Wine making newbie needs help

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Wine making newbie needs help

Postby jadeylemon » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:48

So I'm really interested in home brewing and decided to start out using a kit that I got from the range "make your own" white wine. Since im a newbie I'm a bit unsure of a few things and would like some advice, first of all its been 5 days so far and my wine was fermenting away nicely at a steady temperature of about 20-22 degrees but now its dropped slightly to 19-20 and I'm worried this will affect my wine, I've thrown a few blankets over it to try keep it warm. will this affect my wine much ?

secondly, the instructions state that after the fermentation has taken place and the finings have been added then it is time to add 250g of sugar to bring it up to commercial sweetness. I happen to like my white wine very dry and would like to know if its okay to add a bit less and if so how much roughly ?

Help would be much appreciated. :D
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Re: Wine making newbie needs help

Postby bobsbeer » Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:02

Welcome :cheers:

The drop in temperature will not harm your wine. It will slow the yeast down a bit which is no bad thing. You do need to watch it doesn't get too cold, usually below 17c as the yeast will stop. They do come back to life if they are warmed up a bit. Whatever temperature you ferment at, try to keep the temperature steady without any major swings either way. And below 25c.

If you like it really dry then don't add the sweetener or only add a little bit. Try it first and go by that. The choice is yours. I would be surprised if the instructions say to add regular sugar as the yeast will just ferment it. I'm guessing it is some other non fermentable sugar.

Good luck with it, and post up any questions.
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Re: Wine making newbie needs help

Postby jadeylemon » Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:08

Thank you bobsbeer :-) I will have a look into some non fermentable sugar the instructions are rather vague, do you suggest I use a hydrometer ? the kit says by tasting the wine I will be able to tell if the fermentation is finished if the wine tastes dry and not sweet.
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Re: Wine making newbie needs help

Postby bobsbeer » Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:24

A hydrometer is a must if you plan on getting into this hobby. The good thing is that they are cheap. With it you can see where you are in the fermentation. And you can work out the ABV by knowing the starting gravity (SG) and the final gravity (FG). A dry wine will usually finish fermenting at around .990 and would have started at around 1.090, but the starting gravity doesn't tell you how dry or sweet it will end up. As a guide anything with a FG of around 1.010 to 1.000 is sweet, 1.000- .995 medium and .995-.990 dry. The lower the figure the dryer it gets. Some people only consider .993 or below to be dry. But you will soon get the hang of what you like and what gravity that is.
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Re: Wine making newbie needs help

Postby jadeylemon » Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:43

Thank you!! this information is a massive help! I'll try get a hydrometer this weekend and hopefully the wine turns out okay :)
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Re: Wine making newbie needs help

Postby Moley » Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:39

bobsbeer wrote:I would be surprised if the instructions say to add regular sugar as the yeast will just ferment it. I'm guessing it is some other non fermentable sugar.


The kit will undoubtedly include a stabilising sachet, so it would probably be safe to add regular sugar if required.

Welcome to the forum jadeylemon, and to a great hobby :cheers:

As Bob said above, if you like your wines dry then don't bother adding sugar at all.
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Re: Wine making newbie needs help

Postby jadeylemon » Fri Dec 05, 2014 13:20

Thank you Moley :)

Yep the kit includes a stabiliser sachet but I wont be adding any sugar anyways, hopefully my first batch is a good one since there are going to be 30 bottles of it !!
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Re: Wine making newbie needs help

Postby stan » Sat Dec 06, 2014 21:40

Hi
I also did this one as my first venture into wine as the others have said the hydrometer is an important bit of kit, mine fermented down to .990 and tasted really nice i would say medium / dry i would say it compares really well to a £5-6 bottle from the supermarket i didnt add any sugar as the instructions say, with the stabiliser and finnings it clears really well. hope you enjoy your 30 bottles !! I am.

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Re: Wine making newbie needs help

Postby jadeylemon » Mon Dec 08, 2014 16:25

That's brilliant I managed to pick up a hydrometer at the weekend!
Really looking forward to trying it, how long did yours take to clear?
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Re: Wine making newbie needs help

Postby stan » Mon Dec 08, 2014 22:28

mine took about 4/5 days to clear enough to bottle

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Re: Wine making newbie needs help

Postby bobsbeer » Tue Dec 09, 2014 11:04

I would leave it at least 2 weeks to finish fermenting. Then check the gravity with your hydrometer. Also give it a taste. But don't expect it to taste as good as it will after maturing for a few weeks. But assuming the gravity is around .990, rack it off the lees and add your stabiliser sachet and then the fining. It will take about another week to clear. Oops forgot the degassing. Do that after you have racked, and added the stabiliser, but before you add the finings. After a week or so it should be nice and clear to bottle. Bottle and leave for a few weeks to mature. About 4 weeks is a good starting point, but longer helps, up to about 6 months. But I'm sure you can't wait that long. :lol:
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Re: Wine making newbie needs help

Postby robwalker » Tue Dec 09, 2014 11:28

Moley wrote:
As Bob said above, if you like your wines dry then don't bother adding sugar at all.


+1 here.

Wine is a hobby of patience and it will improve the longer you leave it. My last few are still in the demi johns 3 months on. I know you'll undoubtedly be drinking this one young, but try to put a bottle away for a year so you can see the difference.

Welcome to the hobby!
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Re: Wine making newbie needs help

Postby jadeylemon » Tue Dec 09, 2014 11:35

Thanks guys. I will leave it until Sunday which will be two weeks fermenting by that point. I'm just wanting this batch ready for Christmas but since I have 30 bottles worth I will deffinately be putting a few of them by for a few months to taste the difference!

Fingers crossed all works out well :-)
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