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Things to do with wines that didn't quite make it...

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Chevette Girl

All around BAD EXAMPLE
Moderator
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Apr 27, 2010
8,398
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Ottawa, ON
A kiwi wine I made some years ago didn't quite reach my expectations, I'm not good enough to taste exactly what it is about it that disappoints me, it's not terrible but I'd never want more than a glass... so I often use it as a cooking wine. Made it into jelly once, it wasn't bad that way either.

Tonight, I poached some pears in it, along with brown sugar and butter (and some leftover food colouring to make the halved pears look like multicoloured easter eggs, but anyway), then when the syrup wouldn't reduce any further, I took the pears out and mixed another half-cup of wine with a tablespoon or so of corn starch and thickened it. Very tasty!

I also like using that wine in the slow cooker or as a meat marinade... anyone else got other tricks to share? Ham done with over-sweet strawberry mead worked really well when my hubby grabbed the first bottle that came to hand :)
 

akueck

Certified Mead Mentor
Certified Mead Mentor
Jun 26, 2006
4,958
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Ithaca, NY
I've brined meat with leftover wine and beer that I'm less than excited about drinking. Basically meat marinade, only much saltier. ;D
 

AToE

NewBee
Registered Member
Jun 8, 2009
4,066
3
0
Calgary AB Canada
I'm trying to make some vinegar right now, not sure how it's going though. I never seem to have success with using Braggs raw apple cider vinegar as a starter, even though others claim great success.
 

AToE

NewBee
Registered Member
Jun 8, 2009
4,066
3
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Calgary AB Canada
How are you preparing the batch? Are you diluting the ABV down? Keeping it nice and warm? Giving them nutrients? Aerating well? Avoiding sulfites?
Hmmm... no to some of those! It's no sulphites, and I am aerating it pretty well, and it's nice and warm (above 70F). I have not been giving it nutrients, nor have I diluted the ABV. I did acclimatize the vinegar to the mead before pitching, but not over a very long period.

I have plenty of headspace in the carboy, I could still dilute it and add some nutrients, assuming I haven't killed off the bacteria with too high of ABV (it's around 14%).
 

wayneb

Lifetime Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Your ABV might be the issue. Many acetobacter strains don't tolerate alcohol above around 10% ABV. Even those commercially cultivated strains that can work up to 12-14% ABV are treated to a process akin to "step feeding" where the alcohol solution is dripped into the bacteria's growth medium so they aren't subject to the shock of too much ethanol all at once.
 

Medsen Fey

Fuselier since 2007
Premium Patron
If you dilute the ABV down to about 6% ABV, the bacteria will be able to have a much easier time doing their thing, and they need nutrients as well. However, like a lot of things, it's always easier for it to happen in a batch where you didn't want it. :)

Other than vinegar, there are a lot of things you can do with a batch that didn't quite make it as long as it hasn't spoiled. Blending stock cannot be over-valued. If you have a batch that is lacking in a couple of areas (aroma, flavor, color, sweetness, acidity, tannin, mouthfeel, honey character, etc.) if you find another mead that has those character in excess, you may find a blend of two (or more) produces something that is superior to either alone. This is very common in the the wine world, but we don't talk about it enough with mead. So saving a batch that isn't spoiled, but just isn't delicious makes good sense - I have a few batches sitting around like this. I used some in a blend to a make a pyment that made it to the second round at the MCI (though it did not win any medals).

Of course, sweetening can perk up many batches and covers a multitude of sins. I've used this approach more times than I can count.

Alternatively, if you live in a jurisdiction where distillation is permitted, you can always generate a useful brandy.
 

AToE

NewBee
Registered Member
Jun 8, 2009
4,066
3
0
Calgary AB Canada
Your ABV might be the issue. Many acetobacter strains don't tolerate alcohol above around 10% ABV. Even those commercially cultivated strains that can work up to 12-14% ABV are treated to a process akin to "step feeding" where the alcohol solution is dripped into the bacteria's growth medium so they aren't subject to the shock of too much ethanol all at once.
I'll see if I can dilute it down to a little over double the volume, hould put me into the ballpark of 6% ABV.

I might do it with some kind of fruit/honey juice though, so as to not just dilute the flavour with water.
 

Chevette Girl

All around BAD EXAMPLE
Moderator
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Apr 27, 2010
8,398
18
0
Ottawa, ON
Alternatively, if you live in a jurisdiction where distillation is permitted, you can always generate a useful brandy.
I do, and I tried that with a few bottles of the kiwi wine, it just ended up being a much stronger "blah" wine... although it's been useful for boosting the alcohol content of other things, even freeze-distilled, it doesn't have a nasty alcohol bite so at least I got that much right.
 
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