high tannin in blackberry wine

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regulatedhobbyist

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Hey all,

It's been a long while since I've been here. So I started a blackberry wine in March. 4# blackberries/gal. Narbonne yeast, 3# sugar/gal. Og was 1.115 when I started.

Turns out I left the fruit on too long I believe. Anyway, there's a high tannin flavor (I.e. bitterness) in my wine.

I've been reading Jack Keller's site in clearing and fining wines. I'm looking to clear the tannin haze and bulk age. Most of the stuff I've read says to add a fining agent, wait two weeks then rack and bottle. What is the best way to reduce the tannins and improve flavor of this wine?

I racked off of the fruit at a month, then was going to rack again after 60 days. But was unable to rack until the other day. It's super bitter and really dry, I didn't take a hydrometer reading because I was distracted by the flavor, but it's dry. I am going to back sweeten, but need to clear tannins and age.

Any suggestions?
 

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While I totally believe you about the bitterness, I've never had any tannic flavor in blackberry wine, and in fact I add tannins (and often oak) to it.

I'm thinking that this bitterness may come from being on the lees (yeast sediment) a long time, and it may fade a lot with age.

How old is this wine currently? Is it still dropping lees?
 
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regulatedhobbyist

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I made March 8. When I racked it there was quite a bit of a blackberry colored gunk at the top of the carboy. As far as I can tell it is st dropping some blackish lees
 

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I made March 8. When I racked it there was quite a bit of a blackberry colored gunk at the top of the carboy. As far as I can tell it is st dropping some blackish lees
Some of the bitterness could be from that. It's late to still be dropping lees, but at least they're dropping.

One of the first things I'd consider for fining is sparkelloid. It is vegetarian friendly (if that's important to you), and it will work on negatively charged particles (if indeed it's a tannic bitterness) and that should correct it. Sparkelloid won't have any negative effects, at least that I'm aware of, so I'd try that first.
 
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regulatedhobbyist

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Then just follow the instructions right? I'm not sure how much lees would still be there, there's awesome color and it didn't seem terribly cloudy, but shining a light through it did show there is a ton of light absorption. I chose narbonne because I heard it would leave most of the fruit flavor intact. I'll have to check it in a couple weeks to see if there's anything dropping out still. I am assuming its tannins, because I've read it in so many places that that's most likely the issue.

Are most blackberry wines that terribly bitter when less than a year? I made it for our anniversary next March. I'm thinking it might be for 2015 or 2016 at this point, but heard fruit wines can diminish in flavor over time. Thoughts?
 

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Are most blackberry wines that terribly bitter when less than a year? I made it for our anniversary next March. I'm thinking it might be for 2015 or 2016 at this point, but heard fruit wines can diminish in flavor over time. Thoughts?
No, they aren't bitter at all. That's why I'm trying to figure out the cause, as well as the fix. I have one that's maybe a month old, and while not clear, the early samples are fruity and good. The wine was only fermented with the fruit about 5-7 days, but I can't imagine that bitterness comes from blackberries when left in there longer. That's why I'm scratching my head.

I have heard that 71B can cause some bitterness in wines when left on the lees too long, but I've not experienced that.

I would try sparkelloid first, to see if that drops the bitterness, and then see where you are from there.
 

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How long should I give it?
I'm not sure what you're asking, if you're asking how long before taking action on adding clarifiers I'd probably just wait a short time and see if it's dropping lees. At this point, it's not too early to add the sparkelloid if you want and then see if the taste improves a bit and the bitterness fades when you rack off of the lees that form from adding the sparelloid.
 
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regulatedhobbyist

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Sorry, I think I'll clarify (pardon the pun). I think I'll give it a couple of weeks undisturbed to see if any more lees falls. Then add sparkeloid. Then at that point how long should I give the sparkeloid to do its work? And when I add it, am I limited to how long I bulk age? I'm guessing that I should rack a couple of weeks after adding it.
 

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Sorry, I think I'll clarify (pardon the pun). I think I'll give it a couple of weeks undisturbed to see if any more lees falls. Then add sparkeloid. Then at that point how long should I give the sparkeloid to do its work? And when I add it, am I limited to how long I bulk age? I'm guessing that I should rack a couple of weeks after adding it.
Yes, the sparkelloid should really drop lees like crazy and you'll have to rack within about 45 days of adding it. Then you can probably rack and top up and age it. It shouldn't drop much more lees after that.
 

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I did a little experiment with blackberry wine myself as my first batch was super bitter. First batch I did pretty much what you're recipe is, give or take a bit. I fermented a bit too long with the berries, which in turn left the seeds in my fruit bag. When I took it out, I wanted to get all the goodness out "so I thought" and squeezed what was left in the bag, which was almost 100% seeds. I read later seeds can impart bitterness to your wine.

So next year, I juiced blackberries until I got around 2 1/2 gallons of pure juice leaving all the seeds behind and only used the juice. Ya...it was a lot of work! I added my sugar and a bit of water of course to get it above 3 gallons, which is what I was going for. Results were a much smoother wine. I still did taste the bitterness in the aftertaste, but it was far less.

I've had both kinds, first one is now 3-4 years old. I still taste the bitterness in the first one quite strong.
 
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