Get More Potential Alcohol From Sugar

Get More Potential AlcoholHow do I get more potential alcohol alcohol on my wine hydrometer. I want to get the level up to 10 or 11% when making a dry wine without adding sugar?

Name: Jay K.
State: Arkansas
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Hello Jay,

Thanks for the great questions about how to get more potential alcohol. This question covers some areas of confusion for many home winemakers. Let’s see if we can clear it up a little.

Let me start off by making something clear. The only way to raise the potential alcohol reading of a wine is to add more sugar to it. The potential alcohol scale on your wine hydrometer is directly related to the concentration of sugar within it. Add more sugar to the wine must, the potential alcohol reading goes up. The potential alcohol reading on your wine hydrometer comes from sugar, nothing else, so you add more sugar to get more potential alcohol.

The reason for this is very simple. When a wine is fermenting what’s happening? The wine yeast are consuming the sugars and converting them into both CO2 gas (carbon dioxide) and alcohol. Almost exactly half the sugar Shop Hydrometersturn into CO2 the other half turns in alcohol. The more sugar that is available to the wine yeast the more alcohol you will end up with. So if you put add 2 pounds of sugar and the wine yeast ferment it, you will have added 1 pound of alcohol to the wine.

The above is true until the wine yeast have reached their limits of alcohol tolerance. Wine yeast can only ferment so much alcohol. Once the fermentation reaches a high enough level of alcohol, the wine yeast will have difficulty fermenting any further. What this levels “is” depends on several factors: including the strain of wine yeast and the environmental conditions of the fermentation such as temperature, nutrients, etc.

The sugar we are talking about to get more potential alcohol does not have to be cane sugar. It doesn’t even have to be a granulated or powdered sugar. It could come in the form of grape concentrate, honey, apple juice… the list is endless. The sugars from all these things will also raise the potential alcohol level on your wine hydrometer when added to a wine must. Just remember potential alcohol comes from sugar.

So to sum up what you should do to get more potential alcohol:Shop Wine Yeast

  1. Pick out some form of sugar (nothing wrong with using cane sugar);
  2. Dissolve the sugar into the wine must until the potential alcohol scale on your wine hydrometer reads a  reasonable level. (11% to 13% will work fine);
  3. Let it ferment with an actual domesticated wine yeast.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

My Wine’s Fermenting Without Adding Any Yeast

Wild Yeast On GrapesWhy is my grape juice bubbling and I have not added my yeast yet.

Name: Jerry R.
State: PA
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Hello Jerry,

The simple answer is your juice is naturally fermenting because of wild yeast. This is why a wine will ferment without adding yeast, at all.

Yeast is everywhere: floating in the air, landing on plants and animals. It is ubiquitous to the nature in which we live. Your grape juice either picked up some wild yeast somewhere, or it started naturally fermenting from yeast that were on the grapes themselves.

Most of the time, vineyards selling fresh grape juice to home winemakers will treat it with sulfites such as potassium metabisulfite to destroy any of the wild yeast and to temporarily protect if from fermentation and spoilage. This would eliminate any chance of a wine fermentation occurring from the natural yeast that was on the grapes.

But there is still the issue of the wild yeast that is floating around. From the oranges sitting on the kitchen counter to the cat who just came inside for a little nap, the sources of yeast are many and unstoppable.

Once a few cells of the wild yeast make it to your wine juice, then it becomes party time. A wine fermentation will ignite with the natural yeast. Slowly, the yeast will start to consume the sugars and use that for energy to multiply themselves into a larger colony. As the colony becomes larger the growth will slow down and the focus will turn to the productions of alcohol. This is how a wine ferments without adding yeast.Shop Wine Yeast

What is described above is no different than what happens when you add a domesticated wine yeast. This begs the question, “why add yeast at all?” The answer is simple, with wild or natural yeast you never know what you are getting. Yeast is not just yeast. There are thousands of yeast strains, and with each strain are an endless number of varying mutations.

With a domesticated wine yeast: 1) you know what you are getting, 2) the strain is kept consistent, and 3) the strain has been bred for a specific characteristic, such as alcohol tolerance, flavor profile and such. Domesticated wine yeast pack more firmly on the bottom of the fermentation vessel as sediment so you can more easily rack the wine off of it. You may want to take a look at a wonderful article we have on the reasons you should use a domesticated wine yeast.

