How long to keep wine?

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Odsox
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How long to keep wine?

Post: #287880 Odsox
Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:57 pm

... until it's drinkable?
Some may remember I made several batches of wine 2 years ago, white grape, apple, raspberry and blackberry.
I've been tasting them this afternoon and they still taste like crap.

The apple and grape have no flavour at all, other than the overwhelming manky home made wine flavour. The raspberry is just manky, full stop.
The only one that shows promise is the blackberry, which still has a slight manky taste but also a rather nice fresh fruit flavour. Assuming that the "home made" taste eventually dissipates I may well keep the remaining blackberry, just to see ..
But I think the others are destined for the drain.

I can turn my hand to most things, but home brew is not one of them. :(
Tony

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Brewtrog
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Re: How long to keep wine?

Post: #287882 Brewtrog
Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:08 pm

What do you mean by manky?
I know I've read that raspberry is not the best to brew on its own, being a bit overpowering, but then I know someone who loves her raspberry wine.
Never tried apple or (homebrew) grape, but I know blackberry is meant to be one of the best (when aged).
If nothing else, there's no harm in keeping them for a while longer.

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Re: How long to keep wine?

Post: #287888 Green Aura
Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:34 am

I'm assuming the apple and grape is a white, yes? They don't usually take so long to mature due to low tannin content but they also don't keep so well for the same reason. Reds have the higher tannin etc. The blackberry should keep much better and continue to improve for that reason but, depending on the amount of tannin could take a few years. You have to keep tasting it to find out which pretty much means that by the time you've got to optimum you've already supped most of it. :roll: I'm sure you know all that, though.

I've never tried raspberry so have no idea what characteristics it may/not display. One thing that springs to mind though is that if you expect your homebrew to taste like a fine wine you're backing a loser. Country wines can be delicious once you've got past that. Although some do taste like pond water (or maybe that's just ours :wink: ).

I find the biggest contributor to "manky" tasting wine is oxidisation, I've seen on here folks saying they don't bother bottling, just drink from the DJ, but unless they sup a gallon in a very few days the last half gallon or so is always hideous - we tried it with both a red and a white and had to chuck loads. Maybe we just don't drink enough. :lol:

Have you tried chilling the white? It does make a huge difference. You could also try blending the white and the raspberry, which might help. If you're thinking of chucking it anyway it's worth a play. Got any friends with a less discerning palate who might like it? It always seems such a shame to throw something you've put time and effort into.
Maggie

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Re: How long to keep wine?

Post: #287889 Odsox
Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:26 am

Brewtrog wrote:What do you mean by manky?

Well it's difficult to describe a taste, but I have had several goes at making home made wines over the years and they all have had an overwhelming nasty taste. I remember starting this probably 50 years ago when the state of the art instructions were to spread baker's yeast on a piece of toast and float it on the juice in a crock covered with a tea towel, to more recently with hydrometers and airlocks and proper wine yeast. All of them had this "taste".

Green Aura wrote:I'm assuming the apple and grape is a white, yes? They don't usually take so long to mature due to low tannin content

This is what I was expecting, and when I tasted them last year I though "well they'll probably be fine in another year", but they're not.
The blackberry I'm willing to believe that it will be better in another year or two, so I will find a dark corner somewhere and forget about it for a while.

As someone who drinks wine every day, I am at a loss to understand why my 2 year old white wine is virtually undrinkable and yet even the youngest, cheapest commercial wine (the £2 a bottle Liebfraumilch from Lidl for instance) doesn't have this peculiar manky taste.
So I shall give up again, and this time I mean it. I don't know why I bothered in the first place other than it's something I thought I "ought" to do given my life style. But I always have 40 odd bottles of proper wine in my larder, including several bottles of Chateau Margaux from 1985 onwards and I shall just have to accept the fact that I'm a consumerist quaffer. :lol:
Tony

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Re: How long to keep wine?

