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CC's not so fine WINE diary

Discussion in 'The Homestead Kitchen - Recipes Etc' started by CrealCritter, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. Jun 27, 2019
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    Sassafras Premier Blanc 1090

    Next up is Sassafras wine from sassafras root I dug up, boiled and canned back in the beginning of February 2019
    https://www.sufficientself.com/threads/sassafras-root-beer.15970/

    According to the sassafras wine recipe, one gallon of sassafras extract or infusion as Jack Keller calls it, makes 3 gallons of wine. I failed miserably at trying to make the infusion into root beer. But it makes an awesome tea :) Maybe my attempt at sassafras wine will turn out or maybe it will be another miserable failure, but I won't know if I don't try.

    30 June 2019
    Assembled sassafras wine as per the recipe. I had close to 1 3/4 gallons of strong "infusion" to work with so I ended up with 5 1/2 gallons in the bucket including distilled water and sugar.

    I adjusted the starting gravity to 1.090 or approximately 12% alcohol by volume potential.
    IMG_20190630_213903261.jpg

    After mixing in the chemicals, you need to cover it with breathable fabric for the sulfur to gas off from the campden. Nothing like an old wife beater as a cover, to allows sulfur to escape and keep bugs and dog hair out. Hold in in place with a rubber band stretched around the top of the fermenting bucket. It takes about 24 hours to gas off before pitching the yeast. Campden sterilizes the must so you start with sterile must when you pitch the yeast.
    IMG_20190630_213755166.jpg

    It smells like root beer up in here :) I'm going to make a yeast starter tonight, so I can pitch the yeast tomorrow evening and hopefully get this batch started fermenting - fingers crossed...

    01 July - took hydrometer reading of 1090 before pitching Red Star Premier Blanc yeast starter that a made up the evening of 30 June. Then I poured the entire batch of must in between buckets to drive off any remaining sulfur gas from campden and airrate the must. I pitched the yeast starter and placed lid on the fermentation bucket along with a three piece air lock. We'll see what tomorrow brings, hopefully i'll see bubble through the air lock by tomorrow evening.
    IMG_20190701_215156021.jpg

    02 July I seen some minor bubbling through the air lock this afternoon. So the yeast have started fermenting. I opened the fermentation bucket tonight and this is what I saw.
    IMG_20190702_222508291.jpg

    I pushed the foam away in the center with my hydrometer for a reading. Looks like I only got to 1.086 or .5% alcohol by volume produced so far. Kind of hard to read though with all the foam.
    IMG_20190702_222623216.jpg

    I then stirred the top 1/2 of the must like I do the other wines at this stage. It produced a thick layer of white suds just like root beer does when you pour it into a mug. The must smells exactly like root beer does also. I can already tell this is going to an interesting ferment. I'm looking forward to seeing what it will teach me. Yeast are such a interesting bacteria.
    IMG_20190702_222723307.jpg

    03 July gravity 1082 - approx 1% alcohol by volume produced so far, nightly stir.
    IMG_20190703_225814719.jpg

    Notes: I added 2 1/2 tsp of yeast energizer. We'll see what tomorrow's gravity reading is.

    04 July gravity 1078 - approx 1.5% alcohol by volume produced so far, nightly stir.
    IMG_20190704_231600053.jpg

    Notes: .5% alcohol by volume produced in 24 hours is not very active. I added 1/2 gallon of spring water, with hopes the yeast will pick up their pace. With the 1/2 gallon of water addition the gravity is now 1070. When the yeast start fermenting strong, I'll add 1 lb of sugar to bring the starting gravity back up to the original 1090 minus what has already been fermented.
    IMG_20190704_231817032.jpg

    05 July - reference only gravity 1066 .5% alcohol by volume produced in approx 24 hours.
    IMG_20190705_211359224.jpg

    Notes: dispite adding a 1/2 gallon of water this batch continues to produce .5% ABV in 24 hours, which is a slow fermentation rate. I may make up another yeast starter to try to get the colony population higher. One package of yeast might not have been enough for now approx 6 gallons.

