I thought I had better get busy and get a new batch of wine started to give out as Christmas presents. I am making a basic batch to ensure an adequate time line.
Here is what I put together so far.
5.5gal of Kroger brand apple juice (11 of the 1/2 gallon bottles).
10lb of Domino Pure Cane Sugar.
6lb Lt Brown Sugar
1 Pack of Liquor Quick Super Yeast X-Press
2 Cinnamon Sticks
Saved for Racking
6 Campden Tablets
1 Tbs Potassium Sorbate.
1 pound of raisins (maybe)
My estimated schedule which can vary by a day or two is as follows.
Primary - Dec 8 to Dec 15 <<Racked & stabilized on Dec 13. 2 days ahead of schedule
Secondary (ageing) Dec 15 to Dec 22 <<Started Dec. 13
Bottling back into juice bottles - Dec 22
Party - Dec 22 to Jan 2
Let the good times begin!
With it being so cold outside, by the time I got home and put it all together just after 12:00am, the temp of the fermenter was down to 55F. I plugged the brew belt in and had to wait until it reached 75F.
In the morning I pitched the yeast in and stirred easy several times at 20 min intervals to break up the yeast. Added a couple of deep stirs after it was up and fermenting.
Stirred sever times through out the day and unplugged brew belt as temp is in range.
Stirred, check temp (~75F) and potential (~10% down from ~22%) Slightly behind schedule but acceptable.
Stirred and plugged brew belt back in. Potential ~7% The bump in the temp isn't as bad in the winter in that cold corner I suppose. I recorded a video of how I stir
There are 3 steps in 1 here.
1) breaking surface tension
2) middle degas
3) a quick kick up of the bottom.
Stirred. Temp 80F, potential down to 5% for a 17%ABV so far and still going.
No Stir. Temp 78F, potential down to 3% for a 19%ABV. I didn't stir this morning because it is close to racking. There is a good chance I can rack, degas, and stabilize it today. Had my first taste test out of the fermenter, and the 2 sticks of Cinnamon seems to overpower the apple. I may have to let it run today to ferment out extra sugar that I will be adding back in with the raisins.
To calm the Cinnamon down, I took a little time to make an extract. I used 2 pounds of raisins and ground them up and put in a pan with 1/2 gallon of water. I boiled it for 10 minutes and then strained through a sift. I put it back on the flame and reduced it to 16 ounces. It doesn't look like much but here it is.
Racked, degassed, and stabilized
Potential 2.4% for an ABV of 19.6% but it may tick over a little more. I shelved the extract idea for now. I was thinking about how different and clean of a taste the Cinnamon is that I think I will leave it as is for now. I can always save the extract for later in the fridge.
Here is a video of the degassing with the food saver. You can hear me feathering the throttle to keep it from sucking foam up the hose and into the spit cup.
Very still. I think maybe 1 bubble come out the airlock this morning. Distinct sediment line at the bottom of the taper.
Wednesday To Next Few Days
Everyday, color becomes darker and more transparent as pectin and the last remaining yeast settle to the bottom. Not much to do as is ages out over the next few days. Here are a couple of pics.
I sat the carboy outside a couple of days ago to see what effect the cold would have on it. To no surprise, it had little effect since I already crashed it with sorbate and dropped the yeast. While it can continue to precipitate small amounts of pectin over the next month or so, it should be ready to drink taste wise. I find the pectin adds mouth feel and smooths out the taste so it doesn't bother me to leave it like it is. I could add finning agents and pectic enzymes and this and that but all it does is trade one problem for another. I still plan to bottle it tomorrow but getting ready to pull a sample for taste testing to be sure. I uncovered it to take a picture
Well, I was hoping to maybe increase clarity be chilling it but all it did was to prevent the release of lighter weight alcohols. It smells like rubbing alcohol and taste harsh. I will never try the chilling again anytime soon. Now I have to try and release the buildup.
I racked it before I warmed it back up to room temp and added 1/2 strength campden. It seems to be back on the right ageing path now. For what ever reason, the cold temperature broke down the pectin and released foul odors nearly ruining it in a 48 hour period since it wasn't like that coming out of the primary. I thought something may have been wrong when the light tan yeast cake started turning brown. I will have to retest it soon to see if the off flavor is leaving. I hope it isn't terminal.