So I'm making watermelon wine now...and need a little help.

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fred_zepp

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I've got 4.5 gallons of watermelon juice that I'm about to pitch my yeast starter into (made with cane sugar, just like the sugar I added to the juice).

winemaking: Watermelon Wines

i followed the above instructions and used the first recipe given. Also, the author recommends refrigerating the juice for the first 24 hours while the campden tablets go to work, which I have done.

I have two questions:

1. Should I wait to pitch the yeast starter until the juice warms up some? (I'm assuming yes)

2. When am I supposed to fit an airlock? Right away after pitching yeast? The instructions say to stir daily for seven days after fermentation starts...and previously to just cover the open fermentor with a sterile cloth while the campden tablets work (I just put a lid gently on top of the juice).
 

TipsyDragon

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yes let the juice warm up to your desired fermentation temp. put the air lock in right away after pitching and aerating.
 

jmsolomon

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i have 4 gal. of the watermelon/mustang grape wine bubbling away. has anyone else have experience with watermelon wines.. sg from the free run watermelon juice was 1.80 with the addition of mustang grapes and 4 lb. sugar i had reading of 1.95..
 

dmoore714

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Sorry to bring an old thread back from the dead. (Better than starting a new one though, right?) I'm curious how this recipe turned out. And do you really have to let it age for a year before you taste it?
 

ashfatboy

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These threads should theoretically last as long as a batch takes to mature.how did this turn out?
 

dmoore714

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I decided to go ahead and try this one myself. Cut up two big seedless watermelons today, and ran them through a juicer on the slowest setting. Made enough juice to fill my 2-gallon fermenting bucket and almost fill a 1-gallon glass jug. I added the acid blend, sugar and campden tabs as per the recipe. Then put them in the fridge to keep until the campden tabs fully dissolve.

I did NOT add as much sugar as the recipe suggests (7lbs). I put about 2lbs in the 2gallon bucket and about 3 cups in the 1-gallon jug. I'll check the OG tomorrow before I pitch... but I'm sure that will be good enough to make a tasty wine.

One interesting discovery was made today. Turns out I am VERY allergic to watermellon. The whole time I was cutting, my hands were extremely itchy. And when I started juicing it became very difficult to breathe. I powered through it and finished the process. Even tasted it before I buttoned it up. But I seriously doubt I'll be able to drink any of this stuff when its done. (Epic sadness) Fortunately, I know a few ladies at work who are already chomping at the bit to take a few bottles of my hands.

Back to the 1-year aging time... how necessary do people think that is? I mean it should taste decent at 3 or 4 months right? I was hoping to have this done and ready to imbibe by August.
 

divi2323

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Allergic to watermelon is a tragedy! I feel bad for you man! Nothing like ice cold watermellon on a hot day.
 

dmoore714

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It's going well so far (I think). Keeping the bucket in a cooler with one frozen bottle of water seems to keep the air temp around the fermenter in the high 60's. I assume the chemical reaction inside the bucket will bump that into the low 70's, which I believe is ideal for fruit wine and for champagne yeast.

Stirring daily, as the recipe suggests. It looks good. And the air coming out of the bubbler smells like fresh watermellon, which is encouraging.
 

dmoore714

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Well... so much for that. I had to dump the whole batch yesterday.

The directions said to stir daily. I opened the bucket yesterday and it had turned yellow. Smelled like vinegar and rotten vegetables. I followed the directions, sanitized everything well, and used all the right chemicals. I'm guessing it was the temperature (I really need a fermentation cooler). Or maybe I didn't use enough sugar, so when fermentation slowed there wasn't enough alcohol to preserve the must.

Either way... after figuring out im allergic to watermellon, I wont be in any hurry to try this again.
 

Yooper

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I've never made watermelon wine, but I remember reading something by Jack Keller (the guru of winemaking) where he said watermelon wine is a tough, tough wine to make because the juice tends to spoil before it can be fermented. I'll see if I can find that link so you don't feel so bad!

Edit- here is the info, about 1/2 way down the page! http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/watermel.asp
 
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