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
—–
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
—–
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.

Can I Add Sugar During Fermentation?

Man Adding Sugar During FermentationWhen making wine should I add all the sugar all at once or can I add sugar to the wine during the fermentation?

Name: Mark
State: Ohio
——
Hello Mark,

In general, you do not want to add sugar during fermentation. You will want to add all the sugar to the wine before the fermentation – all at once, upfront. There is no real advantage to spreading the sugar throughout the primary fermentation, just as long as you are shooting for a reasonable level of alcohol (10% to 14%). Any wine yeast you choose to use will be able to readily ferment to this level of alcohol, even when all the sugar is added to the wine must before the fermentation.

The biggest reason you’ll want to add all the table sugar all at once, besides the fact it’s less work, is that it makes it easier to calculate your wine’s finished alcohol.

Sugar is what turns into alcohol during the fermentation. This is fermentation 101. To know how much alcohol the fermentation is making, you have to know how much sugar has been fermented. This requires you to know how much sugar the fermentation started with and how much sugar the fermentation ended with. The difference is what was fermented into alcohol. Both of these things can be easily determined with a hydrometer by taking a reading before and after the fermentation and comparing the two.

Shop HydrometersIf you add sugar to the wine during the fermentation, additional hydrometer readings will need to be logged to eventually know how much alcohol is in the wine. These additional calculations can be annoying and even hard to remember to do. It requires you to pull out the hydrometer each time you want to add more sugar and take a specific gravity reading both before and after the addition of the additional sugar.

The only possible time you would want to add sugar fermentation is if you intend to make a high-alcohol wine. In this case you would want to start out the fermentation with enough sugar to reach 13% or 14% alcohol. Then as the fermentation runs out of sugar – which is determined with hydrometer readings – you will want to start feeding sugar to the fermentation in intervals.

The goal is to end up with a wine that is high in alcohol but not too sweet to drink. The fermentation will come to a point where the wine yeast can do no more. Exactly when that will be is not a certainty. It varies from one fermentation to the next, depending on a number of variables. When this happens you want little to no remaining sugar in the wine. This is the reason why you would feed the sugar to the fermentation as it progresses beyond 14%.

Shop Wine Making KitsSo in the end I guess the answer to the question: “can I add sugar during fermentation?”, is yes you can. With the only side note being “but it only makes sense if you are making a high alcohol wine”. For any normal wine making situation, it is only creating more work to do so.

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.

A Simple Guide To Choosing Wine Yeast

Winemaker Choosing Wine YeastI have been making wine from fresh must purchased in 6 gallon pails I can not seem to get it as dry as commercial wines. It appears all sugars have fermented, SG.end up around 0.992-0.994. Is there a certain method or specific yeast to use? I have been using lavlin RC-212 for reds. Should I be choosing a different wine yeast?

Name: Chuck H.
State: PA
—–
Hello Chuck,

This is a great question and one that has perplexed many winemakers. Choosing wine yeast is part of the art of wine making. What wine yeast you choose makes a difference.

When you ask the question: what type of wine yeast should I use? there is a lot to think about before answering. In fact, there is more to think about than most people realize, and this is where some home winemakers can fall just a little short in their wine making. Many are under the impression that wine yeast is just wine yeast and making a selection is not that big of deal. Sometimes the result can be pitching whatever yeast happens to be on hand. Some even contemplate adding bread yeast, but the wine yeast vs bread yeast thing is a whole other story.

In reality, there are many different wine yeast strains, each bringing its own to the wine. Some will ferment to higher levels of alcohol than others. This is called alcohol tolerance. Other wine yeast strains may not ferment to higher alcohol levels but are effective at fermenting down the residual sugars. This is referred to as wine yeast attenuation.

Different wine yeast types also have different flavor profiles. Some produce wines that are more rich and earthy while others produce wines that are more fresh and crisp. So it is important to understand that the wine yeast you select does make a difference and should be considered as one of the central ingredients of any wine recipe.

