Wine kit woes

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Green Aura
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Wine kit woes

Post: #280587 Green Aura
Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:05 am

When we first moved up here we devised a strategy for keeping ourselves in homebrew - country wines and beer. Anyway life got in the way and we found ourselves running out with nothing anywhere near ready.

So my OH bought a 7-day wine kit which, incidentally, took a lot longer than 7 days, but (and here's my point - at last) it was started and finished with lots of little anonymous packets that OH insisted on using because he'd never made kit wine before.

Except he's continued making kit wines, often at the expense of the country wines, and I find it really disgusting (maybe that's why he keeps making it).
1) the turbo yeast doesn't utilise all the sugar - does anyone like a semi-sweet Merlot? It also has some other taste that I can't identify
2) it doesn't taste even remotely like what it says on the box - not really expected but none of them taste any different from any other
3) heavens knows what is in the packets that he dutifully chucks in

I have no objection to his buying the concentrated grape juice (unless anyone knows a reason why I should) but could we make them with our own yeast and no chemicals and get some sort of decent wine? I don't care if it take weeks (or even months) instead days, but I would like something that I can enjoy drinking.
Maggie

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Re: Wine kit woes

Post: #280590 MKG
Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:30 am

Yes to all of the questions - and if that really is turbo yeast he's using, tap him on the shoulder and politely tell him to desist - turbo yeasts are designed to produce lots of alcohol in a very short time with the intention of then passing the result through a still and then filtering the end product. The initial fermentation does produce alcohol dissolved in water but that's about all - it tastes like s**t.

Mike

EDIT: Much longer reply is in the composition department ...........
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Re: Wine kit woes

Post: #280592 Green Aura
Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:29 am

It may not be turbo yeast, Mike. That was my assumption as it is a 7-day kit. The little packets don't give much info, so I'm not sure what is in those. I'm guessing one is finings but other than that who knows.
Maggie

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Re: Wine kit woes

Post: #280593 MKG
Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:38 am

More soon - my last post was rudely interrupted by a wasp stinging me on the inside of my lower lip.

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Re: Wine kit woes

Post: #280594 geordie
Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:44 am

Green Aura wrote:So my OH bought a 7-day wine kit which, incidentally, took a lot longer than 7 days,


Would I be correct in saying you are using a youngs kit? If it is taking longer than this to brew out you are doing something wrong, I have done about a 100 of these and provided the temperature is correct and the brew is agitated they have always brewed out in 7 days.

Green Aura wrote:.
1) the turbo yeast doesn't utilise all the sugar - does anyone like a semi-sweet Merlot? It also has some other taste that I can't identify


If it has not brewed out it will taste too sweet, what is the finished SG of your brew?

Green Aura wrote:
2) it doesn't taste even remotely like what it says on the box - not really expected but none of them taste any different from any other


If it is a youngs merlot you will have to age it before it becomes anything like a real merlot, drink it a week after brewing and it is more like a rosé.
Green Aura wrote:3) heavens knows what is in the packets that he dutifully chucks in


Have a look at the contents, they are only the same "chemicals" you will find in any home brew shop, stabilisers for example. If it is not brewing out before you bottle it you should be glad these "chemicals" are stopping the fermention!

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Re: Wine kit woes

Post: #280598 MKG
Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:37 pm

Hi geordie

You make an interesting point about maturation and the Merlot kit - if you want it to taste anything like the real thing then 7 days simply doesn't cut the mustard. That bit of knowledge is well worth having under your belt, but it rather destroys the point of buying a 7-day kit.

Have you left other kits to mature to a reasonable extent? It would be good if you could rate them - it's where a lot of beginners start out.

Mike

PS - Anywhere near Berwick/Spital?
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Re: Wine kit woes

Post: #280599 Green Aura
Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:06 pm

1) Yes, it's Youngs.

2) Temperature may be an issue - it can get quite cold at times, but not often. It has never been a problem for our country wines - they may take longer but then again the kits are taking at least twice as long.

3) Apart from initially dissolving the sugar, there is nothing in the instructions about agitating it. How do you agitate 30 pint buckets anyway. At best we'd manage a bit of a swill.

4) Even we can't get through 30 pints in one sitting - some of it has been getting on for 6 months in the bottle - with no improvement in taste or reduction in sweetness. Nor does it taste any different from the Cabernet Sauvignon kit - equally sweet and tasteless.

5) SG - he checked on the first kit he made. He can't remember what it was but it was within whatever the instructions called for. He says he hasn't bothered since, but as they taste no different from the first one, I'd say they about the same.

I'm convinced that it's the stopping of the fermentation that's the biggest part of the problem, and, I'm guessing, what gives it the strange after taste.. I'm happy for it to take longer - no actually I'd prefer he stopped buying them because, much as I love a decent bottle of wine, these aren't it.

The only reason we buy the 7 day kit is because T*sc* sell it. Otherwise we have to buy online which bumps up the cost hugely. I'd love to have a go buying in some concentrated grape juice and just doing it the way we make our country wines, taking all the time it needs.
Maggie

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Re: Wine kit woes

Post: #280602 Brewtrog
Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:23 pm

Which youngs kit is it? There is an amazing amount of difference between qualities of kits, and the cheap youngs kits, although cheap and cheerful (even if I can't drink any of their reds anymore), are never going to live up to a higher quality kit.
They can take more than a week to ferment out, use your thermometer before adding the stabiliser, which is labeled up. Whenever I've made these or other kits I've had no problems getting them down to 990 sg.
The chemicals that are given are (IIRC) yeast+nutrient, oak chips (depending on the kit), stabiliser, flavourings, finings a+b. I add stabiliser to every wine I make, even if I know it isn't going anywhere - I had a whole batch lost before I started using stabiliser. It's a mix of metabisulphate and potassium sorbate - the sulphate kills most the yeast, the sorbate stops the rest from reproducing.

