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Old 09-09-2009, 10:19 PM   #1
Charbucks
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Default First kit... fizzy?

I decided to make wine on a whim, and picked up what is probably a pretty low-quality wine kit on the recommendation of the guy in the shop:Vintners Reserve Valpolicella (a "28-day" kit). On July 15th, I carefully followed the instructions on the box, although I did aerate in the primary for a bit with an aquarium pump because that's what I would have done with beer and I figured all yeast likes oxygen (potentially a mistake). OG was 1.072.

On July 24th, gravity was at 0.990 and had been there for a few days. I racked to secondary. On July 26th, I went to the Yukon for three weeks, figuring it would be fine with a little extra time (instructions say 14 days before adding stabilizer).

After getting back from vacation, I added the stabilizer that came with the kit (K-C), and tried to stir everything as vigorously as possible. After topping up with water (as per the instructions) my gravity was at about 0.992. I waited the requisite 10 days, gave it an extra few out of laziness, and bottled on September 2nd.

Obviously one week is much too short a time, but one of the bottles had a cork that didn't go all the way in so I figured I'd put that one out of its misery. To my surprise, I opened it and it was slightly fizzy. There's been NO sign of fizz or activity in the fermentation lock for the past month, and I find it hard to believe that it can ferment down below 0.990. It's very dry and thin tasting (not to mention kind of sour and young), but it's the fizziness that concerns me.

Is this going to improve, or get worse with time? Anything I can do?

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Old 09-10-2009, 01:51 AM   #2
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I decided to make wine on a whim, and picked up what is probably a pretty low-quality wine kit on the recommendation of the guy in the shop:Vintners Reserve Valpolicella (a "28-day" kit). On July 15th, I carefully followed the instructions on the box, although I did aerate in the primary for a bit with an aquarium pump because that's what I would have done with beer and I figured all yeast likes oxygen (potentially a mistake). OG was 1.072.

On July 24th, gravity was at 0.990 and had been there for a few days. I racked to secondary. On July 26th, I went to the Yukon for three weeks, figuring it would be fine with a little extra time (instructions say 14 days before adding stabilizer).

After getting back from vacation, I added the stabilizer that came with the kit (K-C), and tried to stir everything as vigorously as possible. After topping up with water (as per the instructions) my gravity was at about 0.992. I waited the requisite 10 days, gave it an extra few out of laziness, and bottled on September 2nd.

Obviously one week is much too short a time, but one of the bottles had a cork that didn't go all the way in so I figured I'd put that one out of its misery. To my surprise, I opened it and it was slightly fizzy. There's been NO sign of fizz or activity in the fermentation lock for the past month, and I find it hard to believe that it can ferment down below 0.990. It's very dry and thin tasting (not to mention kind of sour and young), but it's the fizziness that concerns me.

Is this going to improve, or get worse with time? Anything I can do?
My guess is that when the instructions told you do degas, and you stirred vigorously, that you didn't really degas as much as you should have. Those kit wines are rushed to bottle, and so instruct you to degas thoroughly. Some people even use mity-vacs (brake bleeders) to degas. I have a wine whip that I put on my drill, as to knock out all of the excess co2 before bottling.

It probably won't get worse, since it's been done fermenting for a long time. You can either live with it, and simply decant all of the wines a while before serving, or try to pour it back into a fermenter and degas again. If you choose to degas again, make sure you use campden tablets (potassium metabisulfite) immediately afterwards so you don't oxidize the wine in the process.

If it were me, I'd simply plan on decanting that wine before drinking and allowing it to sit for about 45 minutes before drinking. If you want to give it for gifts, you could also provide those instructions.

For your next kit, make sure you degas like it's your job! And it'll be just fine.
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Old 09-10-2009, 03:11 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply! Glad to hear it's not *entirely* ruined - I think decanting before drinking is a much easier solution than rebottling. I'll just chalk this one up to "experience" and hopefully manage to degas better next time.

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Old 09-10-2009, 03:20 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply! Glad to hear it's not *entirely* ruined - I think decanting before drinking is a much easier solution than rebottling. I'll just chalk this one up to "experience" and hopefully manage to degas better next time.
Nah, it's not ruined, it's just "fizzy" which makes it taste harsh due to the carbonic acid from the carbonation. Decanting will correct that, and it's pretty besides!

Keep an eye to make sure the corks aren't pushing out, but otherwise it'll be just fine.
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:04 PM   #5
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Early in my winemaking career I too bottled a wine that wasn't fully degassed. Yooper is correct about decanting but it really takes a lot of decanting - like maybe an hour or more. What I did was pour the wine in a clean quart beer bottle and shook the crap out of it. That did the trick.

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Old 09-18-2009, 03:34 PM   #6
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I too, did not degas enough on my first wine and it turned out fizzy.
It has been corked for over a year now and the fizzyness is all but gone.

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Old 09-19-2009, 11:31 AM   #7
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do you always need to degas? it doesn't say anything on my instuctions? when should i de gas

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Old 09-19-2009, 12:14 PM   #8
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do you always need to degas? it doesn't say anything on my instuctions? when should i de gas
Generally, for kit wines you'll need to degas because you bottle early. You degas right before you add the clarifiers.

What kit are you doing?
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Old 09-19-2009, 12:54 PM   #9
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Ken ridge clasic. Any good?

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Old 09-19-2009, 12:59 PM   #10
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Ken ridge clasic. Any good?
I have no idea- I've never heard of it! But, it probably is just fine. I bet it's more of a UK thing. All of the wine kits I've ever done were made in Canada.
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