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Old 04-01-2010, 03:20 AM   #1
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Default Got some buckets of wine juice from work

Once a year my company brings in wine grapes and buckets of juice for some locals. We usually do it around September. Last week we were moving some pallets around and we found 4 6 gallon buckets of Zinfandel juice. Apparently they have been lost in the shuffle for about 6 months. The tops were still on but they were bulging. I went ahead and popped the top of one and it smelled like wine. I took that one home, pitched some dry red wine yeast and transferred it to a fermenter. The airlock had a little action for a few days but it's died down to nothing now. Should I let that one sit for a few months before bottling? It still tastes slightly effervescent.

Today I took home another bucket since they weren't going to do anything else with them. This time I pitched some Malolactic bacteria. How long should I let that sit to do it's thing? SG on the first bucket was 1.000. The second one was .999. Any tips on making sure that both batches turn out OK? Anything I can expect? Thanks

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Old 04-01-2010, 07:00 PM   #2
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Did you taste it? That would be your first indicator if there is any potential.

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Old 04-01-2010, 07:06 PM   #3
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the gravities were already 1.000 and .999 BEFORE pitching yeast??

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Old 04-01-2010, 07:27 PM   #4
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RevIP - Original post said the bucket had been misplaced for a few months. Sounds like fermentation already started.

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Old 04-01-2010, 07:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CandleWineProject View Post
RevIP - Original post said the bucket had been misplaced for a few months. Sounds like fermentation already started.
That's what i was getting at. Starting and finished. He said he took one bucket home and pitched yeast but SG was 1.000. Therefore he had wine in the bucket before he even took it home.
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Old 04-01-2010, 11:06 PM   #6
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Yeah it was already wine. I only have 5 gallon carboys so I put the first gallon from each bucket in a 1 gallon jug and put the rest in carboys. I drank one gallon and will be drinking the other gallon over the weekend most likely. It's not bad at all. It's ruby colored and cloudy. It's got that annoying slight effervescence that all of my reds seem to end up with. It's a little bubbly when first poured and it gives the flavor a bit of bite. It smells like a typical red, lots of oak and maybe berry? It's light, crisp and a little dry. It tastes like it smells...berry and oak. The flavor persists but it's light. The alcohol comes through pretty strong. Since the first batch is already fermented out I'm thinking I should just go ahead and bottle it and let it age for a few months. It's already been conditioning in the bucket for 6 months, though, so maybe I don't have to leave it for too long.

From what I've read the malolactic fermentation can get it down to .996ish and add some pretty nifty flavors so I'm going to let that second batch go for at least a couple of months in the fermentor before I bottle. How long should I let the malolactic bacteria work? Should I do anything special to it before bottling? Also, how do I get rid of that effervescence?

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Old 04-02-2010, 04:38 PM   #7
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At 1.000 it is essentially done fermenting. The malo might help mellow it by reducing harsh tannins; give it 3-4 weeks in a carboy under airlock. Don't bottle if there's any effervescence. Any gas will make it harsh, and a young wine naturally tastes harsh from the alcohol until the flavors develop. Rack it at room temp, which will help reduce CO2, and then age it for 6-12 months, which should fully clear and degas it. It should be much better wine then.

Personally, I like oak in my reds and would suggest using about 30+ toasted oak cubes to the carboy for ageing. Oak adds vanilla character and complexity. It might be helpful to get some 6 gal. carboys in case you get lucky again.

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