Blackberry/Elder wine - will a little light brown sugar spoil it ?

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Jul 9, 2021
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I'm on about Day 5 of a primary 1 (4.5L) gallon batch of Blackberry / elder wine (still on the skins) which I had originally intended would be a rich port/Madeira style wine intended for long ageing with possibility of a final brandy-fortification after seeing how the wine developed through primary and secondary. It's been step-fed twice with 500g sugar and 400g honey and I'm going to remove the fruit and add the last sugars tomorrow. Basic recipe being followed (put together from reading loads of similar) :

1.5kg Ripe fresh elderberries
1kg Wild blackberries (the small flavourful 'brambles' as we call them in UK)
900g total sugars
400g local honey
Lalvin EC-1118 yeast (I know I know - needed something unfussy :rolleyes:😊) started in 100ml crushed juice from mixed local grapes soaked in VWP & rinsed
1tsp nutrient
10 drops Pectinase
Juice 1 orange and 1 lemon
Pared rind 2 oranges and 1 lemon

I'm heading for 10-11% ABV right now and have 400g sugar left to go so guessing about 15-16% abv if fermented dry (will check when last sugar added). Not had time to check SG today but tasting quite dry tonight when I aerated it - loads of body and character, plenty of tannins to age out and a rich basic structure developing already.

Now ... I don't want to ruin it !!! It's headed right now for a strong bone dry red and with that yeast I'd likely have to back-sweeten to off-dry / fortify with brandy if I don't drive the yeast to breaking point with even more sugar to avoid the brandy.

I'm after loads of depth and character and was thinking about using 100g of demerera / light brown sugar in the addition tomorrow, but don't want more than slight background caramel-type notes coming through from it. Is this likely to spoil things / be a bad idea even at that proportion ?