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Old 10-25-2013, 04:32 PM   #1
hlm123
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Default Question about beetroot wine recipe

I'm going to be following a 1 gallon beetroot wine recipe. This is my first try at wine-making, and my expectations aren't through the roof but I'm hoping it will come out drinkable.

The recipe I found calls for a 1.5 hour boil of the beets (3-4 lbs), followed by pouring out the liquid into a bowl and mixing in the sugar, Campden, raisins, and orange and lemon. Then it asks you to let it sit for 24 hours...dissolve pectic enzyme...let sit 12 more hours...pitch the yeast with nutrient...then cover with cheesecloth and let sit 15 days. Only then do you rack into ferment jug. It seems crazy to me, but I don't know. Would you really let it be exposed for that long with only a cheesecloth cover?

Another recipe I found asks for a 20 minute boil of the beets, followed by straining the liquid into the jug and letting cool, then immediately mixing in the sugar etc., and pitching yeast. After a few weeks you add another lb of brown sugar. Seems to make more sense. Also, for this second recipe you only add the juice of lemon. If I followed this method would I be able to throw in the solid fruit (and raisins) and rack from under it later on?

Thanks for replies!


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Old 10-25-2013, 09:52 PM   #2
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The first recipe is fine. In primary fermentation there is so much C02 being produced, just being covered with cheese cloth to keep bugs out it fine. I would need to look it up but that first one sounds like a Jack Keller recipe. Anything from Jack Keller is great. Either recipe I bet would be fine. If you wanted to put more solids in the second recipe that is fine too. You may just find that if you siphon from under floating fruit, some yeast will fall off the fruit and into your clear wine and you will need to let it sit another week or two to let additional sediment drop out.


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Old 10-28-2013, 02:37 AM   #3
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Thanks for the tips. Still no gas in my new building, but this coming Saturday I'll be cooking, and I'll post the exact recipe I end up using and a picture if anyone's interested. By the way, is it normal to take a sample for measuring gravity as you would with beer wort? And is there an analogous name for the unfermented liquid?
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Old 10-28-2013, 03:09 AM   #4
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Yes gravity measuring is the same with beer just a higher gravity to deal with.

What is a Wort with beer is called a must with wine.
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Old 11-15-2013, 02:10 AM   #5
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I'm about a week into the fermentation now and running up against some more uncertainties. This is how it looked then:

Once the yeast was pitched I covered with cheesecloth, but the bowl is smaller than I expected, and the liquid eventually made contact and soaked through. So I decided to cover with plastic wrap with holes poked through, and covered with paper towel to keep out any bugs. Fermentation has slowed down a whole lot but is still quite noticeable. My first question is about this:

Once fermentation got going, I saw these gliding streams of white sugar (2 lbs were added) on the sides of the bowl, which were wider at the top at first, but now the sugar has filled up all the visible space underneath a relatively clear layer near the top where the fruit is. So, I'm not sure what's going on here. Just the fruit separating from the sugar, or is this sugar somehow not reaching up to the top layer where fermentation is taking place, so the yeast are slowing down? Two problems I had at first were 1) I didn't rehydrate the yeast, not for any good reason, and struggled to get the yeast mixed in well 2) the sugar got stuck at the bottom of the bowl because I thought I had mixed it in more than I had, and I had to actually lift it off the bottom with some force and stir it in but I'm not sure it all got dissolved completely. Should I just let it sit another week (per instructions) or rack it sooner than I was going to if it's slowly down a lot?

The next question is about adding in the 1 lb of brown sugar. The recipe I'm mainly following here was supposed to have the brown sugar mixed in with the white sugar at the beginning. Should I add another Campden in when I dump the sugar in the fermenter?