Shop Grape ConcentrateIn an effort to help the home winemaker that is faced with choosing wine yeast, we have developed a couple of wine yeast charts. One is for the Lalvin wine yeast chart. There are 5 different wine yeast strains listed on the Lalvin yeast chart. The other comparison chart is for the Vintner’s Harvest wine yeast chart. There are 9 different wine yeast strains listed on Vintner’s Harvest wine yeast chart.

Chuck, when looking at the profile chart for the Lalvin wine yeast you can see that the RC 212 wine yeast that you used has a moderate fermentation speed and a good alcohol tolerance, but yet it is not producing a wine that is dry enough for your tastes. For this reason I would suggest trying the Lalvin EC 1118 next time. Generally, it is a harder fermenter than the RC 212 and should get you closer to what you are looking for.

If you are interested you can also take a look at the Vintner’s Harvest wine yeast chart and see if anything there is of interest to you. This comparison chart has a little more detail in terms of yeast flavor profiles.

As a side note: while the wine yeast strain you select will make a difference in the outcome of your wine, the fermentation environment plays a role as well. The temperature of the fermentation; the amount of nutrients and the amount of oxygen all effect how complete the wine will ferment. In other words, the yeast need to be happy. Everything mentioned in this blog post about choosing wine yeast is based on the premise that things are in place to produce a normal, healthy fermentation.shop_wine_making_kits

So as you can see there is are differences in wine yeasts. I urge you to use this to your advantage and take control of the flavors the wine yeast are adding to your wines by always knowing what type of wine yeast you should be using to achieve the character and flavors you are looking for. Make choosing wine yeast a conscious decisions.
—–
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 You Add More Yeast To Wine?

Wanting To Add More Yeast To This WineAfter the wine is done fermenting and it sits for a few days can I add more yeast and sugar to increase the alcohol level?

Name: Dennis
State: Missouri
—–
Hello Dennis,

Once your wine has successfully fermented there is never any reason to add more yeast to the wine. The wine yeast you originally added at the beginning multiplies during the fermentation. If the fermentation went as it should, there should be about 100 to 150 times the amount of wine yeast you added, originally.

If the activity has stopped it does not mean that the yeast are dead. They have just gone dormant and are settling to the bottom. They ran out of sugar to consume, so they became inactive. When more sugar is added the yeast should pick up just fine on their own. There is absolutely no reason to add more yeast to the wine.

If you have racked the wine off the sediment this is still okay. There will still be plenty of wine yeast to get the fermentation up and running, again. Adding more yeast is not necessary.

Now that we have established that there is no reason to add more yeast to the wine, I would like to bring up a little twist that could put a wrench in the works.

There is a limit to how high of an alcohol level a wine yeast can produce. Most strains of wine yeast can make it up to 12% or 13% just fine. Some strains can even produce up to 16%, faithfully. But each strain of yeast does have its limits.

Shop Wine YeastThe point here being, is if you add more sugar than your wine yeast can handle, you could end up with a sweet wine – even one that is disgustingly sweet. It is important to understand this when making high alcohol wines.

So in summary, you can add more sugar to the wine to increase the alcohol level of the wine to a point, and to answer your specific question: Can you add more yeast to wine? There is absolutely no reason to do so, your wine will still have plenty of yeast in 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.

The Virtues Of Adding More Fruit To A Wine Recipe

Bowl Of Wine Making FruitYour blueberry wine recipe on your website states you need 13lbs of blueberries for making 5 gals. Will adding more fruit to this wine recipe add more color and flavor to the finished wine?

Thank-you
Gary C.

—–
Yes, adding more fruit to any wine recipe is going to intensify the flavor and add more color. But, before you take this bit of information and go running with it, here are some considerations that you may want to think over first.

 

Do You Really Want More Flavor?

