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Old 10-15-2012, 03:32 AM   #1
Grahammcp
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Default Adding alcohol back in to raise ABV ???

Started a new batch in a bucket, and apparently I only made about 4 gallons. After two weeks my abv was at 11%. Perfect!

Here is the problem I've created: After two weeks I racked the 4 gallons into a 5 gal carboy. Keep in mind that I am new to wine making. In an effort to minimize the surface area of oxygen exposed wine, I added about a gallon of water to bring the level up to the neck of the carboy, and then locked it. Using a vinometer, it looks like my alcohol content is now about 7%. I plan on back sweetening...which will also slightly decrease my abv.

How can I save this? Is there a type if alcohol I can use to raise the abv without significantly affecting taste? Or should I simply add more sugar and yeast...essentially start over?

Your thoughts would be much appreciated!

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Old 10-15-2012, 08:27 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grahammcp
After two weeks I racked the 4 gallons into a 5 gal carboy. Keep in mind that I am new to wine making. In an effort to minimize the surface area of oxygen exposed wine, I added about a gallon of water to bring the level up to the neck of the carboy, and then locked it.
I doubt any amount of oxygenation would ruin your wine more than diluting by 25%! When people top off with water, were only talking a few hundred ml, not whole gallons.
Maybe you could add brandy. It's distilled wine and they do this with port to raise the ABV and kill yeast. Maybe some grape concentrate too?
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peppers16

I doubt any amount of oxygenation would ruin your wine more than diluting by 25%! When people top off with water, were only talking a few hundred ml, not whole gallons.
Maybe you could add brandy. It's distilled wine and they do this with port to raise the ABV and kill yeast. Maybe some grape concentrate too?
Ditto. Next time, a jug of Carl Rossi wine would be better than a gallon of water.

Use the highest alcohol beverage you can find. If you can get your hands on some 100 proof, that would work best. (less liquid to add).

Also, some grape concentrate would be good too to add body.
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:08 PM   #4
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As you're a beginner it's worth adding that, whilst some aspects of homebrewing are very important (sanitation for example), others tend to get a bit overemphasised for beginners. I reckon oxygenation is one of these.
Don't get me wrong, you generally want to minimise it and a craft brewer would take it seriously. But in real life even a gallon of headspace in a carboy probably won't make much difference if the wine is recently out if primary and still got some yeast action. Certainly not enough difference to justify diluting your wine. commercial winemakers even desire some oxygenation in the mateuring process (some even bubble a bit through the fermentors).
It's a similar story with autolysis. An excess amount can ruin a batch over many, many months, but brewers spread paranoia about it. Champagne is deliberately autolysed for ages, yet many homebrewers fear it like the plague.

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Old 10-16-2012, 01:11 AM   #5
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Great suggestions, thank you!

I should also add that this is apple wine. Having said that, what would be the best alcohol to add in?

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Old 10-16-2012, 10:18 AM   #6
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a) In the future if you top up with the same juice you started with, and it has the same gravity, you'll end up back at the same ABV. The yeast will eat the new sugars and convert them to alcohol just like they did in the original juice and you'll be back where you started but with your carboy full. This also has the benefit of not diluting your flavor (with water) or changing it (with the addition of wine/liquor).

b) Go with just high-test vodka or everclear. They're just alcohol with a minimum of other flavors.

c) keep on brewing! it's a game of trial and error.

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