Apple Wine Questions

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GoleyBrew

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Hi all,

I'm new to brewing and brand new to any type of winemaking. This past Tuesday I made a 5 gallon batch of:

5 Gallons Organic Apple Juice
5 Cans Organic Apple Juice Concentrate
10 Cups Dark Brown Sugar
2 Packets D47 Wine/Mead Yeast

I have a 1 gallon test batch from a few weeks ago. It tastes pretty good but obviously pretty harsh as well. I have a couple questions.

1. From what I've read an apple wine like this should age for at least 6 months, correct?
2. If above is correct, should I rack this to a different carboy on a monthly basis or should I bottle after my first rack and bottle age? Is there a benefit either way?
3. I read a post about a guy racking onto 1 pound of honey, multiple times if need be. In general, what are your thoughts on this?
4. I am not using any acid blend at the moment. To be honest I'm not even sure what the reason for use is. Should I take a gamble and not use any at all or would that be a mistake?

Any general comments or suggestions are completely welcome.

Thanks,
GoleyBrew
 

klcramer

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I haven't used any acid blend in any of my wine and all have turned out very nice. As far as racking goes in my opinion the more times you rack it the more chance you have of an infection getting in and turning your batch into drain cleaner. What I do is let it set in the primary until activity has stopped (or mostly stopped). How long this takes may vary. Once you transfer to the secondary to let it sit and clear. If you notice it is still dropping lees then you will want to rack again after a couple months. Do this until your wine is clear. Then you can stabilize and back sweeten if needed. Bottle it and let it age for a few months 4 to 6 months would be good to start. Try a bottle and see what you think. It may, and often does take a year or more from start to finish. Just my 2 cents.
 
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GoleyBrew

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Thanks for the advice. What do you think about racking onto honey once or a couple times? Also, if I wanted to keep a little sweetness in the wine could I rack onto a pound of honey and throw a few campden tablets in after a day or so?

Thanks,
GoleyBrew
 

Yooper

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Thanks for the advice. What do you think about racking onto honey once or a couple times? Also, if I wanted to keep a little sweetness in the wine could I rack onto a pound of honey and throw a few campden tablets in after a day or so?

Thanks,
GoleyBrew
There are a couple of ways to get a sweet wine. Once is to let the wine ferment out completely, stabilize with sorbate and campden, and then sweeten to taste with honey/sugar/apple juice. That's my preferred way, because sometimes happy yeast will attenuate more than the listed level, and you can end up with a very high alcohol sweet rocket fuel with incremental feeding.

In my opinion, fermented brown sugar is awful. It ends up with a weird molasses taste. I definitely wouldn't add any more brown sugar!

If you want to see how I do apple wine (crabapple wine, too), I have the recipe and technique posted under my avatar in the "recipes" pull down. I do add honey in small amounts after primary fermentation, but then I stop because I want a dry wine without too much alcohol burn. I like my wines about 12-13% for a table wine.
 
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