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Concord wine with hot finish

Hi everyone,

I am new at wine making but have made hard cider a few times and I am an accomplished beer brewer. My current project is a 5 gallon batch of concord wine. This was started on March 16, made from Welch’s Concord Grape juice with 7 pounds of crushed seedless grapes (black) added. Original brix was 16.5, I added enough sugar to bring it to 20.5. Ph was tested at 3.4, I added yeast nutrient and used Red Star Montrachet yeast. I punched the cap twice a day and racked at 1 week. Fermentation was pretty vigorous. Fermentation bucket thermometer never went over the high 70’s. It has been racked one other time and it is in a glass carboy. I just checked the ph (3.6) and tasted a sample and it has a nice Concord nose and nice flavor but has a hot finish which I was surprised at. What’s this about? Will this soften with age? At 11-12% alcohol, I am surprised at this “burn”. Is there anything I can do to soften this? What can I do in the future to prevent this? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Tony

Decipher: you added ~2lbs of sugar?

I would not think that would push you over, but it might.

I’m more worried about the fermentation temps being in the upper 70’s.

It’s only been ~3 months sense fermentation was done. Give it some time to mellow out.

What is the ABV?

I added 1 pound 14 ounces of sugar to bring to Brix to 20.5, ABV is about 11.8%. The fermenting temp was in the mid to upper 70’s but well within the yeast’s working temps. I can see the yeast giving off strong esters or flavors but not causing a warm swallow… I am leaning towards the sugar addition causing this. Now…will this fade with time? I recently racked this into a clean carboy and added 1 ounce of medium toast oak chips. I will check it in 30 days to see where we are at.

Any thoughts?


“Well within yeast working temps” does not equal “best result will be obtained”.

Give it time. 30 days may not be enough time. In other words, bottle it when it clears to your liking. Open one bottle every 2 months and see how it’s doing.

You might want to bottle several smaller bottles if you feel it’s not drinkable as is. That way you don’t have to drink 750ml of substandard wine.

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