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Blackberry wine

Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:25 am
by benner
Hi

Just started 5 gallons of blackberry wine yesterday. Recipe was based on one of Andy's from the guardian?

Lots of blackberries, had picked around 25-30lb of fruit
Around 17lb sugar
Juice of 5 lemons
About a pint of strong black tea
5 tsp of Pectolase
Yeast & nutrient. (Used champagne yeast as that's all I had)

That's all good, but I only seem to have needed to add 10litres of water and I am now looking at, according to the fermenting bucket, just over 22 litres of wine. Either I've extracted a lot of juice or my scales are on the blink. Is there such a problem as having too much fruit juice in your brew? :scratch:

Re: Blackberry wine

Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:09 am
by Green Aura
I don't know, but I know a man who will. :lol:

Having made some elderberry that was far too strong, I would say it's possible. But that was because we miscalculated how many dried berries to use in place of fresh. We watered it down and it's lovely - so even if you have got too much fruit I would think you could do the same.

I've seen some recipes that count 4.5 litres as a gallon and some use 5:1. Could that be the problem?

Re: Blackberry wine

Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:16 am
by MKG
I think you'll probably like the result, It IS fruit-heavy but it's also sugar-heavy, so you'll end up with a sweet, heavy-bodied and high-alcohol result which can readily take strong flavours. 17 lbs of sugar in 5 gallons will give you a theoretical 17% ABV (that's OK for champagne yeast), and that's not counting the sugars in the berries.

Depending upon the yeast you're using, it'll probably give up the ghost at some point before then. I'd let it go as it is and then taste it when it's finished. If it's too blackberryish, there'll be enough body and enough alcohol in there to take a bit of watering down with ease. Adding another gallon of water after it's finished will still leave you above 14% ABV.

Mike

EDIT: Average for blackberry wine is 4 lbs of fruit per gallon.

Re: Blackberry wine

Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:23 am
by MKG
Green Aura wrote:I've seen some recipes that count 4.5 litres as a gallon and some use 5:1. Could that be the problem?


That would be a fairly large error, GA. It's a little over 4.5 litres per gallon, so 4.5 is the working figure. Using 5 litres as a gallon is begging for trouble. Well, when I say trouble, I mean weak wine.

Mike

Re: Blackberry wine

Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:42 am
by benner
Cheers guys,

I'm not keen on it being too sweet, would it do any harm if I were to add another 10 pints of water today? Thinking that would take the fruit ratio down to about 4.5lb and added sugar to just shy of 3lb per gallon. :dontknow:

Re: Blackberry wine

Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:46 am
by MKG
That'd be fine. But don't let it get too dry - take my word for it, blackberry with no residual sugar at all tastes bloody awful.

Re: Blackberry wine

Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:14 am
by benner
Green Aura wrote:I've seen some recipes that count 4.5 litres as a gallon and some use 5:1. Could that be the problem?


It was more the fact that the recipe, as do most, say to add 4.5l per gallon (which as Mike says is a gallon) I've only added 10l for a five gallon brew which only equates to 2l of water per gallon of wine.

:cheers:

Re: Blackberry wine

Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:37 am
by Green Aura
I agree that 4.5l is a gallon but I've definitely seen recipes using 5. It may be they're US gallons or somesuch.

Re: Blackberry wine

Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:18 pm
by Brewtrog
US gallons are actually smaller than imperial. The use of 5L is for if you totally use metric. I have a couple of 5L demi johns. Just remember not to mix metric and imperial, the conversions are rarely exact, they normally work on the idea of a nice number to round to (e.g. 1 pint becomes 500 or 600ml (it's actually 568.3ml).
Back to topic, you'll be fine adding some more water to dilute everything down a tad. Also thanks for reminding me that I need to get picking soon.

Re: Blackberry wine

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:39 pm
by Zech
Brewtrog wrote:Just remember not to mix metric and imperial, the conversions are rarely exact, they normally work on the idea of a nice number to round to.


This is something that irritates me with recipes (I'm thinking of cooking, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it's true for brewing as well). They always say stick to either metric or imperial, but when you look at the numbers, you'll see, e.g. 2oz = 50g and
4oz = 125. They've done an exact conversion then rounded to the nearest 25g, instead of keeping the ratios the same, which is what they should do. Then of course there's 'one egg' - is that a metric or an imperial egg? Not such a common problem in brewing, I grant you, unless your recipe happens to have something bizarre like a chicken in it! :lol:

Anyway, back to the blackberry wine. I started my first batch today: 8 lb berries and 2 kg sugar with water up to approx 2 gallons, and yeast from the last thing I brewed, which happens to be mugwort ale. I have 'washed' it a bit by pouring off the liquor and feeding it with water and plain sugar. I hope the mugwort flavour isn't too evident, because I don't think I want it in my blackberry wine.

Re: Blackberry wine

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:06 pm
by geordie
benner wrote:Around 17lb sugar


That seems a lot of sugar for 5 gallons, I would have thought 10lb would be nearer the mark, you don't want it too sweet when the alcohol kills the yeast.

Re: Blackberry wine

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:07 pm
by Brewtrog
Zech wrote: unless your recipe happens to have something bizarre like a chicken in it! :lol:

Now who would ever do that? :oops: :lol:

Zech wrote:Anyway, back to the blackberry wine. I started my first batch today: 8 lb berries and 2 kg sugar with water up to approx 2 gallons, and yeast from the last thing I brewed, which happens to be mugwort ale. I have 'washed' it a bit by pouring off the liquor and feeding it with water and plain sugar. I hope the mugwort flavour isn't too evident, because I don't think I want it in my blackberry wine.

I'd be more worried about using a beer yeast for a wine (or a wine yeast for a beer if it's the other way round). Yeast has a major impact on flavour (just try a Belgian beer if you don't believe me). Also beer yeast has a lower alcohol tolerance than wine yeast.

Re: Blackberry wine

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:38 pm
by dave45
I never knew there was so much yeast technology available until I looked up the yeast in a wine kit and it led me to Lalvin's website

http://www.lallemandwine.us/products/yeast_chart.php

Re: Blackberry wine

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:08 pm
by Zech
Brewtrog wrote:I'd be more worried about using a beer yeast for a wine (or a wine yeast for a beer if it's the other way round). Yeast has a major impact on flavour (just try a Belgian beer if you don't believe me). Also beer yeast has a lower alcohol tolerance than wine yeast.

OK, you really don't want to know what kind of yeast this started out as...

For the sake of scientific investigation, I might shell out a whole pound on a sachet of wine yeast, and use it in my next batch of blackberry wine. I'll have to be quick, though, otherwise the age of the blackberries will be a confounding variable.

A whole pound! Goes against the grain :?

Re: Blackberry wine

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:16 pm
by dave45
so how if you find a yeast strain you'd like to keep - how do you turn it from sludge into dried granules so you can use it again later?