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Wine kit gone wrong. Can I distill? Make brandy?

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BrewingNoobing

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Hey guys

I started a wine kit a couple weeks ago unfortunately I found a film layer at the top.
After sending a pic to the place that sold me the kit, they are giving me a new kit.

Anyways before I pour it down the toilet, wondering if I could use it for anything? I have my own distiller. Is it safe to distill contaminated wine?
 
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BrewingNoobing

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Not interested in vinegar, luckily the wine still smells fine!
 

bernardsmith

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Has it finished fermenting? Have you tasted the wine? My thinking is that garbage in = garbage out. If the wine (flavor wise) is not good how can distilling it make it better? Perhaps it can make brandy but that assumes that you want to collect whatever flavors are going to be carried by the distillate... My bet would be a vodka might be a better approach. In other words, all you want to collect is the ethanol without any of the flavors... You can then either infuse flavors or add botanicals and other flavorings and re-distill with those in the kettle or infusing the vapors...
 
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BrewingNoobing

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It has not finished fermenting. Only the first step has been done. The "wine mash" (or whatever you call the liquid in early stages of wine making) smells fine.

I don't mind it having a bad flavor especially if I am making a stronger alcohol from it. Just worried about getting sick if it has bad bacteria
 
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BrewingNoobing

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Went ahead with the process. Transferred to the carboy, added the juice.

Wine doesn't look bad & smells fine. Should make some fine brandy or vodka. I'll post an update in 11 days when I distill
 

bernardsmith

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That may be an indication of strains of lacto bacteria in the wine. More likely found in beer than wine because more common in grain than fruit.. and in beer this is the source of lactic acids which sour beer. In wine lacto bacteria, in the presence of oxygen, can turn wine to vinegar... so you might want to taste the wine before you try to distill it. If the alcohol is changed into ascetic acid you won't have very much ethanol to distill.
 

RPh_Guy

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That may be an indication of strains of lacto bacteria in the wine. More likely found in beer than wine because more common in grain than fruit.. and in beer this is the source of lactic acids which sour beer. In wine lacto bacteria, in the presence of oxygen, can turn wine to vinegar... so you might want to taste the wine before you try to distill it. If the alcohol is changed into ascetic acid you won't have very much ethanol to distill.
It's impossible to tell what organism(s) are present based on the appearance of a pellicle, and lots of different microbes can form one. Lactobacillus species actually don't generally form a pellicle.

Lactobacillus (and other lactic acid bacteria) are pretty ubiquitous, so it's just as likely to be on fruit as it is on grain.
While we're busting myths, it seems that Leuconostoc is actually much more prevalent on grain than Lactobacillus, as far as wild lactic acid bacteria responsible for souring wort.

While lots of different organisms make acetic acid, lactic acid bacteria certainly will not turn the batch to vinegar because they mostly make lactic acid, as their name implies. The majority of vinegar formation would normally come from acetic acid bacteria (i.e. Acetobacter). Brettanomyces yeast can also make amounts well above taste threshold.

Basic standard practices for making wine prevent significant vinegar formation -- sulfite and oxygen limitation (like an airlock and low headspace).

Definitely a pellicle.
Enjoy the free wine I guess :)

:mug:
 

bernardsmith

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Thanks for the correction, RPh_Guy. Truly appreciated. Not sure why I typed "lacto" when I meant aceto...:no: I'll blame that on brain fog though that doesn't really "explain" anything.
 
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BrewingNoobing

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@RPh_Guy My brewing room has water on the floor & I have a dehumidifier running at all times. Could this have affected my wine/pellicle at all?
Didn't think about it until now.
 

bracconiere

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even if it is sour, i'd imagine it'd be fine to distill, age it on toasted oak for a few weeks...between distilling and the oak aging, should taste fine....
 

RPh_Guy

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@RPh_Guy My brewing room has water on the floor & I have a dehumidifier running at all times. Could this have affected my wine/pellicle at all?
Maybe. Everyone has wild microbes in the air where they brew, so it's not really the sole factor, but it might be contributing. The wild microbes came from somewhere.

Three things are needed to prevent significant contamination:
1. Pitch healthy yeast and encourage healthy fermentation.
2. Protect from oxygen after fermentation starts to subside.
3. Maintain adequate sulfite levels after fermentation.
 
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