Reading that it's t*sc* I'm assuming you're getting the brewbuddy kits? They aren't bril. Wilko's kits are a bit of an improvement, and admit they can take more than a week. The best kit I've made was a "Bel Vino Aussie Red" kit, it was actually dried fruit rather than some form of mixed grape conc. I know a guy who spent over £100 for a high quality kit, can't remember reading the results.

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Re: Wine kit woes

Post: #280603 MKG
Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:32 pm

Brewtrog wrote:... It's a mix of metabisulphate and potassium sorbate - the sulphate kills most the yeast, the sorbate stops the rest from reproducing....


I can see I'm going to have to do my annual lecture again :iconbiggrin:

But not right now - my fat lip (VERY fat - I hate wasps) is throbbing and I'm having to assuage it with liberal doses of a cheeky little red which magically appeared from some old elderberries which fell into a big bucket a couple of years ago.

Mike
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Re: Wine kit woes

Post: #280605 Green Aura
Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:49 pm

Now, you see, a good elderberry, well matured can hold its head up to any kit - IMHO.
Maggie

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Re: Wine kit woes

Post: #280606 MKG
Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:09 pm

Maggie, a good elderberry can hold its head up to any wine at all. There is so much identity between elderberries and grapes (constituent proportions are different, but that's all) that I'd love to be able to have a "Spot the Difference" competition. A really good elderberry will match, point for point, a really good grape wine any time, as long as those differences have been taken into account.

For those who don't know, elderberries have more tannin and less sugar than grapes. That's about it, and the differences are easily taken into account to produce something which can challenge the best heavy-bodied wines from anywhere in the world.
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Re: Wine kit woes

Post: #280609 geordie
Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:05 pm

MKG wrote:Hi geordie

You make an interesting point about maturation and the Merlot kit - if you want it to taste anything like the real thing then 7 days simply doesn't cut the mustard. That bit of knowledge is well worth having under your belt, but it rather destroys the point of buying a 7-day kit.

Have you left other kits to mature to a reasonable extent? It would be good if you could rate them - it's where a lot of beginners start out.

Mike

PS - Anywhere near Berwick/Spital?


Blyth (bleugh!) and Lauder and Gordon in the borders.

The wine is ok to drink about a week after bottling but it is still very young, it is better to leave it for a few weeks. It is not as good as a tenner bottle from a supermarket but it is far better than the 3 for a tenner echo falls/blossom hill stuff. The youngs merlot kits come with roast french oak chips to fake age the wine.

Green Aura wrote:
2) Temperature may be an issue - it can get quite cold at times, but not often. It has never been a problem for our country wines - they may take longer but then again the kits are taking at least twice as long.



If your brew is sitting below 20C it will take longer to brew out. If I am unsure the brew is finished I have a taste, if its dry it good to go.

Green Aura wrote:
3) Apart from initially dissolving the sugar, there is nothing in the instructions about agitating it. How do you agitate 30 pint buckets anyway.


Pick it up and jiggles it about, I often do this if I feel a brew is not fermenting.

Green Aura wrote:
4) Even we can't get through 30 pints in one sitting - some of it has been getting on for 6 months in the bottle - with no improvement in taste or reduction in sweetness.


It will not continue to ferment the sugar once you have stopped the brew, i would imagine this is why it is not maturing either.

Green Aura wrote:
5) SG - he checked on the first kit he made. He can't remember what it was but it was within whatever the instructions called for. He says he hasn't bothered since, but as they taste no different from the first one, I'd say they about the same.



If a wine is too sweet it has not finished fermenting. Not sure where you get your kits, T***o sell them but last time I checked they were over £23, I get them at a local chemists for £18.50. This is way too much money to pour down the drain for the sake a a few seconds with a hydrometer, or perhaps I am tight!

Green Aura wrote:

The only reason we buy the 7 day kit is because T*sc* sell it. Otherwise we have to buy online which bumps up the cost hugely. I'd love to have a go buying in some concentrated grape juice and just doing it the way we make our country wines, taking all the time it needs.


Just saw the last bit, try a proper home brew shop, but if you bottle before the wine is brewed and don't stop the fermentation you might still be in for problems!

One last thought, no matter how careful your are there is a chance wild yeasts will get in first especially if your brew is slow to start or you have not cleaned everything enough, there might even be wild yeasts in the water. I always start a brew off warm, about 23C+ (but not too hot!), that way my yeast is working within a few mins. Learned that from my dear old dad!

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Re: Wine kit woes

Post: #280610 Green Aura
Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:22 pm

The problem with that, geordie, is that we live 100+ miles from the nearest homebrew shop (and supermarket for that matter) and their selection is quite small (it's just one section in a Town and Country Stores).

That's why I'd like to do the best we can with what we can easily get.
Maggie

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Re: Wine kit woes

Post: #280611 geordie
Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:33 pm

Just saw your location, was there many moons ago, are you anywhere near Scourie or Ullapool? All I can suggest is follow the instructions, check before stopping the fermentation using a hydrometer or tasting it and good luck.

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Re: Wine kit woes

Post: #280614 Green Aura
Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:44 pm

We're in Durness, geordie. Pretty much as far as you can get from civilisation :lol: :cheers:
Maggie

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