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Old 11-23-2010, 02:22 PM   #1
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Default Muscadine Wine- How much does aging change wine?

I made some muscadine/scuppernong wine using this recipe from Jack Keller's site:

* 18 lb. scuppernong grapes (I used closer to 16lbs b/c that's all I had)
* 6 lb. sugar (I added a bit more to make up for lack of grapes)
* 9 quarts water
* 2 tsp. pectic enzyme
* 1 tblsp. yeast nutrient
* 3 crushed campden tablets
* 1 package champagne yeast (I used Lalvin 71B-1122)

Gather ripe grapes. Destem and wash grapes, removing any that are bad. Crush grapes to extract maximum juice, and place pulp in nylon straining bag. Place sugar in primary fermentation vessel, then pour water over sugar, stirring well to dissolve. Add juice and straining bag to primary. Specific gravity should be 1.095-1.100. If not, add more sugar. Add remaining ingredients, except for pectic enzyme and yeast. Cover primary and set aside 12 hours, then add pectic enzyme and set aside additional 12 hours. Add activated yeast. Stir daily, squeezing nylon bag of pulp lightly to extract more juice, until specific gravity reaches 1.030, about 5-7 days. Remove bag and squeeze to extract juice. Add squeezed juice to primary and allow to settle overnight, then rack off of sediment into glass secondary. Attach airlock. When ferment is complete (specific gravity has dropped to 1.000 or below--about 3-4 weeks) rack into clean carboy and reattach airlock. Leave wine to clear for about 2-3 months, then rack into bottles. [Adapted from recipe by Adison Martin]

OG was actually 1.120, SG is 0.990 which is after I added a bit (3 c maybe) of water to top off after racking to tertiary. The wine is about 3 months old now. There are still some lees (partially due to poor racking last time) and I plan to rack once more soon and age for another couple months before bottling.

Questions:

The wine has a musky funk which is present in the grapes themselves so that's not really surprising. I find it a bit unpleasant. Will this flavor fade as it ages?

The wine has a thin/watery mouth-feel. I guess I should have gone back to get more grapes once I realized I was a bit short for the recipe. Is there anything I can do now to fix this? I've seen raisins mentioned in some recipes but at this point fermentation is long finished and I am probably at/past the alcohol toxicity for my yeast. Would adding them do anything if the yeast can't do anything with them? Are there other options?

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Old 11-24-2010, 12:28 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by maddprofessor View Post

Questions:

The wine has a musky funk which is present in the grapes themselves so that's not really surprising. I find it a bit unpleasant. Will this flavor fade as it ages?

The wine has a thin/watery mouth-feel. I guess I should have gone back to get more grapes once I realized I was a bit short for the recipe. Is there anything I can do now to fix this? I've seen raisins mentioned in some recipes but at this point fermentation is long finished and I am probably at/past the alcohol toxicity for my yeast. Would adding them do anything if the yeast can't do anything with them? Are there other options?
That musky funk won't disappear much. Some, though. It'll mellow a bit.

The thinness comes from the lack of grapes. The raisins might help but probably not if you're already at the ABV limit of the yeast. You could try some Winexpert "grape concentrate". It comes in white and red, and helps with wines like this. The issue is that it might not ferment out, hence giving the wine some sweetness. Of course, that might not be a bad thing in this case. I bought a pint of that grape concentrate for about $10 and I use it for my chokecherry wines.
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Old 11-24-2010, 02:11 AM   #3
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I don't see any grape concentrate at my LHBS's website. Do you think frozen white grape juice concentrate would work well? I might end up pitching another yeast if it tastes too sweet. My yeast (posted the wrong one in first post-fixed now) is supposed to peter out at 14% so I could pitch some EC-1118 or something I guess. If I do that and I make a starter with some of my wine and fresh juice that will help the yeast get started in my wine right?

