(Caution: RANT - Read at own risk, lol) I think I effed up my first batch of wine

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Brewin_Bob

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Ok, first, sorry for the long post.

Here's the write-up of the recipe I followed:

Lemstrac (Lemon/Strawberry/Blackberry) Wine Recipe
O.G. – 1.085, F.G. – 0.990

Ingredients:
12 ounces fresh strawberries
24 ounces fresh blackberries
2 small lemons
1 gallon water
1 campden tablet
½ teaspoon pectic enzyme
½ teaspoon yeast nutrient
¼ teaspoon Red Star Cote des Blancs wine yeast
2 ½ pounds of sugar

Thoroughly wash all fruit. Discard any pieces of fruit that look bad or rotten. Pretty much, if you wouldn’t eat it, it shouldn’t go into your must. Cut the lemons in small pieces. I cut my lemons in half and then each half into sixths. Place all fruit into primary fermenter and press. I used, and recommend, a straining bag for all of my fruit. In the meantime, bring one gallon of water to a boil. Once the water has cooled, add it, the pectic enzyme and the crushed campden tablet to the must. Cover with a clean towel or saran wrap and let the must sit for at least 24 hours before adding the yeast starter. The yeast starter consists of one teaspoon of sugar, the yeast nutrient, ¼ cup of room temperature water, a “pinch” of citric acid, and the yeast itself. Mix all 5 in container, cover, and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Add 1 pound of sugar to the must, stir well to dissolve sugar, and check the specific gravity. Continue to add sugar until a specific gravity of 1.085 is reached. Add yeast to the must, stir gently, and cover with saran wrap. Stir the must twice daily for 5 to 7 days. Once “violent” fermentation has stopped, and the must has a gravity of 1.035 to 1.030, strain out any pulp and squeeze any juice out of it. Siphon the must into a secondary fermentation container, leaving as much sediment as you can behind in the primary fermenter. Apply a stopper and airlock to your secondary and let it sit somewhere dark for 4 weeks to ferment to completion.


The must was racked from the primary to the secondary on 1-25-08 with a S.G. of 1.020 and it tasted quite nice and was still slightly sweet. I racked for the second time this past weekend (2-22-08) onto a cup of water that I microwaved then cooled with a crushed campden tablet disolved in it. I sampled a bit of the wine and it tasted quite bad. It was dry like I expected and it had an lemon-y aroma. But it tasted what I imagine lemon-fresh Ajax would taste like.

Lastly, the airlock showed activity yesterday and this morning. Shouldn't the campden tablet be killing off the yeast?

Ok, thanks for your patience. End of rant. No throwing of tomatoes. Sorry if this is in the wrong subforum.
 

Yooper

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Well, first of all, don't worry! The flavor will change during fermentation and following, and you can't judge the final flavor yet. I suspect the lemons along with the pith and peel will be prominent for a while. Don't worry.

Secondly, campden does NOT kill yeast. Some people might tell you that, but in the quantity you use in a recipe, it does not. Wine yeast is not very susceptible to sulfites. The sulfite you added (campden) during the racking was to prevent oxidation of your wine, as well as keep wild bugs from growing in it. I add one crushed campden tablet per gallon in every other racking in all of my wines. At 1.020, the wine was a long way from finished. I would think you'll end up in the .990 to .992 range. Also, the yeast you used was a very small quantity- you should always use the whole packet of yeast. You may have some stressed yeast and that can lead to some off flavors. Still, don't worry- it'll mellow!

Patience in winemaking is the key! Check it again in a month, and if there are thick lees (sediment), rack it again and put it away again for another month. I do that until the wine throws no more sediment. After about 4-6 months, you'll find out what the final flavor will be like. You may wish to keep it as is, or to sweeten it at that time. You still have lots of options!
 
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Brewin_Bob

Brewin_Bob

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Yooper,

Thanks for responding! Thanks also for clearing up my misconception of the campden killing the yeast. :D

YooperBrew said:
At 1.020, the wine was a long way from finished.
The gravity was 1.020 at the first racking. It was 0.990 when I racked this past weekend.

YooperBrew said:
Also, the yeast you used was a very small quantity- you should always use the whole packet of yeast.
Sorry for asking you to repeat yourself but, for future reference, I should use the entire packet of yeast even if the batch size is less than 5 gallons?

I'll let it sit for another 4 weeks and rack again. My wife is keeping me from losing patience, so supportive. Her pear wine gets racked next weekend.
I know, I know, RDWHAHB! Well, I've got microbrew till the homebrew is ready!
 

Yooper

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Oh, then at .990 it's about finished, but the flavor will still mellow, change, and improve!

Yes, for ANY batch of wine up to 6 gallons, use all the yeast.

If you want to sweeten this wine up with more juice, sugar, honey, etc, you can do that later on by stabilizing it before adding anything. You stabilize with sorbate and campden, and then can sweeten as desired if it needs it.

And, BTW, I don't mind repeating myself. At my age, I feel like I"m beginning to anyway! :D
 
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