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[Review] Munton's Strawberry Country Wine 6 bottle kit

Started by LordEoin, January 23, 2014, 10:43:25 AM

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January 23, 2014, 10:43:25 AM Last Edit: February 17, 2014, 09:17:37 PM by LordEoin
My Munton's strawberry wine kit arrived today. Many thanks HomeBrewWest, I've been looking forward to this all week :)
They're available at http://www.homebrewwest.ie/muntons-strawberry-country-wine-kit-6-bottle-3205-p.asp for just €9.95

Normally I'd make country wines from the hedgerow abut these kits have me intrigued!

I won't be brewing it tonight, so I'll just go over what is included in this particular kit, and any documentation that it comes with.

First of all, the tin, with a bright red paper label and a nice picture of fresh strawberries, capped with a big white plastic lid. It immediately looks wholesome ;D

The description says:

Muntons Strawberry flavour country wine - wine kit
A classic range of wine kits formulated from quality European grape concentrate, with varieties to suit all tastes.
This kit requires only sugar and water to make 6 bottles of fine wine.
The wine will be ready to drink in about 3 to 4 weeks and will improve on keeping.
Makes 6 bottles, full instructions under cap. Winemaking equipment not included. Store in a cool dry place

Can contents: Concentrated grape juice (contains preservative(sulphur dioxide)), glucose syrup, acidity regulators (citric acid, trisodium citrate)
Wine yeast(dried yeast), yeast nutrient and fining preparation (yeast nutrients, sodium bentonite), wine finings(water, mallic acid, chitosan(derived from crab and shrimp shells) preservative(sodium metabisulphite)),wine stbiliser(presertaive(sodium metabisulphite)), strawberry flavouring(grape juice, natural flavouring, water, preservative (sodium metabisulphite)).

All thouse sachets are contained under the big white lid, and marked:
sachet a - wine yeast 5.5g, sachet b - nutrafine 9.6g, sachet c - wine stabiliser 2g, Wine flavour - strawberry 76g, Sachet e - wine finings 15g

The instructions are also hiden in the lid:
Muntons 900g Country Wine kit Instructions - makes 6 bottles

Muntons country wine kits are a one gallon wine kit range, made with wuality European grape juice concentrates and concentrated real fruits, available in a variety of popular flavours.
For best results please follow these simple step:
In addition to this wine kit you will require the following items:
1. sterilising/cleaning agent
2. 16oz(450g)white granulated white sugar
3. Demijohn or suitable 4.5liter(onegallon) jar
4. bung and airlock
5. length of siphon tube
6. Funnel
7. Six wine bottles with corks, plastic stoppers or screw cap
8. wine labels and plastic shrinkable capsules

it is essential that all equipment used is both clean and sterile. We recommend that you use a good steriliser/cleaner such as 'Bruclens' according to the manufacturer's instructions

1. Empty the contents of the can into a sterilised demijohn, add 1.8liters(3pints) of cold water using a little of the water to rinse out the can.

2. Dissolve 450g (16oz) of granulated white sugar in 0.6 liters(1 pint) of boiling water, stir to dissolve, add to demijohn using a funnel.

3. Pour the contents of the wine yeast(A) and nutrafine(B) sachets and shake the demijohn gently to disperse the ingredients.Seal with bung and airlock (half fill the airlock with cold water), then transfer the demijohn to a constantly warm place 25C(77F).(do not allow the wine to go below 20C and above 30C). Within 12 hours fermentation will commence. If you have difficulty in maintaining a constant temperature, you will need to purchase a suitable heating device from your local homebrew retailer.

4. On day three, remove the bung and airlock and top up to 4.5 liters (1 gallon) with cooled boiled water - this is about 1.25cm above the demijohn shoulder Refit the bung and airlock and allow fermentation to carry on until completion. Fermentation is finished when bubbles have stopped passing through the airlock and wine begins to clear - this usually takes about 7 days. (a constant SG reading of less than 1.006 over two consecutive days will confirm that fermentation is complete).

5. At the end of the fermentation, empty the contents of the flavouring sachet(D) to the demijohn, then gently shake and leave for 24 hours. After this time empty the wine stabiliser(C) sachet into a clean cup, add two tablespoons of cold water and mix the to disolve. Then add this to the wine. Rinse out the cup with a little wine from the demijohn. Pour the contents of the wine finings(E) sachet into the demijohn and gently swirl. Over the next 24 hours regularly shake the jar gently to remove the unwanted carbon dioxide gas formed during fermentation.

6. Move the demijohn to a cool place and leave to clear(not in direct sunlight). This should take about a week. When the wine is perfectly clear, siphon it into sterilised bottles taking care not to disturb the sediment and seal with corks, plastic stoppers or screw caps.

7. Your wine is now ready to drink, but will improve considerably if left to mature. If you decide to store your wine, lay the bottles on their side in a wine rack as this will prevent spoilage of the wine caused by shrinking corks. Do not store bottled wine in direct sunlight. Plastic shrinkable caps and labels can be applied to give a truly professional finish

Special note for elderflower wine: The elderflower wine kit contains a sachet of real elderflowers and you may you may find that some of these may be siphoned into the bottle. TO avoid this you can either strain these through a sterilised plastic tea-strainer when syphoning or better still invest ina wine filtering kit which will not only remove the elderflowers but will polish the wine.

