Would apple wine benefit from adding skins to the fermenter?

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JB1956

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I started a 3-gallon batch of apple wine from fresh cider a couple of days ago. It’s looking good and fermenting nicely. My wife is making apple sauce today so I’ll have some apple skins available that I could add to the fermenter. I know grape skins make a big difference with red wines. Just wondering if the same goes for apples. What’s your experience?
 

Scooter68

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A lot depends on how much pulp/meat of the apple is on the skins. In many fruits immediately below the skin is some of the most flavorful part of the fruit. Not sure about apple but....I'd make sure every bit of pulp/meat is off of that skin. I've used a slow juicer for apples in the past and the skins are removed from the juice by the juicer but they get a hard press in the process.
 

David Violante

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I just started an apple wine as well and had the same question. Thank you @JB1956 for asking. I ended up pressing and just using the juice without the skins this time around. Is there any reason to not use the pulp and skins? Like making an applesauce to ferment?

Mine started with a pH of 4.1 and an SG of 1.050. I added sugar to make it 1.090 and acid blend to bring it down to 3.6. I'm using QA23 yeast. Just pitched yesterday evening and it's on it's way as of this morning.
 

Rembee

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I've been making an apple wine for many yeras now. I always add the pulp and skins attached. I do not add the seeds. I simply cut the cored apples into pieces, add pectic enzyme and some lemon juice, place them into a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze them for a few weeks.
When I'm ready to make the wine, I thaw the apples out, place into my fermenter and add k meta and the recommended amount of pectic enzyme again. Leave for 24 hours covered with a towel before adjusting the SG and PH. Then pitch the yeast.
It does take longer to clear the wine but there is no harm in fermenting on the pulp and skins.
It will clear nicely within 6 months with rackings. No different then peach or pear wine cloudiness.
Just make sure to not ferment with the seeds.
@winemaker81 is correct in that depending on the color of the apple you can extract some color. You can make a blush wine with red skins. I normally use golden delicious apples or green apples to keep the wine color near a Riesling wine color.
Hope this helps.
 

David Violante

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Rembee, super helpful thank you… I’ll have to do that next year. My sister gave me about 6 paper shopping bags of various apples, mostly gala and red delicious. No freezer room I’m afraid. I chickened out at just fermenting the whole lot (after crushing with a friend’s apple crusher) because of a bad experience he had in doing so. In retrospect I should have split them and done a comparison. What yeast do you use?
 

Rembee

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I either use Lalvin 71B or Lalvin D47. The 71B is good because apples are high in malic acid which that yeast loves. The 71B definitely makes a very fruit forward wine with sort of a buttery undertone I think.
But the D47 takes it to another level. The wine really resembles a Riesling wine. If I didn't tell you it was apple you would think it was a Riesling. Now keep in mind that we like it dry. I will backsweeten from .994 to 1.006.
I have sweetened a 1 gallon batch with brown sugar and yet another batch with apple concentrate. And I've used 2 or 3 cinnamon sticks to age on. Taste like apple pie.
But our favorite is the one fermented with D47 and dry like a Riesling.
 

David Violante

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Bryan thank you for the suggestion, I’ll have to do that the next time. The worms are enjoying the pulp in the compost at the moment. LOL I’m sure I’m going to have the opportunity again next year. My sister has something like 20 trees so I can get as many as I can handle. I have a friend who can crush them, I would have to figure out how to either freeze that many or juice that many. Or both~
 

David Violante

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What bad experience did your friend have?
His fermentation began well but then when it ended the cider didn’t taste well at all. He didn’t increase the sugar to bring it into a wine range. I asked him about all the steps, including sulfating, and the yeast he used, what nutrients, etc… he couldn’t really remember and didn’t take notes. He just picked up a “cider yeast” and didn’t use nutrients. He also related that the apples were mostly drops at the very end of the season so it’s possible he didn’t start off with good product to begin with. He ended up dumping the lot. It sounds like his process this year so far is leaps better than last year.
 
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