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Old 11-24-2010, 08:27 AM   #4
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I am not sure how fruity you like wines, but what I would do is dump 4 or 5 cans of what you can get into the carboy, and top it off with your wine. Check the SG and see how much higher it is. If it is acceptable, then add campden and sorbate to preserve it. If it's too high then dry it out with the other yeast. I wouldn't be surprised if you have to age it another 3-6 months to merge the flavor and settle off unwanted flavors.

Next time I would replace the '* 9 quarts water' with '* 9 quarts bottle juice' if your making high %.
I would also drop the '* 2 tsp. pectic enzyme' all together.

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Old 11-24-2010, 02:39 PM   #5
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Since muscadine is just about all I make, I would suggest the following.

1. You could add the white grape concentrate as previously stated.
2. You could try some of that wine conditioner liquid. The Glycerine in it will give some body - mouthfeel to it.
3. You could sweeten it a little.
4. You could blend it with another wine

In my case, I find that aging it for a year or longer does help get rid of that thinnest you noticed. As for as the "smell", hey it is muscadines. You either like it from the start or you grow to like it. I LOVE them. I also add Oak cubes to the ones I am going to bulk age.

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Old 11-26-2010, 12:58 PM   #6
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Next time, if you notice you don't have enough fruit, maybe make less wine?

I've not made many wines from fruit, but when I made it from plums I noticed I didn't have enough. I topped off with grape juice and it ended up tasting mostly like grapes instead of plums. Not a big deal, it still tasted okay (it ended up having other problems)... but it didn't taste like plums after topping it with grape juice.

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Old 11-26-2010, 01:07 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Justibone View Post
Next time, if you notice you don't have enough fruit, maybe make less wine?

I've not made many wines from fruit, but when I made it from plums I noticed I didn't have enough. I topped off with grape juice and it ended up tasting mostly like grapes instead of plums. Not a big deal, it still tasted okay (it ended up having other problems)... but it didn't taste like plums after topping it with grape juice.
Did you use the white grape or something different?
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Old 11-26-2010, 01:24 PM   #8
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Purple grape.

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Old 11-26-2010, 04:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justibone View Post
Next time, if you notice you don't have enough fruit, maybe make less wine?

I've not made many wines from fruit, but when I made it from plums I noticed I didn't have enough. I topped off with grape juice and it ended up tasting mostly like grapes instead of plums. Not a big deal, it still tasted okay (it ended up having other problems)... but it didn't taste like plums after topping it with grape juice.

Well I have a 3 gallon carboy and wasn't supper short on the amount of fruit I had. Anyway, the taste of bronze muscadines/scuppernongs isn't all that far off from white grape juice. They are white grapes after all, although a different type of grape.

What I did was buy a couple cans of white grape juice and racked onto those and made a little starter with half wine/juice, half water and EC-1118 yeast and when it got bubbly pitched it. My wine now is fermenting I guess but I haven't seen any bubbles. The air-lock (s-shaped kind) has positive pressure so I guess it's just going slow. We'll see how things go. I was planning on aging this at least 6 months anyway, maybe a year now with the extra alcohol (going from 15% to possibly 18%).

I really need to look into brewing beer. I need something to drink and keep me busy while I wait for all this wine and mead to age. Just as it is I have 3 3 gallon carboys and a racking cane and that's pretty much it. In my tiny apt. I'm already out of space as it is.
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Old 11-26-2010, 05:25 PM   #10
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I really need to look into brewing beer. I need something to drink and keep me busy while I wait for all this wine and mead to age. Just as it is I have 3 3 gallon carboys and a racking cane and that's pretty much it. In my tiny apt. I'm already out of space as it is.
With wine, the fruit does the work of making sugar. With beer, that's your job. Beer is a lot more process-dependent, I think. A lot of variables. That being said, it can be more fun because you have more control. Then again, having more control also means there's more to screw up.

Most wine brewing skills and equipment transfer directly to beer, but it's not 100% the same. Beer tends to be more gear-intensive, but it really doesn't have to be. Get a kit from your LHBS and go crazy... or instead of beer you could try brewing alcoholic cider. It's pretty similar to beer but doesn't have the additional details of mashing or hops.

Just another brew-noob's opinion.
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