Blackberry Wine

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MedicMang

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A fellow firefighter at my station gave me a bunch of blackberries yesterday and asked me to make wine out of it. I mostly make beer, but have dabbled in making crappy wine out of juice that I find on sale. My question is about the water... Is this mostly for mouthfeel? If I were to juice more berries, do I even need the water at all? Will it just make a "thicker" product?

Also, are you just using table sugar? Corn? Whatever?
 
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A fellow firefighter at my station gave me a bunch of blackberries yesterday and asked me to make wine out of it. I mostly make beer, but have dabbled in making crappy wine out of juice that I find on sale. My question is about the water... Is this mostly for mouthfeel? If I were to juice more berries, do I even need the water at all? Will it just make a "thicker" product?

Also, are you just using table sugar? Corn? Whatever?
The berries are high in acid. The purpose of the water is to dilute the juice so that the wine isn't so acidic. Yeast does ok with some acidic must, but if it's too acidic not just the taste will be impacted- so will fermentation. More berries may work, if the acidity is lower than normal. Blackberries are very high in malic acid, which isn't pleasant in too large an amount.

I use table sugar for most of my wines.
 

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I used jack Keller's recipes and the recipe he had with the most berries was "thick" to me. So to the point I watered down my finished wines and it was great a bit weak in the booze department. The batch I'm gonna make this year is gonna be one of the other ones.
 
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I've been picking blackberries like crazy for two weeks- and I"m hoping to have enough for at least a small batch of wine (since we freeze them and eat them daily all winter).

The blackberries are beautiful this year!
 

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I opted for 6lbs of plums and 18lbs of blackberry's. it only been going three days and it smells really fruity. better than my first attempt 5lbs of BB and 2 of sugar and 5 gallons of water, ooopps :)
 
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I made up three gallons of this, using 71B-1122.

The interesting thing this year is the berries seemed to be ultra sweet. I didn't even think to pull out my refractometer to check the berries' brix level, because I've made this wine many times and there seems to be very little variation in blackberries over the years.

This year, I used 5 pounds of sugar in the 3 gallon batch, and even without crushing the berries yet, I got 1.080!

Normally, I'd use 2 pounds per gallon, minimum, sometimes more! I expected to use 6.5 pounds total of sugar.

I left it at 1.080, thinking that I could add some more sugar with the topping up water if I wanted to boost the ABV a bit without making the wine too "hot". Right now, I'm on track for a just-under 12% wine so it may be exactly right. Blackberry wine can typically handle a higher ABV than some fruit wines, if it has enough berries in it. I'll sample at racking and decide then.
 

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Yooper,
My wife processed about 16 quarts of blackberries by adding a couple quarts of water and cooking them down on the stove. I told her to not go over 150 and keep it there for 10 or 15 minutes. It resulted in a couple gallons of juice.
I decided to try making wine as an afterthought so I have a couple questions:
Is the way we made the juice ok for wine?
How much water should I add to the juice?
Just add sugar to the desired OG?
Thanks!
 
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Yooper,
My wife processed about 16 quarts of blackberries by adding a couple quarts of water and cooking them down on the stove. I told her to not go over 150 and keep it there for 10 or 15 minutes. It resulted in a couple gallons of juice.
I decided to try making wine as an afterthought so I have a couple questions:
Is the way we made the juice ok for wine?
How much water should I add to the juice?
Just add sugar to the desired OG?
Thanks!
I have no idea how to do it without the fruit, sorry!
 

mindiB

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If you add sugar like 3 cups to 6 per galon to the fruit juice mixture then strain all the fruit pulp add tannin if u like yeast nutriant ect water to how ever manny gallons your doing add yeast airlock

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Ideally you wouldn't add any more water, use the juice you have and add sugar to your desired OG. Add nutrient & yeast and ferment away!
 

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What is the difference between k1v116 and 71b-1122 that you could describe? Have you found a yeast you like better? Do you have a nutrient preference? Have you used dextrose instead of table sugar and if so is there a difference? Thank you for your time.
 
