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Old 05-28-2009, 12:00 AM   #1
Ceegar
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Default My First Batch - Red Raspberry Wine

My fermenting buckets arrived today and I am underway with my first ever batch of wine. I'm going to make a red raspberry wine and I'm only going to expriment with a 1 gal batch for now.

So far I've purchased 60oz of frozen red raspberries, thawed them, sanitized my fermenting bucket and my straining bag with sodium metabisulphite and put the raspberries in the straining bag, put it in my primary and crushed the fruit. I boiled 1 gal of spring water with 5 cups of granulated sugar and poured it into the primary.

I've added 1 tsp of acid blend, 1 tsp of yeast nutrient and 1/8 tsp of grape tannin so far. I am currently waiting for the temp of the mixture (can I even call it must at this point?) to drop to 70 degrees and then I will add 1 crushed camden tablet. I will wait for 12 hours then add 1/2 tsp of pectic enzyme. 12 hours after that I will then pitch my yeast.

I am planing on using Bourgovin RC212 for my yeast.

Questions I have are

1. how much of this sachet of yeast should I use for a 1 gal batch?

2. I'm not sure how to use the hyrdrometer - what does everyone use to hold the must to drop the hydrometer into? It came with a very thin plastic tube but I think it is just a holder for it when not in use. I have no idea what to use for testing the must. I monkeyed with it in plain tap water just and of course the brix and alcohol readings were zero, and the SG was 1.00, so I think I see how it supposed to work.

3. Should I take my readings just before I pitch the yeast?

4. Should I be expecting specific readings before I pitch the yeast?

I'm quite nervous I may not do something right so if anyone has spotted anything so far I may have missed or may need to do that I haven't mentioned by all means please help me out - and thanks in advance for any advice anyone has to offer.

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Old 05-28-2009, 12:07 AM   #2
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I'm not familiar with that yeast, but you should pitch one package in your batch. One dry yeast package is good for 1-6 gallons, so you should use the whole pack.

I bought a hydrometer test jar along with my hydrometer. I use a sanitized turkey baster to take out a sample and then put the hydrometer in it, making sure the hydrometer doesn't touch the sides. If you don't have the jar, you can use the plastic sleeve the hydrometer came in, but it might leak a little at the bottom.

You should take your SG reading right before you add the yeast. If it's low (below about 1.080), you can add more sugar. Ideally, it would be in the 1.085-1.095 range. A little higher or lower is fine. Much higher would still be ok, but then you'd have a very high ABV wine that would take a long time to age out. So, if you're over 1.100, you may want to add a little water to keep the ABV at a drinkable range.

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Old 05-28-2009, 12:59 AM   #3
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RC 212 is a good yeast. It enhances varietal characteristics and has a high alcohol tolerance but it requires nutrint additions, so you might want to addnutrient additions at the 1/3 and 2/3 sugar breaks.

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Old 05-28-2009, 02:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summersolstice View Post
RC 212 is a good yeast. It enhances varietal characteristics and has a high alcohol tolerance but it requires nutrint additions, so you might want to addnutrient additions at the 1/3 and 2/3 sugar breaks.
Thanks to both you and Yooperbrew for your input. I know I'm 24 hours yet from adding my yeast but I took a reading of the must and got SG 1.089, Balling is at 21 and the potential alcohol level is at 11.5. Can I expect these numbers to change in the next 24 hours? My initial readings were pretty low so I added an additional cup of sugar to get it where it is right now.

My hydrometer instructions are saying if I want a medium sweet wine to adjust my starting SG to 1.120-1.140 and if I want a sweet wine adjust my starting SG to 1.140-1.160. I do like my wines on the sweeter side but if I do this that will raise my ABV level, unless of course I use a yeast with a lower alcohol tolerance and it will essentially just peter out before it converts all the sugar correct?

Or should I just shoot for fermenting this out dry and then sweeten it before I bottle - which is better?

One more thing - if I stay with this yeast, is the 1 tsp of yeast nutrient I added to this 1 gal batch enough? I don't know what you mean by "you might want to add nutrient additions at the 1/3 and 2/3 sugar breaks"
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:33 PM   #5
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I think that it's better to let it ferment out, stabilize it with sorbate and sulfite, then sweeten to taste. It's more reliable that way. At 1.140, you'll have rocket fuel before the yeast dies off. It'll be great in 3-5 years, but it will be sweet rocket fuel until it ages.

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Old 05-28-2009, 05:29 PM   #6
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Should I see the must start to bubble after adding the yeast, and shouldn't I start to see a cap form at the top? How long after adding the yeast should I expect this to start happening?

Another question - why do you have to leave it in a covered fermenting container for the first 5 or 6 days, instead of just getting it into a carboy or the like with an airlock on it? I saw some pics from SummerSolstice's gallery and it looks like there is some initial violent yeast activity going on in the bucket - is this why?

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Old 05-29-2009, 02:04 AM   #7
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Well I think I already made my first mistake. I was looking at 2 very similar recipes and one didn't call for waiting 12 hours to add the yeast after adding 1 crushed camden tablet so I pitched my RC212 yeast last night. I came home from work today and not a thing was happening. I felt things weren't right so I went ahead and pitched a sachet of D-47 yeast (I didn't have another RC212) and within 3 hours I have foam and it's now bubbling.

Do you think I'm going to be ok considering what happened? I'm thinking because I didn't wait after adding my camden tablet I killed the yeast I added last night.

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Old 05-29-2009, 02:18 AM   #8
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My experience has been that wine yeast strains are pretty tolerant of sulfites. We always say to wait 12 hours, but I don't think that's strictly necessary.

No harm, though, adding another yeast package. One or the other will assert dominance, but still give you a very nice wine!

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Old 05-29-2009, 04:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
My experience has been that wine yeast strains are pretty tolerant of sulfites. We always say to wait 12 hours, but I don't think that's strictly necessary.

No harm, though, adding another yeast package. One or the other will assert dominance, but still give you a very nice wine!

I hope you're right. It wasn't exactly the most economical batch of wine to start out with - $25 for the 60oz of frozen Raspberries which is only going to give me 5 bottles of wine.

I have a 1 gal jug of Orange Blossom honey coming on Friday. I'm planning on starting a batch of mead and I'm thinking of bottling some of it with the finished raspberry wine which I'm hoping will make a nice Melomel. The honey wasn't exactly cheap either - well the honey was, but I got killed on the shipping.
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:09 PM   #10
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Fermentation is vigorous. I took a reading this afternoon and the SG has fallen to 1.058 from a starting SG of 1.090. There was a nice cap on top, a thin layer of foam, but that has basically disappeared now but I can see things churning away like crazy in the primary, and it sure smells good. One thing I noticed is when I stirred the must it seems like it's carbonated because it woud fizz at the top as I stirred. This isn't getting carbonated somehow is it?

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