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Old 11-17-2008, 07:20 PM   #1
esarkipato
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I have a blackberry mead/melomel that I'd like to bottle -- my first ever. The recipe included 12 lbs honey, with 8 pounds blackberries in a 5 gallon carboy.

I know that the fermentation needs to stop (no bubbles, FG below 0.998) prior to bottling, but also that it needs to clear. The problem is that the 8 pounds of fresh blackberries gave the must a dark hue, making it hard to judge clarity. My questions are:

How can I measure the clarity of a darker wine?
Will it clear more over time, regardless of the tannins/etc that are now in the must?
Am I ready to bottle?

I have tried shining a flashlight through the carboy and looking at it from teh opposite end. It shines through bright, but with a "haze" around it.

FYI, it's been sitting for over 3 months now. Thanks in advance!

 
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Old 11-17-2008, 08:36 PM   #2
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Rack to a secondary. Take a gravity reading at that time. You'll get a lot better judgement of clarity. Also, after another 3 months in the secondary, you'll see what would have been in your bottles.

Sounds like it's going to be delicious!
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Old 11-17-2008, 08:50 PM   #3
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I've been wanting to make exactly that. It sounds wonderful.
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Old 11-17-2008, 09:09 PM   #4
esarkipato
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It's tasting very good. I think I'll try carbonating about 1/2 of it -- I can imagine it tasting like a strong lambic almost!

Oh and I forgot to mention, it's been racked 3 times already!

 
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Old 12-08-2008, 03:57 PM   #5
esarkipato
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Well this was bottled this past weekend. OG was 1.098, FG 0.998.

It tasted quite good! I added 2/3 cup of honey + 0.5 fresh blackberry juice to prime, then bottled half of it to be sparkling (beer bottles). Then added another 1/3 cup honey and pot. sorb. for the "sweet&still" half.

I think the freshly added blackberries at bottling will really contribute to a quicker drinkability. My wife and I were REALLY enjoying our taste testing as we bottled!! Great Blackberry taste, with a nice honey aroma.

Highly recommended!
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:13 PM   #6
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So you added 2/3 C of honey and 1/2 something blackberry juice too all of it. And then you added another 1/3 C of honey to the second half? If you did all this before you added the sorbate, you should keep a close watch on the second half. You need to use both sorbate and bisulphite and then wait a bit for them to work, then backsweeten. Sounds like you backsweetened then added the sorbate, you could be in a bit of trouble. What was the backsweetened hald bottled in?
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:15 PM   #7
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sounds good man, hope it lasts longer for you then mine tend to.
1 suggestion I would give is to hide a few bottles where you cant get to them and let em sit for a long time, age is good.
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Old 12-09-2008, 01:12 PM   #8
esarkipato
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Haha, that seems to be a real problem of mine with any brew. I've got 6 grolsch bottles of barleywine that are NEVER gonna reach their 1 year birthday!!

Now that I'm getting into wine/mead I'm going to have to develop a lock and (hide the) key strategy.
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Old 12-09-2008, 01:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tusch View Post
So you added 2/3 C of honey and 1/2 something blackberry juice too all of it. And then you added another 1/3 C of honey to the second half? If you did all this before you added the sorbate, you should keep a close watch on the second half. You need to use both sorbate and bisulphite and then wait a bit for them to work, then backsweeten. Sounds like you backsweetened then added the sorbate, you could be in a bit of trouble. What was the backsweetened hald bottled in?
That's a good acct of what I added. The 1/2 cup was just fresh crushed blackberry juice, so not much sugar there.

I have since come to this realization that there may be bottle bombs in my basement. I'm definitely going to keep a close eye on those bottles. They are in corked wine bottles <gulp>, but at least we use a floor corker with #9 corks.

When could I expect them to start popping? Within a week?
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Old 12-09-2008, 01:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esarkipato View Post
That's a good acct of what I added. The 1/2 cup was just fresh crushed blackberry juice, so not much sugar there.

I have since come to this realization that there may be bottle bombs in my basement. I'm definitely going to keep a close eye on those bottles. They are in corked wine bottles <gulp>, but at least we use a floor corker with #9 corks.

When could I expect them to start popping? Within a week?
It's hard to say when they'll pop their corks or explode. Maybe not within a week. I'd pull out the corks and put them back in a carboy (gently as to not aerate) and check the SG for a month or two. If you'd rather not do that, you could try opening a bottle in a week or so and see if it's carbonated. If it's carbonated, then it's fermenting.

What I recommend is stabilizing first, then waiting a few days and then sweeten. Wait a few more days (to make sure fermentation isn't going to restart) and then bottle.
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