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What Is Young Wine Suppose To Smell Like?


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#1 lawpaw

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 07:57 PM

I'm new here and to wine making, but I've done a great deal of research on the subject.

Unfortunately I personally know anybody who makes country wine (or any wine), so it is difficult for me to gauge if my wines smell right.

They haven't smelled overly sulphuric (other than a couple I did with montrachet, which went away with splash racking onto a piece of sterilized copper tubing).

Maybe I'm slightly confused because I hear you guys talk about your fruit wines as if they have a pleasant fruity like smell right after fermentation. Mine smell like a mix between rocket fuel and something vaguely edible but unappetizing. They don't taste horrible or spoiled, but they don't taste good either. The taste isn't a concern though since my oldest wine is only about 3 months old, so I don't expect it to be good yet.

The recipes I followed are essentially Jack's recipes (full watermelon, tart/chokecherry, blueberry, serviceberry, elderberry, & mulberry). I do gravity readings before and after, sulphite like I'm suppose to, give nutrients, ect. The only thing I don't do yet is check acidity (I will get a testing kit), but I do add acid according to the recipes.

They are clearing nicely, but I am worried that they don't smell at all appealing. In fact, right now all the different wines pretty much smell the same.

There isn't a vinegar, acetone, medicinal, rotten egg, musty, or other common problem smell.

A couple did get much hotter than I anticipated during the summer heat (my basement is usually cool, but not this summer). All of them seem to ferment to around .95 faster than a week, even in the current cool weather (elderberry & mulberry went to 1.03 in 2 days in a 65 degree room). When I innoculate, it is with a 1/2 cup frothing starter, so that my be why they are going quickly.

Should this be a concern at 3 months?

#2 Tomer1

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 04:07 AM

1.You didnt say what yeast you used
2.you didnt point out your initial sg (I gather 1.090 since your following jack's recipes... ?)
3.Berries usually benifit from hot fermentation to extract tannin and color,aswell as get some jammy flavours.

If the wine doesnt taste or smell bad then its all good, just give it time.

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#3 BobF

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 06:23 AM

There is a general consensus that Keller's recipes are high in alcohol and low on fruit.

For the most part you can just about double the amount of fruit in the recipe (or more) and reduce the SG to 1080-1085 for fruit wines.

Some prepare an "f-pac" and add it to the wine after stabalizing to add more fruit flavor and sweetness. An "f-pac" is cleared, sweetened, reduced juice.

At 3 months I wouldn't expect a fruit wine to be very good. Some are best at around a year after bottling. Some two years. Apple is one that to me needs longer.

Let it bulk age as long as you can and give it time after bottling. I always bottle a few 375s for sampling every 6 mos or so.

While your waiting for your scratch wines to age, make a batch or two from Orchard Breezin or Island Mist kits to help keep you from drinking the other wine before it's really ready. I give the IM kits extra sugar and extra time, but they're ready much quicker than scratch batches.

Patience ...

#4 S Hofner

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 06:28 AM

Skeeter Pee is also a pleasant, very early drinker. It can also be tailored to just about any fruit flavor.
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#5 lawpaw

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 01:06 PM

Yeasts were Red Star Champaign or mostly Montrachet. I did the Mulberries with Lalvin ec-1116.

SG was 1.08 for watermelon around 1.1 for everything else.

I know that's high, but I've reserved juice for topping up and to possibly add at the end as a sort of f-pack.

I assume fermentation temperature is the actual temperature of the must, not room temperature. Am I wrong? The must was around 72 degrees for the most recents (elderberry mulberry) and I didn't take must temps for the others. They were much higher.

I did a second and third run at the mulberry pulp and a second elderberry. For the mulberries I used 35lbs. of fruit for 4 gallons, but I did separately juice about 9lbs. The 9lbs. I did separately were split between juice for topping up and an f-pack and syrup for general use. So in the end I had the pulp from 35lbs., but will only use the juice from about 30 lbs.

