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Old 02-11-2014, 05:04 AM   #1
DougBrown
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Default slow blueberry ferment

My blueberry wine has been underway now for 3 months and the SG is now only 1.030 (it has come down from an OG of 1.090). I'm a very experienced fruit wine maker - hundreds of batches over time - and all my others have gone well, and taste great. This is the second blueberry batch I've made and the other one was really slow too although it finally did finish at .998. Is there something about blueberries I should know about, or do blueberries require special treatment?

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Old 02-11-2014, 01:11 PM   #2
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Hmm. My blueberries ferment just fine. I add them to several wines as well as keeping them pure. No problems so far. Cranberries are painfully slow however!
I find that hurry up and wait works. If that does not work racking or a breif stir will start it up agin. I know we should not be introducing air to the wine, but that has restarted stuck wines for me. A little energizer can help. If a little sprinkled in makes it fizz then I add a half a teaspoon full (5gal batch) if there is no fizz then I don't bother adding any more.
Do you have any grape juice added to your blueberry must? Yeasties love grapes. Maybe at this point you may want to make a yeast starter with grape juice and add it to the stalled blueberrie. A little grape will not effect the flavor.

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Old 02-11-2014, 01:25 PM   #3
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I've done several batches of blueberry over the last couple of years, they've all turned out great with no problems fermenting.

What temperature is the must? Perhaps strapping on a brew belt would help it along? Or you could just sit back and wait, it'll get there.

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Old 02-11-2014, 02:23 PM   #4
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Blueberries have a higher concentration of benzoic acid than in most other berries. So they have a tendency to be slightly more difficult to ferment.

Most quick recipes I have seen include using grape juice/purée along with blueberries or another berry type along with the blueberries.

If doing a strait blueberry wine then within the first three days to a week during the replication life cycle of your yeast colony it is important to use plenty of O2, basically whipping up the wine to gass off CO2 and to mix in a bit more O2 into the wine and also stepping nutrients helps. If you get a good strong colony within that first week it should ferment quickly.

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Old 02-11-2014, 11:18 PM   #5
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A good yeast starter may also help get things going from the start. They are never a bad idea if you can set aside the time and plan to make one in advance.

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Old 02-12-2014, 04:26 AM   #6
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I got a good ferment going in the beginning (both times) and I did raise the pH (to 3.8) so I think I did everything right. I don't think it's actually 'stuck' but the slowness puzzles me. I've made a blueberry/grape blend in the past and my memory doesn't think that one was slow. I'll just wait it out. Thanks guys.

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Old 02-12-2014, 07:24 AM   #7
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I had a straight blueberry wine stop around 1040. I tried several times to restart it to no avail, but eventually I figured out a trick. I fermented dry a basic mead and combined it with the blueberry. I figured at worst I'd have something around 1015-1020, totally drinkable, but as luck would have it the yeast in the mead took out the remaining sugars in the blueberry and I got a really nice, completely dry melomel out of it.

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