Sugar! ...or are you sweet enough?

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clairebeau

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Sugar! ...or are you sweet enough?
« on: November 05, 2012, 21:34 »
Evening all!

Today's question from me is about sweetening wine.

I bought a blackberry wine kit (CHEAT!!!!  ::) ) It been easy up to now making it, just plopping it in the steralized demijon, adding the water, sachet of yeast and popping an airlock on (muchas cheapness!)  The bubbles stopped bubbling so I used a hydrometer (steralized) and it reads about 1004ish which the kit says is the right reading. Well I happened to take a crafty swig of it (oops, steralized?) when I just syphoned it into a new demijon (again, steralized) and although it definitely tastes like wine it doesn't taste like a wine I'd enjoy. It's like it's watery, thin, a bit weak even... it doesn't taste as rich as I'd like. Now I know all this discription isn't of the professional standard but I hope you can get what I mean  :D Will all of the flavours come with a little rest?  After it's cleared maybe? (I've not added the last sachet yet, think that's the one that helps to clear it)

Anyhow...if you're still reading and understood ANY of that I'd like to know about sweetening the taste of wines. Do I make this sugar solution I've read about now?  Do I mix it in? Then taste?  Gosh, I'm USELESS!  ::)

Thanks loads for helping. x x x

Will you all groan if I mention the rhubarb sitting at the bottom of the freezer?  Wine...? Anyhow, that's next week questions  :D
Claire. x


"Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker!" - Ogden Nash

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Daamoot

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Re: Sugar! ...or are you sweet enough?
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2012, 11:41 »
Hi again claire!  My you are an inquisitive soul and its great to hear someone getting so into home brewing  ;)

I had similar experiences with the first few wine kits and tried and the best wine I made was a cherry wine kit where I didn't dilute it as much as it suggested.  Yes it was a waste of space in the demijohn and possibly not good for oxidation/etc but I found it vastly improved the flavour and made it closer to a full bodied wine.

I've never sweetened my brews as I quite like my wines and ciders dry but I would warn you that unless you kill off the yeast, any sugar you add will start more fermentation and make it stronger and sparkling if bottled.  I read that sweetners are a good alternative but I can't help you much there.

I'm sure the veteran brewers will have some good advice on the subject and it may tempt me to try another wine kit.  I've been sticking to ciders lately as you can make them taste really good, sometimes better than any shop bought ones  :happy:
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Auntiemogs

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Re: Sugar! ...or are you sweet enough?
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2012, 13:08 »
I'm certainly no expert Claire but have found that some Splenda and a drop of glycerine can work wonders..... :)
I would rather live in a world
where my life is surrounded by mystery
than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it...✿~ Harry Emerson Fosdick

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ilan

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Re: Sugar! ...or are you sweet enough?
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2012, 18:56 »
Now you found the problem with wine kits  ;) If you add sugar the chances are that at some stage it will start to referment . so now the real fun of winemaking starts The basic tools are some lemon juice in a small glass , some cold strong tea, in a glass, and some sweetex tablets . you could also try some fruit cordial again in a glass , taste each in turn then pour out a glass of your home made wine and add a few drops of what you think it lacks Ie acid or tannin or sweetness keep note so you know what to add to the rest of the brew . most kits lack acid so start with a few drop of that it will lift the flavours
This is the first age that has ever paid much attention to the future which is ironic since we may not have one !(Arthur c Clarke)

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SG6

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Re: Sugar! ...or are you sweet enough?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2012, 23:06 »
Adding sugar will make it sweeter, not add body to a thin wine. You will end up with a sweet thin wine.

Most back sweeten with grape juice concentrate not sugar. If however the wine has stopped fermentating because it has run out of sugar it will restart, the sugar added by way of the grape juice will get converted and you will have a slightly more alcoholic wine but the sugar will have been convered so it will be dry again. The grape juice may however have added a bit more body to the wine.

Have you stopped the ferment with potassium sorbate ? (stabiliser).
Campden tablets don't kill all the yeast off so it can restart.

Difficult to know what to do as I have no idea what the situation is.

For the rhubarb I would make up a gallon of mixture but use a litre of white grape juice to add body to it. You may also need precipitated chalk to lower the acidity. Use something like the normal Youngs super yeast and start with a gravity of about 1.130-1.135 to give about 15-16%. Throw in a good teaspoon of nutrient to give the yeast a chance.

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grinling

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Re: Sugar! ...or are you sweet enough?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2012, 11:55 »
Any sugar not used to make alcohol will make the wine sweeter.
I have found that leaving the wine in the demijohn as long as possible before bottling helps the taste, this is after racking it off into another and topping up.

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crh75

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Re: Sugar! ...or are you sweet enough?
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 16:47 »
Hi Clare,
My experiences with wine kits are that unless you buy the very expensive ones they will be OK but not brilliant.  The expensive (~100) ones are well worth it in my opinion.  All red wines will benefit hughly from a maturation period.  I would leave it in the demi-john for at least 6 months then bottle and leave for another 6 months or longer (year + if posible).  This really helps develope the flavour, it is quite noticable.  I find trying to mess with kits does not work well as they have been designed to have the right balance.

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nobby400

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Re: Sugar! ...or are you sweet enough?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2012, 19:08 »
You can buy small tins on Grape concentrate that are made to be added to wine before it's bottled.  These add a lot of body and flavor they can transform the taste of your wine.

http://www.leylandhomebrew.com/item2573.htm




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clairebeau

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Re: Sugar! ...or are you sweet enough?
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2012, 10:51 »
Thanks for helping me everyone.

I've not yet done anything with it, hope it'll be Ok just stood there in the demijon for now, which is where it can stay until I'm more confident about what to do with it. I keep telling myself 'It's only a kit'. If i'd collected it from the allotment or foraged for weeks getting ripped to shreds then I'd feel different about it eh? At least I can look upon it as it being an introduction to the method and equipment involved with winemaking.

With each batch you make it must become quite exciting if you get a good one...learn, with time, about what works for you and your own tastes.

Thanks again guys.




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