Jan 28 - Day 0
I cracked on with Steps 1-3 tonight, it took about 15 minutes total.
The must tastes fantastic, like strawberry&blackcurrant jam!

For step 1, a handy hint is to bend the can into a lip to make it easy to pour straight into the demijohn. It pours much easier than beer kit goop.
Keep the sticky can top and lick it clean. You won't regret it  ;D

When adding the yeast and nutrient sachets, just cut a little corner off them and fold open to get it all into the must without having it stick to the sides:

And when leaving it to ferment, a brew-belt works great. Figure-of-8 it around another demijohn so that each one only gets 1 wrap of heatcord. If this goes well, in the future I'll probably buy 2 different kits to have them both work at the same time. My second demijohn is just full of water at the moment:

The tin goes in the bin, but all the remaining sachets can happily go back into the plastic cap to be sealed up with the bit of cardboard that comes in it. Handy! :)
It should be bubbling away like a champ by tomorrow.
There's no point in taking an OG reading as it's just going to be topped up with water in a few days anyway.

Jan 31 - Day 3
By the way, here's where the 4.5liter mark is:

You'll see that the heat belt has been moved up the demijohn a bit, this is becase it was a little too warm in the middle.
It's a steady 25C there

Feb 8 - Day 11
Over the past few days, the bubbling has slowed to about 2 per minute.
S0 I took a gravity reading and its at 1.000, so I cracked on with step 5 and added sachet D (the strawberry flavour).
It tastes just like strawberry Mr Freeze.
Shook it up and put a bung in the top. Simple.
Now I can reclaim he brew belt and throw a stout on ;)

Feb 9 - Day 12
Dissolved the stabilizer sachet E in 2 tablespoons of water, added to the demijohn.
Emptied finings liquid sachet E.
Replaced the airlock with a solid bung and gave it a swirl.
I'll have to shake it every now and then for the next 24 hours to de-gas it.
It's a very murky pinky purple and tastes quite strong.

Feb 17 - Day 20
Bottled this tonight.
Simply syphoned gently into another demijohn, leaving the lees behind, then syphoned into bottles.
Total amount = 5.5bottles.
It's a lovely dark red and very clear. The provided finings did a great job.
The taste is light and fresh, with a strawberry aftertaste.
It's a nice zingy strawberry now that the sweetness is gobbled up.

Overall, a nice wine kit. Very well priced. Easy to use. Needs little equipment.
Only a 3week turnaround from can to bottle.
I'm looking forward to trying this again in a few months :)


Clem dog

I have one on order, hopefully to be here this week! looking forward to it on the strength of this review! 8)

So it'd need to be decent!! >:D




Quote from: LordEoin on February 17, 2014, 09:16:38 PM
How's everyone else getting on with these kits?

Well my Chardonnay has been bottled & maturing for a couple of weeks. The transfer samples, eg mouthful of syphon, were promising, just need a few more weeks to open one, then leave the rest for another month or so.

(I'll update my review thread once I've tasted it)



And it is good for the summer!
The current batch of raffles reminded me about these bottles that have been sat upstairs for 4 months now, so I decided to crack one open.

First impression is that there was very little sediment in the bottle and it all dropped out immediately after a while upright chilling in the fridge.
The wine itself is crystal clear and a lovely red colour.
I tried a few pictures but my camera doesn't do it justice:

The little blotches are just condensation on the glass. Here's a view right through the glass instead to show the clarity:

Taste wise it's exactly what it says on the tin. It's not parading around as an oak aged Chateau Boules d'âne, it's a good quality country wine.
Its better than a lot of the hedgerow wines I make and none of the hassle.

When making the kit I remember hoping that it doesn't turn out like a strawberry wine cooler, but it didn't.
The flavor pack that came with it must have been concentrated strawberry juice because it fermented out like strawberry juice without leaving any fake sweetness at all. There is some residual sweetness (think blossom hill rosé and you're not far off) that SWMBO would probably like.
You don't get much strawberry while drinking it but there's definitely nice mellow fermented strawberry aftertaste.
It would make great sangria, or on its own with a BBQ out in the sun.

Overall for value for money is excellent. you can't go wrong at a tenner for 6 bottles. So long as you're expecting a country strawberry wine you're in the right place.
Extremely easy to brew with just a demijohn and a brewbelt. No hassles.

Suggested hack: prime bottles lightly to make it slightly sparkling. I think that would work nicely.

Dr Horrible

Put one of these on on Tuesday.  First time I've done a wine, can't get over how quick and easy the whole thing was, it all started bubbling a couple of hours after adding the yeast.  The tip about using another demijohn (or 5L water bottle for me) to wrap the heatbelt round worked great.  Can definitely see opportunities to sneak a few more of these in between brews, makes a nice change from all-grain!