Orange wine – pitched

Drinks, Wine Add comments

5 days ago, I spent the night with a bunch of oranges and lemons. Zesting, peeling, pithing, crushing etc. Today, i spent some more time with them. this is what it looked line:

The must after 5 days. This also included pectinase which helped break down the cells walls and release more juice.

As a reminder – I’m making the wine from this recipe:

I heated them up to just below 100 deg C (don’t want any bugs in there that shouldn’t be. I strained them to get all the bits out. I fed them 4 kg of sugar solution (found out the 1 kg of sugar in 1l of water increases the volume by just over 0.5l) and nearly drowned them with another 5l of liquid.

Straining the original must. It needed a bit of help to make it through the straining bag. This may cause it to go cloudy later on although the pectinase added at the start “should” prevent this.

And then we get to the magic part.

Giving them yeast and letting those little animals eat them and the sugar, pooping out CO2 and alcohol.

This part of the process is called “pitching”, where you pitch in your yeast…

In this case I made a “yeast starter”. So – got a bit of juice from the bucket, added some yeast starter nutrient, a bit of sugar and left it to cool a little (to lukewarm) . Shook it. Then added the yeast. Leave it for a little while till it starts to bubble (around 3 to 6 hours) and then thrown that directly into the orange and sugar mix.

Yeast starter. Sterilized jar used.

Put the lid on tightly. Insert the airlock and leave it. I did take a sample and measured the SG – it was pretty high (possibly too high) – >1120! Assuming the yeast holds out – it’s going to be pretty potent stuff at the end of it.

Shortly after, the air lock starts to bubble and you know them yeasts are doing what they should be.

They will carry on for a week or maybe more. At that point I’ll rack it from the bucket into glass demijohns and leave it to finish. This is what sometimes is called “the secondary”. You get an initial or “first” fermentation – so sort of fast and furious. Then it dies down and proceeds really slowly. This is where it’s a good idea to rack it off the lees and just leave it to do what it does – finish turning all the sugar into alcohol and then clear.

How long will that take? I honestly have no idea. I’m guessing 2 weeks for first and then maybe 2 to 3 months for secondary. After secondary – I may bottle if it’s clear or rack again and leave to clear before bottling.

In any event – we are under way.

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