Wines always too sweet - what am I doing wrong ?

Wines always too sweet - what am I doing wrong ?

Post by Jethr » Thu, 22 Jan 2009 00:19:00



When I first started winemaking (4 years ago) my first 5-gallon
efforts were good - we all liked them.

However, the past two years, I have had the devils own job. I made a
Beaverdale kit for "Valpolicella", put a belt on it, and kept it in a
polystyrene box. It had 3 weeks to ferment, and the s.g. got to 995
with all airlock activity ceased.

I cleared it, and left it for 2 more weeks.

I went to bottle it, tasted a bit, and it was terribly sweet :-(

This keeps on happening, despite my using the hydrometer (which I've
checked, and it reads 1.000 in water). Is there any more I can do ?

thanks guys

 
 
 

Wines always too sweet - what am I doing wrong ?

Post by Alan Wrigh » Thu, 22 Jan 2009 02:02:00


I suggest checking the actual residual sugar with a Clinitest strip
(as used by diabetics, can get them at the ***tore).

Alan

Quote:

> When I first started winemaking (4 years ago) my first 5-gallon
> efforts were good - we all liked them.

> However, the past two years, I have had the devils own job. I made a
> Beaverdale kit for "Valpolicella", put a belt on it, and kept it in a
> polystyrene box. It had 3 weeks to ferment, and the s.g. got to 995
> with all airlock activity ceased.

> I cleared it, and left it for 2 more weeks.

> I went to bottle it, tasted a bit, and it was terribly sweet :-(

> This keeps on happening, despite my using the hydrometer (which I've
> checked, and it reads 1.000 in water). Is there any more I can do ?

> thanks guys


 
 
 

Wines always too sweet - what am I doing wrong ?

Post by Waterspide » Thu, 22 Jan 2009 03:08:35



Quote:
> When I first started winemaking (4 years ago) my first 5-gallon
> efforts were good - we all liked them.

> However, the past two years, I have had the devils own job. I made a
> Beaverdale kit for "Valpolicella", put a belt on it, and kept it in a
> polystyrene box. It had 3 weeks to ferment, and the s.g. got to 995
> with all airlock activity ceased.

> I cleared it, and left it for 2 more weeks.

> I went to bottle it, tasted a bit, and it was terribly sweet :-(

> This keeps on happening, despite my using the hydrometer (which I've
> checked, and it reads 1.000 in water). Is there any more I can do ?

> thanks guys

Valpolicella certainly isn't a "terribly sweet" wine, so something's run
amuk.
I'd contact the company. One good thing about kit wines is that they're
consistent, but it's mass production so glitches are possible.
If it wasn't an inferior kit, they should be able to tell you how to solve
the problem, because it's quite likely that you're not the only one who has
been unhappy with the finished product.
Good luck, and I'd be interested to hear what you find out from them (I'm
starting an on-premises winemaking business, so this is of particular
interest to me).
WS
 
 
 

Wines always too sweet - what am I doing wrong ?

Post by g.. » Thu, 22 Jan 2009 09:42:20


I assume by "5 gallons" you are referring to imperial gallons.
Reconstituted to 5 US gallons, most kits would finish too sweet.

Assuming that your hydrometer is correct and that your palate is just
very well tuned, I'd have to say that something wasn't quite right
with the fermentation and the last little bit of sugar wasn't
consumed.

Did you use the yeast included in the kit? Most kit makers include
EC-1118 for a number of reasons, chief among them though is its
tendency to ferment out all sugars. Sugar molecules in concentrated or
pasteurized juices may form bonds that are tough to break. EC-1118 is
one of the few yeasts that can reliably consume all sugars.

What temperature did you have it fermenting at? For reliable results,
kit fermentations should occur at or above 70 degrees F (21 degrees
Celcius).

You might also want to consider letting it go longer. I realize that
kits have time compressed directions, but there's no harm in letting
them bulk age longer. You may find that over time that list little bit
of sugar gets consumed by the remaing yeast.

Greg G.