    Continued to part 2 (10 picture limit per post)
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  2. Jun 28, 2019
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    Blackberry Montrachet 1110 - started Tuesday 18 June 2019. Part 2

    3 gallon glass carboy and 1 gallon glass jug from racking 27 June. 1.030 gravity at time of racking.
    IMG_20190627_213145351.jpg

    Gallon jugs, strawberry on left, blackberry on right.
    IMG_20190627_213220480.jpg

    It was definitely time to be racked to get off the nasty sediment called "lees" when making wine.
    IMG_20190627_213839627.jpg

    21 July - I went ahead and racked both 1 and 3 gallons Gravity was .990 or 15.7% alcohol by volume, so I'm calling this batch fully fermented. I also added the recommend doses of Potassium Metabisulfite and Potassium Sorbate to stop fermentation, preserve the wine and aid in clearing.
    IMG_20190721_143618.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  3. Jun 29, 2019
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    Cranberry Premier Blanc 1096 part 2

    28 June Two gallons Cranberry racked pictured on the right side.
    IMG_20190628_230351253.jpg

    02 July it's interesting to note the amount of lees (sediment) in the bottom of the 1 gallon jugs after just 4 days of racking. There is a tremendous amount in comparison to the other berry wines racked so far. I'm sure to loose a good quart out of these two gallons and perhaps a good quart out of the 3 gallon carboy at second racking.
    IMG_20190702_164706.jpg

    05 July - this batch has been blowing multiple bubbles through the air lock on the secondary about every 3 to 5 seconds since I racked it. Then I had noticed it just stopped dead in its tracks. I uncovered the carboy to discover just a few bubbles floating to the top of the neck and I noticed the wine level dropped about an inch from where I filled the carboy. I turned off the lights in the room and shined a flash light through the glass and it lit up like a peach colored lantern, meaning its clearing out.

    I thought to myself... Nah it can't be done fermenting already. After all the troubles I had getting it to stay fermenting, I thought it has stopped again. Only one way to find out... the hydrometer never lies. Sure enough, the gravity is .992 or 14.1% alcohol by volume. it's just about done only .002 points left to go.

    Wow I am totally amazed... I though this batch would take at least 30 to 45 days to finish fermenting in the secondary. Wine yeast are amazingly interesting bacteria and deserve some respect. 7 days in the secondary and only .002 hydrometer gravity points left to go, to be fully fermented, I'm floored.

    .992 approx 14.1% alcohol by volume
    IMG_20190705_231603081.jpg

    Next will come racking again in the next few days to get the wine off the lees so it won't produce off flavors. Add Campden Tablets & Potassium Sorbate to stop the yeast from multiplying any further, when I back sweeten and cold crash to cause the yeast drop out of suspension and settle on the bottom of the carboy. Then rack into my bottling bucket, back sweeten to taste and bottle. I didn't expect to be here with this batch for at least a month to a month and half.

    07 July - gravity of gallon jugs .992 & .994 approx 14.1 & 14% alcohol by volume produced so far. It's very close to completing fermentation.
    IMG_20190707_222026316.jpg

    IMG_20190707_222201279.jpg
    It's turned a pretty pink color and taste dry as a bone. It will be interesting to see what color it will become once it clears out all the way. This batch of cranberry continues to surprise me how fast it's coming along. It sure gave me fits trying to get it to ferment though.
    IMG_20190707_221840971_HDR.jpg

    12 July - second racking, I hope this will be the last racking but probably not. 2 1 gallon jugs and a 3 gallon carboy to rack off the lees. I hope this batch will make a nice light Rosé. If so, I have 9 more lbs of dried cranberries left or enough for about 10 more gallons of wine. I want to see how this batch turns out first though.
    Before racking
    IMG_20190712_190118931.jpg

    Racked all three into a sterile fermentation bucket with 5 campden tablets and took a Final Gravity reading of .992 so that makes this batch 14.06% alcohol by volume (ABV) great job yeasties :). I can attest to its ABV also as I taste tested it and its pretty strong.
    IMG_20190712_194221707.jpg

