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Old 03-13-2014, 02:43 AM   #1
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Default Cellar taste?

Hello to all my fellow wine makers. I recently made my very first batch of pure home made wine from home grown grapes. However after a month in the bottle I popped my first one to try a taste. I know I know it's likely just green or immature. However I am getting same off flavor in almost all of my products. I can only really describe it as a basement off taste. I use good quality ingredients and take the utmost care in cleanliness and my amateur brewing technique. I was just wondering if anyone else has experienced a problem like this. I plan on aging this wine for a very long time perhaps that is the whole story. Any feedback or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.


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Old 03-13-2014, 05:58 AM   #2
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By basement off taste, do you mean musty?

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Old 03-14-2014, 02:27 PM   #3
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Might be 1 of these problems:

Musty or Moldy Taste: This is caused by wine standing too long on the lees without racking. It can also be caused by using baker's yeast instead of wine yeast. Add one crushed Campden tablet and 1/2 ounce of activated charcoal to each gallon of wine and stir with a sterile rod. Allow to settle 4-6 hours and stir again. Repeat the stirring procedure 4-6 times and then let sit undisturbed 24 hours. Rack through a double layer of sterilized muslin to catch minute charcoal particles.


Cork Taint ("Corked" Wine): A set of undesirable smells or tastes primarily caused by the presence of 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA) in the wine and possessing a characteristic odor, variously described as resembling a moldy newspaper, wet dog, damp cloth, or damp basement. Very tainted wine is undrinkable, but otherwise harmless. Caused by airborne fungi that come in contact with chlorophenol compounds, a class of industrial pollutant found in many pesticides, which they then convert into chloroanisole. However, chlorophenols can also be produced by sterilizing corks in chlorine. Conventional wisdom has always been that a tainted wine cannot be corrected, but a professor at UC-Davis claims it can be by pouring the wine into a bowl containing a sheet of plastic wrap. The TCA molecules are chemically similar to polyethylene and stick to the plastic wrap within a few (10-15) minutes.

Regards, GF.

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Old 03-14-2014, 02:40 PM   #4
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Exactly- it's either oxidized (how do you prevent oxygen in the wine?) or an infection (due to sanitation issues).

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Old 03-14-2014, 03:00 PM   #5
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It's not a...terrible taste. It is just not quite right. I am leaning towards oxidization. It's more like a gassy aftertaste. I do degass with a drill pretty thoroughly. And transfer monthly. So it does not sit on lees for too long. Is this something that will age out? Or should I do something differently next time?


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Old 03-14-2014, 03:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by SkyeBrewer View Post
It's not a...terrible taste. It is just not quite right. I am leaning towards oxidization. It's more like a gassy aftertaste. I do degass with a drill pretty thoroughly. And transfer monthly. So it does not sit on lees for too long. Is this something that will age out? Or should I do something differently next time?


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If it's oxidized, it will get worse with time.

You don't need to degas with a drill- generally wine will degas on its own, although kit wines have you do it because you rush to bottle. When you transfer monthly (probably too often), do you use sulfites as an antioxidant, transfer quietly by siphoning, and top up to the bung? Those are all things to look at in the process.
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Old 03-14-2014, 06:29 PM   #7
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Chance's are it just needs to age a while. Don't dump it wait three or four months and try it. If it is worse then dump it. It may surprise you.

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Old 03-17-2014, 05:23 PM   #8
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I have never used sulfite for antioxidants. How much and when do I add? Is there a way to test to see if it's oxidized. I suspect that is what is going on. Also what should I be topping up with? Just water? Thanks for the help.


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Old 03-18-2014, 01:26 AM   #9
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I have never used sulfite for antioxidants. How much and when do I add? Is there a way to test to see if it's oxidized. I suspect that is what is going on. Also what should I be topping up with? Just water? Thanks for the help.


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Generally, the idea is to keep approximately 50 ppm of sulfite in the wine all the time. Without an S02 meter, I guestimate it by 1 crushed campden tablet per gallon at every other racking (after using it in the must) and at bottling. I crush the tablet, and mix it in 1/4 cup boiling water, then add that to the new carboy and rack the wine into it.

As far as topping up, I usually make a bit more than the batch size, and keep it handy for using to top up. I'll make 5.5 gallons of wine, instead of 5, and use the excess to top up. I put it the extra in a wine bottle or growler or jug or something, with a stopper and airlock and use it to top up. Water can work, IF it's a tiny bit of headspace (you don't want to water down your wine), but most often you want a similar wine so a commercial wine that is similar would work well. If you have a ton of headspace, too much to top up, use a smaller carboy. They come in 1, 3, 5, 6 gallons sizes, so often a 3 gallon and a 1 gallon carboy might be needed when there is far less than 5 gallons left after racking.
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