Could you help me with my muscadine wine?

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JuiceBar

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I'm pretty new at brewing so forgive me if I'm ignorant

I brewed a half gallon of wine from muscadines I picked from a vineyard near me. I tasted it after secondary fermentation. It tasted.... fine. It wasn't too dry, not too sweet. It had a good alcohol content. It was missing flavor. It just tasted like sugar water with alcohol. I ate a few of the muscadines before crushing them, they were delicious. But that flavor didn't end up in my wine. Any ideas what I did wrong?

Here is what I did:
- I put 1.5 gallons of muscadine grapes in a pot. I gently heated them while crushing them. This gave me about 1/2 gallon of juice
- I poured the juice and about a quarter of the grape hulls into my fermenter
- I added 1 cup of sugar, some yeast nutrient, the yeast and sealed
- This bubbled for around 12 days. It tasted a bit dry so I added another 1/2 cup of sugar
- I left this for another week and racked it to a carboy
- I left it in secondary fermentation for 6 months before bottling
 

ncbrewer

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Since you haven't gotten any replies, I'll give it a shot. I don't make wine, but my wife does. It seems to me that the best muscadine wines are rather sweet, and when my wife makes it, she has to back sweeten it. Without back sweetening, it just doesn't taste like the grapes. So you could try that, But adding sugar will re-start fermentation unless you prevent it. We usually back sweeten and immediately refrigerate it, or use a stabilizer. If just refrigerated, we leave the cap loose to prevent pressurizing the bottle- you don't want bottle bombs. To check for how much sugar to add, you can make a small amount of syrup - 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp of sugar in very little boiling water, cool, and add to a 6 oz glass of wine. Taste this and sweeten the rest of the batch based on your preference in the back sweetened sample.

Also - adding more sugar in the fermenter normally won't make it taste sweeter. The added sugar would ferment out.

So these are comments from a not wine maker. But I did check with my wife, who is a wine maker, so it might be helpful.
 
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JuiceBar

JuiceBar

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Thank you ncbrewer! I'll experiment at bit so see if I can fix my futures batches
 

TkmLinus

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I have found that some of the flavor does come back with age, may want to save the bottles and taste again in 6 months or so. When I make muscadine wine I use Jack Keller's recipe, it hasn't failed me yet:

Jack Keller's Muscadine Wine Recipe
• 6 lbs ripe Muscadine Grapes
• 2-1/4 lbs granulated sugar
• 3 qts water
• 1 tsp pectic enzyme
• 1 tsp yeast nutrient
• 1 crushed Campden tablet
• 1 packet Montrachet wine yeast

Boil the water and dissolve the sugar in it. While sugar-water is cooling, wash, destem and crush the grapes, being sure to wear rubber gloves. Pour crushed grapes into nylon straining bag, tie securely, and put in primary. Pour water over grapes, add crushed Campden tablet and yeast nutrient, and cover primary securely. After 12 hours add pectic enzyme. Wait additional 12 hours and measure both specific gravity and acid. S.G. should be 1.090 or higher; acidity no higher than 7 p.p.t. tartaric. Correct S.G. if required by adding additional sugar, acid by using one of three methods described below following recipes. Add yeast, recover primary, and squeeze nylon bag lightly and stir must twice daily for about 5-7 days or until S.G. drops to 1.030. Press pulp well to extract liquid. Pour into secondary fermentation vessel, fit airlock, and let stand 3 weeks. Rack and top up, then rack again in 2 months and again after additional 2 months. If wine has cleared, bottle. If not, wait until wine clears, rack again and bottle. This wine may be sweetened before bottling by stabilizing, waiting 10-12 hours, then adding 2/3 to 1-1/3 cup sugar-water per gallon (2 parts sugar dissolved in 1 part water. May taste after one year, but improves remarkably with age (2-4 years). [Author's recipe.
 
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JuiceBar

JuiceBar

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Thank you TkmLinus.

I am curious. That recipe calls for a lot of additional water and sugar. Wouldn't that dull the muscadine flavor?
 

Drewch

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You might also try adding some acid blend. That might help add some complexity to the flavor.
 
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TkmLinus

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Thank you TkmLinus.

I am curious. That recipe calls for a lot of additional water and sugar. Wouldn't that dull the muscadine flavor?
I haven't experienced any dulling of flavor. I bottle after about 6-8 months and let the wine sit another 6 or so before tasting. My SO loves the stuff. I like it without back-sweetening, SO likes it better with back sweetening, she says the sweetness brings out more muscadine flavor. I've made 4 batches so far and each one has been a hit.

BTW, what yeast did you use? Some yeast, like EC-1118 can really strip out flavors. I like to use D47 or 71B for my wines.

Every recipe I have tried from Jack Keller has been quite good, here is a link to a pdf that has all of his recipes(there are some wild ones in there!). He also has a book available on Amazon. His website was a wealth of wine making knowledge but unfortunately it was taken down with his passing.

https://swguildpa.com/wp-content/up...ler-Complete-Requested-Recipes-Collection.pdf
 
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JuiceBar

JuiceBar

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Thank you Drewch

I tried adding some acid to a sample. This made my tongue numb it was so acidic.

I tried adding some sugar to another sample. This helped a bit, but still didn't bring out the grape flavor.

It seems I can't salvage it. I may just turn it into sangria 😁. Next time I'll do Jack Keller's recipe.

Thank you all
 

TkmLinus

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Thank you Drewch

I tried adding some acid to a sample. This made my tongue numb it was so acidic.

I tried adding some sugar to another sample. This helped a bit, but still didn't bring out the grape flavor.

It seems I can't salvage it. I may just turn it into sangria 😁. Next time I'll do Jack Keller's recipe.

Thank you all
If you have it bottled just tuck them away in a closet and taste again after 6-12 months.
 

squibload

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Can't believe nobody jumped on that one...

"Could you help me with my muscadine wine?"

"Sure, lemme grab a glass and I'll be right there!"

:inbottle:
 
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