Speciale Chocolate Raspberry Port, Temperature Key to Success
A special feature about making one of Winexpert’s Speciale Chocolate Raspberry Port wine kits is that they ferment and finish on schedule, and are very easy to work with. Because they are made at full strength, with no addition of water, the winemaker does not have issues with under- or over-dilution.
The primary variable that will have an effect on how well the kit turns out is one that Winexpert can’t control – the temperature at which the wine is fermented. The kit must be pitched above 18C/65F, and for high-volume processing that requires on-time transfers (for example, when made in an on-premise environment), that temperature should be raised to 25-28C/75-80F.
The fact that water is not introduced, while being an advantage in one way, also means that you can’t use hot water to influence and increase the temperature of the must if it is too low. Therefore, you need to store the kit in a room at 25C/75F or higher. This also means that if you’ve gotten a kit that just came from the cool floor of a shop, or one that was just taken off a truck, you need to hold it for at least 12 hours in an area that has the appropriate temperature, before it can be used.
If you pitch yeast in a port kit with a temperature below 18C/65F, you are absolutely guaranteed to experience difficulty with fermentation, and possibly with clearing. It doesn’t even matter if you then raise the temperature of the wine to 25C/75F. A kit that has been pitched below 18C/65F and then gets a heat belt put on it will not be trouble-free. A kit that is pitched at 16C/60F and then warmed up will be very slow to finish fermentation—if it ever does.
Keep careful written notes and measurements to ensure that you have the right temperatures from the very beginning. That way, your future Port kits will result in a delicious beverage. But in the meantime, there are still things you can try if you do find yourself encountering problems.
If you know you have a stuck fermentation on your hands, first try these steps:
- Ensure that the must is warmed to between 25-28C/75-80F.
- Stir very well, to rouse the yeast back into suspension.
- Wait two days and re-check your specific gravity readings and the temperature; be sure to maintain it at 25-28C/75-80F.
If this fails to re-start the fermentation, you may choose from a couple of other possible remedies:
- Do nothing. If the gravity is 1.008 or less, the difference in the outcome of the kit will be minimal. While this is not an ideal situation, the flavour profile in this kit is very strong, and any difference will not be noticeable.
- In an on-premise setting, you can harvest yeast sediment from another wine kit on a day 5-7 racking. This will provide a large amount of alcohol tolerant yeast that you can stir into suspension, to drive fermentation to completion. Again, ensure that the must is between 25-28C/75-80F.
- Another kit may be started at the correct temperature, and when it is going full-swing, you can blend the two together to finish out correctly.
Written by Phyl on April 4, 2011.
Last edited by Phyl on April 4, 2011.