Would you give this a try?

Discussion in 'General Wine Making Forum' started by M38A1, Jul 14, 2018.

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  1. M38A1

    M38A1 Supporting Members Supporting Member

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    Last year we harvested more Muscadine grapes then we could process at that time. Much went into jelly with the rest mixed with sugar and water as a concentrate then sealed in Ball Mason 12oz jars with heat. I'm guessing it's just considered grape juice concentrate at this point and if you add a jar of water or two it tastes just like grape juice. I have about a dozen 12oz jars that have just been sitting on a shelf.

    Would you give these a whirl and try to see if a batch of wine could be made from them? I was thinking I'd test each jar for pressure (if it hisses when opened) I'd be fairly comfortable the contents were preserved properly. Then I'd smell it and then give it a taste. If all was good I'd dump that in a primary with the others as I test them, get a good SG and see what happens.

    What would you do - try it or toss it?
     
  2. dralarms

    dralarms Overboard as usual Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Yes I would.
     
  3. AkTom

    AkTom Supporting Members Supporting Member

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    No question. Do it. You’ll be glad you did.
     
  4. meadmaker1

    meadmaker1 Member Supporting Member

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    You risk a buck and a quarter for yeast and maybe two more dollars for neutreants and bentonite and ect.
    You can always turn it in to vinegar if you don't like it.
     
  5. Donatelo

    Donatelo Senior Member

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    Just be certain that each jar has not lost the vacuum seal. Ball/Mason lids have a slight bow and they should be sealed under heat and suck the lid down when you put them up. I'd sure give it a try.
     
  6. M38A1

    M38A1 Supporting Members Supporting Member

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    Alrighty----

    I opened each of the jars and every one of them had a tight seal. They were sealed last year with some unknown quantity of sugar already added. I started with just shy of two gallons of this sweetened Muscadine grape juice concentrate in the primary and added 2qts spring water to bring the SG to 1.100 from 1.130. pH is sitting at 3.4 via the addition of 2-7/8 tsp of potassium bicarbonate. (hey johnd - notice that 1/8tsp increment? :) ) Added 2 crushed Campden tabs, and will now let this sit until tomorrow evening at which point I'll add 1tsp Pectic Enzyme and EC-1118.

    Stay tuned!
     
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  7. M38A1

    M38A1 Supporting Members Supporting Member

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    Last night I rehydrated and pitched the EC-1118 yeast and a tsp of yeast energizer. This morning I somewhat expected to see some action on top where the yeast was poured and there was nada. Not a bubble, not a trace of yeast. To say I was bummed was an understatement. I'm guessing here, but the two Campden tablets I added 24hrs prior to potentially kill off any natural yeasts may have still been present in the 2gal of grape juice and killed the yeast culture.

    So here's the question..... I had my juice at a good pH/acid starting point as well as the SG 24 hours prior. Could this just be slow or is there a pretty good possibility my theory is correct at just 12hrs post yeast pitch? Still leaning all these little nuances in getting the process right.
     
  8. Johnd

    Johnd Large Member Supporting Member

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    Don’t get worried until you surpass 3-4 days, sometimes it’s just a slow process.
     
  9. sour_grapes

    sour_grapes Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers

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    In general, you shouldn't expect to see any signs that quickly. I can usually see some signs after about 36 hours, but it can take longer.
     
  10. M38A1

    M38A1 Supporting Members Supporting Member

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    Thank you both again. You seem to keep my sanity in check and I VERY much appreciate you keeping me in line. :)

    I'll keep this thread going as it progresses.
     
  11. garymc

    garymc Senior Member

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    In a bucket with a towel over it? Initial stage of fermentation needs oxygen.
     
  12. M38A1

    M38A1 Supporting Members Supporting Member

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    We're cooking with gas now! Lots of action going on in the plastic bucket with the lid loosely on top and a washcloth over the airlock hole in the top.
     
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  13. M38A1

    M38A1 Supporting Members Supporting Member

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    So here I sit at day 5 post pitch and my SG is down to 1.018. I gave it 1/2tsp of yeast energizer to keep it happy and see where it takes me.

    But this batch is nasty smelling..... I'm guessing it's something to do with being a year old and having been in jars with dissolved sugar? I don't know but I'm not losing sleep over it. It either comes around or it doesn't. I'll know more in a few days.

    Is there a way to define smells for a beginner to try and figure out what happened?
     
  14. M38A1

    M38A1 Supporting Members Supporting Member

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    Ran some SG readings the past few days and it's just sitting there at .992 now for a couple days. I'll give it another day or so then rack it off. What's interesting is how this is probably the best 'looking' wine of the muscadines I've done this year and that smell seems to have dissipated somewhat. When I tested the SG I let the hydrometer drip on my palm and I was surprised that this also tasted the most like wine. No bubbles, no harsh yuck. Strong alcohol. Hmmmm Year old grape juice mixed with sugar and put in mason jars for storage then brought out to try to make wine. It's weird but I'll go with it.
     
  15. Johnd

    Johnd Large Member Supporting Member

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    How much time did the juice spend with the skins and pulp compared to your others?? A year. Just imagine what you can do next year in a “conventional” ferment with skins, seeds and all.......
     
  16. M38A1

    M38A1 Supporting Members Supporting Member

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    I'm thinking some 'real' grapes would be a great improvement. Spending time at some of the commercial grape sellers sites, I'm finding the BRIX and pH of those grapes are pretty much spot on for numbers compared to these wimpy high-maintenance Muscadines. At some point I'll need to get that 48lbs of this years crop out of my freezer too....
     
  17. Johnd

    Johnd Large Member Supporting Member

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    Trust me, rarely are "real" grapes spot on, but they are more easily managed than very low pH grapes you tackled this year. BRIX adjustments are pretty straight forward either way.

    You should be able to get pretty close to 3 gallons of wine from the 48 pounds of grapes you have, especially if you invest in or rent a press. I'd suggest you try your hand at a wine from nothing but the grapes, no water added and fermented with the skins, pulp and seeds. Crush them, adjust your BRIX and pH as needed, and plan on some slight sweetening of the finished product. The best muscadine wines I've had were made this way, slighly sweetened and were decent, though a little foxy............
     
  18. robert81650

    robert81650 Member

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    Don't brow beat the Southern muscadines, they make an excellent wine. I won a Gold and Silver medal in the Winemaker magazine International amateur wine making contest on 2 kinds of muscadines in 2018. They require a little more work, but well worth it you ever had a good one.
     

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