Major Ingredient: Wine Concentrate - Alexander's Grenche Rose
directions on the back of the concentrate can. The instructions called for two cans to make five gallons, but I only had the one can, so I adjusted where I could and ended up with slightly less than 3 gallons of must. I covered the fermentor with the lid and stuck the air lock in (adding the bit of water to the lock).
I later learned that people recommend covering it with a cloth and leave the lid off for the first day or two. I don't think my extra step will cause any problems, though, because there was plenty of space left in the container and I removed the lid for stirring each day for the next few days. This probably let in plenty of oxygen for the yeast, as the next few days showed.
I also didn't know to take a specific gravity reading at this time. This number would have been needed at the end of the process to determine the final alcohol content of the wine.
Took readings, stirred must, and placed lid and airlock back on.
source states to move to a secondary container when s.g. drops below 1.010. The instructions that came with the concentrate say nothing about a secondary fermentation step. Since the s.g. is 1.004, it's two votes to one: Transfer to secondary fermentation containers.
I used an auto-siphon to transfer the liquid to two 1-gallon containers that I labelled "Bottle A" and "Bottle B", making sure I topped them up and put them both under airlocks. The auto-siphon was rather handy and easy to use, unfortunately it won't fit into the 1-gallon jugs, so I'll have to use a manual racking cane when the time comes.
I ended up with a little under a half-gallon of liquid left, so I transferred that into a half-gallon milk jug, topped it off with distilled water, and put an airlock on it. I will use this extra amount to top off the other two bottles as needed. I feel that using a slightly watered down wine to top off my "real" wine containers would be better than straight water.
I think the hydrometer reading for bottle B today was in error, I forgot to tap off the bubbles that formed on the hydrometer. The reading for bottle A is accurate, because I did it second and remembered about the bubbles clinging to the sides of the instruments.
Days Six thru EightFermentation slowed to a crawl and then a stand still. The bubbles streaming to the surface of the liquid reduced in number every day until there was only the occasional one. I hesitate to do anything because it's only been a few days since I started the whole thing. According to all information sources, it should take two to four weeks to get to this point. Either I'm really good (hardly), got lucky (possibly), or made one or more glaring errors (most likely).
Siphoning from one bottle to another using a racking cane has proven to be difficult. I tried all sorts of hieghts, positionings, chants, etc. There has got to be a better way.
I managed to rack bottle A, add a crushed campden tablet, and top off with some wine from the extra half-gallon I had set aside earlier, using a wine thief. This took a lot of trips with the wine theif. Racking bottle B was just as difficult to get the siphon started. I then got the bright idea of using the siphon to top it off from the extra half-gallon container. This was a disaster because once I got the siphon started, the half-gallon (plastic) bottle tipped over, making a big mess and leaving me with half of a half-gallon of top-off juice. I gave up and just poured it into bottle B to top it off. The remaining portion went into another 1/2 gallon glass jar and was topped off with water. That bottle is very cloudy looking. I added a campden tablet to bottle B and half a tablet to the set aside top-off bottle (I think I'll call it bottle C from now on). I then cleaned up my mess.
The liquid tastes like very rough wine with a gigantic bite. I'm hoping it will mellow out with age ... a lot.
I have to find out how siphoning should work, my attempts were terrible. I'm surprised I got any wine into the destination containers at all. Also, the racking cane left more liquid behind than I expected. I estimate I could rack only once more, maybe twice, and still have two gallons of wine at the end.
At first it looked like the wine was starting to clear near the top of the bottles yesterday, maybe because the top of the bottles are thinner and there was less liquid to look through. However, today, those areas are cloudy again. Is this just thermal mixing of the bottle contents or do I have some chemical or biological process still going on? I've observed no airlock activity or bubbles in the liquid, so I'm pretty sure fermentation is over.
The acid test isn't very easy to perform, but I'll get better at it with practice. Part of the trouble is the kit came with a small plastic cup that is almost impossible to swirl well enough to mix the solution thoroughly. I think my next purchase will be a large test tube or small measuring flask so I can safely swirl the solution around.