Reason: clarify question
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:56 PM   #6
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If you still see granulated sugar in the solution then the sugar was not completely dissolved. Beet sugars would not separate out and spontaneously granulate. It's much better to ensure you've fully dissolved the sugar and put it in solution for the yeast to more easily metabolize it. Usually the recipes call for dissolving sugar in heated water and then pouring it over the beetroot. If you do end up adding still more sugar to this now, make sure it's in solution completely. Brown sugar has molasses in it which will still be harder for the yeast to metabolize. It's usually preferred to use granulated white sugar in such recipes but do as you will. Mixing the two just means less concentration of molasses than if you had used all brown sugar. It should be ok to rack this off after a week as long as the primary fermentation has calmed down. You can leave it for longer as the yeast will try to metabolize available sugar until they are hampered by the alcohol concentration. If you add any more sugar to the secondary you will just restart fermentation until the yeast you've used max out on the %ABV they can accommodate. I'm not a fan of poking holes in plastic wrap or just using a bowl for primary fermentation but I understand you use what you have on hand. What strain of yeast did you use? I see a Lalvin package in your photo. Rehydrating your yeast as it instructs on the package is always a good idea. Be kind to your yeast, they're making wine for you. Adding more sugar later will make your final %ABV incalculable assuming you took a hydrometer measurement to start. I suspect you did not. I wouldn't add any crushed Campden tablets yet, it's way too early. There still is a lot of fermentation going on and will be for weeks. I would suggest you rack this to a one gallon glass jug and stopper it with an airlock and let this ferment out. I'd add sulphite only after the wine clears and is throwing no more lees. You can then stabilize it with sorbate and back sweeten to taste. Unfortunately with such a small volume your fermenting taking gravity measurements is that much harder. Good luck. You still should get a few small bottles of beetroot wine.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hlm123 View Post
I'm about a week into the fermentation now and running up against some more uncertainties. This is how it looked then:

Once the yeast was pitched I covered with cheesecloth, but the bowl is smaller than I expected, and the liquid eventually made contact and soaked through. So I decided to cover with plastic wrap with holes poked through, and covered with paper towel to keep out any bugs. Fermentation has slowed down a whole lot but is still quite noticeable. My first question is about this:

Once fermentation got going, I saw these gliding streams of white sugar (2 lbs were added) on the sides of the bowl, which were wider at the top, and now as that picture shows very clearly with the help of the flash, the sugar has filled up all the visible space underneath a relatively clear layer near the top where the fruit is. So I'm not sure what's going on here. Just the fruit separating from the sugar, or is this sugar somehow not reaching up to the top layer where fermentation is taking place, so the yeast are slowing down? Two problems I had at first were 1) I didn't rehydrate the yeast, not for any good reason, and struggled to get the yeast mixed in well 2) the sugar got stuck at the bottom of the bowl because I thought I had mixed it in more than I had, and I had to actually lift it off the bottom with some force and stir it in but I'm not sure it all got dissolved completely. Should I just let it sit another week (per instructions) or rack it sooner than I was going to if it's slowly down a lot?

The next question is about adding in the 1 lb of brown sugar. I was looking over my recipe notes and realized I had mixed the two recipes together. The one I'm mainly following here was supposed to have the brown sugar mixed in with the white sugar at the beginning. The next step would then be to rack into the fermentation jug, and rack occasionally over several months, the last time with finings. The other recipe called for pouring into the jug just after the boil, fermenting for 3 weeks, and then adding in the 1 lb of brown sugar, and fermenting/storing another 6 months or so. Would I still be able to do that with this recipe when I rack from the bowl, and should I add another Campden in when I do?
No pictures showing up on my phone ):
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Old 11-18-2013, 01:17 PM   #8
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buzzerj, thanks. The yeast is Lalvin K1-V1116. Correct that I'm not doing any gravity readings. When I rack I'll have to do a lot of swirling in the jug to get all the sugar dissolved, and won't be adding a Campden. That I should do after the yeast are settling down.

The1Greenguru, here are the links I used for the two pictures.
http://i5.minus.com/jb0YbQp3kcMFYW.jpg
http://i6.minus.com/jdjRc5X8Xpj3N.jpg
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Old 11-23-2013, 06:21 PM   #9
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Using the K1-V1116 champagne yeast and by adding sugar you will have a very high %ABV result, like around 18%. I'd suggest trying to ferment this at 20 degrees C or below to keep esters under control. This is a strong fermenting yeast that especially enjoys yeast nutrient at the start of fermentation. Keep this in mind for your next batch. Keep us posted on how it comes out. I'd be interested to know your result.


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