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Old 02-04-2013, 05:58 AM   #1
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Default Strawberry wine

Hi, I've been lurking around the forum and reading quite a bit.

My Dad was a rather renowned local winemaker and liquor distiller in the town I grew up in... so good in fact that during the Eric Rudolph search, he kept the FBI and ATF guys drunk nearly every night without worry about them interfering with his operation.

Well, I helped a little when I was much younger, late teens and early twenties. I especially loved his strawberry and apple wine. Since I seldom drank, I didn't have much of it over the years, but when I did...I loved it. I generally hate the taste of wine and beer...but I've been trying to re-create his recipes since he died to keep the tradition alive (well, the wine making anyway...just things I can get by with legally).

My apple wine has gotten just as strong, and just as good as his. I let both my apple and strawberry ferment until the potential alcohol is zero.

My wife, and a number of friends who really do not like wine say that both taste just perfect.

However...

My strawberry is tasting a little weak...not nearly as strong as his. Tastes just as good, my wife says a little better than his. But his was as strong as any fortified wine, like right at 20% alcohol.

My recipe is very simple.

3 cans of Welch's Strawberry Blast
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
Enough water to fill to one cup short of a gallon

I use red star yeast (I think he may have used champagne yeast because it had a bit of a bubbly feel in the mouth).

My yeast starter is simple
1 cup water
2 tbsp sugar
Sprinkle yeast on top and let sit for 15 minutes.
Add to wine and give a good swirl.

Now I put an airlock on and let it work.
I give it a good swirl every day for the first two weeks.
I rack it off to let it settle for the next two weeks.
I rack it again to get rid of the sediment
Add 1 campden tab
Add 1/4 teaspoon potassium sorbate to prevent re-fermentation and to preserve it
Add 1 teaspoon icinglass to help it settle more.

When cleared, rack again and bottle.

--------------------------------------------

Now for my question... to get it stronger... more sugar (2 more cups) in the wash? Sorry if the wrong term, grew up with a moonshiner ... don't know what the winemaking community's term for it is. Must???? I think????

Add some 160 proof liquor to fortify it?

-------------------------------------------
Next question... would it possibly be better if I used strawberry daiquiri mix for my strawberry flavoring and if so, how much should I use?

--------------------------------------------
Note: I'm making my strawberry in one gallon jugs until I get it just the way I want it, then I'll move up to my 5 gallon fermenter.

Thank you.

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Old 02-04-2013, 01:50 PM   #2
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20% is pretty tight for yeast to ferment to...maybe I'd aim for a gravity that would yeild 16-18% first, I'd go for a really robust yeast like EC-1118 (Champange Yeast). Also do everything in your power to make the yeast ferment all the way to 20%, use dextrose instead of sucrose, or invert sucrose. Add some yeast nutrient and energizer at staggered stages.

If his had a bubbly feel in the mouth it was probably because he didn't degas it.

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Old 02-04-2013, 02:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inner10
20% is pretty tight for yeast to ferment to...maybe I'd aim for a gravity that would yeild 16-18% first, I'd go for a really robust yeast like EC-1118 (Champange Yeast). Also do everything in your power to make the yeast ferment all the way to 20%, use dextrose instead of sucrose, or invert sucrose. Add some yeast nutrient and energizer at staggered stages.

If his had a bubbly feel in the mouth it was probably because he didn't degas it.
+1 Add about half sugar to get started. After 4-5 days, dissolve the sugar in some water and add it to your batch with some yeast nutrient.
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by novalou View Post
+1 Add about half sugar to get started. After 4-5 days, dissolve the sugar in some water and add it to your batch with some yeast nutrient.
^^^Thank you, I'll try this with the next batch.

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If his had a bubbly feel in the mouth it was probably because he didn't degas it.
You mean no air lock? Just sealed it up in the fermenter?

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Originally Posted by Inner10 View Post
20% is pretty tight for yeast to ferment to...maybe I'd aim for a gravity that would yeild 16-18% first, I'd go for a really robust yeast like EC-1118 (Champange Yeast). .
I'll have to order that. The local brewery supply shop doesn't carry it. I've asked him to get it and he said next time he orders yeast he'll get some...but that was two orders ago.

I honestly do not know the percent he was getting...I just know that it was stronger than some brandies that I've had. He may have even been fortifying it...but I really do not want to go that route...I don't want to mess up the taste.
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:31 PM   #5
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Next question... would it possibly be better if I used strawberry daiquiri mix for my strawberry flavoring and if so, how much should I use?
^^^^
So about this...would daiquiri mix give it a more strawberry taste than the strawberry blast does? What about the color? I'm getting a pink color, and with food coloring, I get a blood color. Very pretty, but does not LOOK like strawberry wine.

This being a hobby, I really strive for making the best product that I possibly can, taste, color, strength, smell, feel in the mouth, etc...

I got the strawberry blast idea from lurking here. No mention of Daiquiri mix that I've seen though.
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:04 PM   #6
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I would use real strawberries, and supplement with the frozen strawberry breeze or dacquiri stuff if you wanted. Feed the must in incremental stages with the sugar or strawberry frozen stuff with the ultimate goal of the yeast dying of alcohol toxicity. For example, start with a gravity of 1.095 and add then add fermentable in increments of 0.020 or the like when the SG has dropped by 0.030, when all stepfeeding is done simply allow the must to ferment as low as it will go, fortify if necessary to make up the balance of the ACV you are seeking.
But you also need to remember it will take several months to determine the success rate. So I would get a few one gallon batches going, and by August you should have some sampling to do.
FWIW, most strawberry wine when finished fermenting yields a straw colored wine. Sometimes a certain yeast may help in the color retention but many strawberry wines do have coloring added.

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Old 02-04-2013, 07:44 PM   #7
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Thanks folks. I appreciate the advice.

Looks like I should have joined and asked questions from the start instead of just reading...but I do like to read and find as many answers on my own as I can, then ask about the things I can't find.

And thanks for the info about straw colored wine...now I do not feel so bad about having to color it. I thought I was going wrong somewhere.

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