Backsweetening/flavoring blackberry wine (Beginner questions)

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Jonas Nielsen

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Hello!

I've been doing my first brew with a batch of blackberries, from what I can see the more experienced users here tends to only use the berries and don't add water. My ratio was closer to 1kg/1kg/3.4L for berry/sugar/water. So somewhat thin, but it was what most recipes i found at the time suggested me.

Background:
For yeast, nutrition, pectolaze etc I used a kit from better brew "Hedgerow wine kit" which also contained stabilizor, finnings A and B (one glassy other clear). Pretty much all the items I needed outside fruit/sugar/water.

The primary and secondary fermentation went rather well, and I think I managed to get most of the CO2 out ( spent a good 30-40 minutes with a power tool and a whisker tool, careful not to get oxygen into it either ). Seems like I got a good ~12-14% wine and the hydrometer indicated it was dry.

As I took a glass sample of the wine before taking CO2 out, I noticed there isn't -too- much flavor to it, which I did almost expect with the berry ratio, and I know that wine will not take anything but a note of the fruit really.


Question:
however, I was wondering if anyone has had experience in backsweetening blackberry wine? I was considering getting some blackberry flavor/aroma and carefully adding a bit just to give it an extra touch along with some sorbitol for reintroducing a little sweetness.


Secondary question, is it possible to rack the wine into bottles ~1-1½ months after finnings without any major issues to be aware off? The wine appeared fairly clear already before finnings.


Sorry if my english falters once in a while. It isn't my first language as I'm a dane (and before the mead jokes a friend making mead got me inspired hehe).

Lastly, sorry for rambling, first time posting and it is hard to pick out which information is relevant and which isn't.
 

bernardsmith

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Hi Jonas - and welcome. Your English is fine and you were not rambling.

A quick thought - personally, I would try to use as little water as possible for most fruit wines. You really want something like (in my opinion) 3 or 4 K of fruit if not more for every 4 liters of wine. Use the model of wine makers who make wine from grapes - the only thing they use water for is to wash their hands and their equipment.

To back sweeten you may want to use natural /fermentable sugars rather than something made in a lab to artificially sweeten manufactured foods. To use fruit or other sugars you need to stabilize your wine with two chemicals - K-meta and K-sorbate. This prevents any few yeast cells from reproducing and eating the sugar. That means you need to be pretty confident that you have racked the wine off the yeast a few times so that there are very few cells left in solution.

After you stabilize the wine you can add any kind of sugar.
But to increase the flavor might you be able to add blackberry jam? This might add a cooked flavor but there is likely to be a lot of blackberry flavor in the jam. What I might do is aim to make another 4 liters using the jam and counting the sugar in the jam as the basis for the fermentables - so perhaps 1 kg of jam. What I would do is add pectic enzymes to the jam before doing anything else . This will break down the pectins in the jam. And I would use some of the wine you have made to inoculate this second batch and then when it has fully fermented add them both together...
Then you can stabilize the 8 liters of wine and then back sweeten with table sugar or with honey or agave...
 
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Jonas Nielsen

Jonas Nielsen

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Thank you for the answer :)

I've been mulling it over in my head, and have considered making my own blackberry concentrate from blackberries, lemon juice and sugar - so close to jam but without any potential extra additives. And from there use that to sweeten the wine before bottling.

I should probably have noted I currently have 9 liters of wine thats already stabilized and clearing, (so I assume the yeast have been killed off).

So running with your idea i would:
  1. freeze, rinse and generally ensure the berries are not carrying any wild yeast.
  2. blend the berries and then run it through a sieve/filter a few times, to remove seeds and make it more liquid.
  3. -slowly- cook it up, removing any foam/other unwanted parts and add sugar/lemon juice to get the concentrate right.
  4. add petric enzyome to ensure it will clear up.
  5. let it settle in a jar until backsweetening/bottling day.
  6. before bottling add a second a small amount of potassium bisorbate to ensure no yeast multiplies, so even if a tiny tiny amount remains it'll take years before the effect was noticed (hopefully).

Does this seem to make sense? I'm guessing I shouldn't add much sugar to the berries such that i can add that on the side if it isn't sweet enough.. Better the blackberry flavor comes through and all.
 
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Jonas Nielsen

Jonas Nielsen

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Update: I've made some nice blackberry concentrate and it tastes wonderful. Think it'll be perfect for backsweetening and adding a clearer hint of fruit that I'm aiming for :) Thank you for the advice! Hoping I can backsweeten and bottle around december (The batch will have had 2 months or so after stabilization for the yeast to settle down fully)
 

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