the question also a small barrel?
 

barryjo

Senior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 1, 2009
Messages
277
Reaction score
22
Number of carboys is also determined by how much room you have for storage. And it also depends on your generosity! I am now down to 8 carboys. More than enough. At one time, I had 16 5-gallon batches going. Too many!!!!!
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,279
Reaction score
1,765
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Carboy "Requirements" Depend on your rate of consumption & Give away.

I'm a very low rate wine maker and I have 5 x 3 gallon carboys and about 1 dozen 4 Liter/1 Gallon carboys
So 6 would be a minimum as salcoco suggests.

One additional recommendation - If you are going to get 'serious' about this I would suggest collecting the odd sized glass containers as well. At times you may find that you have so much lees / sediment that you can't properly top off that 5/6 gallon carboy. By sizing down to a 3 gallon and 1 gallon you can maintain the proper levels in your carboys. For me I have 1.5 liter, 1/2 gallon, Quart, 20 oz and 16 oz glass bottles that I can use for aging the odd smaller amounts. Those are all containers that can be found at the recycling centers, cleaned and stored for that odd situation. Some folks will just top off with another wine regardless of how much they have to add. That's just another way to work. I make fruit wines only so topping off with a white, red or rose, just isn't something I want to do. (Different ways to the same end)
 
Last edited:

Mgwine

Junior
Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
Thank you!
For now I am just trying wineExpert kits, some with skins and others without. I was going to try starting a kit 2x a season. But my "better half" may but a clamp down on the finances.
Figure 1 every 3 months ---> 4 times a year + 1 for racking.
6 sounds right!
13 weeks in a quarter @ 2x bottles per week... 26-30 bottles a kit.
Hmm, I may have to convince her to increase the hobby budget....
 

Mgwine

Junior
Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
Different sizes should work too. So far I only have 2 carboys and a primary fermenter. Maybe Santa will pitch in.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2018
Messages
49
Reaction score
24
I make fruit wine such as pear, plum, apple and peach my question is the order in which we stabilize before sweetening? also if I chose to use a clearing agent do I stabilize back sweeten then clear or clear first then stabilize and back sweeten before bottling? I did not use a clearing agent for the first few batches and had sediment in the bottles after a couple months even though it looked really clear when I bottled.
 

winemaker81

wine dabbler
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
536
Reaction score
391
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
Stabilize/Sweeten and Clear can be done in either order. I've done both, but prefer to stabilize/sweeten first, as the wine is in its final form -- with the exception of a fining agent and sulfite, I won't add anything else. When I add a fining agent, I know I won't be adding anything else that may produce sediment, so the wine will clear successfully.

If you're going to use a fining agent, degas the wine with vigorous stirring. The wine won't clear if there is suspended CO2.

Alternately, time will clear the wine, but that takes months. The CO2 has to dissipate before the wine will settle.

My guess as to why you have sediment in the bottle is either insufficient time to settle the wine (wine may appear clear but trapped CO2 will keep tiny particles in suspension), or it needs pectic enzyme. Or both. [It may be neither, but those are my sight-unseen guesses.]
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2018
Messages
49
Reaction score
24
Stabilize/Sweeten and Clear can be done in either order. I've done both, but prefer to stabilize/sweeten first, as the wine is in its final form -- with the exception of a fining agent and sulfite, I won't add anything else. When I add a fining agent, I know I won't be adding anything else that may produce sediment, so the wine will clear successfully.

If you're going to use a fining agent, degas the wine with vigorous stirring. The wine won't clear if there is suspended CO2.

Alternately, time will clear the wine, but that takes months. The CO2 has to dissipate before the wine will settle.

My guess as to why you have sediment in the bottle is either insufficient time to settle the wine (wine may appear clear but trapped CO2 will keep tiny particles in suspension), or it needs pectic enzyme. Or both. [It may be neither, but those are my sight-unseen guesses.]
Thanks I have apple and peach "5-6 gallons each" waiting to be stabilized back sweetened and cleared after three months they look pretty clear but I use a two stage clearing agent before I bottle and wanted to make sure I did it in the best order. The slight sediment hasn't bothered me or my friends but I would prefer it was not there. I always use pectin enzyme but some people say use more on some fruit like pears.
 

ASR

Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
56
Reaction score
10
Carboy "Requirements" Depend on your rate of consumption & Give away.

I'm a very low rate wine maker and I have 5 x 3 gallon carboys and about 1 dozen 4 Liter/1 Gallon carboys
So 6 would be a minimum as salcoco suggests.

One additional recommendation - If you are going to get 'serious' about this I would suggest collecting the odd sized glass containers as well. At times you may find that you have so much lees / sediment that you can't properly top off that 5/6 gallon carboy. By sizing down to a 3 gallon and 1 gallon you can maintain the proper levels in your carboys. For me I have 1.5 liter, 1/2 gallon, Quart, 20 oz and 16 oz glass bottles that I can use for aging the odd smaller amounts. Those are all containers that can be found at the recycling centers, cleaned and stored for that odd situation. Some folks will just top off with another wine regardless of how much they have to add. That's just another way to work. I make fruit wines only so topping off with a white, red or rose, just isn't something I want to do. (Different ways to the same end)
When you move the excess into smaller bottles are you concerned at all about possible eruptions from any stray Co2 left over?
 

NorCal

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
3,139
Reaction score
3,211
Location
Sierra Foothills, Nor Cal
It may not be within your planning horizon ow wine style preference, but I would consider giving the Cab Sauv some time and oak before making the decision to backsweeten.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2018
Messages
49
Reaction score
24
Stabilize/Sweeten and Clear can be done in either order. I've done both, but prefer to stabilize/sweeten first, as the wine is in its final form -- with the exception of a fining agent and sulfite, I won't add anything else. When I add a fining agent, I know I won't be adding anything else that may produce sediment, so the wine will clear successfully.

