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Old 08-03-2013, 11:08 PM   #1
Jun 2013
Posts: 3

Sorry if I'm asking the obvious, I've done a little searching but not found what I'm looking for. I'm new to wines, mostly a beer and straight liquor drinker. This summer I've gone overboard winemaking. Right now I have in secondary 2 gallons of Welch's, 1 gallon of Welch's Peach/White grape, 5 gallons of Skeeter Pee, 4 gallons of Apfelwein, 2 gallons of Blackberry, plus 5+ gallons of Fig in the primary and could make a lot more from the fresh figs available.

I know the FG of "dry" (below 1.00).

I've found that on the young Apfelwein and Welch's a little back-sweetening is giving a good taste. Maybe the sweetness is covering a little yeasty favor and the tartness? I'm thinking I want a slightly, maybe semi-sweet wine and might want to bottle some as "sweet" for the non-drinker Baptist-Mother-in-Law (supplier of my figs).

Where would I take the FG to to make a semi-sweet wine, same for sweet?

Am I to expect the sweetness/tartness to favor sweet-vs-tart/acid over time in bottling? I would think so, so I don't want to over-sweeten in the beginning. Does it get sweeter like sweet tea does after a day or two in the fridge?

Anyone have suggestions on where I should start to get to a good end-aged sweetness?

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Old 08-03-2013, 11:51 PM   #2
WVMJ's Avatar
Dec 2012
Karnage, WV
Posts: 1,548
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That is so subjective depending on what you made your wine out of and how much acid is in it to be balanced. If you look at some wine competition judging sites you can get an idea. We consider for most of our berry wines 1.010 to be off dry or semi sweet, to 1.020 to be sweet and 1.030 fortified dessert. We made that Welches peach and niagra, that one turns out pretty good. WVMJ
Country Wines with WVMJ

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Old 08-04-2013, 01:09 AM   #3
Jun 2013
Posts: 3

Thanks for the reply. I understand sweetness will be viewed differently by different people. The ranges you gave will be helpful.

My worry is that if I sweeten to a "good" level initially, will it be too sweet after some time aging and flavors blend, tartness drops, etc.?

My Mom and Grandmother made a supersweet blackberry that was undrinkable but I have no idea how high the SG of those were. I'm trying to avoid that.

Being from the South, a gallon of sweet tea needed about a cup of sugar to drink when first made and would be about too sweet after a day in the fridge. Does this happen in wines?

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Old 08-04-2013, 04:25 AM   #4
Jan 2012
Pella, IA
Posts: 708
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wines do tend to mellow out over and time and get sweeter naturally in the bottle. In other words, a dry Riesling that has had a little aging will naturally taste sweeter then when it was young. keep this in mind when you sweeten your wines and you should be just fine.

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Old 08-04-2013, 01:22 PM   #5
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Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
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What I do when I sweeten wines (rare, as I like them dry, but I do it sometimes for others), I find that the best way to sweeten is to sample and sweeten a bit less than the desired end product.

For example, pull a sample and separate into 4 small jars/glasses. Sweeten to different amounts- say, 1.008, 1.012, 1.016, 1.020. Or try one, and sweeten it more or less for the next sample if you're not sure where to start with that wine.

Try them, and sweeten to just under where you love it. For example, if you think 1.016 is perfect but 1.012 is a little too dry, sweeten the whole batch to 1.014. Then it should be perfect later in the bottle.
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:51 PM   #6
Nov 2008
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Making blackberry for a farmer that likes it sweet after stabilizing I take it to 1.020 as it will come up a about 2 points in the bottle. Of course this year we have had so much rain that the berries had very little sugar in them read 0% balling so I might take his a little higher...I like mine at 0.098....

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Old 08-04-2013, 03:08 PM   #7
Jun 2009
Lopez Island, WA
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I maxed out a yeast's alcohol tolerance in a cyser at 12% and left it at 1.033. That cyser is sugary-sweet, like you are drinking apple flavored honey.
Today I listened to a woman explaining to her young daughter that Sully is not a sequel to Monsters Inc.

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