Post: #287890 diggernotdreamer
Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:14 pm

In my experience all home made wine is manky, but I think people that drink a lot of it become desensitised to the mankiness. The best thing you can do with home made wine is add it to casseroles and other things that a glug of wine makes a bit nicer. I have drunk wines and beers that people have made and raved over, I think I would rather use my fruit for better things and nip to the shop and buy a nice Chilean merlot

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Re: How long to keep wine?

Post: #287948 BernardSmith
Wed Aug 24, 2016 7:59 pm

Hi Odsox, I have been making wines and meads and ciders for a number of years - and have even won some medals for them. In my opinion home made wine should not taste manky. The taste may have something to do with the recipe you are using and/or the protocols you are following. If you post me one of the recipes you used and provide me the details of the processes you followed from start to bottling (including the temperature at which you fermented the fruit, the kind of materials you use to ferment in, the specific gravity of the must as you pitched (added) the yeast, the amount of headroom in the vessels after you siphoned the wine from the primary container to the secondary) then I can perhaps provide you with some reasons for the poor flavor of the wines. One thing I can say , right off the bat is that most folk dilute the fruit juice with water and unless there is a good reason for diluting flavor (and sometimes there is - some fruit can be too acidic for fermentation to take place) , there is generally no good reason to add water to fruit wines so you can expect to need about 8 - 10 lbs of fruit for every US gallon (about 4 L) of wine...

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Re: How long to keep wine?

Post: #287951 Odsox
Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:45 am

Hi Bernard, the whole process of the wine that I made in 2014 is documented here, viewtopic.php?f=19&t=28942
I would be interested to hear your comments, but I must add that I have decided that wine making is not for me.
It was just something I thought I "ought" to do given my life style, but I have no problem admitting defeat.

Regarding my grape vine, I have also made the decision to severely reduce it's growth, restricting it back to a single rod, especially as the black grape is now producing. That way I won't have so much of a glut that I get the urge to find ways of using it up. Besides, bottled (unfermented) grape syrup is an ideal way for me to use up any excess.
Thanks anyway. :salute:
Tony

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Re: How long to keep wine?

Post: #287953 BernardSmith
Thu Aug 25, 2016 2:06 pm

I don't make wine from grapes but from all other fruit, so you can take what I am about to say with a pinch - or a handful - of salt. Table grapes are not the same as wine grapes. You can make wine from them but they have very different sugar content and have very different pH and the TA will be very different too. For wine you are looking for a Brix of about 25 - 28 (Brix is the sugar content of the grape - a refractometer will give you the reading from a drop of juice squeezed from the grape. Table grapes might have a Brix of about 8 - 10 (or about 1/3 the sugar content). The flavor of the wine - will be the flavor of those grapes LESS any sweetness as the yeast will have converted all the sugar to ethanol (alcohol) - so if the grapes were not rich in flavor the wine won't be any richer. One possible solution might be to press the juice from your grapes and then freeze the juice. What you then do is allow the frozen juice to thaw while you collect the first 1/3 of the thawed juice. That first third will contain virtually all the sugars and the flavors - so you will have concentrated both... I sometimes use that method to increase the flavor of apple wine.

Regarding apple wine - or cider - In my opinion, while you can make a wine (or cider ) using one variety of apples, cider (or apple wine - the former makes use of the sugars in the apple, the latter requires that you add sugars to the juice so that the starting gravity will rise to about 1.090 rather than about 1.045 - 1.050 that you can expect to find when you simply press the apples) but both cider and wine really require a variety of apples - so that the liquor (the must as it is known) has a low enough pH, has enough tannins (they pucker your lips) and enough sugar and complexity of flavor. Cider makers often include crab apples (for their tannin), and look for sour apples (here in upstate NY, Northern Spy, for example).
I don't know if I saw what kind of yeast you used. If you simply allowed your wines to ferment using wild yeasts (on the skins of the fruit) then you can make a wonderful wine - or an awful one.. Every yeast has its own characteristics and some are delightful and some are not. Rather than rely on luck I typically use lab cultured yeasts and for apples IMO, one of the best is a yeast known as 71B. This yeast loves malic acid and the main acid found in apples is malic. 71B has the ability to metabolize (I think that that is the concept here) malic acid and transform it into lactic acid - and lactic acid is a far less sharp /strong acid than malic - so over 9 months to a year after fermenting with 71B apple wines are transformed into a far smoother drink.
I don't know if any of this is helpful but it may explain why the taste of your wines is not quite what you hoped for. Bottom line - For apple wine, you want a variety of apples, for grape wine you want a grape whose Brix is about 25

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Re: How long to keep wine?

