RJ Cole Winery

Insights into the world of an amateur home winemaker.

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Cole Wines anagrams to Senile Cow.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Mmmm... Must!

So I finally finished cutting up the pumpkins!! Good Lord that was a lot of work. After that, I added the sugar water solution, ginger root, cinnamon sticks (I used 6), and checked the SG (specific gravity or potential alcohol) and acidity. The SG came out right at 1.090 or 13% potential alcohol. From what I've read, this should drop some after I remove the pumpkin, so I'll have to check to see if that will be alright or if I need to add more sugar. The acidity started at .001%. That's low, way low. Winethief's recipe calls for the acidity to be .60%, so I had to add some acid blend. I ended up using the whole bottle or 4 ounces. That got it to exactly the right percentage of .60. I was pretty surprised by how low in acid pumpkins were!

Next, I went ahead and added in the tannin and yeast nutrient. And now the must is completed. This morning, I added the pectic enzyme, which will prevent any jelly from forming, because although that might be nice on toast or a biscuit, I don't want to drink it. I also prepared my yeast starter. I will pitch that into the must this evening, and then, boys and girls, we've got wine. Nothing you would want to drink yet, but it is wine! The next step will be to let it ferment for a week and let my little yeastie friends do the hard work now. I'll have to stir a few times, but that's no big deal.

Some notes:
The total amount of pumpkin used came out to 21.5 pounds. That's quite a bit less than the recipe called for, so I added a little more water (about a half gallon). I don't know if that will reduce any pumpkin flavor or not, but hopefully it'll be fine.

As I said, I had to add 4 ounces of acid blend. This was my first time using an acid testing kit. Pretty cool. It brought me back to my high school chemistry days! But since I used all the acid blend I had, I didn't get to add any into my yeast starter. I don't think that'll be much of a problem though.

Stiring 6 gallons of sugar water with pumpkin in it can be tough, mainly just because the floor gets really sticky when some of that sugar water splashes out. Yes, I mopped, or rather used a Wet Swiffer (the 2nd greatest invention ever, right behind the Swiffer that actually squirts the cleaning solution onto the floor) immediately once I finished up. Hopefully, as I walk around, the stickiness will wear off of the bottoms of my shoes.

I followed all measurments indicated in the recipe unless otherwise noted above. The other exception was with the pectic enzyme, as I have a liquid concentrate of it, not the powder as I imagine Winethief used. For this, I just followed the indications on the bottle, which called for 1/4 teaspoon.

It's still fun, especially since the first hard part is over!


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