    I then poured as much lees from the carboy and jugs into a clean and sterile 1/2 gallon mason jar. I'll set this in the refrigerator and it will clear so I can use the clear wine on top of the lees to top off for the next racking if needed. I cleaned and sterilized both gallon jugs and 3 gallon carboy and racked the wine back into those and topped with distilled water. Its so pretty looking now and honestly, I like the way it tastes right now, very dry, tangy, alcoholy and you can taste the cranberries after you swallow. But I doubt my ladies will like it this dry. Looks a lot better off the nasty lees. Now it's more waiting for it to clear more, how long? IDK... There's a lot of waiting when making wine, that's for sure.
    After racking
    IMG_20190712_203516600.jpg

    16 July - little sneak preview of what color this cranberry wine will finish at. If you see the 1/2 jar on the right in the picture above. Here is how it cleared in the refrigerator in just 4 days. They call this method of clearing cold crashing.

    Same batch of cranberry wine. Gallon jug kept at room temperature 1/2 gallon canning jar of lees cold crashed 4 days.
    IMG_20190716_214511428.jpg

    Continued to part 3 (10 picture per post limit).
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
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  4. Jun 29, 2019
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    Blueberry Montrachet 1097 part 2

    28 June gravity 1064 reference only.
    IMG_20190628_211917479.jpg

    Addition of 1lb 5 oz sugar. I had to pour the sugar in slow. As you can see the yeast are hungry, they are sugar addicts :) the must fizzed up so much, I though it was going to over flow the bucket but thankfully it didn't.
    IMG_20190628_212015453.jpg

    Gravity after fizzing subsided from sugar addition 1072 approx 2.64% alcohol by volume produced so far.

    IMG_20190628_212223610.jpg

    Notes finally ferment is active / I need to go back and calculate to make sure the starting gravity is still valid after the addition of 1 gallon of water and 1lb 5oz of sugar

    29 June gravity 1065 - approx 4% alcohol by volume produced so far, nightly stir.
    IMG_20190629_223326998.jpg

    Notes: validated the starting gravity is now 1.097 ferment seems to be active, with multiple bubbles every 3 seconds through the air lock. Smell is wonderful, taste is tangy sweet. I'll have to see how the hydrometer readings go over the next few days. The hydrometer does not lie.

    30 June gravity 1060 - approx 4.7% alcohol by volume produced so far, nightly stir.
    IMG_20190630_201822873.jpg

    01 July gravity 1052 approx 5.7% alcohol by volume produced so far, nightly stir.
    IMG_20190701_214607995.jpg

    Notes: A gain of 1% alcohol by volume in 24 hours is good enough for me, I'll take it. I'm very happy its finally fermenting steady now.

    02 July - gravity 1044 approx 6.8% alcohol by volume produced so far, nightly stir.
    IMG_20190702_222307516.jpg

    Notes: A gain of 1.1% alcohol by volume in approx 24 hours, that's pretty good. The way this stands now it'll be ready to rack in to secondary tomorrow evening, because the gravity will be below 1040. So, should I roll the dice and increase the starting gravity by adding more sugar, thereby producing more alcohol? or... should I let it be at 13.02% alcohol? I reckon it's decision time...

    03 July - gravity 1040 approx 7.4% alcohol by volume produced so far, nightly stir.
    IMG_20190703_214720448.jpg

    Notes: after taste testing, I decided to go ahead and not add anymore sugar. I also decided to go ahead and rack into secondary. I racked through a length of copper pipe as this batch produced a little sulfur gas early on. The fermentation bucket produced 6 gallons plus a little more for the wife, as she loves it. She even volunteered to help rack, but I think that may have been her earlier taste tests talking :lol:.

