View Full Version : Wine/Mead/Cider seem "watered down"

matt burks
11-28-2007, 01:34 AM
I've got a strawberry wine, a grape mead and an apple cider that I am planning on bottling ASAP. I tasted them last night and they taste pretty good, except they seem watered down. Like I added too much water initially. Is there anything I can do from here? Will the flavors improve when I back sweeten each batch?

11-28-2007, 01:47 AM
Hmmm... I can't say much without knowing the specifics of your recipes (ingredients and amounts), but I do know that some flavor will return on aging. Whether it will be enough is impossible to predict.

If these are your first attempts at each, then please post your recipes. We'll better be able to assess what you've ended up with that way.

matt burks
11-28-2007, 02:02 AM
The Strawberry Wine is from "The Joy of Home Winemaking"

3.75qt Water
2lbs Honey (or sugar)
4lbs Ripe Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
Juice from 1 large lemon
1/8tsp Grape Tannin
1 Campden Tablet
1/2tsp Pectic Enzyme
1tsp Yeast Nutrient
1 Packet of Montrachet Yeast

-Boil 3qts water and honey (or sugar) in one pot
-Boil the other 3/4qt in another pot
-Wash and stem the strawberries removing any bad spots
-Put the strawberries in a nylon straining bag and put in the primary fermenter.
-Use a sanitized potato masher to squash them until you get a frothy pink substance.
-Pour the 3qts of water and sugar/honey over the crushed fruit. Use the other boiled 3/4qt to top up to 1gal. Remember, the berries will push it over 1gal so estimate that in as well.
-When must cools add lemon juice, tannin, yeast nutrient and the campden tablet (crushed).
-Cover and fit w/ an air lock
-12 hours later add the pectic enzyme.
-24 hours later add the yeast, stir daily
-After a week lift out the remains of the berries and let the bag drain (do not squeeze).
-After a couple of weeks if the PA (Potential Alcohol) is above 3 or 4 percent, rack to a glass carboy (add preboiled water to top up if you have to) and bung and fit w/ an air lock.
-Rack the wine again in the next two to six months and wait for it to ferment out and clear.
-If you like sweeter wine stabilize and add 2 to 6 oz of sugar in a bit of water and bottle.
-Keep it six months to a year, serve chilled

The pyment is Joe's Grape Mead/Pyment

2 lbs Clover honey
1 oz buckwheat honey
1/8t Pectin Enzymes (I used but on second thought I probably didn't need since Welch's is already clear)
64-oz Welch's Grape Juice with Vitamin C added- Make sure it has no preservatives in ingredients other than Vitamin C added (Absorbic Acid)
Balance water if you need it to make 1 gallon after adding honey mixed in water (don't use too much water in honey mix or you'll end up with more than you bargained for.
Lalvin EC-1118

The Apple Cider I think I just basically made 3 gallons of apple juice with "Seneca" brand frozen apple juice concentrate and pitched a champagne yeast to it.

Now, with the recipes above, I tasted them after stabilizing them and before adding any thing back to sweeten them.

11-28-2007, 12:52 PM
Did you take specific gravity readings of the musts before starting fermentation? From the recipes, the strawberry appears to be trying to achieve a target initial gravity around 1.090-1.095. That is "typical" for pure grape musts, but in my experience I like the starting gravities to be a bit higher, say in the 1.110-1.120 range, to give that little extra flavor, body and mouthfeel, in melomels. The amount of strawberries you used seems OK (4 lb/gallon), but if I were making this recipe I'd have used another lb of honey in the strawberry mix.

If you don't have a hydrometer, I encourage you to pick one up. The typical three-scale hydrometer costs less than $10, and it will help you to know more about what you're fermenting than pretty much any other tool out there.

The Joe's grape is not starved for fermentables, but you shouldn't expect more than a "hint" of grape wine character from the Welch's juice in this recipe. More grape character shows up upon aging.

Apple cider made strictly from concentrates will always taste "thin" and not apple-y at first, especially if you use a champagne yeast. Likewise, some of the apple characteristics will come back with aging.

BTW - here's a recommendation for the future. In the recipes that call for additions of acids (lemon juice) or tannins, reserve those additions for the secondary fermenter. Putting them in early in fermentation can compromise the process, since they can drive the pH of the must too low, making it hard for the yeasts to work well.

Yo momma
11-28-2007, 10:24 PM
I agree with Wayne. Boiling the fruit and using hot water to break down your honey causes you to lose flavor, aroma and mouth feel after the fermentaion is complete. Next time try the cold start method to making your initial must. This will make it harder to mix but gives the must more aeration time on your start up. For apple wines or cysers I like to use k1v-1118 yeast because it has amedium tolerance and bring out the apple flavor well, in my opinion.

11-28-2007, 10:33 PM
I think mouth feel is the only absolute, as you cant make a liquid more viscus without adding more ingredients. The back sweetning will help who knows how much, only you will.