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Old 03-17-2011, 05:58 AM   #1
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Default Has anyone used AHS wine kits?

Specifically the Island Mist kits?
I buy pretty much all of my beer ingredients there already, so it would be convenient to say the least. But I really know very little (read nothing) about wine making. I am hoping for a kit that is stupid simple to just get my feet wet.

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Old 03-17-2011, 11:49 AM   #2
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AHS does not make the kits, they just sell them.

The Island Mist kits are easy, just follow the directions.

Most wine kits are the same, primary ferment for 7 - 10 days, rack, secondary ferment for 14 - 21 days, rack and stabilize, sit 7 - 10 days, bottle. 30 - 42 days generally.

As you get used to it, you could then start experimenting (longer sitting times is the first thing to do, adding more flavorings comes next) but wait until after you have a few under your belt to "tweak".

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Old 03-17-2011, 11:53 AM   #3
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I'm not a huge fan of those wines- but because they aren't good kits, just because I'm not one for sweeter wines. My best friend loves them, though, and she makes them several times a year. Her favorite is the Citrus Mango Symphony (or something like that) but the one I liked the best that she made was Kiwi Pear Sauvignon Blanc.

They are easy, and following the directions is the only thing you have to do. You need siphoning gear, a corker (if corking), and a 6 gallon carboy in addition to an "ale pail".

I've done other kits from AHS- I ordered a wonderful Cellar Craft kit from. The great thing about wine kits is following the directions gives a great product!

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Old 03-17-2011, 11:58 AM   #4
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I haven't done the Island Mist kits, but I have done two other winexpert kits now. Compared to beer, it's stupid easy. Plus, unlike many beer kits, the instructions are actually pretty good. If you do a wine that needs to be aged, I was told to add some more campden, k-meta, or sulfates, but I believe the Island Mist line is meant to be drunk quite young.

I've been pleasantly surprised by how good the wine kit wine is. I don't understand the economics of it, but even at just a couple months of age the wine I've made is already really quite decent.

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Old 03-17-2011, 05:06 PM   #5
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I am getting pretty comfortable with partial mash beer and I have a ton of equipment. Plus my sister is getting into it a little with me and she said she has always wanted to make a strawberry wine. If the only real knock is the kits are sweeter than you prefer, then it will probably be right up her ally. I like the easy kit for a couple batches and then start mixing it up a bit. That's what I did with beer. At least that way I know my process is right.
I only have 5 gallon carboys, so could rack to a 5 gallon carboy and a 1 gallon growler? Or are there 5 gallon kits available?

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Old 03-17-2011, 06:29 PM   #6
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you should be good. But it would be a LOT easier if you got a 7.5 gallon ale pale and a 6 gallon carboy. The first kit I did was a spagnols vino del vida Shiraz (about $60). I put it all in my 6.5 gallon ale pale and it was a little disturbing having bright red juice within an inch of the top...escpecially when it started fermenting. It worked but I got a 7.5 gallon pale for piece of mind on the next one. As far as the 5 gallon and 1 gallon goes, you are supposed to rack it from your ale pale to the 6 gallon carboy. When you do this you mix K meta and maybe sorbate with it and possibly some clearing agents and then degas the wine. So you would probably have to do all this into another bucket to get everything mixed well and the put it into the 5 gallon and 1 gallon. Or I guess you could eye ball and only put 5/6 and 1/6 of each ingredient per container. good luck. The Shiraz I did is still aging but tastes pretty good last time I tried it.

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Old 03-17-2011, 09:16 PM   #7
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Oh I see. It is more than just raking. I'm not sure how much wine I'll do, so I don't want to buy any extra equipment just yet. Are all kits 6 gallon yields? Are there any 3 to 5 gallon kits out there?
Thanks.

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Old 03-17-2011, 09:19 PM   #8
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Oh I see. It is more than just raking. I'm not sure how much wine I'll do, so I don't want to buy any extra equipment just yet. Are all kits 6 gallon yields? Are there any 3 to 5 gallon kits out there?
Thanks.
There are a couple of expensive "port" or "ice wine" kits that make three gallons. The rest of the kits are all 6 gallons. You can do a 5 gallon carboy and a 1 gallon jug, but it makes it very hard for degassing and adding finings.

A 6.5 gallon carboy is ok for primary, but you need a 6 gallon carboy for secondary really.
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:52 PM   #9
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I know I'm just being difficult now. What about splitting one batch into 2 carboys? Both to ferment and then secondary? That would make the math for additions much easier to manage. Is headspace a problem? I have way too many 5 gallon carboys. I bought a guy out and unfortounatly he had all 5 gallons and no 6.5s.

Thanks for the help. (and putting up with questions like this)

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Old 03-17-2011, 10:07 PM   #10
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How would you go about carbonating one of these? Same as beer? A sweeter, fruity wine with bubbles sounds great as a summer beverage.

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