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Old 12-05-2012, 12:49 AM   #1
eichenwald
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Default First time Blackberry Wine, what happened?

Done a couple 5 gal beer kits so far but this is my first time for wine, so bear with me.

I started a 1 gallon batch of blackberry wine according to this recipe

  • 4 lb. blackberries (fresh)
  • 2-1/4 lb. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pectic enzyme
  • 1/2 tsp. acid blend
  • crushed Campden tablet
  • 7 pts. water
  • wine yeast and nutrient

I added in 2 lb blueberries (fresh) to this and added an additional cup of sugar, my OG was 1.096.

Some notes, I did a boil extraction mashing the fruit and then straining the juice, ended up with a little over 2 pints of juice. Since I had 2 pints juice, I droped my water down to 6 pts.

I added the juice and the rest of ingredients except yeast, placed the left over fruit skins and fruit material that didn't have the juice fully extracted/squeezed into the nylon bag all into the 2 gal primary fermenter, stirred in crushed campden tablet and placed the lid on it. It has a hole in lid for putting an airlock but it was unclear whether to use it yet so I never put the airlock in the hole. After 24 hours I stirred the must and added a packet of Montrachet wine yeast. I didn't know if I needed the whole packet since I thought it would do a large batch but I added the entire packet. I then placed the lid back on primary fermenter without inserting airlock or covering the hole for it, felt like I should from experience with beer primary fermentation but instructions I had seemed to indicate not to.

I proceeded to stir the must daily and after 2nd day could start to get a smell of some alcohol and rotting fruit type smell. The recipe said after 5 days to check if S.G. was below 1.030 and if so to move to secondary glass fermentor. On the 5th day I removed the nylon bag, stirred the must and took a sample of wine in the test jar and my S.G was clear down to 1.000 after only 5 days? The must had a definite alcohol aroma and also doesn't smell the best. I proceeded to syphon to 1 gal glass carboy and attach airlock and quite a bit of gas is escaping out of the airlock at this point.

What could of caused my S.G to drop down to 1.000 from 1.096 in only 5 days??? I thought this would take more like 2 - 3 weeks...

The other question I had was, did I mess up not attaching the airlock during primary fermentation? I made sure to sterilize stirring equipment before each stir as well as the wine thief for taking samples. Is the undesirable "rotting fruit" smell normal during the fermentation process or do I possibly have some undesirable bacteria in the must?
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:53 AM   #2
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It's very typical to get to under 1.010 in 3-5 days. That's the sign of a healthy fermentation- if it took weeks then I'd be very concerned. "Rotting fruit" is the reason to rack after no more than 5 days- to get it off of the fruit.

Make sure it's topped up now in the carboy, and let it sit for at least 60 days unless the lees get more than 1/4" thick in a month, then you can rack sooner. Otherwise, keep it topped up and airlocked and covered (no light) and it'll be fine.

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Old 12-05-2012, 12:55 AM   #3
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Your drop in SG in 5 days is not unusual. You probably were fermenting on the warm side to speed things along.

I keep the fermenting fruit moist by punching it back down into the liquid twice daily. I think this cuts down on the rotting smell you were getting.

If the smell is of sulfur, you might be getting a hydrogen sulfite reaction. This can be alleviated by "splash racking".

Sounds like you are on the right track. Report back as you progress and let us know how it turned out.

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Old 12-05-2012, 03:29 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info/tips. We'll see how it goes.

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Old 12-11-2012, 04:59 PM   #5
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Sounds like you did everything exactly right,you might want to cover the jar with a paper bag to keep the light out since this is a red wine. WVMJ

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