What will the tannin provide? I must be confused on the terms. How much
should I start with? I've seen cider recipes calling for anywhere from 1/4
tsp to 3 tsp. The fist time I made this cider without any additions it
turned out a little bland. I'll be using the same juice and yeast this time.
I also have an acid titration kit and some acid blend that I will use to
adjust the acidity.
Lots of newbie questions lately. Confusion reigns. I suggest reading
excellent on-line winemaking books written by long time posters to
The Home Winemakers Manual by Lum Eisenman
The Winemaking Home Page by Jack Keller
Improved Winemaking by Ben Rotter
Also, my favorite hard copy is Modern Winemaking by Plilip Jackisch. From
Vines to Wines by Jeff Cox is excellent for anyone interested in growing
grapes as well as making wine.
You may still have questions after reviewing the above but you will know a
whole lot more about the art and science of winemaking.
Tannin adds a bite to the wine. A kid of zest. Some might even call it a
pleasant harshness. It is what causes the kind of mile pucker effect when
you drink a strong tea. It does bring out the life in a wine. Acid add the
sour, tart taste to wine. Both are important and it is important that they
be balanced. There are no tests except for taste when it comes to tannin.
You can get an acid test kit to get you in the ball park for acid and this
might be a good idea. They are not hard to use. But even then, once you
are in the ball park you may need to make small adjustments by taste.
If you are new to this and you can really taste a deficiency here, my guess
is that you are pretty far off. A test kit would be a good idea. They are
cheap. Test it, and correct it with acid blend. Then taste it and do
further corrections as necessary.
Then as an experiment, draw off about a liter of your wine and try adding
small amounts of tannin (1/8 tsp or less) and note the effect. Decide if
you need to add to the entire batch. This will not damage anything and if
you decide that you do not need to correct for tannin, you can still mix the
1 litter batch back in with no ill effects if you did not go way too far.
Consider this part of the learning experience.
Most anyone will tell you that it is better to adjust acid and tanning
early, even before fermentation. But they are best fine tuned by taste.
And unless you are a real expert at tasting, you are not going to be able to
discount the sugar before fermentation. Sugar masks both acid and tannin.
I recommend that you adjust acid to ballpark using your acid kit and add as
much tannin as you think you may need or as your recipe calls for. But be
careful not to over do it. It is not easy to take it out. Then to final
adjustments after fermentation by taste. I have done some really big
adjustments up to 2 or even 3 years after fermentation and they came out
fine. Yea, that is not the best, but it worked and it was 2 or 3 years too
late to do what was best.
When you can not the what is best, do the best you can do. ;o) In general,
no one will know the difference unless you tell them.
I did just that. The acid test showed the acid content was about where it
should be 0.6, but I added 1 tsp of acid blend anyway. I tested the pH with
a paper strip and it came out at 3.6, also about where it should be I
believe. I also added 1 tsp of the tannin. I wasn't going on any kind of
recipe, but the amounts I added were at or below most recipes I have seen so
I thought that would be a safe starting point.
I'll test and taste it again when I transfer it over to the secondary and
make more adjustements then.