There are still a few tiny bubbles heading to the surface of both bottles A and B and sitting next to the neck and liquid interface. This may be some left over fermentation, carbon dioxide gassing, or left over sulfur dioxide gasses. The wine seems a bit clearer than a couple of days ago, but not near clear enough for bottling.
Everyone I've asked says that adding acid to the wine at this point will be OK, so I'm adding 1 tsp. of acid blend to each bottle. This should raise the acid level to approx. 0.60%. I'll measure the acid again tomorrow and determine what to do next.
I started by adding 1/2 tsp. of acid blend to one bottle. It foamed so much I was concerned about losing some of the wine. It subsided, fortunately, and I decided to add the rest of the acid blend 1/4 tsp. at a time waiting for the smaller amount of foam to go away before adding the next portion. This foaming action probably stirred things up in the wine again, eliminating whatever clearing had taken place. This just means that it will take more time before I can bottle. But this is winemaking, and I've got plenty of time.
Measuring the total acid again gave the same reading as yesterday, 0.45%. So either I am doing the test wrong or the acid I added yesterday hasn't mixed. I have a feeling it's the former, but I'll test again tomorrow in case it's the latter. I'm not worried about having added too much acid because the original recipe called for 3 tsp., I added only one at the beginning, and then two more yesterday. So, if I'm reading the acid test kit wrong, I'm still in the right spot according to the recipe. I want to make sure I'm using the test kit correctly, though, before I think of adding any more.
I'm going to try increasing the acid in only one of the bottles (A for Acid). That way, if I make a serious error, I only need to reduce the acid in one bottle. I'll also have a taste comparison between bottle A and B.
Right now it tastes like a dry wine with a bit of a bite. Not near as much of a bite as the last time I tasted it. It also looks clear and all bubbles are gone. A thick sediment has settled on the bottom. It may be time to rack again.
I added 1 tsp. of acid blend to bottle A.
WineMakingQuestion). I got a lot more advice than I anticipated, but all of it is good.
Bottle A tastes more like wine, less of a bite than earlier, still has an odd taste of ... unfinished, like there is an open space where there should be a taste of something. Bottle B tastes almost the same, but with less of that missing quality and a little more bubbly. Maybe what I'm tasting is some left over yeast flavor and the low acid level. It also may be the higher alcohol content than I am used to with wine. Using the first and latest S.G. readings and adding for the fact that I didn't take a reading until a day after fermenation started, calculates out at near 13%.
Both wines are perfectly clear. Once I get my acid testing under control, I intend to rack them both. I'll then stabilize and fine half of the batch and let the rest do it all on it's own over time.
I topped off the incomplete bottle with the extra I had set aside earlier (bottle C) and topped bottle C off with more distilled water. I then put all three bottles under airlocks. I have no idea what I'm going to do when it's time to bottle this batch, since I can't seem to siphon worth a damn.
http://www.vawa.net/winemaking-articles/acid1.html), I measured the acid level of this batch to be at approx. 0.55%. I also measured the acidity of two commercial wines, one was 0.65%, the other was 0.50%, so I'm feeling better about my measurements. I'm going to add 3/8 tsp. of acid blend to one of the gallon jugs and stir. This should raise the acidity of this gallon by 0.10% (I calculated this wrong, if 1 tsp. raises acidity by 0.15% per gallon, then 3/8 tsp. will increase it by 0.06%, not 0.10%). I'll then take another measurement tomorrow.
Later: Measured titratable acidity of bottle-A to be 0.65%, and bottle-B to be 0.55%. I'm going to leave bottle-A alone because I was expecting 0.68%. I'll test it again tomorrow and see if there is a difference. In the mean time, I've added 1 full tsp. of acid blend to bottle-B. This should bring bottle-B up to 0.70%. If so, then blending the two bottles together again will produce an average between the two.
At the very least, this has been a learning experience about measuring and adding acids in wine.
I've decided to add a fining agent (two-stage, Super-Kleer K.C. (tm)) to bottle-A, WineBatch03, and WineBatch05. This is because I want to bottle these batches next weekend. I'll leave bottle-B to the natural method of fining, just to say I've done it the old traditional way.
I added 3 ml Kieselsol to bottle-A and stirred gently. Eight hours later, I added 1/2 fl. oz. of Chitosan and stirred.