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Old 01-17-2014, 10:54 PM   #1
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Default *Need help*Questions/wine problems

Hey guys my name is Allen and I am new to the whole wine making thing. I got into wine making last summer and have tried 3 batches of wine (6 gallons each) and now I have come to you wine making Pro’s with the hope that you can help or point me in the right direction.

Fist off I will give you the wine making recipe/directions that I got my from friends dad who used to make wine all the time. Since it was my first time trying this I wanted to start off with low cost but not skimp on the equipment.
Recipe/directions I was given. This is for a 6 gallon batch of wine.

Day 1:
*14 cans Welch’s Grape juice frozen concentrate (YES its not the real deal and YES this summer I will be making several wines with fresh hand-picked fruits)
*5 gallons water
*2.5 tsp acid blend
*3/4 tsp pectic enzyme
*5 tsp yeast nutrient
*5 tablets sodium bisulfate
*6 cups sugar
*1 pack of montrachet yeast

*Then Airlocked

Day 14:
*First Racking into glass carboy
*Racked every 30 days until clear.

*Once clear. Sweeten with 4lbs of sugar dissolved in water or until it is as sweet as you want it

*Finally Bottled and corked with sanitized bottles and corks

Equipment
I bought 3 of each and I Sanitize everything before and after use with 1 step sanitizer.
*7.9 Gallon Fermenter and Grommeted Lid
* 6 Gallon Glass Carboy

I also have all the extras, carboy brush, airlocks,stiring spoon, auto siphon etc...

Please correct me if I am doing anything wrong or missing any steps!

Now onto my questions and I apologize if these seem like dumb questions.
1.Can wine be made from Welch's grape juice from the bottle or is the frozen concentrate best to stick with?
2. How much sugar should be added at the beginning to achieve a sweet wine that is around 10-11% ABV
3.I read that the corked bottles must lay on their side for 2 weeks or so before they can be stored upright. Is that correct? (I don't have a large wine rack in my basement yet so keeping them on their side for months is a little difficult.
4. Can Glass carboys be used as primary fermenters so you can see what is going on inside without having to take the lid off the plastic fermenter?



Any feedback will be a great help!
Thanks

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Old 01-18-2014, 12:24 AM   #2
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You should get a hydrometer, that way you can know the sugar content to be able to know when the yeast will be overwhelmed, and it's the only way to know when the wine is finished. Without a hydrometer, you'd only be guessing at the amount of sugar needed. The recipe is an ok start, but some juices have more natural sugar than others, so a $5 hydrometer is crucial.

Adding more sugar to the wine to sweeten usually can create bottle bombs, if the wine isn't stabilized first with sorbate and campden. The sugar, if the yeast is still active, will be easily fermented by the yeast and then the corks will blow off of the bottles (or the bottles will blow up). That step seems to be left off of your list, but it's the most crucial one.

Regular juice can be used, but it's important to find one that doesn't contain sorbate or benzoate, so usually frozen is the easiest to find without those preservatives.

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Old 01-18-2014, 02:33 AM   #3
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I have 2 different hydrometers actually. But Something wasn't right on the last 2 batches or something because I started them off at 1.095 SG and ended around .990 to .995 SG.
But following the same recipe the second 2 batches tastes terrible.. Actually they were so bad I still have them in the carboys because I never got around to dumping them out. My first batch and very first time making wine turned out great! Everyone was in love with it but you could not taste any alcohol. Or you could drink alot of it and not feel it. Atleast it tastes good right? haha

I want to start another batch tomorrow and thats why I was asking for suggestions or help so I dont waste a few more months for nothing.

Equipment I have:
*7.9 Gallon Fermenter and Grommeted Lid (3 of them)
* 6 Gallon Glass Carboy (4 of them)
*Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleanser
*Double Lever Corker
*24" Plastic Spoon
*Triple Scale Hydrometer (2 of them)
*Econolock
*Drilled Universal Carboy Bung
*Siphon Hose
*Fermtech Auto Siphon
*Ferrari Bottle Filler
*Bottle Brush


My fast batch pic below.

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Old 01-18-2014, 03:10 PM   #4
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Do they taste bad because you haven't backsweetened them? .990 is a very dry wine. I could never drink that because I like sweet wines. If you haven't stabilized them, I would add sorbate and kmeta, wait a few days and add some sugar to sweeten. They might taste a whole lot better.

