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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > A better way to back sweeten
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Old 01-23-2012, 04:31 PM   #1
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Default A better way to back sweeten

Just thought I would pass on something that has been touched on but never specifically spelled out, in regard to back sweetening. I like nice dry dinner wine, but I also really like a dessert type wine and to make it dessert, its got to be sweet. As we all know there are lots of sugar based options for back sweetening, You can use refined sugar, syrups and concentrates. With so many to choose from which ones are best?? I have discovered that some back sweeteners work way better than others. IMHO the least effective back sweetener is table sugar. If you back sweeten by the glass what you end up tasting is two different things, wine and sugar. There is no blending of the flavors and the sugar even though sweet seams to be intrusive. If you back sweeten prior to bottling you can mellow out that table sugar taste with age but even after it has had lots of time the sugar still stands out quite a bit. a better option is to back sweeten with something more similar to what the wine was like before it was fermented. I discovered this quite by accident one evening when I was looking for a dessert type wine and all I had was a dry sour red. Having tried sugar before I new it wouldn't work, my solution was to add some grape juice, not a lot, just enough to add a hint of sweetness. the result was fantastic. As I have made different wines the same has applied. Syrups and and 100% concentrates are a much better way to back sweeten than table sugar. The final taste is more unified. Apple and white grape are common bases for commercial fruit punches but in most cases their flavor is submissive and you couldn't pick them out as a flavor. The same is true when used to back sweeten wine. They add all the sweetness required but do not mask or pollute the original flavor of the wine. Just thought I would share what I discovered.

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Old 01-23-2012, 04:41 PM   #2
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I've been doing something similar for most of my wines, because as you're saying sugar will add sweetness, but not really blend with the flavor. I've been using fruit juices for at least half the sugars I need to backsweeten (i.e. Pure Blueberry juice with another pound or two of sugar), or I've used varietal wine concentrate which really makes for a tasty wine.

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Old 01-23-2012, 06:50 PM   #3
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Simple syrup, equal parts sugar and water that is heated till the sugar melts in to the water is another option. Apple juice works too, but I haven't tried that with grape based wines.

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Old 01-23-2012, 07:15 PM   #4
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I have found that even simple syrup that has not been aged for a long time still leaves you with two distinct flavors, sugar and wine. The only exception to that I have found is a simple fruit syrup where some of the unfermented original fruit is cooked in the simple syrup and then strained off. In other words strawberry syrup for strawberry wine and so forth. The problem with doing that however is you run the risk of setting the pectins so pectic enzyme should be used.

When using concentrate I have found 3 that cover most wines, purple grape juice, white grape juice and apple juice. Purple grape juice works well on all reds made from assertive fruits like, but not limited to, grape, pomegranate, raspberry, and cranberry. The white grape works well for reds that are less assertive like strawberry or cherry and all blushes and whites where color is important: pineapple rhubarb, and so on pinks whites and yellows. The apple works well on any blushes and whites where color is not an issue and where minimal sweetening is required as it has about half the sugar of the white and purple grape juices. It can also be used on reds where minimal sweeting is desired. in most cases the deep colors of the reds will not be effected by the brown of the apple.

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Old 01-23-2012, 07:49 PM   #5
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Frozen apple juice concentrate works very well.

I have used it in reds, whites and fruit colored wines.

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Old 03-25-2012, 06:16 PM   #6
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What about an Apfelwein that still has active yeast. I'm considering dropping some apple juice concentrate in, letting the yeast play for 3 or 4 days, then killing the yeast, letting it sit another week and giving it a shot.

Tried some of this batch at 4 weeks and it was quite dry, it's sat another week since.

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Old 03-25-2012, 06:19 PM   #7
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keep in mind only way to actually kill the yeast is to pasteurize

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Old 03-29-2014, 04:36 AM   #8
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I have a fresh batch of Pomegranate/blue berry with a hint of tea. It's on its second racking and it has the throat warming acloholy effect well after a swallow. The taste is in there but the pomegranate really has that dry flat flavor... maybe even a little, well not exactly bitter or tart...but if you know pomegranate, you know what I mean. I don't want to taint it with grape so I think I'll try apple concentrate. Thing is, I have a 1 gallon batch, anyone have any idea how much of the concentrate to use? I think the whole can would be way to much?

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Old 03-29-2014, 04:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_Baggins View Post
I don't want to taint it with grape so I think I'll try apple concentrate. Thing is, I have a 1 gallon batch, anyone have any idea how much of the concentrate to use? I think the whole can would be way to much?
There is a lot of acid in apple and you already have quite a bit in the pomegranate so I think I would use white grape. As to how much, it takes 2.5 cans of concentrate to make 1 gallon of juice, so half a can of concentrate would give you a wine with a sweetness one fifth that of the actual juice. That is where I would start than add more if you need more.
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:28 AM   #10
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Has anybody used Stevia?

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