Now that you know your wine fermentation is from natural yeast. What should you do?

Fortunately, there is a simple remedy for such a situation. Wild or natural yeast are not very resilient to sulfites, and sulfite is the active ingredient in Campden tablets, potassium metabisulfite and sodium metabisulfite. All you need to do is add a dose of any one of the above, and the wild yeast will easily be destroyed and no more natural fermentation. Wait 24 hours, then add a domesticated wine yeast to the juice. During this 24 hour period you should leave the grape juice uncovered, or at most, covered with no more than a thin towel. Shop Potassium BisulfiteThis will allow the sulfur to release as a gas and dissipate. Once the domesticated wine yeast has been added, you should see a renewed fermentation start within 24 to 36 hours.

Having a wine ferment from natural yeast is not a horrible thing but it is something you’d prefer not to have. It’s like rolling the dice with Mother Nature. The important thing to understand is that a wine fermentation can occur without adding yeast, but there is something you can easily do about it.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Adding Sulfites To Homemade Wine

Adding Sulfites To WineI started fruit wine making in May. Yesterday I came across reading something on your blog which caught my attention. Something that I haven’t read or was told before. That is to add Campden tablets and sorbate after each racking. Do I need to do this after each racking or is it OK with every other racking?… By me not adding any since I started and going on my 3 and 4th rackings am I in jeopardy of losing my wine?…

Eric — LA
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Hello Eric,

The fact that you haven’t been adding sulfites [Campden tablets] to your homemade wine doesn’t mean you have ruined it by any means. There are winemakers that never use sulfite and turn out good wines. But having said this, I would urge you to start adding sulfites to homemade wine.

Sulfites such as Campden tablets and sodium metabisulfite make sure your wine does not spoil during the wine making process. After the wine has been made, sulfites help to insure that your wine will keep for many years and not just weeks or months in the wine bottle. Sulfites also help your wine to be free from the effects of oxidation. This is when the color of the wine darkens and the flavor taken on a little bitterness. Adding sulfites to homemade wine is not an absolute necessity, but it only makes sense to do so.

Potassium sorbate on the other hand is a different beast. It should only be used before bottling the wine – if at all. It is required if you are planning on back-sweetening your wine at bottling time. If it is not added along with the sweetening sugar, you stand a very strong chance of experiencing a re-fermentation of your wine while in the bottle. This can eventually result in popping corks and fizzy wine.

Shop Campden TabletsThere is no reason to add potassium sorbate at any other time than at bottling. In fact, if it is added before the fermentation has completed it will most likely result in a sluggish or stuck fermentation. I would not recommend adding it at bottling time if you are not making a sweet wine. It is not necessary.

If you are making wine from fresh fruit, I always recommend adding sulfite to homemade wine about 24 hours before adding the yeast. Leave the wine must uncovered during this 24 hours so that the sulfite gas may dissipate. Then add the wine yeast as you normally would. Doing this will easily destroy any wild molds, bacteria, etc. that may be coming along with the fruit.

I always recommend that sulfite be added before bottling, as well. This is the dose that keeps the wine fresh and free of oxidation while in the wine bottle. Before fermentation and before bottling are the two times I would never forgo.

I also suggest adding sulfites to wine after the fermentation has completed. This is with the understanding that the wine is going to sit for a while before clearing up. This will keep any airborne contaminants from growing on your wine while clearing.

Shop Potassium BisulfiteOnce the wine is clear and you have racked it off the sediment, I would also recommend adding a 1/2 dose of sulfites if you plan on bulk-aging the wine. If you plan on bottling within a few days don’t worry about it.

Eric, at this point I would add a dose of Campden tablets. Just on per gallon. If you are on your 3rd or 4th racking you shouldn’t need to rack your wine any more other than to bottle it, at which point I would add another dose of Campden tablets. No potassium sorbate should be added unless you are sweetening your wine.

Adding sulfites to homemade wine is important and highly recommended. It’s like buying insurance for making a wine that doesn’t spoil or oxidize. If you do not add sulfites you can make wine successfully, but most will find it hard for the wine to keep over extended periods of time without refrigeration.