Also, I feel that your wine could use some more cans of grape juice at the start. I use 4 cans per gallon, so 24 cans for a 6 gallon batch. 14 cans would leave the wine kind of thin. You could also throw in a couple bananas at the start which wouldn't really alter the taste, but would add some body.

As far as your questions:
2. How much sugar should be added at the beginning to achieve a sweet wine that is around 10-11% ABV
You can use this website: http://www.davesdreaded.com/homebrew-calculator/ to plug in some numbers to see what your OG and FG need to be to get to 11-12%.

4. Can Glass carboys be used as primary fermenters so you can see what is going on inside without having to take the lid off the plastic fermenter? Yes, but you will get a much slower ferment because there isn't as much air in a carboy as you would have with a bucket. I've made cider with a primary carboy, and the next batch in the bucket went a lot faster. Yeast like lots of oxygen during primary fermentation. Buckets are better if adding fruit too, because it's hard to stuff it through the opening.

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Old 01-18-2014, 03:51 PM   #5
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so during primary fermentation should it be airlocked right after adding the yeast and all the other ingredients or should the airlock be off?
I have read of people doing it both ways. Covering the airlock hole with a napkin and tape it down so nothing gets into the must for the first 4-6 days then airlocking. And others say to add everything, wait 24 hours then add the yeast, stir and airlock.

Ill have to search the forums more and see if anyone else has a better recipe for the welch's frozen juice concentrate with directions and time frames for each step. I was given the ingredient amounts and that's about it. So I think before I start another batch I should see what recipes other people are using in regards to
*2.5 tsp acid blend
*3/4 tsp pectic enzyme
*5 tsp yeast nutrient
*5 tablets sodium bisulfate
*6 cups sugar
*1 pack of montrachet yeast

I will try adding more cans like you suggested though.

Have you ever tried the Welch's Cranberry concentrate for wine? or any others?

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Old 01-18-2014, 04:15 PM   #6
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Don't use the airlock during primary...you want as much air as possible and stir it up everyday for more air. Maybe a washcloth with a rubber band around it instead of a paper napkin.....if your ferment gets rough, it's going to shoot out the top of the carboy, and you don't want paper to contaminate your wine. I don't recommend this though...I recommend the bucket method.

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Old 01-18-2014, 11:51 PM   #7
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There is WAY too much headspace in the carboy in the picture. It needs to be topped up, to the narrowest part of the carboy, just below the bung. It prevents mold, contamination, and oxidation- so it's important. Oxidized wines taste terrible, so you want to avoid that!

For primary, I do not airlock but by about day five, or when the SG gets to 1.010 or less, the wine is moved to a carboy and airlocked.

An OG of 1.095 should finish at .990. That's normal, and shows a healthy fermentation. To sweeten, simply stabilize with sorbate and campden once the wine is clear and no longer dropping lees and then sweeten to taste before bottling.

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Old 01-19-2014, 06:46 PM   #8
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If I am making a 6 gallon batch. Does all the other ingredients seem "on par" or similar to what you would use?
*2.5 tsp acid blend
*3/4 tsp pectic enzyme
*5 tsp yeast nutrient
*5 tablets sodium bisulfate
*6 cups sugar
*1 pack of montrachet yeast



Thank you for all the feedback guys! Hopefully I can get the next batch right

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Old 01-19-2014, 07:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PSUolive View Post
If I am making a 6 gallon batch. Does all the other ingredients seem "on par" or similar to what you would use?
*2.5 tsp acid blend
*3/4 tsp pectic enzyme
*5 tsp yeast nutrient
*5 tablets sodium bisulfate
*6 cups sugar
*1 pack of montrachet yeast



Thank you for all the feedback guys! Hopefully I can get the next batch right
I'm not really a fan of the grocery store ingredient wines myself, but I would agree with the other posts... Adding sugar after clear will likely cause a re-ferment unless you're adding something else like sorbate...
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:12 AM   #10
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Do you guys add sodium bisulfate at the beginning of the fermenting? Not many people even have sodium bisulfate in their recipes for Concentrate Wines.

Most seen to also be using 4-5 tsp of Pectic Enzyme and 4 or 5 tsp of Acid Blend also.

do those seem high to you guys or am I not using enough?

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