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What is the difference between k1v116 and 71b-1122 that you could describe? Have you found a yeast you like better? Do you have a nutrient preference? Have you used dextrose instead of table sugar and if so is there a difference? Thank you for your time.
The 71B is purported to reduce more of the malic acid during fermentation, so if the berries have a "bite" to them, that is my preference but most years our berries are nice and sweet so I haven't really noticed a huge difference in the final product.

The wine from last summer was just bottled, and it was so rich that I oaked it. I think it will be very nice in the end (it was awesome at bottling!) and I used 71B.
 

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I am making a one gal batch of this, followed recipe exactly and used D47 yeast. I am on day 4 of primary, tomorrow is racking to secondary day. Today when stirring, its starting to get pretty sulfury, anything to worry about? Should I take any remedial action when I rack tomorrow?

Thanks!
 
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I am making a one gal batch of this, followed recipe exactly and used D47 yeast. I am on day 4 of primary, tomorrow is racking to secondary day. Today when stirring, its starting to get pretty sulfury, anything to worry about? Should I take any remedial action when I rack tomorrow?

Thanks!
You could add some yeast nutrient, one teaspoon, dissolved in some of the wine first (to avoid a volcano due to nucleation points!), and "splash rack" when you rack tomorrow. A sulfur note is not a good sign, but you may be able to fix it if you start quickly.
 

rowan57

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Thanks Yooper! I gave it a really vigorous stir tonight to try and oxygenate the must, I will follow your instructions tomorrow.


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meatcleaver

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made a gallon & a half of this back in October. just finished racking for I think the 3rd time & decided to get a sample & check my fg.
.990!
I didn't measure my og...I figured the fruit solids would throw off my measurements anyway. per brewersfriend my og should have been 1.113 which gives me a abv around 16%
anyway...sample tastes great, although a little hot still. it's very dry of course & super fruity, borderline jammy.
I will definitely make this again.
thanx for posting yoop
 

Evilgrin

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Started this today.

3/4 of a gallon blackberry juice from frozen blackberries. (Mix of wild Missouri and thornless from last years harvest)
Enough sugar to bring it upto 1.13
Welch's unfiltered concord grape juice. (Enough to top off)
Montrachet yeast
1/2 tsp yeast nutrient
1/2 tsp pectic enzyme

I have extra blackberry juice leftover. All juice was strained through a course bag so there is a little pulp left. It tasted fantastic sweetened.
 

meatcleaver

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wow...didn't realize that this has been bulk aging for almost a year!
just bottled after 30 days on medium toasted French oak & again, wow!
this is my best wine to date.
thanks to yooper for posting a great recipe.
 
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It's blackberry season again! Today I'm mixing up 6.6 gallons of wine. I should end up with 6 finished gallons if I planned it right.

I just love this wine- I think it's my all time favorite.
 

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I've got a home juicer, great for separating skins/seed from tomatoes etc. and would allow me to skip using the mesh bag. If the berries were juiced do you think this would significantly change the quality of the wine?
 
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I've got a home juicer, great for separating skins/seed from tomatoes etc. and would allow me to skip using the mesh bag. If the berries were juiced do you think this would significantly change the quality of the wine?
Yes, I think it would. The difference between the flavor of eating a blackberry fresh vs the juiced version is remarkable.

I never did it with blackberries, but my friend gave me three gallons of chokecherry juice. I fermented it side by side (5 gallon sized batches or so) with my own, and the difference was amazing. His was thin, lighter in color, and far less complex than the other one. The taste was similar, but not nearly as rich and good.
 

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How much does the original recipe here by @OP? Id like to do a 5 or 6 gallon batch but sure if I should multiply each of the ingredients x5/x6. Any guidance is appreciated by this wine noobie [emoji3]
 
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How much does the original recipe here by @OP? Id like to do a 5 or 6 gallon batch but sure if I should multiply each of the ingredients x5/x6. Any guidance is appreciated by this wine noobie [emoji3]
It's a one gallon batch, so multiply the ingredients (except for yeast) accordingly.
 