People complain about mulberry body, so I figured the added pulp would help with that even if it adds more tannins and requires a longer wait for a decent wine. I also threw in the juice from a couple of boiled bananas.

The second run was 4 gallons on the pulp from 35lbs. with 6lbs. of mesquite honey, juice from 6 boiled bananas, and sugar to about 1.085 (and acid, ect.). It will be a sort of morat. The third run was 1 gallon of water with sugar, extra light malt extract, and all the other stuff. By the end of the third the pulp was eaten down to fairly fine particles and about 1/4 it's original mass.

The third run was just for kicks and to have a hopefully early drinker.

Elderberries were sort of the same story where I used about 9.5lbs. of berries, but juiced some for later additions and a little syrup on the side. Still put in all that pulp for a couple days, so it may be over 2 years before the original is any good.

Oddly enough, the second and third runs do have a fruity aroma. Maybe the others will get it eventually.

I should try Skeeter Pee. I did do half a gallon of throwback mountain dew when I started. Took a little while to get the preservatives out and get it going, but I got it from an SG of 1.09 to .95 before "topping up" with more mountain dew and killing the fermentation. It is surprisingly good now. I made it as a joke for a friend, but it is actually pretty good.

#6 deb_rn

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 03:17 PM

To me... each wine smells a little different. To get the true essence, I take a wee little bit and sweeten it to get an idea of how it will be later. The sugar helps to bring the fruit nose back up.
I can't imagine doing a 3rd run on fruit! The only fruit I've done a second run on is Elderberry. I pick up the bag of fruit and start it in a second container with half the volume of water as the first batch. I do mine with honey for the second round and really like it! Elderberry makes great skeeter pee too... if you haven't seen that already, check it out at skeeterpee.com

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#7 lawpaw

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 10:36 PM

Thanks for the responses.

I pull out a little watermelon wine, add sugar, give it some time to breath, and then taste. I was a major improvement. I'm not sure if it was the sugar or just letting it breath, but it definitely had a fruity melon smell. Almost watermelon, but mostly just melon.

Everyone seems to love their second runs, so I'd like to find out at what point a run is horrible. My 3rd run is 1/4 the original size, but admittedly mulberry was a bad choice.

Do you think I could freeze my elderberry slurry to use for skeeter pee later? I've had sourdough starters frozen and fridged off and on, do you think wine yeasts would handle a freezer?

#8 deb_rn

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 09:31 AM

You can freeze it, for sure. whether the yeast survives, I guess doesn't matter, as you can repitch yeast anyway!
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#9 lawpaw

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 11:53 AM

I meant sweet cherry since it is most likely the last thing I'll have in the primary until late next summer.

I think I'll just make a gallon of cherry skeeter pee and bulk it over the winter. I'd like to run it off a slurry.

Do I need to do anything else for cherry flavor? There don't seem to be fruit recipes. Do you really just run it off a fruit slurry for a fruit flavor?

#10 cutter

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 01:26 PM

I don't think that the slurry adds much more than color to the SP. I steam juiced enough rhubarb this spring to make 6 gallons of wine. I saved the pulp and froze it to use later in some Skeeter Pee. The pulp added a hint of rhubarb flavor to the Skeeter Pee. Lemon has a very strong flavor that is hard to compete against.
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#11 BobF

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 03:26 PM

I meant sweet cherry since it is most likely the last thing I'll have in the primary until late next summer.

I think I'll just make a gallon of cherry skeeter pee and bulk it over the winter. I'd like to run it off a slurry.

Do I need to do anything else for cherry flavor? There don't seem to be fruit recipes. Do you really just run it off a fruit slurry for a fruit flavor?


The pulp leaves a minute amount of flavor. You could always sweeten with an f-pac made from cherry juice+sugar instead of plain sugar.

#12 deb_rn

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 07:16 PM

My skeeter pee has always had a lot of flavor... I guess it makes a difference if you put in a bag of fruit, or sludge at the bottom of the bucket. I will also top off with the wine that it was originally made from... making it stronger in flavor.

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