When to back sweeten?

Discussion in 'Beginners Wine Making Forum' started by Mgwine, Nov 13, 2018.

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  1. Nov 13, 2018 #1

    Mgwine

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    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?
     
  2. Nov 13, 2018 #2

    havlikn

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    Cab should be aged 12-18 months. I would sweeten towards the end of that time frame
     
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  3. Nov 13, 2018 #3

    Mgwine

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    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?
     
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  4. Nov 13, 2018 #4

    salcoco

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    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?
     
  5. Nov 13, 2018 #5

    barryjo

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    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!!!!!
     
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  6. Nov 13, 2018 #6

    Scooter68

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    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: Nov 13, 2018
  7. Nov 13, 2018 #7

    Mgwine

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    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....
     
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  8. Nov 13, 2018 #8

    Mgwine

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    Different sizes should work too. So far I only have 2 carboys and a primary fermenter. Maybe Santa will pitch in.
     
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  9. Nov 16, 2018 #9

    winemaker81

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    If you're going to add a fining agent, degas the wine first.
     
  10. Nov 21, 2018 #10

    Michael Alspaugh

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    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.
     
  11. Nov 21, 2018 #11

    winemaker81

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    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.]
     
  12. Nov 21, 2018 #12

    Michael Alspaugh

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    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.
     
  13. Nov 22, 2018 #13

    ASR

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    When you move the excess into smaller bottles are you concerned at all about possible eruptions from any stray Co2 left over?
     
  14. Nov 22, 2018 #14

    NorCal

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    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.
     
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  15. Nov 24, 2018 #15

    Michael Alspaugh

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    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
     
  16. Nov 24, 2018 #16

    Scooter68

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    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.
     
  17. Nov 24, 2018 #17

    Michael Alspaugh

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    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!!!!
     
  18. Nov 25, 2018 #18

    Scooter68

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    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: Nov 25, 2018
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  19. Nov 25, 2018 #19

    ceeaton

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    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).
     
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  20. Nov 25, 2018 #20

    sour_grapes

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    Here is my supposition that may explain your (and other's) observation:

     
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