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Yooper, I am trying (blackberry) oaking based on your comments, and out of curiosity.
I oaked in the bottle and plan on following your lead so to speak (except in bottle not in bulk); it is now about 24 days and while the first dew days were horrible, that has gotten better. I have no idea about oaking, or oaked flavors, and perhaps therefore wonder if I should continue beyond your time frame of 30 days... what would you suggest?
The oak is a medium toast chips added @ 1oz/3G. I belive the oak to be French, but the seller has not confirmed this yet. Before adding, I briefly boiled them and in 2 days or so the wine tasted unpaletable (sp?), but after 10 or so days, became drinkable again. What should I look for, in determining when to pull the oak? If I over oak, can I age out the excess? Any thoughts, light or music appreciated.

What should the goal of oaking be? I taste a difference, but have no idea if it is an improvement. Sometimes it just seems different, not better.
 
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I just saw this- so sorry I didn't reply. I never saw it. :( Oaking provides tannins and some flavor from the oak- some vanilla type flavor in a light toast oak, some deeper more complex flavors with darker oaks. There is some structure to the wine after oaking, and the body feels richer.


I started a new batch today of this great wine! It's one of my very favorites.
 

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Hi Yooper, sorry to resurrect this old thread. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I'm going to give your/Jack Keller's method a try, in a 5 gallon batch. My previous experiments have been with ciders and beer, it'll be my first time doing a fruit wine. I'm having a little bit of a hard time wrapping my head around some of the specifics, maybe you can help me.

1. Do you think I can get by initially using a 6.5-7 gallon bucket? (I'm not at home right now and can't specifically remember which volumes I had for pails). I know some threads have mentioned that you will need at least a 10 gallon fermenter for a 5 gallon batch. Not having done this before, as others have mentioned I'm having a hard time imagining how much space 20 lbs of blackberries will take up in the bucket, and how this will effect final volumes, ABV, etc.

2. When would you say is the most accurate time to take a hydrometer reading for a starting gravity, considering I'll have a mesh bag with crushed blackberries also sitting in the bucket? I'm guessing before I add the yeast but after the berries have had a day to steep?

Thanks for your help, I'm really looking forward to this!
 
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1. I just started a 5 gallon batch, and it's right to the top of the 8 gallon bucket. It's ok, no explosions, but it's close. Once I remove the blackberries in the bag, the level will drop to 5 gallons.

2. That's when I do it- you really don't get as much fermentable from the berries as you'd think, and so the OG reading then is as accurate as you can get I think.
 

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I'm still new to this and am a little unclear on one thing with this recipe... when to add sulfite. I am assuming in the steps shown below, that "allow two months to finish" means it is still actively fermenting, though slowly, so I don't add sulfite then, right? Only before bottling?

5 day primary
Rack to secondary for 3 weeks.
Rack again and allow 2 months to finish.
Rack and bottle. <--- sulfite here???

Also, if I add a step to rack and age on oak cubes for 2-3 months before bottling, can I add sulfite two rackings in a row? I know when guesstimating, you generally do it every other racking and then at bottling.
 
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I'm still new to this and am a little unclear on one thing with this recipe... when to add sulfite. I am assuming in the steps shown below, that "allow two months to finish" means it is still actively fermenting, though slowly, so I don't add sulfite then, right? Only before bottling?

5 day primary
Rack to secondary for 3 weeks.
Rack again and allow 2 months to finish.
Rack and bottle. <--- sulfite here???

Also, if I add a step to rack and age on oak cubes for 2-3 months before bottling, can I add sulfite two rackings in a row? I know when guesstimating, you generally do it every other racking and then at bottling.
I add sulfites at every other racking, and at bottling. So you'd add the sulfites once fermentaton is done and then at every other racking and at bottling.
 
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