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Old 03-19-2011, 07:09 PM   #1
Mar 2011
Ledyard, Ct
Posts: 26

So I am new to brewing/wine making and just recently bought some old gear from a person off of craigslist for a pretty good price. It came with a blackberry merlot orchard breezin kit that was ~4 yrs old. I bought a new ec-1118 yeast packet for the wine.

I cleaned everything with b-brite thoroughly and even ran everything through the dishwasher on a sanitize cycle that would fit. The equipment is at least 4 years old (as dated on the wine kit I got with it) but I decided to make the wine anyways (after some hesitation and research).

I fermented in a 6.5 gallon bucket with an o.g of 1.055. I pitched the yeast at ~88degrees by sprinkling it over the top and not mixing. On went the lid and it sat with a warming belt on it for 6 days. On day 6 my gravity was just under 1.01 and the must was ~75degrees. There were barely any lees when I racked into a 6gallon carboy. A few days later the lees became visible in the bottom of the carboy as a dense layer (I think the warm must was keeping them healthy and not letting them drop as fast?)

Day 14- fg is ~.99(just under 1.0)

Here's my observations/questions.

-The wine had a very strong sour smell and slight basement smell when I first opened the bucket on day 6. Thinking this was the norm as it is my first wine, I proceeds per my readings/instructions. I also tasted it at this time and it tasted sour (not vinegary) and had a bad mouth feel (assuming it was suspended yeast)
-During racking today I noticed the same sour smell (still quite strong) but not so much of a basement funk. The wine looks decent in color, not bright red or anything but doesn't look horridly brown. And it tastes very tart and lacks much body. I proceeded with the instructions and added my fining agents etc after degassing the wine.

Does "young" wine taste tart and smell sour? The kit is a 28 day kit and is "ready to drink" immediately. It seems like I fermented super fast and at the end of 28 days I don't think this smell will die down. Anyone have any comments on tasting the wine along the way to see how it progresses? Has anyone else had very strong sour/bitter odors? The primary bucket was so strong smelling after the first fermentation that ive decided to actually replace it because the smell is so strong and will not go away.

With the way it smells now, and tastes, I don't think it is vey appealing/drinkable. I knew I might end up throwing the kit out but I decided it was worth a shot anyways.

I guess I am mostly looking for information in what a normal smell and taste at each step is like... Should it taste remotely like the finished product or does it completely change over time?


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Old 03-19-2011, 09:50 PM   #2
Jun 2008
Fayetteville, NC
Posts: 1,363
Liked 108 Times on 101 Posts

A 4 year old wine kit may be spoiled, not enough to totally ruin it, but possibly enough to make it taste bad.

Tough choice...let it sit a month or two under airlock and see what happens. It will either get better or it won't.

I'm suprised that the yeast was still alive after 4 years, though

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Old 03-20-2011, 02:16 AM   #3
Mar 2011
Buffalo, Ny
Posts: 4

The juice is pasteurized and should not go bad. Great idea replacing the yeast.

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Old 04-20-2011, 04:25 PM   #4
Mar 2011
Ledyard, Ct
Posts: 26

Just a note incase someone stumbles on this thread later.

The flavor and tastes I was experiencing fell out of the wine after an additional few weeks during the stabilizing and clearing phase.

I however did not like the way the wine turned out, it is very thin, tart, and reminiscent of something that I just can't put my finger on. I did end up giving all of it away but 1-1.5l and 1-750ml to a friend who enjoyed it. I will end up tasting it again in a few months but it is hard for me to drink because I remember those funky tastes and smells from the fermentation.

Long story short, it was worth it to ferment the old kit and see what happened... Even if it only gave me experience in sanitation procedures etc.

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Old 04-20-2011, 10:56 PM   #5
Dec 2005
San Diego
Posts: 848
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

Geez Gush, didn't you rad up on brewing? The most important thing to do is RDWHHB. Relax, Don't Worry, Have Home Brew.

Well, you did learn- a bunch. Don't worry about a funk, it is only temporary.

I think you'll be sorry you gave it all away, once your's ages some more.

And the thin mouth feel and lack of flavor probably could have been fixed by adding some sugar- after stabilizing, of course.

And you also learned that your friends like your homebrewing as much as your do!
So far, I've had more experience thinking than I've had brewing....you don't think they are mutually exclusive, do you?

72 batches so far,
48 wine, mostly Loquat, peach, plum, prickly pear
23 beers and ciders
1 sauerkraut
1 Tequila, from a prickly pear wine experiment that didn't work. I call it "Prickly Heat"

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