Happy Winemaking,
Customer Service at E. C. Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Can I Use Potassium Sorbate To Stop A Fermentation?

Wine Fermentation That Needs To Be StoppedAs the yeast eats the sugars, the sweet taste disappears as the sugar is eaten. I have heard you can’t stop the yeast from doing their job. But if I want a sweeter wine and my reading has reached an SG of 1.010, can I put potassium sorbate in the fermentation to stop it there for some sweetness instead of letting it ferment to the end at .998 and having to try and back sweeten a dry wine?

Byron J. — FL
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Hello Byron,

This is a great question because it covers a two wine making topics that often trip up home winemakers: using potassium sorbate and sweetening a wine.

Let me start off by saying that it is possible to stop a fermentation in progress, but it is much more difficult than just using potassium sorbate to stop a fermentation and/or sulfites such as Campden tablets and sodium metabisulfite. These wine making ingredients will give the fermentation a blow to the gut, but vary rarely will they permanently stop a fermentation. Not good enough for a homemade wine that is destined to be bottled. The last thing any winemaker wants is fermenting bottles of wine.

The potassium sorbate does not stop or inhibit the fermenting in any way. What it does do is stop the yeast from reproducing themselves. During a typical fermentation the wine yeast will go through several re-generations. By adding potassium sorbate to a wine you are making sure that the current generation of yeast is the last generation of yeast. Eventually, the wine yeast will begin to die, but not all at once. Some yeast will live longer than others always leaving a possibility of a re-fermentation occurring, even months down the road.

Shop Potassium SorbateSulfites, like the Campden tablets and sodium metabisulfite, will destroy some of the yeast cells but not all of them. Domesticated wine yeast are somewhat immune to the effects of sulfite. They are acclimated to the sulfites when they are being produced. This is done on purpose so that a fermentation can exist with some of the protective benefits of sulfites.

Since potassium sorbate won’t stop a fermentation, here is what a commercial winery does when they want to stop an active fermentation:

 

  1. Chill the fermentation tanks down to about 45°F. This causes the wine yeast to stop their activity and drop to the bottom. This can be done in a matter of 3 or 4 days depending on how fast the tanks chill. As a home winemaker, refrigeration should be done for at least a week.
  1. Rack the wine off the sediment. The sediment is mostly yeast cells at this stage of the winemaking process, so by racking or siphoning the wine, you are leaving most of the yeast behind.
  1. Filter the wine. It is vital that the wine be finely filtered at this point. While almost all of the wine yeast is gone, if some is left in the wine they can propagate themselves into larger numbers, regenerating a new colony of yeast that can ferment the wine after it has been bottled. Not a good thing. A winery will typically filter a wine down to .5 micron. This will require filtration under pressure with an actual wine filter system.

 

Shop Potassium MetabisulfiteThis is how a winery controls the sweetness of a wine, but there is a much, much easier way available to the home winemaker. It doesn’t involve using potassium sorbate to stop a fermentation, and it doesn’t involve going through all the steps laid out above.

 

  1. Allow the fermentation to finish. All the sugars will be gone and the wine yeast will start dropping out.
  1. Rack the wine off the sediment. Again, this will leave most of the yeast behind – well over 90%.
  1. Add sugar syrup to taste. The sugar syrup can be made by taking equal parts water and sugar and heating them in a sauce pan until completely clear. You may want to take a measured portion of the wine and add measured portions of the sugar syrup to establish a dosage, first, before committing the entire batch.
  1. Add potassium sorbate and sulfite to the wine. The dosage should be listed on the containers they come in, but you want to use 1/2 teaspoon of potassium sorbate per gallon and 1/16 teaspoon per gallon of either: potassium metabisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, or 1 Campden tablet per gallon of wine.
  1. Bottle the wine right away. If the wine is allowed to sit, some of the sulfite will dissipate, so you will want to bottle the wine on the same day.

 

By allowing the wine to finish, you will have much greater control on the sweetness of the wine. Instead of saying I want the wine to finish at a specific gravity 1.010, as you have suggested, you can actually sweeten the wine to taste. This is important because some wines require more sugar than others to get the same effect of sweetness than others. Every wine is different.Shop Mini Jet Wine Filter

By operating in this way you can also bulk age the wine first. This is a great advantage, because it allows you to sweeten the wine after the harshness has been aged out. Often times when sweetening a young, too much sugar will be added. This is because the winemaker tries to cover up the harshness with sweetness — a harshness that won’t be there later.

