I have the following assorted batches going on: peach wine, blackberry wine, blueberry wine, blueberry melomel, Mars and Saturn grape wine, muscadine wine, fig wine, cyser, barley wine and three different braggots. Many haven’t been touched, other than just taking a look, in quite some time. Today, the long pause came to an end for many of them. It came in fits and spurts.
It started with last year’s blueberry melomel and blueberry wine. I racked each of them (each in a single gallon jug) and then topped up with water before testing SG. The blueberry melomel came to 1.003 and the wine to 1.005. Neither one is ready, as they both are bubbling slightly (the melomel, very slightly indeed). Of course, racking may put an end to that. And just as well, as I am ok with not back-sweetening, instead relying on the residual sugar.
With those done, I eventually started on the muscadine wine. Unlike the Blueberry, the Muscadine wine was quite done, with no activity seen for a long time. I first prepared a simple syrup of 4 oz. of sugar boiled in 1/2 cup of water. This had to be set aside and cooled. But jumping ahead in the days progress, I eventually racked, and whilst racking added in the 1/20 tsp. of potassium metabisulfite to each jug (there were two). Once racking was complete, I distributed the syrup between the two jugs. I ended up not being able to do it equivalently. So I will have Muscadine wine, once bottled, at two different sweetness levels (one gallon got 2 2/3 oz. while the other got 1 1/3). Of course, I will be watching it like a hawk over the next couple days to assure myself that there is no re-buildup of fermentation with the addition of sugar. So far not a lot of success keeping Muscadine wine from blowing!
In the middle there, I found time to rack the blackberry wine. As with the others, I topped up and then measured SG (0.995). There is no activity, but it needs time to stabilize and such. I will give it a couple months before disturbing it again.
This evening – busy, busy, busy – allowed me the opportunity to rack the Mars grape wine. First, I put 0.5 oz. of cubed Hungarian oak in the carboy, then racked onto it. I’ll check it in a month to see what level of oaking that provides. The last time I used Hungarian oak was on the single gallon of plum wine, and I left it a bit long, I think. This is a three gallon batch, with the same amount of oak…so it will not be so powerful, even if done for as long. The oak blocks made it impossible to measure SG, though it isn’t really a problem at this stage – I was just curious.
The peach wine, next on the list, I racked onto 1 oz. of American oak before topping up. The peach wine is lovely, but more importantly, it needed off the lees, which were thick. As with the Mars, I will check back on this one in a month to see what the oak is like. And, I guessed the shards of American Oak would make a good SG reading impossible, so just skipped it for now.
For tonight that leaves a gallon of Strawberry-Agave wine (quite dry, and ready to be sulfited for bottling) and a gallon of cranberry wine (quite sweet, stuck, but I think usable as a dessert wine) to be handled. I could also rack the Saturn grape wine, the barley wine or the cyser if I wanted to. Of those three, only the cyser is really calling out to me. The others could wait (a couple days) without any trouble.
The fig wine is in no need of handling at this time, nor is this year’s blueberry wine, still with a thin head of foam. One of the braggots (Braggot IV) has picked up bubbling again after last week’s racking. And the other two need priming and bottling, rather than racking. That will most certainly wait for another night. Maybe tomorrow, if I have the strength and can find time to sanitize the required bottles!
And in the midst of all this, I have been playing with using Evernote as my “notebook” tool for recording measurements, observations and such. So far, I am pleased. I like it’s approach to configuring reminders, and displaying them for easy reference. I’ve been off and on looking for something that worked well, and unfortunately have accumulated notes across a couple different places: this blog, sticky notes, index cards, word documents, MS project files… Time to try and get it all consolidated into one that works.