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Prosecco etc

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MisterBoy

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I've made a lot of beer kits as well as cider from kits or my own apples, even a few sparkling meads. So I'm far more used to bottle fermented brews than wine.

I'm surprised how few sparkling wine kits I see. Is it hard to do?
The closest I did was a sparkling redcurrant hydromel (weak mead), I even tried the champagne method of freezing the neck to remove sediment, but to be honest I'm not that bothered about a bit of sediment anyway

If I made a white wine kit, could I simply wait for fermentation to complete then bottle with priming sugar like beer and neglect to stabilise?

Biggest issue I see is it will always end quite dry but is there any reason it wouldn't work for wine as well as it does beer and cider?
 

stan.distortion

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Prosecco is made with a specific process, carbonated and then bottled. I've never tried it but you should be able to do the same with a beer gun. If you're not bothered about sediment then bottle priming will give you fizzy wine but as you say, it will finish dry. Killing off the yeast, pressure carbonating and filling bottles with a beer gun is about the only option for sweet fizzy wine as far as I know.
 

MisterBoy

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I can't be doing with forced carbonation... I wonder how prosecco and champagne control dryness?
I know different yeasts have slightly different profiles but in my experience of there is sugar, it gets generated.

If I don't mind dry, and I don't mind sediment, do I just leave the stabiliser out and treat it the same as beer? I have had bottle fermented prosecco with prosecco from a shop before.
 

Drunkula

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If you don't mind dryness then let it ferment out, look at a priming calculator to find out how much sugar to add for the fizz you want and then bottle. If you want crazy carbonation levels then you'll need the right bottles.

If you're staying under about 3.5 then you can use beer bottles. I do wheats in the crappiest Koppaberg bottles that are made out of candyfloss to 3.5 vols.

Sounds like you're good with that.

When this topic crops up I think a lot of us think I can't be arsed answering because there are a few methods you can do and they involve a bit of effort that they just don't want to do and you go to tons of effort explaining stuff and they go "Well I think I'll just 'ave to leave it, Vera."

Ok. You can prime and pasteurise bottles after a few days when you think it's hit the right carb level. The pasteurise has guesswork and the slight scare of bottle bombs.

You can force test the alcohol tolerance of the yeast, then give it enough food to get to that level in the fermenter, then add sugar in the bottle knowing they'll only make just the right amount of co2 before then give up... but you've got to run the force test for yourself on your particular batch of that yeast.
 

MisterBoy

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Cheers. Yeah I've done high carbonation levels before on a saison and on a hydromel (light mead). I bought a stock of decent beer bottles but I also save champage/prosecco/fancy soft-drink bottles and use plastic corks+cages.

I tried the champagne method on my saison - store upside down, freeze the neck and remove the cork to get the sediment out. It wasn't a total success and quite a lot of effort.

I tried pasteurising before. Only serious mess up I've had... bottles exploded, booze on the ceiling... I don't think I will try that again :)

---

So let's just say I'd go so far as to bottle-ferment, I might try the champagne method again, but that's probably about it. I'm happy with a dry white. If it's super dry maybe we'd use it for BBQ/breakfast bellinis!!
In terms of modifying a standard wine kit, which steps whould I leave/change? Just do exactly as I would for beer i.e. ferment, rack a couple of times, bottle with some priming sugar?

- the stabilizer kills the yeast, does it make the wine toxic to future yeast or could I stabilise then add separate priming yeast? A sachet of yeast is pretty cheap.
- if I want it to carbonate, is there any point degassing the wine?
- add the finings as normal?

Any recommendations which wines/grapes would work well?
 

stan.distortion

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Yeah, the Champagne method is pretty much a historic method that's only really still around as an aspect of Champagnes exclusivity, very French. I could've sworn Prosecco was the same, not just the region but the method used but there are indeed bottle carbonated Proseccos and even still (fizzless) Prosecco.

If you stabilise and then add yeast you'll be back to square one, the yeast will ferment the remaining sugar just as it would if you hadn't stabilised, a recipe for bottle bombs.

I'd tried bottling before fermentation had finished before, did one batch to see FG what it fermented out at and bottled another slightly before that FG. I wouldn't recommend it, far too nerve wracking and it only worked reasonably well on that first attempt, later attempts only had a very slight fizz. A better result than too much fizz but still disappointing.

For me it's come down to 2 options now, ferment dry and add priming sugar at bottling or stabilise, pressure carbonate and bottle. I don't have kegs for the latter yet, it's definitely something I'll try at some stage but the current batches I have on the go will be bottle carbonated.
 

MisterBoy

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If you stabilise and then add yeast you'll be back to square one, the yeast will ferment the remaining sugar just as it would if you hadn't stabilised, a recipe for bottle bombs.
Sorry what I meant was, you could let it finish fermenting and stabilise, then choose a different yeast which is well-suited to priming. I gather they do this in commercial brewing, the bottle fermentation uses a yeast specifally chosen for flocculation (if that's the right work) properties so the yeast sticks to the bottle, but not so good for the main fermentation.

But I'm not sure, does the stabiliser make the wine poisonous for yeast in future, or just kill the yeast then break down, a bit like no-rinse sanitiser. If you added more yeast and the stabliser was still active clearly that would do no good at all!
 

Bernie

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Yeah, the Champagne method is pretty much a historic method that's only really still around as an aspect of Champagnes exclusivity, very French. I could've sworn Prosecco was the same, not just the region but the method used but there are indeed bottle carbonated Proseccos and even still (fizzless) Prosecco.
Champagne is carbonated in the bottle by the Champenoise method while Prosecco is carbonated in a vat using the Martinotti method. Many carbonated wines are fermented in the bottle without removing the lees and seem alright.
 

MisterBoy

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In a restaurant we were once recommended such a prosecco but warned there could be some cloudiness. It was great.
 

stringman

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Jumping on this post.....
Could you secondary ferment in a pressure barrel and then pour into bottles and then cork ?
 

MisterBoy

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Jumping on this post.....
Could you secondary ferment in a pressure barrel and then pour into bottles and then cork ?
You can bottle carbonated beer but you lose a fair bit of the fizz so the same would apply. Prosecco is also far more highly carbonated than beer so I'm not sure if a standard plastic keg would manage.
You might get more of a frizzante (light sparkling wine), I would suggest chilling the keg to about 1-2C before bottling so it goes flat and you lose less gas.
Worth a try I'd say. Make sure to use strong enough bottles/caps!
 

stringman

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Mister boy
Thanks for the reply. Though thinking on it there seems little point in carbonating in a PB and then bottling ( why not just secondary i the bottle?)
Taking it a step further though could you secondary ferment in the PB and have a "draught" frizzante ?
 

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