Winexpert port

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Deaconbrau

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I first encountered Winexpert kits after an attempt to placate my better half, having buried the kitchen in bottles and fermenters. I asked if there was anything she wanted us to make and as a major port fiend, she asked if it was possible to make some. I looked for a recipe, but didn't fancy anything that involved adding another drink to a kit. So, I asked during the next visit to my local homebrew shop and the recommended this kit. I was also treated to a taste of their chocolate and raspberry version (which was delicious, but alas not available at that time of year) so I decided to take the plunge and try the normal port.
I must confess that I was expecting a tin of concentrate a la wikos, but was shocked to be presented with a large, surprisingly heavy box. Upon opening I discovered that there was no concentrate just a large plastic bag of grape juice, which filled most of the box. (The caps are fixed very tightly, and I recommend gently prizing it off with your fingernails under the protruding rim and your knuckles nestling in the nape of the bag - Its the best way I've found to avoid painting your kitchen red!)
The kit comes with comprehensive instructions, although the fermentation times were optimistic. The kit contains a couple of sachets of yeast and other chemicals, along with some oak chippings to give it that aged taste. There was also an extra 500g of sugar to be added after a week, to increase the alcohol content and bring it closer to commercially produced fortified wines.
I used a normal 23l fermenter and it worked out fine (although I confess to fretting over the large airspace the entire time, repeat brewings saw me using large bottle from a work water fountain and eventually a 3 gallon jar)
After racking and settling, the resulting wine was smooth but quite sweet with a nice feel in the mouth. It improved considerably with age - 3 months and it rivalled a standard commercial brand, 6 months gave it a Late Bottled vintage feel. However it remains a little sweet for my taste. However I discovered (quite by accident) that chilling the port also improves it markedly. That may sound like heresy for real port lovers but it seriously did.
This was a very easy to make, no faffing about with added water.
While expensive for a wine kit, £50 for 15 bottles, the kit reeked of quality. The box was thick cardboard and was serrated to allow the bag to be fixed for easy pouring. The yeast was a top of the range brand, and the extras were top of the range too.
The end product was also really good.
I was a complete novice when I first tried this and I got an excellent product for a beginner. I still use their kits now, as the preparation time is minimal for such a good end result. I realise that experienced brewers may scoff at the price and the simplicity but I understand that port can be notoriously difficult. As such I heartily recommend for anyone try it, at least once.
 

calumscott

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Never heard of these but it sounds really impressive.

What was the ABV of the resulting wine in the end?
 

Deaconbrau

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calumscott, I'm afraid that the abv is unclear. The starting gravity was 1130 and it eventually finished 1020 giving a 14.6% abv. However a further 500g of dextrose was added and I forgot to write down the gravity at that specific time so the end result will be higher...
 

calumscott

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Well that's not bad!! I'm guessing because I can't be bothered calculating but that sugar should give another couple of points taking you to the 17%+ range.

Very interesting indeed, thanks for sharing!
 

Deaconbrau

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Just wanted to add that I popped open a bottle of the port that I bottled in Aug 2012, so 17 months on, this has matured brilliantly and is now absolutely delicious! All thickened and mellow! Your patience will be rewarded!
 
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