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BHM's Homesteading & Self-Reliance Forum
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Go Back   BHM Forum > Homesteading > Food > Beverage Making

Beverage Making Beer, wine, mead, soda, cider, spirits, cordials, etc.

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  #1  
Old 04-25-2012, 10:19 AM
Faith123 Female Faith123 is offline
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Default Wine Questions

Hi. I'm brewing my second batch of wine ever now - dandelion wine. My instructions say to rack off after three days - it has been almost a week in the primary fermenter now and is still bubbling away quite happily. There is a thin layer of sediment on the bottom and the wine hasn't cleared yet. Seems like I could let it go a bit longer to rack off - I was thinking of waiting until the wine cleared at least. Is that too long? Will the dead yeasties muddle the wine?

Another question - I have bottles and bottles of fruit juice in the basement. I was thinking of doing a 1.5 gallon batch of cranberry apple wine. The juices I have have no sulfites in them, but do have malic acid, ascorbic acid, and some stevia in them. I can't imagine any of these fouling the wine. What SG should I shoot for? (Actually, I use RI or brix, but I can convert) My guess was 1.5 gallons juice, 5 cups sugar, 1 packet yeast. Do I need to throw in some raisins or tea? Thoughts?
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:01 PM
J R Adams J R Adams is offline
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My wine making experienced has aged quite a bit but if I remember correctly about 16% alcohol will kill the yeast. The yeast will continue to work until 16% is reached or all the sugar is used. If the wine works until all the sugar is used you will have a dry wine.

I would not rack until the wine had finished working and cleared. I used a 5 gal glass carboy to let the wine finish and clear before bottling. We also added some thing to kill the yeast. I can't remeuber what that was.

My first batch was made in gallon jugs and I missed one. My next surprise was three quarts of rubarb champange. The first one blew all over before I realized what had happened.
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:20 PM
Faith123 Female Faith123 is offline
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I bought a wine yeast, I believe it was an 11% or so yeast. I'm not looking for a lot of bang, I'm a bit of a lightweight. I consider my current operation extravagant, because I actually have a carboy, wine yeast, and nutrient. I am just now appreciating the helpfulness of a good hydrometer. Still haven't found the need for an acidity tester. I can always test pH if I decide to do something tricky.

I think Campden tablets are used to stop fermentation. I'm trying to avoid sulfites (allergic). My first batch was an apple wine - was supposed to be apple cider, but I used bread yeast and didn't have enough sugar for a secondary fermentation. With that batch I only racked once - the last of the yeast sat at the bottom of the bottle for a good 6 months and didn't contribute any nastiness.

Last night I made some Spruce Tip Jelly. The extract seemed like it would lend itself nicely to an adult beverage. It has a nice citrusy taste and a bit of a resinous taste too. I've heard of people brewing with it, I may try to make a batch of wine, along the lines of dandelion wine with some citrus in it.
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:01 PM
hunter88 hunter88 is online now
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As I said in the other wine thread I am not a wine expert, I usually make beer.

One day at a thrift store I stumbled onto a wine making kit complete with enough stuff to make two batches of Merlot. Figured I'd wasted $15 dollars on worse things before.

The kit had me put in the grape juice some water and the yeast, then let it sit for one month. At first I wasn't sure it was working right. Wine doesn't bubble up nearly as much as a batch of beer. There were other things to add later that came with the kit, and in the end it's wasn't bad, though I'm not a wine drinker.

In the other thread I mentioned making wine with grape juice concentrate. I found the recipe at the beer making forum I went to. I just did the same thing the kit said to do and left it a month in the fermenter, then bottled it.

I didn't use a secondary, but then I don't use a secondary when making beer either. I figure a little left over yeast is as good as prunes and the beer tastes better.
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:08 PM
J R Adams J R Adams is offline
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[QUOTE=Faith123;309766]I bought a wine yeast, I believe it was an 11% or so yeast. I'm not looking for a lot of bang, I'm a bit of a lightweight. I consider my current operation extravagant, because I actually have a carboy, wine yeast, and nutrient. I am just now appreciating the helpfulness of a good hydrometer. Still haven't found the need for an acidity tester. I can always test pH if I decide to do something tricky.

I think Campden tablets are used to stop fermentation. I'm trying to avoid sulfites (allergic).
QUOTE]

You're really going high tech. I started with a balloon over the mouth of the jug then graduated to a plastic hose through a cork in the jug with the end in a container of water. When it stopped bubbling the wine was done. Put in the campden, let it clear then bottle. Quart beer bottles worked well.

I moved and lost three gallon for a couple of years. Found it one afternoon watching football. What a game!

BTW wine is the only alcoholic beverage that will age in glass, or so I have been told.
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:59 PM
hunter88 hunter88 is online now
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Quote:
I started with a balloon over the mouth of the jug then graduated to a plastic hose through a cork in the jug with the end in a container of water. When it stopped bubbling the wine was done.
If you check on line you should be able to find the plastic airlocks we use in beer making. They would probably fit in the cork where your plastic hose is now. They cost about 99 cents. Most people fill them with water, but I use vodka. That way in case some got sucked back into the wine or beer it won't hurt.

Quote:
BTW wine is the only alcoholic beverage that will age in glass, or so I have been told.
Beer will get better after it's in the bottle a while, but I don't think you'd really call it aging the way you would with wine.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:35 PM
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Grendal Male Grendal is offline
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I personally rack to a secondary. The reasoning for me is that sitting on the lees/sediment can impart a bitter flavor in most wines. The main fermentation has begun, transfering off the lees prevents that off flavorings. Remember there are living things eating in that wine...typically with 11% yeasts which I've been using in beer lately, your looking after fermentation has begun 6-8 months before it's ready to bottle. I suspect you'll be lookin at the same situation. Your yeast probably has the 11% as a minimum that will kill it. Most yeasts have a range where the alcohol tolerance will kill them. So 11% may inactuality be 11-13%.

Right now it is probably still fermenting. The best way to find out is by taking a reading with a hydrometer. The formula is subtract starting gravity from final gravity take that answer and multiply by 7.36 calculate the abv.

So rack it to the secondary fermenter, and let it do it's thing, it'll probably take another 3 months or so before your ready to bottle. After the 3 days is to make sure the yeast is actually working. 72 hours and you'll see visible signs. That's why it's telling you to rack it now. Be very very careful racking now, if you disturb the lees you'll have that floating in your wine.
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