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-   -   Cherry wine help please (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f25/cherry-wine-help-please-262456/)

skyzo 08-12-2011 08:43 PM

Cherry wine help please
Hi, new to winemaking, been a homebrewer for about 3 years now.

I just picked 25lbs of sweet cherries (VERY sweet, almost black in color and oh so delicious) and was going to make some wine with it.

I was planning on making 5 gallons of it. So I have been reading up on it, and just wanted to make sure my process was correct.

I have a large cooler, and so this morning I transferred all the cherries to a nylon bag, and squished them all. I got about 2 gallons of juice from it. I next added a campden tablet about 3 hours ago. I have it covered now(nylon bag with skins/seeds still in juice), and will let it sit for 24 hours before adding some pectic enzyme.

Then let it sit for 24 more hours before adding to carboy, taking gravity, and adding sugar until correct OG is reached. Then pitch yeast and wait wait wait, racking every so often.

Anything I am missing?


novafire 08-12-2011 09:35 PM

I'm curious what the gravity of the cherry juice is. Most cherry wine recipes I have seen involve water and sugar additions.
Here are some examples:

skyzo 08-12-2011 11:15 PM

I will be adding sugar and water tommorow. I'm curious as well, a slight taste when chrushing the cherries was SUPER sweet. Like sickly sweet. My guess of the OG without any sugar added would be around 1.070-1.080. Then I dilute with water to reach 5 gallons, and add sugar until OG is around 1.110. I hope the FG will turn out to be .995 or so.

Yooper 08-12-2011 11:41 PM

I'd probably start with a bit lower OG, like 1.095 or so. It will finish at .990, probably. Cherry wine is sort of hard to make, since once the sugar ferments out it's pretty harsh. It gets better with time, though. It is better if you have a lower ABV as it mellows a bit better.

My favorite cherry wines come from sour cherries and not sweet cherries. Sweet cherries are great for fresh eating, but the wine isn't as good.

skyzo 08-13-2011 02:29 AM

OK thanks, I will go a little lower ABV. Will back-sweetening it once I am about to bottle it lessen the harshness?

Yooper 08-13-2011 02:31 AM


Originally Posted by skyzo (Post 3168038)
OK thanks, I will go a little lower ABV. Will back-sweetening it once I am about to bottle it lessen the harshness?

Yes. But don't go overboard on the sweetening! Once it's done, give it a bit of time and consider sweetening to 1.008 or so.

tchuklobrau 08-13-2011 03:32 PM

Id check the gravity rather than guessing. I think you probably guessed low. the sour cherry juice i just purchased from my local fruit farm had a 21 brix/1.084-1.090 gravity again that was sour cherries. not that it matters that much as you will be adding 3g of water to that.

Oh and yoop thanks for the great cherry wine info I have 6g of cherry elderberry blowing the top off my fermenter right now. just saved me from having to do a search. lol

skyzo 08-13-2011 07:32 PM

Well pitched the yeast this morning. The cherrys by themself yielded about 1.075 with about 1.5gals of juice. Where we went wrong though, was calculating the amount of sugar needed. We added about 8 pounds of sugar that had been boiled into water, topped it up to the 5 gallon mark, stirred vigorously, and tested the gravity. 1.070. WAY low of our target.

Its completely full, so I can't add any more sugar water to it, what should I do? What I was thinking was letting it ferment for about 2 weeks, racking it, and adding a lot more sugar at that point. I just have no idea how I would calculate how much to put in.


tchuklobrau 08-14-2011 01:55 AM

Are the cherries in a bag and in the mix as well? Your sugar problem is an area where i need help as well. I had asked some ?'s and did not get answers. acording to promash cane sugar is 1.046per lb for 1g. if this is correct 1 lb will raise the gravity of any 5g volume by 9 points. so by this math you would need another 2.22(call it 2.5-3lb) to get to a gravity of 1.090. With beer you could add the extra sugar any where I dont see why you cant with wine. Hopefully someone who knows way more will step in here and teach us both. If not run with this. lol. Best of luck on this wine. Keep me posted with results please.

oh and out of curiosity what yeast did you use?

skyzo 08-14-2011 03:05 PM

The cherries were crushed thoroughly, and let to steep in their juice for a day, while a campden tablet and pectic enzyme were added. Then we drained the bag, and put the bag into another pot with 1/2 gallon of water to "sparge"(not sure on wine brewing terms). The original cherry juice was about 1.5 gallons. Then steeping the bag with the fruits led to another 1/2 gallon of super concentrated juice. Sparged again with same amount and it was getting close to clear, so now we had 2.5 gallons. Then added 8 pounds of sugar and topped up, and got 1.070.

Later that night though, I siphoned off about 32oz of the 1.070 mix, and added 4 more pounds of sugar that was mixed in 32oz of water. This brought the gravity up to about 1.090. Still a little low, but we will mix in another pound of sugar later in the week. Its fermenting crazy quick right now, about 16 hours later.

Yeast was Red Star Montrachet

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