If you're going to use a fining agent, degas the wine with vigorous stirring. The wine won't clear if there is suspended CO2.

Alternately, time will clear the wine, but that takes months. The CO2 has to dissipate before the wine will settle.

My guess as to why you have sediment in the bottle is either insufficient time to settle the wine (wine may appear clear but trapped CO2 will keep tiny particles in suspension), or it needs pectic enzyme. Or both. [It may be neither, but those are my sight-unseen guesses.]
Hi I have a question about how long to wait after I add potassium Sorbet to my wine to stabilize it? I was told that I should mix it in hot water put it in the bottom of the carboy and rack it and let it sit for 48 hours before I back sweeten with simple syrup. Is that correct and does 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of peach wine sound right to you. Thanks a ton for your advice. Michael
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,279
Reaction score
1,765
Location
Northwest Arkansas
I wouldn't use hot water with sorbate - and if you rack about 1/4 of your volume into a new/fresh carboy with the sorbate already in the bottom of the carboy it should dissolve. You can always swirl the contents (1/4 full) around to help dissolve and mix the sorbate - THEN finish racking the rest into the carboy. I've never had a problem with the sorbated dissolving just racking into a carboy.
Yes wait 24-48 hours before back-sweetening.
How about you K-Meta additions. Normally I make my k-Meta and Sorbate additions at the same time - a few days before back-sweetening - about a week before bottling.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2018
Messages
49
Reaction score
24
I wouldn't use hot water with sorbate - and if you rack about 1/4 of your volume into a new/fresh carboy with the sorbate already in the bottom of the carboy it should dissolve. You can always swirl the contents (1/4 full) around to help dissolve and mix the sorbate - THEN finish racking the rest into the carboy. I've never had a problem with the sorbated dissolving just racking into a carboy.
Yes wait 24-48 hours before back-sweetening.
How about you K-Meta additions. Normally I make my k-Meta and Sorbate additions at the same time - a few days before back-sweetening - about a week before bottling.
You mean Campden tablets with the sorbet? I used them back about a month ago when the hydrometer read 0.990 and I degassed it. Should I have waited to add them with the sorbet? I have a wine supplier in the big city next to my town and lets say she is more of a stoner than a wine maker and she told me to boil water and add the sorbet. I never quite know what to believe when I ask her because her answers change based on her mental state at the time:D!!!!
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,279
Reaction score
1,765
Location
Northwest Arkansas
When do you plan on bottling the wine? Most good wines, especially reds need plenty of aging and doing that in bulk is really the best way. By bulk aging you can wait until just before you bottle ( a week or two before) to back-sweeten and better avoid over sweetening. Once you've sweetened and bottled there's no going back and changing.

As mentioned by NorCal - Waiting to age that wine in bulk is a good decision you won't regret. Most wines lose that sharp edge and many end up not even needing any back-sweetening once that edge is gone.

Your K-Meta (campden tablets) one month ago have you covered for now - Normally a dose of campden tablets/K-Meta lasts about 3 months for an aging wine. So for now you are good to go. If you plan on bottling within the next month you should be fine with no further K-Meta. BUT really you will not regret waiting at least another 6-9 months before bottling - it makes that much difference to age that wine.
At the risk of being judgemental or overly opinionated...
At 1-6 months most wines are... well they are wine - an alcoholic beverage.
At 6-12 months most wines are certainly drinkable but have room for improvement - but bottling then is a safe bet.
At 12 months to 24 months those same wines are truly enjoyable.
For those wines allowed to age (Even in the bottle) more than 2 years... I have yet to hear anyone say the regretted that decision.

That wait is really really hard to do but once you've done it - I truly doubt you'll ever regret it. Yesterday we opened a bottle of my first Black Currant wine that was fermented in January of 2016. That wine has 15.5% ABV, it's sweet (Almost too sweet) and has a rock solid flavor and it is fantastic as a dessert wine. I would put it up against just about anything. (Sadly I think it's my last bottle from that batch)

Sorry for the long dissertation.
 
Last edited:

ceeaton

Fifth year
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
Messages
5,044
Reaction score
5,060
Location
Southern PA
Sorry or the long dissertation.
Nice dissertation, and I agree with all of it. I'd add that most back sweetened wines become more sweet as they age. Not sure why but there may be components in the wine that obscure the sweetness early on that die away as it ages and allow the sweetness to become more prominent.

I've accumulated enough wine to keep my wife happy, so I'm aging most of my wine to at least 18 months before bottling (including fruit wines). I've noticed that the powdery lees in the bottom of my bottled wines has decreased significantly with aging longer before bottling. Time is our friend when it comes to wine making (as long as you keep SO2 levels up).
 

sour_grapes

Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
11,277
Reaction score
9,268
Location
near Milwaukee
I'd add that most back sweetened wines become more sweet as they age. Not sure why but there may be components in the wine that obscure the sweetness early on that die away as it ages and allow the sweetness to become more prominent.
Here is my supposition that may explain your (and other's) observation:

A simple syrup solution has an important advantage, as I will explain. Let's talk sweetness. You often read here that people who backsweeten their wine find that they "overshoot," and the wine is too sweet. I believe what happens is that they add table sugar (aka sucrose), and taste the wine, and then stop when it tastes sweet enough. However, table sugar, which is a disaccharide, eventually separates into fructose and glucose molecules. Fructose is much sweeter than table sugar.
When you make simple syrup, you efficiently break up the sucrose into fructose and glucose. Thus, simple syrup is already as sweet as it will get, so your taste testing will be indicative of the final product. (Add a little lemon juice when making the simple syrup to facilitate breaking the sucrose up.)
 
Top