Almost all of the wine recipes on our website are shooting for a pleasant, medium-bodied wine. If you follow the amounts called for and follow the homemade wine instructions, you will end up with a wine that everyone can enjoy, wine drinkers and non-wine drinkers alike – a wine perfect for passing out as personal wine making gifts at parties, family gatherings, etc.

If you over-do the intensifying of the flavor by adding more fruit, it has been my experience that non-wine drinkers will not be as appreciative of what you’ve made. The flavors that will come forward will be very foreign and challenging for non-drinkers to like.

 

What About The Fruit Acid?

When you add more fruit to a wine recipe, you are obviously adding more fruit acid as well. A wine’s acidity needs to be in a certain range to have any chance of tasting right. By adding more fruit to a wine recipe, you are potentially taking the wine out of this range. This could lead to your wine tasting either too sharp or tart.

Fortunately, you can overcome this by reducing one of the other wine making products called for in the recipe, Acid Blend. This is a blend of the acids that are naturally found in fruit. In the case of the blueberry wine recipe, it calls for 2 tablespoons of Acid Blend. When adding more blueberries you would reduce this amount to compensate.Shop Acid Test Kit

Now comes the question, “By how much does the Acid Blend need to be reduced?” This can only be answered with the aid of an Acid Testing Kit. Once all other ingredients – besides the Acid Blend – have been added to the wine must, you would use the Acid Testing Kit to determine how much Acid Blend, if any, is actually needed for the wine to taste in balance – not too sharp, or not too flat. Our acid testing kit comes with directions that will tell you how to get the wine acidity into the right range.

 

The Alcohol Level Needs To Kept In Balance.

In general, the fuller the flavor of a wine, the higher the alcohol level must be to keep it in balance. Wines that do not have enough alcohol as compared to their flavor intensity, will taste harsher. The astringent characters of the wine will be highlighted in the wine’s final flavor profile.

To help put this into better perspective, lighter white wines tend to be around 10% alcohol, while the heaviest of reds tend to be around 14%. The particular blueberry wine recipe you are considering is shooting for around 11.5% to 12%, that is, if you follow the homemade wine instructions.

This alcohol level is based on both the amount of sugar and fruit called for in the wine recipe. Both of these ingredients are wine making materials that provide food for the wine yeast to turn into alcohol.

If you decide to add more fruit to your wine recipe, then you should probably shoot for more alcohol. Not necessarily 14%, but maybe somewhere around 12.5% or 13%. There is no exact amount that is correct. This is where art, finesse and experience come into play.

To control the finished alcohol level of a wine, you need to control the beginning sugar level. This is done with the “potential alcohol” scale on the wine hydrometer. Once the crushed fruit and water are mixed together, instead of adding 11 pounds of sugar as directed by the wine recipe on our website, just keep dissolving sugar into the wine must until the potential alcohol scale on the wine hydrometer reads 13%.Shop Hydrometers

 

More Flavor Means More Aging.

Another consideration that must be thought through before increasing the amount of fruit is the amount of aging that will be required before the wine is considered mature and ready for consumption.

Here again, the more fruit you add to a wine recipe, the more aging the wine will need before it comes into its own. With the original 13 pounds of blueberries, maximum aging would be around 6 to 9 months. With 20 pounds it may take as long as 12 to 18 months before the improvement brought by aging is fully realized.

This does not mean that you can not drink the wine before this; it just means that you can expect the wine to continue improving with even more time. Again, neither I nor wine making books can tell you when the wine has reached full maturation, this is for you to learn how to determine on your own as you sample the wine through out the aging process.

 

As You May Begin To See…

There are a lot of factors that go into putting together a solid wine recipe: picking out the various wine making products; determining their amounts, etc.

Shop Wine Making KitsAll the wine recipes we offer on our website have been bench tested and used many, many times. While you can alter them as you like, realize that any changes you make to any one ingredient, usually means that you will need to change another ingredient to keep things in line.

Happy Wine Making,
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.