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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > Pinot Grigio Kit - Higher Alcohol
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:58 PM   #1
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Default Pinot Grigio Kit - Higher Alcohol

Hey guys,
Trying make my first batch of wine tonight. When I bought the kit hte lady mentioned that she noticed with this certain kit that the alcohol level tended to be a little lower then expected, around 11%, and recommended to add a sugar syrup to the batch to up it a little. Well being that I was excited I forgot to ask her the details, so I am reaching out to my fellow brewing buddies. What type of sugar and how much? I am looking to get it to 13-14%. Would cane sugar work? I have a lot of this at home, just not sure if it would work. I also have corn sugar. Please let me know what my best bet it. Thanks a ton guys.

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Old 02-22-2012, 08:54 PM   #2
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1st question is WHY???

If all you are after is a drunk, put grain alcohol in after you are done.

Kits are made to be balanced, follow the directions and it will turn out fine.

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Old 02-22-2012, 11:48 PM   #3
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I'm not trying to just get drunk. I am trying to make a wine with the proper alcohol content. I don't want a wine that is sub-par. I was just told by the LHBS owner that she recommends adding sugar to get it to where it needs to be. I was informed that commercial Pinots are usually around 12% and I want to account the possibility of my OG being to low.

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Old 02-22-2012, 11:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris7687 View Post
I'm not trying to just get drunk. I am trying to make a wine with the proper alcohol content. I don't want a wine that is sub-par. I was just told by the LHBS owner that she recommends adding sugar to get it to where it needs to be. I was informed that commercial Pinots are usually around 12% and I want to account the possibility of my OG being to low.
11-12% is typical for most wines, and white wines tend to lean toward the lower end.

Check the OG when you mix up the kit. If you absolutely, positively must have a higher ABV than the kit has, then top up with 1/2 gallon less water when you make the kit.

Keep in mind that the kits are designed for a certain acid/sugar balance. Adjusting that with simple sugars is probably not going to give you the best tasting result. Adding simple sugars WILL increase the alcohol but certainly NOT increase the flavor, body ("legs"), or drinkability of the wine. The tradeoff for more alcohol is reduction of flavor and body.
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:44 PM   #5
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Hey guys, so I decided not to add the sugar for my first kit just to try it out... Had a little hicup in the process. Mixed in the Benzonite with warm water, then added the juice concentrate, and then topped off with water. Took the OG, the instructions said it should be between 1.074 - 1.091, and it was 1.11! Was a little worried about that. Estimated ABV of 15%. Thinking it might not drop to the FG it's supposed to. Anyways, with using a wine bucket for the first time (usually use carboys) I pitched the yeast and placed the lid on and then tried to put the air lock in the grommet. Ended popping the grommet out of place and it sank to the bottom of the batch!! I sanitized my arm in Star San and fished it out. I am kind of worried about a possible infection, what do you all think?? It is now resting in my closet up on a sturdy shelf. I checked this morning and the yeast still hasn't kicked in, but wouldnt expect it to for another 12 hours or so anyways.

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Old 02-23-2012, 03:08 PM   #6
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Unknown about possible infection, tend to think you will be ok. Next time lube the o-ring with food grade keg lube or similar like some olive oil. What kit was it? Is it perhaps a 6 gallon kit and you made less than 6 gallons?

I'm a believer in buying kits and following directions or making wine from scratch and have at it. LHBS owners should not be screwing with you and messing up the purpose of a kit.

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Old 02-23-2012, 03:37 PM   #7
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Yes you can use cane sugar, that is still sucrose so ferments just like ordinary white sugar.

If you add some sugar, you will (moderately) change the acidity because you add some volume (the sugar) which doesn't contain any acids at all.

If you want to adjust for that, use following calculations:

1 kg of sugar, when in liquid form, takes up 0.63 litres of volume (sorry guys, I'm European, so all metric). Example: If you mix 10L water + 1kg sugar, you get 10.63 litres.

If you want to add 1% alcohol by volume, you need to increase sugar level approximately 16 grammes per litre, so say you are happy with the 1% increase, then you need to add 16g x 23 (for a 23 litre kit) = 368g of sugar.

That will take up 0.368 x 0.63 = 0.23 litres of space.

Unfortunately, those 0.23 litres contain no acidity, but a white wine kit should have around 3.5 grammes/litre of (citric) acidity. That doesn't mean it is citric acid, only that the acidity is equivalent to that of so much citric acid.

So if you want to adjust, you need to get your extra 0.23 litres (of no acidity) up to 3.5 grammes/litre of acidity. So add 0.23 x 3.5 = 0.8g of citric acid (or similar amount of tartaric etc).

Now, that is very little, it is hardly worth it, I just wanted to illustrate the point that you really don't disturb the acidity much by increasing the sugar level slightly.


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