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Major Ingredient: Apricots (Vintner's Harvest Fruit Wine Base, 96 oz. can)
Expected Quantity: 3 gallons
Actual Quantity: 0 (batch ruined, but I kept 2 bottles to test in six months)

PRIMARY FERMENTATION
DateTemp. (Out/In)Specific GravityNotes
28-Oct-200570F-#DayZero
29-Oct-200575F1.080#DayOne
31-Oct-200576F1.060#DayThree
3-Nov-200572F1.016#DaySix
12-Nov-200568F0.989#DayFifteen
12-Nov-2005FIRST RACKING
20-Nov-2005CLEARING
27-Nov-2005Titratable Acid = 0.39%#DayThirty
DISCARDED

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Recipe and Directions

 

 

Beginning (28-Oct-2005)  

Used the three-gallon-recipe and mixed ingredients into a 6 gallon fermentation bucket which filled it to almost the 4 gallon mark. This was my first time pouring fruit into a nylon mesh bag and I missed a bit. So now there are a few fruit chunks floating in the must. I'll just have to strain the juice again when I transfer to the secondary container.

Instead of covering the fermenter with a cloth, I loosely placed the lid on top and put a cloth over the little hole normally reserved for an airlock. This should let in plenty of air while keeping other stuff out. The airflow will also be helped by my normal curiosity, since I remove the covering two or three times a day just to see what's happening.

Day One (29-Oct-2005)  

Took readings, added the yeast, and covered back up. For some reason, I have a craving for Apricot jam.

Day Two (30-Oct-2005)  

Fermentation seems to be going well, no more nice smell of apricots, now it's apricots and yeast (bleah). This is a bit different from my experience with a wine concentrate. For the concentrate, a thick layer of foam formed uniformly over the surface of the must. In this case, I think the mesh bag and floating bits of fruit are preventing that. So the bubbles are bigger, fewer, and appearing in only a few places.

I pushed the bag of fruit down, stirred the top half of the must as directed, and covered it back up.

Day Three (31-Oct-2005)  

Fermentation has increased. The container is now making the familiar sound of lots and lots of bubbles breaking the surface - it's quite loud and reminds me of water running through the pipes of an old house. Punched down the fruit, stirred, took readings, and re-covered.

Day Six (3-Nov-2005)  

Fermentation is going strong. Stirred daily for the past few days. Took readings. According to directions, I should remove and press the pulp and then transfer to a secondary fermentation vessel. I made a mess removing the fruit pulp. Not from the fermentation container, but trying to remove it from the straining bag.

I then transferred the liquid into a 3-gallon better-bottle carboy and put it under a dry air lock from the same company. I had just under a half gallon of excess that I set aside for using as a top off solution later. I didn't have an air lock for this excess container, so I used a piece of plastic and a rubber band as a poor man's air lock instead.

Day Fifteen (12-Nov-2005)  

Fermentation has stopped, no bubbles have been seen for a couple of days and the hydrometer reading agrees. The spigot at the bottom of the better-bottle carboy made this task effortless.

I racked the wine into another 3-gallon better-bottle carboy, using their "siphonless" method for the first time. It was very easy, except that it was difficult to get the 1/2" ID hose to fill completely, probably adding some oxygen into the wine. Next time, I intend to use the smaller diameter hose to prevent this. This size of better-bottle has a handle molded into the side and provided a small area for sediment to gather about two thirds up into the wine container. While racking, I'm sure some of that sediment made it back into the wine. I'm not sure I like that, but it may be insignificant.

I took about a cup of the wine and dissolved three crushed Campden tablets and 1 1/2 tsp. of Potassium Sorbate. I then put this back into the carboy and mixed. I will let it sit like this, with a dry air-lock on top, for a week or two. This should stabilize the wine in time for clearing and bottling before the end of the month.

The wine tasted awful at this point and reminded me of the awful taste of the apple batch around this same point in the process (WineBatch03). If it stays this way, I might stay away from fruit wines for the next few years.

Day Twenty-Three (20-Nov-2005)  

I decided to fine the wine starting today so I can bottle it next weekend. I added 8 ml of Kieselsol and stirred gently. Eight hours later, I added 1 fl. oz. of Chitosan and stirred.

Day Thirty (27-Nov-2005)  

It took 4 days for the wine to clear. I set up for bottling today and then tasted the wine. It tastes truly awful - face scrunching, involuntary head shaking, awful. I added some sugar to sweeten it and that helped a bit, but the after taste was still digusting and there is absolutely no hint of apricot. It took a full hour of drinking other liquids before I could get the taste out.

Reading a page about wine problems, the closest I can come to a taste is sour. Not the sour of lemons, but the sour of bad milk. I'm thinking that the fruit juice spoiled before fermentation could get to a point to preserve it. I tested the acid level and that seemed low (0.39%).

In the forlorn hope that the wine is not totally ruined, I'm going to set aside two bottles and see what it's like in 6 months. The rest is going down the drain. I'll try Apricots again in a few months - I'll have a yeast starter worked up so it will ferment faster and I'll test the acid level at the beginning to make sure it's high enough.

 

   

 
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