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Back Sweetening


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#1 Bert1

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 01:28 PM

I have spent the last couple days reading post. Started from the earliest and then went to the latest ones.
This is my question, with back sweetening, I can use a sugar slurry to taste, but read something about a wine conditioner, I think. Pros or cons?

Also, can I stop fermentation in the secondary so there are sugars left over? Would that make a sweeter/less dry wine?

Are there better yeast that will stop at a lower alcohol and leave the wine sweeter?

The batch I am working on now started at 1.088 and is now at .994, I am waiting for it to clear, but would love for wife to enjoy the wine with the idea I keep the hobby.
Thanks for any information, if this is brought up somewhere elese, I will delete this post.
Newbie Bert

#2 NorthernWiner

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 02:04 PM

...read something about a wine conditioner, I think. Pros or cons?

I really don't recommend wine conditioner. Under certain conditions it can drop out of solution and leave sticky globs floating in your wine.

You're better off sweetening with simple syrup. Just be sure to add sorbate and metabisulfite to prevent renewed fermentation.

Stopping fermentation is not a simple thing to do. It involves (as you guessed) inoculating with a cold intolerant yeast strain, then rapidly chilling, settling, and progressive filtering to remove it. It's much easier to ferment to dry and then sweeten to your liking.

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#3 Bert1

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 02:08 PM

Great, I think I may have learned enough to start getting myself in to trouble. My fear is that I can't make a wine that my wife will drink, other than a kit. I can live with that, but really want to try and push things a bit.

#4 BigManDan

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 02:29 PM

. . . My fear is that I can't make a wine that my wife will drink . . .

Bert, this is my goal as well. My wife and I go through a good bit of wine and it can get pretty expensive, even if you buy only lower end stuff like we usually do. I finally made a batch that I think she's going to really like so I have my fingers crossed. So far she's been pretty tolerant of my hobby.
Pinot/Chardonnay from Alexander's concentrate
Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander's concentrate
Blackberry Jam
Dried Apricot
Ruby Falls (from Welch's concentrate, blend of concord and niagra)
Welch's Concord
Johannisberg Riesling from Alexander's concentrate
Ruby Falls
Elderberry from concentrate
Chardonel from fresh grapes
Ruby Falls

#5 Green Zeus

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 07:27 AM

Bert---the secret to sweetening wine to the point your wife will like it is to do some sweetening with a smaller batch, then have the wife taste it until you get it to where she likes it. Then pour it into a cylinder and do an SG on it with your hydrometer. Then you'll always be able to reproduce the correct sugar level for her.

The way we make a slurry is to take some of the wine,add sugar, then microwave it. Don't use water because that's another dilution factor.

#6 BigManDan

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 12:26 PM

Bert---the secret to sweetening wine to the point your wife will like it is to do some sweetening with a smaller batch, then have the wife taste it until you get it to where she likes it. Then pour it into a cylinder and do an SG on it with your hydrometer. Then you'll always be able to reproduce the correct sugar level for her.

The way we make a slurry is to take some of the wine,add sugar, then microwave it. Don't use water because that's another dilution factor.


This is excellent advice!
Pinot/Chardonnay from Alexander's concentrate
Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander's concentrate
Blackberry Jam
Dried Apricot
Ruby Falls (from Welch's concentrate, blend of concord and niagra)
Welch's Concord
Johannisberg Riesling from Alexander's concentrate
Ruby Falls
Elderberry from concentrate
Chardonel from fresh grapes
Ruby Falls

#7 Bert1

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 12:39 PM

I never thought of using the hydrometer as a mark, that is great.
I have read or looked at over 200 post in a week, who needs a book.

#8 OakHillWinery

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 02:28 PM

I never thought of using the hydrometer as a mark, that is great.
I have read or looked at over 200 post in a week, who needs a book.

I actually use a refractometer for a rough sugar estimate, the hydrometer is more accurate thouigh
Owner and Winemaker of the Oak Hill Winery, Converse, Indiana

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#9 Climber

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 05:38 PM

... Then pour it into a cylinder and do an SG on it with your hydrometer. Then you'll always be able to reproduce the correct sugar level for her.



This a great way to do it per batch, but remember sweetness will vary with different fruits and batches. Don't assume the SG she approves this time will apply to all the wines you make. smileytoast.gif

Larry
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#10 Green Zeus

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 06:58 AM

Surprisingly, it really doesn't change that much no matter what wine you use this technique on. At least that's how it seems to work for us.

#11 mute dog

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 09:43 AM

I'd think that a tarter wine would need more sugar to taste as sweet as a less tart wine.

Perhaps most of Zeus' wines are of similar acidity?
Matt
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#12 deb_rn

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 11:01 AM

OK, woman to the rescue....
First, tell me what kinds of commercial wine she DOES like.
Second, have you thought about frozen concentrates to make wine? Welch's, Old Orchard?
These are quick drinkers and you can play with a gallon at a time.
You can use frozen fruit too. There is a post here about jam wine... yes... take jars of blackberry jam and make wine!
I started this hobby (addiction) less than 2 yrs ago... man, I am hooked.
I give away so much wine, it isn't funny! But I can't stop experimenting.
You're gonna love this hobby... wife will too if you get her involved in the selection process!
Make sure you have some basic supplies on hand in case you need a different yeast, energizer, etc. There is a thread here somewhere about that too. Read a bunch of recipes and you'll get the idea what you need to have on hand. Have you friends and coworkers start saving empty wine bottles. Did you get a starter kit with corker, etc?
Check Jack Keller's web site for wine recipes of all kinds and helpful tips.
You're right, you don't need a book with this resource. It's all right here with some great, friendly people!

Good Luck!
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#13 S Hofner

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 07:05 PM

I did my best to get the better half involved in the proccess early on. Now she is addicted as I am. I tried to specifically chose our first wines to appeal to her...even if they were not first on my list. She likes her wine very sweet. I took the back-sweeten approach as I don't feel I am experienced enough to work with risdual sugars in the levels that are appealing to her.
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#14 Green Zeus

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 07:39 PM

yes mute dog, you are right. We PH test and adjust all our wines.

I know what you're saying Scott. 21 years of experience and I don't want to work with residual sugar either. Back sweetening is quite fool-proof.

#15 Oysterr51

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 10:30 AM

I use wine conditioner after filtering with a fine filter. I get a 60 cc syringe from the vet with a long tip, and suck up the wine conditioner after heating it in the microwave for a few seconds to make it run better. I start with three identical bottles (not the first ones through the filter) and inject with the syringe 2ml, 3 ml, and 5ml into the bottles, then add the wine and shake up.

Through experimentation I have found I like the 3ml per bottle the best. Takes away the sharp edge so they become just off a zero. And it's fun to experiment with different amounts and do a taste test after they have aged. I like blind taste testing, have someone mix up the samples and then see if you can tell the difference between the different levels of sweetener. Mike




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