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-   -   Fortifying and Filtering Port Wine (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f25/fortifying-filtering-port-wine-98506/)

SueMac 01-18-2009 07:18 PM

Fortifying and Filtering Port Wine
My Chocolate Orange Port is close to being done, according to the time
frame guidelines. Naturally, I'll take a hydrometer reading first.

Two questions:
1. is it too late to fortify with brandy? The directions with the kit didn't
specify when to add. I went on RJ Spagnols website and found that I
should have added it when I added the f-pack. Is it too late to add now?
My plan is to rack it next week so I was hoping I could still add. Would
the sugars in the brandy wreak havoc and cause refermentation?

2. I don't have the means to filter the wine which is recommended.
Instead, I expect to rack it at least once before bottling. Am I risking
"bottle bombs" from residual sugars?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

summersolstice 01-18-2009 08:54 PM

It isn't too late. You obviously want to give it time for the brandy flavor to integrate with the wine before you drink it. I fortified mine with nuetral flavored Everclear rather than brandy because I didn't want to alter the flavor of the orange chocolate.

No - you won't have bottle bombs. A lot of people have made these kits and I've never heard of exploding bottles from this kit. The sterile filtering recommendation likely came from the RJS legal department - just in case.

the_bird 01-18-2009 10:30 PM

My understanding of these matters is still a little n00bish, but from what I've been reading lately on port, the brandy is supposed to be added during fermentation. The alcohol in the brandy jacks the ABV up to the point where the yeast stops. This is where the residual sugars in port. Adding the brandy AFTER fermenation (basically what you're doing now) would be how you would approach making a sherry.

What ABV are you shooting for after fortifying? Bottle bombs SHOULDN'T be an issue because your yeast should be dead (either from the alcohol being too high or because you've killed them off).

SueMac 01-18-2009 10:59 PM

Thanks for your responses!!

Should I rack it tomorrow and then add brandy? How long should I let it rest before bottling? I've already added the sulphites and pot sorbate after the f-pack.

I understand where you're coming from as I also make beer and understand the tweaking of adding sugar in various forms to boost the alcohol. Obviously this can be done with wine, too.

Hopefully the yeast is somewhat dead due to adding pot sorbate and sulphites after initial fermentation/racking to carboy. My SG was 1.12 so potential alcohol is already 16%. YIKES! Do I really want to go higher?

Any input from those who have made this would be most helpful! Thanks in advance!

summersolstice 01-19-2009 02:19 AM

I made the RJS Orange Chocolate last year and I'm making the Wine Expert Raspberry Chocolate this year. The Orange Chocolate was very, very good and I hope the WE version is just as good.

How long has it been aging so far? I bulk aged my Orange Chocolate for 6 months. The Raspberry Chocolate has been aging for three months and I'll let it go for another three months. You can rack one more time and fortify and bottle anytime a month after racking but, obviosuly, more aging is better.

SueMac 01-19-2009 02:53 AM

It's been in a carboy only since December 23rd. (Started 12/15 and brewbelt moved things quickly!). I've only racked once from primary to carboy, adding f-pack and other additives at that point. Thinking I should rack again this week, adding brandy if recommended and even adding campden tablets for additional preservative, if recommended. Thoughts?

summersolstice 01-19-2009 11:07 AM

You can rack after a month, though I wouldn't normally do so. However, it's ok since you plan to add your brandy at that time. I'd let it bulk age for at least a couple more months after that though. No additional campden tablet is necessary.

SueMac 01-19-2009 03:22 PM

Would I be better off not adding the brandy? I can always have a shot with it! LOL!

Yuri_Rage 01-19-2009 03:26 PM

I think you missed the_bird's point. Port is fortified BEFORE fermentation stops to halt further fermentation and provide residual sweetness without the addition of additional sugar. To fortify your wine AFTER fermentation stops may be detrimental, as you'll be adding quite a bit of alcohol without the benefit of sweetness to balance it. At this point, you need to taste the wine and decide for yourself whether it will benefit from a brandy addition.

the_bird 01-19-2009 03:31 PM

Yeah, doing some more reading on port in my Wine Bible (co-incidentally, I've been really getting into port lately), the wine is racked onto neutral grape brandy when fermenation is only half completed. What's your gravity right now? Ports really do want to be quite sweet, the ones I've more enjoyed had are almost cloying except they've got some acidity to balance.

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