Byron, I hope this information helps you out. Again, I’m glad you asked about using potassium sorbate to stop a fermentation for the simple fact that it’s answer will help to clear up a lot of confusion among new winemakers.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

No-Bull Directions For Using One Step No Rinse Cleanser

One Step No Rinse CleanserThe directions on the container of One Step No Rinse Cleanser simply say to rinse your equipment with the solution. Is there a minimum amount of contact time one must allow for the solution to work prior to using the sanitized equipment? The results of an online search stated anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. I know the safe route would be to let it sit for at least 2 minutes, but I’d rather not stand there waiting if I don’t have to.

Name: Paul
State: Missouri
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Hello Paul,

The One Step No Rinse Cleanser is actually an oxygenating cleanser. This means that it uses a burst of oxygen from the solution to do the sanitizing. This high oxygen level actually destroys any unwanted microbes.

The great thing about any oxygenating cleanser is that it gives the biggest burst of oxygen while the solution is evaporating off the surface of what is being sanitized. In other words, the contact time with the solution is not what really matters. What matters is that the solution be allowed to evaporate without interruption after being taken out of the solution. The amount of time in the One Step solution is not critical. This is way the directions seem so vague.

The only situation when the length of time would matter is if you are treating a piece of equipment that has a lot of tight spots, or has a surface that is complex and Shop Basic A Cleansernot smooth. A couple examples of this would be a nylon brush or a straining screen. In both cases you would want to give “some” time for the solution to work its way in between and onto the surface of each nylon bristle or into the corner of each square of the screen. This could require a few seconds due to the surface tension of the solution.

The flip-side of this is when sanitizing a surface that is smooth, like glass, no time is required in the solution at all. Just dip or apply with a rag and allow to evaporate. Again, the evaporation from the surface is what’s key, not the time in the solution.

If you want to get the most out of the One Step No Rinse Cleanser you would allow your equipment to dry completely before using. However, I understand that following such directions would not be practical in a lot of situations, since it would make things way too time consuming. So as a matter of practicality, I would follow these directions: dip or or wipe with a rag the equipment with the solution of One Step No Rinse Cleanser, then allow to dry for 5 minutes.

One final not I’d like to make is that the One Step No Rinse Cleanser is not a Shop Sanitizerssoap or detergent in any way. It is not designed for or intended to release grime from your wine making equipment. This is something that needs to be done with a dish soap or similar, beforehand. The One Step No Rinse Cleanser is strictly for sanitizing your wine making equipment. It is designed to kill any molds, bacteria, etc.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

I Put Too Much Sugar In My Wine!

Sugar In Wine MustTo keep a long story short, while mixing ingredients for the first fermentation, instead of 2 pounds of sugar called for in the wine recipe, 4 pounds made it into the bucket. I let it go for the first fermentation. The hydrometer reading is 1.106. Could I add water to lower sugar concentration for the fermentation?
Thank you.

Name: Jan R
State: Ohio
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Hello Jan,

Adding an additional 2 pounds of sugar to the wine must is not as serious as you might think. Assuming this is a 5 gallon batch, the extra sugar will raise the final alcohol level by about 2%, so while you may have put too much sugar in the wine, it is far from being a disaster.

 

The general rule-of-thumb is for every pound of sugar you add to a 5 gallon
batch of wine, you increase the potential alcohol by 1%.

 

Based on your beginning Specific Gravity reading of 1.106 you took with your hydrometer, you have a beginning potential alcohol right at 14%. That means you have enough sugar in the wine must for the yeast to ferment 14% worth of alcohol content. If you can live with this, then doing nothing is your best course of action. Just finish the fermentation as you normally would.

If you would like, you can dilute the wine with water, but this will bring up another problem and that is the wine’s acidity or its tartness. Diluting the flavor profile of a wine with water is one thing. You can get away with reducing the intensity of the flavor without having too much noticeable overall affect on the wine. But you are diluting the acidity at the same time. Acidity is something that is very noticeable when it’s diluted. Because of this, an adjustment would need to compensate for the lowering of the acid level. This can be done by adding Acid Blend to the wine must.Shop Hydrometers

Now the question is: how much water and Acid Blend should you add? Again, I am going to assume this is a 5 gallon batch of wine.

