Wine from Apple Juice Questions

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I am using this recipe to start a gallon of wine made from organic unfiltered apple juice and had a few questions, would appreciate input!

1. This recipe says to add the crushed campden tablets at the beginning, but reading some of the posts on here I see that people add potassium metabisulphate later. Will this recipe be okay as is or should I adjust it?

2. Would it be ok to skip the primary fermenter and just put all ingredients into a glass gallon jug with a fermentation lock since I'm starting with juice instead of fruit?

Thanks!ImageUploadedByWine Making1496854207.673464.jpgImageUploadedByWine Making1496854223.770199.jpg
 

bkisel

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For all my fruit/country wines I'll add 1/4 teaspoon (for 6 gallons) of k-meta ~24 hours before pitching yeast and again when stabilizing and again just before bottling after 2-3 months bulk aging.

My understanding is that the first 1/4 teaspoon application is to kill off "nasties" that might be in the must.
 

Bodenski

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You shouldn't need the campden tablets up front if you are starting with sterile juice. The tablets are important if you start with any fruit or non-sterile juice (I.e. Juice you need to keep in the refrigerator). For the bottle you have you should be fine to add the yeast and let it go!

You would also probably be OK just throwing everything into the glass jar you have and let it go. I wouldn't worry about the pectin enzyme either if you are starting with juice. (Wouldn't hurt anything.)
 

Scooter68

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I would add in the pectic enzyme. Unless you want to drink a cloudy wine. Apple is one of the worst for clearing due to a high level of naturally occurring pectin. Since you are using unfiltered juice, there is a lot of the apple in the juice - more pectin. In fact a lot will probably tell you to add the pectic enzyme before you start the fermentation.

As far as the campden tablet, the only purpose is to stop any existing yeast or bacteria from multiplying before your yeast is working. The tablets are easier to use in smaller batches because as you may have noticed 1/4 tsp of potassium metabisulfate is all that's needed for 6 gallons. Try dividing 1/4 tsp by 6 and you are going to need a digital scale. In the more natural products, there are going to be more natural occurring yeast and bacteria. That's why they tell you to keep refrigerated after opening.

Don't forget you will need to boost the SG of that juice before fermenting. So you should be transferring that juice into a fermentation bucket to allow for foaming and temporary volume increase. You will have a significant amount of lees even though it's an all juice batch. The unfitered apple particles and the dead yeast will probably surprise you with the volume they take up (I would venture a guestimate of up to 1/2 inch or more on the bottom of a typical small fermentation bucket (1.75 gallon)).
 
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Thanks! I did end up adding the pectin enzyme and the 1.25 lbs of sugar. I left the Campden tablet out but swished the glass jug with Easy Clean solution and then rinsed the jug again.
 
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Should I let this sit and add the yeast in 24 hours, or could I add the yeast now?
 

BernardSmith

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The reason for waiting is to allow the sulfur dioxide produced by the Campden tabs dissipate before pitching the yeast. The rule of thumb is that in an open fermenting bucket the SO2 will blow off within 24 hours. If you are not adding the potassium metabisulfite (the active ingredient of Campden tabs) then the longer you wait after opening pasteurized juice the more likely bacteria and wild yeast will be attracted to the juice.

You want to pitch the yeast not much less than 12 hours after adding the pectic enzyme - alcohol denatures the enzyme so you will lose much of the benefit if you add the yeast too soon after adding the enzyme... which is why many folk WILL nevertheless add Campden tabs (or the equivalent) 24 hours before pitching the yeast and pectic enzyme about 12 hours after adding the K-meta (and so 12 hours before pitching the yeast). But all other things being equal, I think you will be fine without the Campden tabs - Cultivated yeast will create an environment that best suits them and disfavors any other competing few cells of wild yeast that might have dipped their metaphoric little toes in the juice.

One last point wastenotwantnot: Check the juice. If it contains sorbate as preservative you are not going to have a successful fermentation. Sorbate prevents yeast from reproducing and will inhibit fermentation. It IS possible to over-ride this by pitching an enormously large colony of yeast - the sorbate will latch on to each yeast cell but there is a limited - albeit very large number of sorbate molecules so you CAN over run the amount of sorbate... but I am talking about six or seven packages of yeast - or more - although in my opinion it just ain't worth the effort. A sorbated apple juice is not meant to be fermented. Look for a bottle that is UV pasteurized.
 
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Thank you so much for this info! I'm very much a beginning winemaker and this forum helps so much! Unfortunately I started this at around 2:30 PM so 12 hours later would be the middle of the night. Perhaps I'll pitch the yeast at 10 PM before I go to bed. If it doesn't clear could I add more pectic enzyme when I rack it?
 

BernardSmith

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You can add more of the enzyme - but in the presence of alcohol the enzyme is not nearly as effective - so you may need to add several doses but 8 hours of enzyme activity may be enough. The problem of clearing pectic haze is multiplied when the juice is heat pasteurized as heat tends to set pectins (think jam or jelly). That is why UV pasteurization is best (In NY State apple juice cannot be sold without pasteurization given the history of illness caused by e-coli (from one or two orchards pressing apples that had dropped on the ground in areas where farm and other animals wandered and pooped.... )
 

Scooter68

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If you can wait until morning to pitch the yeast - far better for the enzyme. My apple batch was the worst one for clearing. So giving your enzyme all the lead time you can is best. Of course you can also let a yeast starter batch (4 oz jar with filtered water, yeast, yeast starter/yeast energizer) sit over night separately and pitch the starter mix in the morning. When I've done that my fermentation (Even with only an hour of set time for the starter mix) has always worked better/faster.

The keys here are: Getting off to a good start, Keeping good notes of what you did and when, and above all Patience.

And if you have a fermentation bucket - far better than a glass carboy for starting. Less chance of overflows and big mess. If you can't do that see if the local recycle center has a 4 liter carboy (Carlo Rossi brand wines are 4 liter glass carboys) that would give you more headspace initially and you will need it.
 
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Thanks for all the great info, I do have a fermentation bucket. I'll get it sanitized and dump this in before I pitch the yeast tomorrow morning.
 

Scooter68

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Thanks for all the great info, I do have a fermentation bucket. I'll get it sanitized and dump this in before I pitch the yeast tomorrow morning.

Great - That bucket will let your starting volume exceed 1 gallon so you can maintain the 1 gallon volume when you rack into that 1 gallon carboy again.
 

meadmaker1

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I use the same juice in place of water on most fuit wines. For apple wine I wait till fall and use fresh juice I press myself, but out of season iuse bottled for my frozen fruits throughout the year.
Get or be certain to use a hydrometer.
Regardless of a recipe. Different conditions will change time lines. There are lots of posts about how to use it or just ask again. Write your readings down,
 

mikewatkins727

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Try this for using powdered k-meta: Obtain a graduated 6 oz bottle, say from a pharmacy. Add to it 1/4 tsp of k-meta. Bring to 6 oz volume with water. For each gallon of wine must use 1 oz. For a gallon batch use 1 oz, for a three gallon batch use 3 oz.
 
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