Post: #287954 diggernotdreamer
Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:25 pm

:occasion5: :occasion5: that all sounds really complicated, off to shops now for merlot

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Re: How long to keep wine?

Post: #287955 BernardSmith
Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:09 pm

:iconbiggrin: Ha! It sounds far more complex than it is. If brewing your own beer takes about 4 hours or more then making wine takes about 30 minutes -maximum. And unless you are making wine from flowers there is no heat required - so no unnecessary use of energy. And no need to use water to cool down the fermenting liquor (wort, in the case of beer and must when you are talking about fruit).

One other thing - rather than have odsox pour his wine down the drain, you can turn the wine into vinegar - (expose it to air - or add the mother of a vinegar to the wine) or use the wine as a marinade... but unless the wine has gone (literally) ropey (infected with particular strains of mold or bacteria) in almost every case it can be salvaged and used. Try adding sugar or honey to sweeten the wine if it is dry or mix it with soda to make a spritz

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Re: How long to keep wine?

Post: #287960 Odsox
Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:08 pm

BernardSmith wrote:rather than have odsox pour his wine down the drain, you can turn the wine into vinegar

Yes, that is one thing I will try. Vinegar is much more useful than unpleasant tasting wine, even in cooking.
Tony

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Re: How long to keep wine?

Post: #287963 elfcurry
Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:18 am

I've had mixed success over the years with fruit (non-grape) wines but it nearly always turns out at least pleasant and drinkable and a fair proportion is very pleasant indeed.

Sometimes I've made some and found it disappointing, then put it aside and tried it again a couple of months later only to find it much improved. Everything in the reasonable-to-very-good range following fermentation and natural clearing doesn't get much chance of maturing as it gets consumed without further formality or delay. Or even bottling, actually.

On the few occasions when I've kept wine for long-ish periods ( > a year in bottle) it seems to have started to deterioriate so I now don't aim to keep it; why risk it?

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Re: How long to keep wine?

Post: #287964 Brewtrog
Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:46 am

Tony, do you remember what type of yeast you used?

elfcurry wrote:On the few occasions when I've kept wine for long-ish periods ( > a year in bottle) it seems to have started to deterioriate so I now don't aim to keep it; why risk it?


My two year old bottle of elderberry was the best that batch got (or ever will now :drunken: )

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Re: How long to keep wine?

Post: #287965 Odsox
Sun Aug 28, 2016 4:01 pm

Brewtrog wrote:Tony, do you remember what type of yeast you used?

No sorry, it was a sachet so was all used up.
It was however "proper" wine yeast from a home brew shop.
Tony

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Re: How long to keep wine?

Post: #287966 BernardSmith
Mon Aug 29, 2016 5:08 pm

I don't think fruit wines should deteriorate after a year, though how long they improve and then maintain their quality may depend on two or three things - 1, the amount of alcohol in the wine: a wine with about 5 % ABV (alcohol by volume) will deteriorate far more quickly than a wine with an ABV of about 10- 12% ABV; 2, a wine with low acidity will tend to deteriorate faster than a wine that has greater acidity; and 3, a wine with added sulfur dioxide will not oxidize as quickly as a wine without free SO2 (so adding campden tablets (or K-meta-bisulfite) is something that many wine makers will routinely add just before bottling (you want about 50 PPM of free SO2 per gallon (US) to inhibit oxidation. I have wines I made from mixed berries that after 3 years in the bottle are only now coming into their own..


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