Apple Wine 2008

Apple Harvest on 9/23/2008

Normally I use my own apples to supplement store bought juice in my apple wine, but this year I had more fruit available so I decided to make it exclusively from my own apples. I followed the same procedure as last year.


12.8 lb (5.8 kg) of roxbury russet, ashmead kernel, and liberty apples
0.25 tsp tannin
0.5 tsp Diammonium Phosphate (DAP, a yeast nutrient)
1 tsp pectic enzyme
Lavlin 71-B yeast from starter

Chop & juice the apples

I don’t have enough apples to justify an apple grinder, but I’ve got too many for a juicer. With no alternative, I used the juicer anyway, and it did the job. One downside to using the juicer is that you have to chop the apples to make them fit in the chute. Another is that you have to stop and clean out the filter frequently. The Lady of the House helped, and that made it a lot easier; she chopped, and I operated the juicer. In the end, the 12.8 lb of apples yielded 2.5 quarts (2.4 liters) of cloudy brown juice. I added sulfite at the beginning and pectic enzyme at the end.

Adjust the sugar and acid

Suspended solids made the juice brown and cloudy. They would also throw off the specific gravity (SG) reading by making the liquid more dense, so I ran about a cup (250 ml) through a coffee filter to get clear golden juice (this took almost an hour, and involved changing the coffee filter halfway through). In the meantime, I was calibrating my pH meter and setting up my new acid test contraption (I really need a clever name for that). I quickly measured the filtered sample:

SG: 1.046, pH: 3.08, titratable acidity (TA): 5.9 g/L, as tartaric

I’m using honey, like I did last year, to bring the SG up to 1.090. This equation determines how much honey to add:

VH = VI * (SGT – SGI) / (SGH – SGT)

VH is the volume of honey – that’s what I’m trying to find
VI is the initial volume – 2.4 liters
SGT is the target SG – 1.090
SGI is the initial SG – 1.046
SGH is the SG of honey – 1.417 (at 18% water)

so …

VH = 2.4L * (1.090 – 1.046) / (1.417 – 1.090) = 0.3L

Measuring HoneyTo measure out 0.3L (300 ml) of crystalized honey, I added 200 ml of apple juice to a measuring cup. Then I added scoops of honey until the liquid reached the 500 ml line. After some stirring and dissolving, I added it to the rest of the juice then measured another filtered sample – SG 1.090 on the nose!

With the TA at about 6 g/L, I decided not to adjust the acid until it ferments out.

Turn it over to the yeast

After that it was as simple as adding the DAP and tannin, dissolving them in a little water first, then pitching the yeast. It’s been several months since I made wine, and its good to be back. I’m excited to see how my first “estate bottled” apple wine turns out, and I’ll be sure to post updates.

Apple wine from store-bought juice: less work, easy cleanup

Would you rather have someone else juice the apples? Someone with efficient, state-of-the-art equipment? And while he was at it, clean up afterwards? Buy store-bought juice. Then use the recipe I made for Leslie to make apple wine with less work and easy cleanup!

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5 thoughts on “Apple Wine 2008

  1. John

    Hey, Erroll.

    Did I follow this right: you are only making a half gallon of must? If so, there won’t be much finished wine. Am I missing something here? I hope your apple wine and apple mead both come out well!

    I’ll keep you posted on my first batch of apple wine, which is still “cooking” on the kitchen table alongside my blueberry wine, which is still bubbling fairly vigorously after two weeks in the secondary.

    – John

  2. Erroll Post author


    You’re right, it’s only about half a gallon. I usually buy juice and toss my own apples in, but this year I really wanted to make wine just from my own apples!

    It sounds like your wines are coming along nicely. I can’t wait to hear how they turn out.


  3. MJ

    I made 3-5 Gallons of crabapple wine from a mixture of crabapple varities. This was prior to discovering your website. I used some crabs, very red in color, the size of quarter, and to “juice these, I used 1 ice-cream pail of destemmed, blossom-end removed apples in one large commercial-size ice cream pails (gotten at the local ice cream shop for $1.00/pail). To this pail of apples, add 4 tablespoons of Cream of Tartar and then pour boiling water over the top and let sit minimum 24 hours. I let a few set up to three days, strain out the juice; I strained through 8 layers of muslin and got extremely clear juice, it was a gorgeous pink, no sediment.

    To this plain juice I added sugar. After some discussions and thinking, “if prisoners can make it out of tomatoes stolen from the cafeteria” I can make wine in my kitchen. It has been “cooking” and fermenting since mid-August. I took a wine witch out to have a taste with some experienced wine makers, my wine passed the test, and it’s only aged in the carboy for 8 months. I am about to start racking for the first time and hope to have them bottled by the end of July. No rush as I don’t want all that energy expended in picking crab apples and hot August nights gone to waste.

    Have you heard of anyone else deriving their crap apple juice in this manner?


  4. MJ

    I’ve had my crab apple wine in carboys since last September. I recently racked it for the first time. One of the carboys is about 3 inches below the neck of it. Do I need to worry about this air space creating “vinegar” after all my labor and time? All of the carboys still have their airlocks.


  5. Erroll Post author

    Hi MJ,

    I would top up the carboy that is low. Use another apple wine if you have it, another white wine will do, but even water would be better than allowing too much air in the carboy. You’ve come too far to risk oxidation now!


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