Making a faux port . My source of ethanol fell through so I used the sugar feeding method . Albeit a modified version of it.
Unlike a traditional method where you add a big dose of high alcohol to raise the alcohol level to 20% and kill the yeast stopping the ferment and leaving 10% residual sugar ….
The sugar feeding method works by using a high alcohol tolerant yeast , in this case ec1118 , large dose 25 grams.
So I took 150lbs of my base crushed grape must , Cabernet franc ( because I had more than I needed for my blends) and adjusted to 28 brix .
You can use sugar but I like to use some concentrate , a bag from a wine kit works. This gives the must more color , intense fruit flavours, some acid and tannins. I’ve found when concentrate is in the minority of a grape must it doesn’t give any KT.
I had a port kit on hand , I’ve been meaning to make for ages.
So I used that but you can use any red kit , a cheap 4 week one is fine but the better the raw materials the better the port
A bag from a wine kit is about right to tweak 100 lbs of must.
The adjusted must is now 28 brix , I added some oak powder , 4 grams of lallzyme EXV which is about 4 times the standard dose ( I want to really extract the grape skins) some optired stirred like mad and the next morning pitched the ec1118
Ec1118 has an alcohol tolerance of 18% but I’ve seen it go to 20 .
28 brix will give you about 16% alcohol.
Once I saw a cap start to rise I added 1/2 g per gallon of fermaid K . I added another dose when it hit 20 brix.
punch it down 4 times a day .
When it hit 10 brix i brought the brix up to 14 brix using sugar dissolved in hot water to make a simple syrup ,then when it got back down to 10 I bumped it up again. Repeat until the yeast dies and the brix won’t drop . No movement over 2 days .
When it dies you should have about 18% alcohol and 8-12% residual sugar depending on when it stopped fermenting.
Keep punching it down and press when the cap sinks .
Rack off the gross lees after a day .
Add a bottle of brandy adjust sugar if needed , so2 and then barrel age for a year or more.
A couple notes , if your base must is something like a California Zinfandel for example where it starts at 28 brix then there is no need to make an initial sugar adjustment , save your concentrate for the first sugar bump ( if you don’t have concentrate sugar is ok) then use sugar for following bumps
I’ve made port this way a few times and find the results better than letting a wine go dry then fortifying and back sweetening
I’ve pressed and racked this port , it stuck at 12 brix residual sugar and based on the sugar the yeast consumed it should be 18% alcohol. I’m letting it settle a bit and I’ve added 60ppm so2 . I ended up with 57 litres of port. I decided not to sorbate it , not needed as its unlikely the ferment will restart. and I’m going to put it in an older15 gallon neutral barrel with some stavin cubes or stave segments , probably a mix of french and american. I’ll let the fine lees settle out and rack as clean as I can , maybe even do a 2 micron filter as I fill the barrel . I will add a bottle of e&j vsop brandy for flavour .