You can use something called a Pearson’s square to calculate how much water to add to bring the potential alcohol down to its intended level, but I’ll do that for you, now. You need to add .83 gallons of water to the entire batch to bring the potential alcohol down from 14%  to 12%. This works out to 3 quarts and 8.5 fluid ounces of water.

Now, you need to figure out how much Acid Blend needs to be added to compensate for the addition of .83 gallons of water. This leads me to my second rule-of-thumb:

 

For every teaspoon of Acid Blend you add to a gallon of liquid,
you will raise the total acidity by .15%.

 

With a target range of around .65% to .75% TA, this means you would want to add between 4.33 and 5 teaspoons of Acid Blend per gallon of water. You would be adding .83 gallons — not a whole gallon — so this would adjust the range of Acid Blend needed for the batch to somewhere between 3.6 and 4.1 teaspoons. You could also use an our Acid Test Kit to take an acid reading after the water has been added and adjust according.

Shop Acid Test KitYou can add both the water and Acid Blend anytime you like during the winemaking process. The effects of both are immediate on the wine. The only thing you need to know is that if you add the water after the fermentation has completed, it needs to be distilled water. Using tap or bottled drinking water at this time would be introducing free oxygen into the wine and promote oxidation. Distilled water has no free oxygen.

As I’m sure you can start to see, there is a lot to be said for just leaving the wine alone and let is go as is, but if you feel that 14% alcohol is something you can’t live with, there are options. As I mentioned before, while you did put too much sugar in the wine must, the total effect on the resulting will not be disastrous or out ruinous. Either way I’m sure you wine will come out just fine.

Accidentally putting too much sugar in a wine must is something that happens from time to time. I know I’ve added to much sugar to my wine before, and I know lots of others have. Just realize that regardless of how bad the situation, there is usually a solution to remedy the problem.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Tips For Clearing Wine With Clearing Problems!

Clearing WinePlease give me any advise on clearing wine. I have a Red wine not clearing?

Name: Bruce K.
State: CA
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We get asked this quite often: how do you clear a cloudy homemade wine? Clearing wine can be a big concern for the first-time winemaker, especially after they see just how cloudy a homemade wine gets right after fermentation – not to worry, though.

If given enough time, it is most likely that the cloudy wine will clear up and stabilize completely on its own. Gravity will take over and eventually everything will settle to the bottom as a deposit. But there are still some things you can do to speed things along and make sure it happens and to avoid any wine clearing problems.

If the wine has just completed its fermentation, it is typical to add a dose of bentonite. This is a wine clearing agent, also referred to as a fining agent. Adding bentonite to a wine will help the proteins in the wine (including yeast) to clump together and drop to the bottom more readily. After a few days you can then rack the wine off all the sediment.

Most winemakers would stop at clearing wine with bentonite, but if you wished you could also add Sparkolloid. This is another wine clearing agent. It was designed to compliment the bentonite. While bentonite will collect and drop negatively charged particles, Sparkolloid will collect and drop out positively charged particles. Again, you would wait until the sediment stops accumulating and stabilize, then rack the wine off of it.

One could then follow up by treating the wine with a polish fining agent before bottling. This could be something like isinglass, Kitosol 40 or gelatin. Either of these will add a brilliant clarity to the wine. Just like the others, it works by dropping sediment out of the wine, so racking will be necessary before bottling the wine.Shop Bentonite

Beyond these things you could use filtration for clearing wine. There are filtration systems specifically designed for filtering the finest of particles from a wine. So fine, that you can not see them with the naked eye.

These wine filters are not at all effective in clearing a cloudy-looking wine. They work so good that the filters would clog very quickly. The wine needs to look clear before filtering it. That’s what you can use the bentonite or other wine clearing agent for.

What wine filters are good at is adding a luster to the wine that can at times bring astonishing beauty to the wine. A wine filter can take a perfectly clear looking wine and make it look like a solid hunk of glass in the wine bottle.

