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So I thought hot on the tail of getting some good results recently with my Rum & Vodka trials I would give some brandy/cognac a whirl...
My plans are as follows:
Use the last of my neutral white concentrated grape juice and dilute it down to an SG of 1.065, ferment it with Fermentis Safspirits FD-3 at 18 Degrees dropping 14 deg after 1/4 fermentation (based on the OEM's advice). I will also use Fermaid and Go-Ferm as usual. Once primary fermentation is complete I plan to add Lalvin VP41 (Oenococcus oeni Bacteria) to induce maolactic fermentation.
My plan is to ferment 200L, strip it and then ferment another 200L, strip 180L of that and set 20L aside. For the spirit run I was going to throw the 20L in with the low wines based on what a lot of people have discussed on other threads here.
With the ageing I have a 25L barrel (Ex red wine & port, then re-coopered and 1 whisky) I am planning on putting it in. However, I did read in Fermented Beverage Production that it is common for Cognac to be aged for around 6 months in new barrels before being put into older ones for long term ageing (at 55% ABV). My thoughts are to put it on Medium Toast American oak dominoes at 65% for up to six months (to try and get those vanillins in there) before reducing it to 55% and transferring to the barrel.
I was just wondering if anyone has any experience with something similar (especially with the ageing side of things) that they might be able to share or give some pointers? Or any advice on monitoring MLF progress as when I googled it, it got quite detailed, scientific and expensive...
P.S. I was thinking about calling it Corona Cognac...