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Wild Apple Wine

This double batch was made from several pounds of wild apples courtesy Jim Gunn. I followed my previous crabapple recipe, crushed apples in a nylon bag, 12 pounds of sugar, pectic enzyme, acid blend, yeast nutrient, grape tannin and campden tablets. Yeast: Lalvin K1-V1116.

Batch #1

Status Date Specific Gravity Fluid Temp. Air Temp.
Primary Fermentation 2011-06-03 AM 1.120 70°F 85°F
Secondary Fermentation 2011-06-09 PM 65°F
Clearing 2011-06-29 PM °F
Second Clearing 2011-07-10 PM
Tertiary Clearing 2011-07-24 PM
Quaternary Clearing 2011-08-07 PM
Quinary Clearing 2011-08-21 PM
Bottling 2011-12-12 PM

Primary Fermentation

Got up at 5:30 a.m. and crushed 22 pounds of wild apples (avg. diameter 1″) in 1.5 hours. Combined the resulting massive pile of mashed apple with several gallons of hot water + sugar solution (about 12 pounds of sugar) and everything else except the yeast right before I had to leave for work at 9 a.m. Then pitched the yeast at 9 p.m. and it was already aggressively fermenting by morning. Fingers crossed that the other 25 pounds of apples isn’t over-ripe by the time I can start the second batch. Might need to consider buying a second primary fermenter.

Secondary Fermentation

By the time I removed the mesh sack full of apple pulp and drained and squeezed everything I could out of them I was still at least a half-gallon short of 6 gallons. So I added water and stirred a little. Also, quite a bit of light lees went into the carboy. That’s not a problem in my eyes, but it does mean I’ll probably need to add more water down the road. Two hours after the transfer and addition of water fermentation became noticeable again. 2011-06-19: fermentation has all but stopped. A lot of orange pulp has settled to the bottom of the carboy.

Clearing

At this point the notes for both batches is the same. Continued below.

Batch #2

Status Date Specific Gravity Fluid Temp. Air Temp.
Primary Fermentation 2011-06-09 PM 1.122 70°F 82°F
Secondary Fermentation 2011-06-17 AM 65°F
Clearing 2011-06-29 PM °F
Second Clearing 2011-07-10 PM
Tertiary Clearing 2011-07-24
Quaternary Clearing 2011-08-07
Quinary Clearing 2011-08-21
Bottling 2011-12-12 PM

Primary Fermentation

See the #1 batch details. We don’t have a giant refrigerator, so these apples have been sitting on a table in my basement for seven days since I started the first batch. Needless to say, the apples were much more ripe this time around. I even included apples that were slightly overripe, thinking that they might have a positive impact on the overall flavor. Another thing I’m trying – rather than opening another bag of yeast – is to keep the lees of the first batch’s primary fermentation. I have about 2 cups of lees that is still fermenting. I fed it a little fruit juice and some sugar as I was preparing the second must. Hopefully it’s nice and lively come time to pitch the yeast.

Secondary Fermentation

This second batch is a bit darker in color, more amber than yellow right now. More like cider I guess. After racking into the carboy it didn’t seem to be fermenting, even after a full day. 2011-06-19: fermentation is picking back up. Still not much more aggressive than the current state of the first batch which was started a week earlier. Perhaps using the lees from the first batch to start fermentation gave the yeast a big head start and I could have racked this wine earlier?

Clearing

Added 6 crushed Campden tablets and stirred a lot of carbon dioxide out. 2011-07-07: Racked off of lees and lots of pulp. Topped-up with about 1/2 gallon of water. 2011-07-24: very little lees settling out, wine still cloudy 2011-08-07: This and the other batch of Jim’s Little Apple are still very cloudy. Added a bag of chitosan and stirred it up. Unfortunately I’ve already racked these wines off of their lees, so perhaps the chitosan will do no good. If no progress is made, I’ll mix in the lees from the Sauvignon Blanc that is clearing right now (I’m not even recording the process on that wine, since it’s a very simple kit).

2011-08-21: Wine has remained cloudy. Today, after racking an almost perfectly cleared Sauvignon Blanc batch, I evenly distributed the Sauv. Blanc’s lees into these two apple wine batches. I then racked them both and stirred them up. My hope is that reintroducing some lees will allow the wine to clear. 2011-09-17: Over the last few weeks I have re-introduced lees (from Sauv. Blanc) and also used Chitain and another “Super Klear” chitain and something else mix to no avail. Finally realized the problem was a Pectin Haze. Last weekend added pectic enzyme to both batches. This week they started clearing. Will rack and add more pectic enzyme this weekend.

2011-12-12: The final wine ended up having a very light flavor. To create a more interesting wine I blended 6 gallons of Crabapple wine with 12 gallons of this “Wild Apple” wine. Once those were all well blended I also added a bit of brandy to the mix for a little flavor and kick. The end result is, I think, a pleasant white wine with a light apple flavor.