Now that you know all these ways you can clear a cloudy homemade wine, here’s the bad news: it is possible to over-treat a wine. In fact, if you did all the things mention above to the same wine, the wine would suffer. It would lose more body and color than necessary. The character of the wine would be diminished, leaving you with a flatter, more uneventful wine.

So, how do you clear a cloudy homemade wine without ruining it? Treatment for clear wine must be used in moderation and with a plan.

 

  1. Shop SparkolloidAs mentioned earlier, you could do nothing. Just wait and see if the wine will clear up sufficiently on its own. Most of the time it will clear to some successful degree and stabilize.
  1. You could do everything possible to make sure you have the clearest, most beautiful wine possible, but nothing you can really enjoy.
  1. Or you could do what most winemakers do and hit a happy-medium. Many wine makers are happy with clear their wine with bentonite and be done with it. Another typical course of action would be something like clearing the wine with bentonite after fermentation. Then clearing the wine with gelatin before bottling. Or one might: bentonite after fermentation; then filtration, then bottle. Or, bentonite, Sparkolloid, bottle.

 

As you might be starting to see there are many possible answers to the question: how do you clear a cloudy homemade wine? Any of the courses of action in number 3 above, will get you a wine that is not cloudy, but what is the best way for you is something you’ll need to figure out. There is some art to clearing wine. You need to be able to know when to hold back, and you need to be able to choose with method is right for you situation at hand.Shop Mini Jet Wine Filter

Bruce, to answer you question more directly, since you are indicating that the wine is having problems clearing, I would start by treating the wine with bentonite. If the wine does not clear, then I would try Sparkolloid. At minimum, one of these two wine clearing agents should show improvement. After that you will need to decide if you want to stop there, or possibly treat the wine with gelatin before bottling or maybe even filter the wine. The choice is yours.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Why Using Pectic Enzyme Gets You A Clear Wine

What Using Pectic Enzyme Does To WineI have made delicious peach wine in the past, but last year, the peaches were ripe when I was out of town. My son cleaned, sliced and froze them in freezer bags til I could get home. It’s been 10 mos. and the wine refuses to clear – I’ve tried everything. Was pretty sure I had read you could freeze fruit til ready to use, but maybe not? That’s the only thing I remember doing differently…”Blue Moon” Peach Wine anyone?

Name: Carol
State: Maryland
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Hello Carol,

Freezing the peaches would not have anything to do with the wine being cloudy. I think this has more to do about using pectic enzyme. Freezing the fruit will only help to break down the fiber allowing you to get more flavor from the peaches. Freezing the fruit is something we recommend doing all the time. So even though this is the only apparent difference from other times you’ve made this wine, this is not the cause of your peach wine being cloudy.

Assuming that the fermentation went just fine, the number one reason for a peach wine to be cloudy is because of something called a pectin haze. Peaches have a considerable amount of pectin in them as compared to other winemaking fruit. Pectin is the gel that holds the fruit’s fiber together. It has a milky appearance to it when removed from the fruit.

With most fruit the pectin is broken down and cleared during the fermentation. The wine yeast produce enzymes that help to do this. Most fruit wine recipes will also call for pectic enzymes as additional insurance to see to it that all the pectin cells are broken down. You can read more about it in a previous blog post, Why Do Some Wine Recipes Call For Pectic Enzyme? When using pectic enzyme the pectin cells are broken down into a substance that is clear and watery.Shop Pectic Enzyme

If all the pectin cells are not broken down then they add to the cloudy appearance of the wine. In the case of peaches sometimes not all the pectin gets broken down. Sometimes this is caused by a stressed wine yeast, but it can also be caused by using pectic enzyme that is old or not using enough pectic enzyme. If any fruit is gong to expose this error it would be the peach wine due to its abundance of pectin cells. Other fruits high in pectin are plums, strawberries and persimmons.

It is important to understand that a pectin haze can not be cleared out with fining agents such a bentonite, isinglass or Sparkolloid. This is because these types of clarifiers are primarily used to clear out particles. Pectin is not a particle, but rather, something that is molecularity bound to the liquid. No fining agent can touch it. It needs to be broken down through enzymatic activity. That is why using pectic enzyme is so important in these situations.

You can try adding more pectic enzyme to the wine, but it may take a while for the full reaction to take place. The enzymes work much more slowly after the fermentation when the activity is not present. Patience my be required on your part. It could even take several months.