    5 gallon glass carboy, added 2 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient and topped off with a little less than a pint of distilled water. I would have had plenty to fill this carboy if my wife wouldn't have drank so much of it. Big mistake... Don't let the wife sample wine before its done :( I'll have to figure out how much sugar to add back in to make up for a pint of water.
    IMG_20190703_222818866.jpg

    1 gallon glass jug, added 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient, Blueberry Montrachet is on the right is. Don't all those gallon jugs of fermenting berry wines look pretty?
    IMG_20190703_225130.jpg

    Continued to Part 3 (10 pictures per post limit).
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
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  5. Jun 29, 2019
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Sustainability Master

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    Can't wait to hear how your berry wines turn out!
     
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  6. Jun 29, 2019
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    Me to - they got a ways to go still yet.
    IMG_20190617_205914782.jpg

    I'm only on steps 5 & 6. I had a heck of a time getting cranberry and blueberry to start fermenting. Because the must was made of to many berries. But that's what happens when you use the wife's canned goods. I learned, the amounts of berries, water & sugar are critical. Proportions need to be specific or else the yeast won't fire up. I also found that is easier to get the yeast to fire up in a lower gravity (less sugar) must than it is in a higher gravity (more sugar) must. You can always add more sugar to increase the starting gravity, in turn resulting in more alcohol, once the yeast is fermenting strong in lower gravity.

    Documenting everything in a diary like this is very helpful. It's teaching me a lot when I go back and read previous notes and nightly hydrometer readings. Not to mention it helps me remember what I did and still need to do (old timers).
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  7. Jul 1, 2019
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    Next up will be watermelon wine.
     
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  8. Jul 4, 2019
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    I made a big mistake!

    I tasted the blueberry Montrachet this afternoon, it's really good. So I gave some to my wife, she drank it, smiled said man this is really good and asked for more.

    I better get it out of the bucket and racked into carboys tonight before there ain't much left to rack. But hey she's smiling, laughing and all happy now. Happy wife, happy life :)
     
  9. Jul 4, 2019
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Sustainability Master

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    That's awesome! LOL!
     
  10. Jul 7, 2019
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    Sassafras Premier Blanc 1090 part 2

    06 July - reference only gravity 1056 1.25% alcohol by volume produced in approx 24 hours.
    IMG_20190706_233310876.jpg

    Notes: I added 3 tsp yeast nutrient at morning stir. The yeast nutrient seemed to really help the fermentation rate. I'll most likely add 1 lb of sugar back in at nightly stir tomorrow.

    Special notes: 07 July AM, I added back the needed amount of sugar 1 lb to compensate for the 1/2 gallon of water added 04 July.
    Gravity before adding 1lb sugar 1052
    IMG_20190707_105746961.jpg
    Add sugar slowly to lessen the chance of foam overflow.
    IMG_20190707_105857009.jpg
    Gravity after foam subsided 1060. Starting gravity is still 1090.
    IMG_20190707_110037821.jpg

    07 July - gravity 1051 approx 5% alcohol by volume produced so far.
    IMG_20190707_215145859.jpg
    Notes: yeast seem happy now. I hope its smooth sailing from here until ferment finishes.

    08 July - gravity 1040 approx 6.5% alcohol by volume produced so far.
    IMG_20190708_210428945.jpg

    Notes: approx 1.5% alcohol produced in 24 hours, that a good active fermentation rate. Should be ready to be racked into secondary glass carboys a few days.

    09 July - gravity 1030 approx 7.8% alcohol by volume produced so far.
    IMG_20190709_204242539.jpg

    10 July - gravity 1020 approx 9.2% alcohol by volume produced so far.
    View attachment 11688

    Notes: Jack Keller's recipe says rack @ 1.020 or lower, so it looks like it's time to rack this 6 gallon batch tomorrow.

    11 July - gravity 1014 approx 10% alcohol by volume produced so far.
    IMG_20190711_201300158.jpg

    Notes: I went ahead and racked into a 1 gallon jug and 5 gallon carboy. Smells like spiked root beer.

    IMG_20190711_214228.jpg

    IMG_20190711_203509321.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019

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