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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > Method for back sweetening
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:42 AM   #1
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Default Method for back sweetening

Hi brewers,

I bottled 4 bottles of elderflower wine a couple of weeks ago. The
unbottled portion I drunk was very sharp and am I going to back sweeten.

I have a 70cl bottle of raspberry Monin syrup. My plan was to open the
bottles of wine, siphon them into a demijohn, add a few glugs of the
syrup and taste. Can I just swish the demijohn round to mix, and then
pour a bit straight into a glass to taste, or will this add too much
oxygen to the wine?

The plan was to repeat this until it tastes good, add campden,
fermentation stopper (potassium sorbate), and airlock and leave until I
am happy it is ready to bottle.

Does this sound okay?

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Old 01-16-2013, 03:22 PM   #2
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Do not be worried about oxidization as your incorporate the syrup, k-meta and sorbate. Just be sure the demijohn is topped up and there is no headspace, since you are bulk storing for a bit.

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Old 01-16-2013, 03:40 PM   #3
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Is the headspace bad? I usually have headspace by the 3rd rack as I get down to 4 bottle's worth from the six I started with...

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Old 01-17-2013, 12:05 AM   #4
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Is the headspace bad? I usually have headspace by the 3rd rack as I get down to 4 bottle's worth from the six I started with...
Yes, headspace is bad the further your ferment progresses. It can lead to oxidization, flowers of wine, vinegar.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:17 AM   #5
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Ah. Thanks for that. I only ever get 4 and a half bottles out of a gallon due to sediment, so the later stages of the demijohn storage always have head space. I have been reluctant to top up as it will reduce the strength. Not that that is the only factor I care about.

Do you just top up with cold water straight from the tap?

Also, how can you use the hydrometer accurately if you top up with water before the end of the process?

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Old 01-17-2013, 12:13 PM   #6
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Make sure you stabilize before you sweeten! Once the wine is completely clear, and no longer dropping lees, then you can add the sorbate and campden (or rack the wine into it). Then, after a few days, you can sweeten to taste. Do it gently, as the wine is still susceptible to oxidation even with the campden added.

Topping up the wine is imperative when racking- it can be done with wine or water. I build the topping up into the recipe.

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Old 01-17-2013, 03:41 PM   #7
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The wine is stable. It is currently bottled. I thought I was supposed to taste the wine to get the right sweetness before adding the campden and stabiliser...

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Old 01-17-2013, 07:56 PM   #8
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The wine is stable. It is currently bottled. I thought I was supposed to taste the wine to get the right sweetness before adding the campden and stabiliser...
No, just the opposite!

The stabilizer works by inhibiting yeast reproduction. In order to do that, the sugars have to be fermented out, and the wine clear, so that when you add the stabilizer there is a minimal amount of yeast. Once that occurs, THEN sugar can be added after the sorbate and campden has been effective.

Doing it in reverse may mean bottle bombs or popped corks, so please keep an eye on it!
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:50 PM   #9
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Thanks! After I siphon the bottled wine back into demijohn, and add the campden and pot sorbate, how long should I wait before adding the sugar?

Do I even need the campden and pot sorbate if the wine is currently bottled, as I was confident it was stable before bottling?

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Old 01-19-2013, 09:24 PM   #10
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Do I even need the campden and pot sorbate if the wine is currently bottled, as I was confident it was stable before bottling?
Yes, if you are adding sugar/sweetener.
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