Shop Mini Jet Wine FilterIf you would like to verify that it is a pectin haze you are dealing with you can take a small sample of the wine and add extreme doses of the pectic enzyme to it to see if it will clear the wine: say, a teaspoon to 4 oz. to 8 oz. of wine. You should see a reaction with in days, if not hours, at this dosage.

Hope this information about using pectic enzyme helps you out.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

How Are Different Wines Made From Grape Juice?

Melot Grape For Making WineI am interested in making Merlot wine. I have found all your wine kits for this, but don’t quite understand how theyare used. Can you turn any fruit juice into a merlot with these kits? Do you mix the contents of the kit with the particular type of merlot you wish to make, like blackberry juice.

Thank you,
Nancy
_____
Hello Nancy,

I see there is a little bit of confusion about how different wine’s can be made from grape juice. Let me see if I can clear things up a bit.

The Merlot wine you mentioned is made from Merlot grapes. The same holds true for many other wines you may see on the store shelf: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Zinfandel. These wines are made primarily from the grape after which they are named. Cabernet Sauvignon is a grape; Chardonnay is a grape; and so on. These wines are known as varietals.

However, this is not true for all wines. For example, a wine labeled Burgundy indicates that grapes primarily used to make it where grown in the Burgundy region of France. It does not make mention of the specific grape varieties used, even though a Merlot grape could have been used in part since it is a grape that is grown extensively in Burgundy, France. These wines are known as appellation wines. The emphasis is on the where not the what.Shop Wine Kits

So when you ask: how are different wines made from grape juice? The real answer is different wines are made from different grape juices.

Many people are surprised to find that there are so many different grape varieties used to make wine. They just assumed that a hand-full of types were used to make a lot of different variations of wine, but that isn’t so. In reality, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different grape varieties from which wine can be made.

The wine ingredient kits you are referring to are basically concentrated grape juice packaged along with a few small packets of other ingredients such as wine yeast, clarifiers, stabilizers, etc.. You just add water and ferment the mix as called for by the directions that are included. Currently, we offer Merlot in nine different brands along with some Merlot blends.

They vary in price in accordance to their quality and how specific the region they are from is indicated. Lower priced wine ingredient kits might only specify which continent the grapes came from. These concentrates would be appropriate for making everyday drinking wines. Higher priced wine ingredient kits can be as specific as the particular growing region within a country. For example, Napa valley as opposed to Sonoma valley. These concentrates make fabulous wines with characters representative of that growing region. This is known as a wine’s terroir.Shop Wine Making Kits

So that’s how different types of wines are made from grape juice. It’s all about the grape and where it was grown. I hope this information helps you out.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

How Many Cans Of Wine Making Fruit Bases Should I Use?

Wine Making Fruit BasesI’m having trouble understand how may cans of County Fair Fruit Bases to use. It says that you can use 1 to 4 cans to make 5 gallons of homemade wine. How many cans of the these wine making fruit bases should I use to make the best wine?

Thanks Wanda
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Wanda,

The number of cans of fruit base you use controls how light or heavy-bodied the wine will be. Using one particular number of cans is not necessarily better or worse than using another. It’s just different and subject to personal tastes and preferences.

If you like a crisp, refreshing wines, one that would goes great outdoors in the summer months, then you would use one or two cans of fruit base. These wines will be more thirst-quenching on the palette. If you prefer bold, full-bodied wines, one that might go well after dinner, than you would use three or four cans of the wine making fruit base. These wines will have a lot more body with a longer, more-layered finish. Regardless of the number of cans you use, the wine will turn out equally well in terms of quality. It’s more of a matter of personal taste.

On the side of each can of County Fair Fruit Base you are provided with the wine recipes and directions for each number of cans, from one to four. The wine making process is the same in each case, but the amounts of other wine making ingredients vary slightly. This is necessary to keep the wine’s flavor in balance.

So to answer your question more directly, you will need to decide how many cans of wine making fruit base are right for you. It’s a question of tastes, not whether it’s good or bad. Regardless of the number of cans of wine making fruit base you choose, follow the wine recipe on the side of the label and you will turn out a remarkable fruit wine… one you’ll be proud to share with family and friends.Shop Wine Making Kits

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.