 
 
 

Wines always too sweet - what am I doing wrong ?

Post by Shane Badh » Fri, 23 Jan 2009 04:19:38


Quote:

> When I first started winemaking (4 years ago) my first 5-gallon
> efforts were good - we all liked them.

> However, the past two years, I have had the devils own job. I made a
> Beaverdale kit for "Valpolicella", put a belt on it, and kept it in a
> polystyrene box. It had 3 weeks to ferment, and the s.g. got to 995
> with all airlock activity ceased.

> I cleared it, and left it for 2 more weeks.

> I went to bottle it, tasted a bit, and it was terribly sweet :-(

> This keeps on happening, despite my using the hydrometer (which I've
> checked, and it reads 1.000 in water). Is there any more I can do ?

> thanks guys

I have just placed a Beaverdale Pinot Noire in to a 1 gallon wine box
and it tastes sweeter than it should. I would not say it is terribly
sweet, though,

I have been making wines for over 30 years, both country and grape kits.
I used to use Grand Maison, but can't get it here in Exeter, so moved to
Beavedale. I prefer the proper wine grape varieties.

I think the previous red I made was a Beaverdale Merlot and that was OK.

--
Thanks and regards, Shane.
"A closed mouth gathers no feet!"
Email: Beware the invalid word! shane at wonk dot demon dot co dot uk
Website: http://www.wonk.demon.co.uk/

 
 
 

Wines always too sweet - what am I doing wrong ?

Post by Joe Sallusti » Fri, 23 Jan 2009 20:23:14



Quote:
> When I first started winemaking (4 years ago) my first 5-gallon
> efforts were good - we all liked them.

> However, the past two years, I have had the devils own job. I made a
> Beaverdale kit for "Valpolicella", put a belt on it, and kept it in a
> polystyrene box. It had 3 weeks to ferment, and the s.g. got to 995
> with all airlock activity ceased.

> I cleared it, and left it for 2 more weeks.

> I went to bottle it, tasted a bit, and it was terribly sweet :-(

> This keeps on happening, despite my using the hydrometer (which I've
> checked, and it reads 1.000 in water). Is there any more I can do ?

> thanks guys

0.995 is not necessarily dry, too hot or too cold a ferment are
typically the reasons for residual sugar.  Here is a good link that
should help you sort it out.

http://www.grapestompers.com/articles/stuck_fermentation.htm

Joe

 
 
 

Wines always too sweet - what am I doing wrong ?

Post by Doug » Sun, 25 Jan 2009 00:17:36


If the SG is really at 0.995, the wine really can't be "terribly
sweet" in terms of having lots of residual sugar.  There may be some,
but not a lot.  The perception of sweetness, though, is a somewhat
different matter.

*** itself supposedly contributes somewhat to perceived
sweetness.  A lack of tannins and/or acids may increase the perception
of sweetness as well.   One thing to try would be to add a bit of acid
to a glass of this wine, and see if it tastes better.  Acidity and
sweetness tend to offset each other -- too much of one can sometimes
be "fixed" by increasing the other.

The other thing that may be a factor is that Valpolicella is a sort of
younger brother to Amarone, which is traditionally made using a lot of
raisined grapes.  In some cases, these raisined grapes are retained
after the Amarone fermentation, and used in a second fermentation to
make Valpolicella Ripasso.  I'm not familiar with this particular kit,
but it is certainly possible that it includes some raisiny flavors,
which again may be perceived as "sweet".

If you prefer red wines that are especially high in tannins and/or
acidity, you may want to seek out kits that are based on grapes that
are especially tannic or acidic, or you may want to "tweak" your kits
a bit by adding additional tannins or oak during fermentation or
aging, or bumping up the acidity a bit before bottling.

Doug

 
 
 

Wines always too sweet - what am I doing wrong ?

Post by Waterspide » Sun, 25 Jan 2009 11:29:40



Quote:
> One thing to try would be to add a bit of acid
> to a glass of this wine, and see if it tastes better.

I think I tried that back in the 70s...