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Old 02-22-2014, 11:50 PM   #1
MajorDisaster
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Default Do I really need to?

Hey guys,

I want to make some fruit wines, berries and such, but I understand they lack body and I should use a grape concentrate.

But will that make it too sweet or distract from the original flavour?

Are there any alternative ingrediants or techniques I can look at?

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Old 02-23-2014, 01:23 AM   #2
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Berry wines too low in body? I think that is a stereotype that is un-fairly added to a general berry wine. There are some fruits that do need additions but I do not want to say yay or nah if not knowing the fruit.

So my question is, what fruit specifically do you want to use? Are you just looking at juices? Whole fruit? Are you picking your own berries? Are you using store frozen berries?

A general recipe may be something like:

1 gallon batch

6lb berries (frozen placed in nylon bag, put in bucket and thawed and slightly squished)
2lb sugar
1 Camden tablet (added to must 12 hours before pectic enzyme and 24 before yeast pitch)
1 tsp pectic enzyme
1/2 tsp acid blend
Water to one gallon
Yeast (lalvin RC-212)

With most berries that produces a decent bodied wine. It can be more heavily bodied by replacing water with juice. But depending on the fruit you may or may not want to do it. If you do not want the concentrate then try something like the above and give it a go.

One thing I do in some of my concentrate wines is that I add tea or herbal tea blends to the primary and that adds some body. Just something you can take with a grain of salt.

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Old 02-23-2014, 01:27 AM   #3
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I make a lot of fruit wines. Only one uses grape concentrate, in one recipe.

There are a ton of good fruit recipes out there- some on this site (look under "recipes" in the tool bar above), and others on Jackkeller.net. I find that I prefer most fruit wines without added raisins or grape concentrate.

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Old 02-23-2014, 01:49 AM   #4
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Thanks guys that was really helpful.
I intend to expeirent with blueberries, raspberries, cherries, blackberries and plumbs etc in varying combinations including solo flavours all from frozen whole fruit.
Starting with blueberries.
Can i just whizz 'em up in a blender and strain out the pulp in a bag?


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Old 02-23-2014, 01:56 AM   #5
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Well, you could.........but you won't want to.

Fruit contains things like pectin (think jelly) and by using a blender you'd have a big mess of pulpy mush that would be impossible to rack (siphon) and it would never clear.

A good way to deal with fruit wines is to freeze the fruit first, as that helps break up the fruit cell walls, and then simply put it in a sanitized mesh bag (they have them at brew stores) and add that to a sanitized fermenter (bucket). As the fruit thaws, you can "smoosh" it up easily.

Instead of willy nilly doing this, I'd suggest a good recipe and technique to start so you don't waste time and money on things that won't turn out.

For example, for blueberry wine, I'd do this recipe (from Jackkeller.net):

BLUEBERRY WINE (3)
(Medium Bodied)
3 pts blueberries
2 lbs granulated sugar
½ tsp. pectic enzyme
1 tsp yeast nutrient
7 pt. water
wine yeast
Put water on to boil and stir in sugar until dissolved. Meanshile, wash blueberries, put in nylon straining bag and tie bag closed. In primary fermentation vessel, crush blueberries. Pour boiling water into primary and stir well, cover, and set aside to cool. Stir in yeast nutrient and pectic enzyme, recover primary and set aside for 12 hours. Add activated yeast and recover. Stir daily and press pulp in nylon bag to extract flavor. Ferment 10 days, strain juice from bag and allow to settle overnight. Siphon liquor off sediments into glass secondary and fit airlock. Rack, top up and refit airlock every 60 days until wine is clear and all signs of fermentation are at least 30 days past (6-7 months). Stabilize, wait two weeks and rack into bottles. Allow 6-12 to mature. [Adapted from Steven A. Krause's Wines from the Wilds]

It's important to remember to rack (siphon) when needed and to avoid oxygenation. The above recipe makes a fantastic blueberry wine recipe- I've done this one myself and can vouch for it.

As simple as winemaking can be, it's important to follow a few basics like using a siphon properly, and sanitizing any objects used with a food-safe sanitizer. It's easy to read up on those basics, here: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/basics.asp

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Old 02-24-2014, 12:45 AM   #6
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Thanks, Yooper, that's really helpful.
With that much racking, would I lose a lot of liquid/flavour/alcohol?

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Old 02-24-2014, 12:48 AM   #7
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Also, the primary container, does lid need to be airtight with airlock?

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Old 02-24-2014, 01:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MajorDisaster View Post
Thanks, Yooper, that's really helpful.
With that much racking, would I lose a lot of liquid/flavour/alcohol?
Yes, you lose some volume with each racking. A couple of ways around it are to make a bigger a batch- say, an extra half gallon, and store it in a jug with an airlock and bung (#6 stopper for a 1 gallon jug or 1/2 gallon growler), or to top up with a like wine. I keep some wines on hand just for topping up, but a cheap white wine from the store works well on most types of fruit wines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MajorDisaster View Post
Also, the primary container, does lid need to be airtight with airlock?
No. It needs to be covered, to keep out dust and fruitflies and stuff, but a clean towel is fine. Most wines need to be stirred in primary, to stir down the "cap" and to get rid of some c02, and it's easier without a tight lid and an airlock. By about day 5-7, the wine is racked to a carboy and airlocked and kept under airlock after that.
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:20 PM   #9
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Another comment on the "grape concentrate".
I'm kind of a purist - if I'm making an tangerine or apple wine, I don't want grapes in it!
But yeah, Jack Keller just adds grape to pretty much everything for body - I find adding more fruit gets me the body I need.
If it calls for 4 lbs fruit, I'll use 5. Or yes, more juice, less water. Same thing basically!

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