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Joe’s Wine Making Adventure – Installment 4: The Fire Breathing Dragon!

To read the previous installment in Joe’s Wine Making Adventure click here.

It’s been a while since we added to the continuing saga of Joe’s journey toward good homemade wine.  That’s not to say he hasn’t been busy over the last six months, because he has.  It’s just been that he hasn’t had time to document things until recently.  So we’ll catch up with him over the next few weeks and see where the juice stands, and give you the first hints of whether this whole thing is going to work out.  If nothing else it has certainly been a learning experience, for me and definitely for Joe.  After all, he’s doing all the work.

This installment: The Fire Breathing Dragon

“The time came to rack the wine, which is the process of transferring from one container to another in order to remove the sediment from the bottom.  I decided to try and make a correction to reverse the effects of the extra acid I added to my first batch during fermentation.  The processes seemed straight CIMG2112forward, measure pH and add the appropriate amount of potassium bicarbonate.  This is a basic material, similar to baking soda except potassium is used as opposed to sodium so as not to make wine taste salty.  (you don’t want salty wine!) Think back to your elementary school days when your crazy science teacher mixed baking soda and vinegar together.  Well let’s just say I should have thought about it a little first.  I added the powdered potassium bicarbonate to the 5 gallon carboy, and as they say at NASA we have LIFT OFF!!!!  Instantly it began to fizz and I do not mean a little, pink foam started to shoot out of the top all over my work shop floor.  In a pure instinct driven reaction I reached for the air lock to seal off the flow, and once again should have known better.   I soon realized I could not hold it back as foam started spewing out and the pressure was building.  I was left with the only other option of letting it run its course as I ran for the paper towels.  I like to think I am a quick learner, but carboy number two had a similar issue, although this time I added wine slowly to a glass beaker containing the potassium bicarbonate to try and neutralize it first.  Unfortunately, I did not add enough and it had a similar reaction as the first when I poured it into the 5 gallon carboy.  I guess some of us are actually slower learners than others.  I continued racking the other 2 carboys into 1 and a few smaller bottles without issue.  In tasting the wine I had made the adjustments to, it was definitely rounder and not as harsh on the mouth.  Based on analysis though it was not well balanced since the pH was high and the total acidity remained high.”

Well that was exciting!  Explosion was not an expected outcome when I started following Joe, but he does deal with energetic materials for a living, so if anyone could figure out how to blow up the wine it might be him.  In fairness, I never would have thought of it either.  I’m just glad it happened at his house.

Joe still has to finish a few things before the wine is ready to sit for final aging and drinking.  We’ll add the next installment very soon, as we continue to catch up.

To read the next installment click here.  Installment 5 – Clarifying Times

And yes – I have tasted it and will report on that after the next time I get to taste it.

A votre sante!

2 comments to Joe’s Wine Making Adventure – Installment 4: The Fire Breathing Dragon!

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