2011 Fig Wine (breba crop)

This batch was accidentally destroyed less than a month into production after the carboy cracked at the base but I'm keeping the notes here anyway for reference.  These figs were from the breba crop in early summer, which grows on last year's wood and yields larger but less numerous figs.


PM: Prepared fig juice. Ran out of pectic enzyme, so lemon/lime juice was substituted.

1st pot:
  • 1.5 gallons distilled water (next time use tap or mineral)
  • 7.875 cups sugar
  • 10 heaping cups mashed fig pulp
  • 2 Campden tablets
  • 2 tbsp acid blend
  • 1 tbsp pectic enzyme
2nd pot:
  • 1.5 gallons distilled water
  • 7.875 cups sugar
  • 10 heaping cups mashed fig pulp
  • 1 Campden tablet
  • 1 tbsp pectic enzyme
  • approx. 2 shots key lime juice + juice of a lemon (ran out of acid blend)
  • 4 cups distilled water
  • remaining pulp (residual amount from storage bags)

Bagged pulp and skins separately and let soak for 24 hours.


PM: Squeezed pulp and added skins directly into juice. Mixed in missing 2 tbsp of acid blend. pH was 3.66. Original hydrometer readings were 11% potential alcohol, 1.082 specific gravity, 20.5° Brix. Added 21 oz. sugar to yield 12% potential alcohol, 1.091 specific gravity, 22° Brix. Activated one packet of Red Star Pasteur Red yeast. Let yeast starter multiply for 2 hours, then inoculated juice. Forgot to add nutrient.


AM: Sulfur smell detected. Must is fermenting vigorously. Punched down cap.

PM: Sulfur smell is stronger. Added 12 oz. sugar in a retroactive attempt to raise Brix to 24°, 1.098 specific gravity, 13% potential alcohol. Specific gravity was then measured at 1.062, which could be misleading since alcohol production had already begun. Stirred and punched down cap.


AM: Dissolved 4.5 tsp. Fermax nutrient in 1 pt tap water, stirred into must

PM: Sulfur smell has diminished noticeably. Racked most of must into 3 gal. carboy, splashing well to aerate, then poured back into primary. Tastes fine, beginning to detect trace amounts of alcohol.


AM: Sulfur smell is virtually gone, replaced by sharp, fruity smell. Punched down cap.

PM: Punched down cap


AM: Punched down cap

PM: Punched down cap


AM: Punched down cap

PM: Punched down cap


mid-PM: Punched down cap


AM: Punched down cap, measured 3.41 pH

PM: Punched down cap, measured 0.99 specific gravity, -1.25% potential alcohol, -2.75° Brix. Poured vial of White Labs malolactic bacteria onto cap.


AM: Punched down cap. Whisk handle broke off, causing a small amount of sand contained within to fall into the must.

PM: Punched down cap. Hint of buttery mouthfeel, but not certain


AM: Agitated fermenter. Gas was released, which may indicate malolactic fermentation is underway, since primary fermentation appears to have completed to dryness.

PM: Removed and pressed skins--very little juice, mostly pale and cloudy. Racked wine into carboy and sparged excess air with argon. Will wait until testing indicates malolactic fermentation is complete before adding sulfate and re-racking.


AM: 1½” of lees clearly visible at base of carboy, thin layer of tiny bubbles at surface. A quick spin of the carboy released a small amount of bubbles.


Same as yesterday


Malic acid test kit indicates there is a large amount, however, flavor is noticeably less tart.

Carboy base cracked open. Wine ruined.