Beginners Blueberry Wine

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Scooter68

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Ok then. Steady as she goes. Keep tabs on the SG - common standard - If The SG doesn't change for 3 days in a row the fermentation has stopped.

If the SG is above 1.015 then the fermentation could be termed stalled meaning it has a potential to continue but for whatever reason is not progressing/

In doing a little research just not I saw a couple of items about the yeast you used that could suggest low performance of that yeast for blueberry wine and for finish of fermentation in a glass carboy.

One chart rates that yeast as not strongly recommended for dark fruit (Non-Grape) wines. Rating it 1 out of a possible 4 as the highest recommendation.
Another reference stated that it is not recommended for fermentation in a glass carboy.
I have no information as to why those two comments were made - it's just something I ran across in looking up the data on that yeast - "Red Star Cotes des Blancs"

As I may have also said - sometimes even though a yeast is capable of fermenting your type of fruit with your starting SG, there may be other conditions that are not well stated by the maker, that would steer you away from a given yeast. Unfortunately wine making has a lot of factors that can impact a given fermentation or combination of factors that could negatively impact a given fermentation. You might want to give consideration to adding another type of yeast to finish the fermentation if indeed it has stalled out above an acceptable SG level.
 

MineWine

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Day 35

Still bubbling. SG - 1.014 So it is again fermenting after it had stalled. It is less sweet to the taste.
It is a bit warmer then it has been the last week or so.

I'm hopeful it will reach dry.
 

Scooter68

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Anything below 1.005 should be fine. Technically not "Dry" but in most cases you will end up sweetening that dry wine anyway. If the ending ABV based on the Starting/Ending SG is over 10% your wine should be just fine even if not 'dry.'
 

MineWine

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Its at 11.94% and it's still bubbling away.
I picked up some powdered cleaner and a spray bottle over at Pacific Brewing Supplies in San Dimas.
I'll need to scrub/clean/sanitize a carboy for the next racking.
 

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It's now day 59.

I noticed in the past few days that the bubbling has slowed to about 1 airlock bubble per minute.

I racked into a 6 gallon carboy with 5 crushed camden tablets.

Measurements include:

SG = .996
TA = .625%
PPT Sulphuric = 4.0
PH = 3.0

It's tastes OK but tart and sharp, no longer sweet. It's not bad but it could use some time smooth. Just a little smudge in the bottom and it's still not clear.

Starting SG = 1.105, Finished SG = .996 ABV = 14.31%

IMG_3812.JPG IMG_3815.JPG IMG_3818.JPG
 

Scooter68

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If that top photo is your post racking picture - you have too much headspace - too much oxygen exposure. Top off the carboy with another compatible wine if possible. (Even Reisling would be a good addition) You want that wine level anywhere in the straight part of the neck of the carboy. Don't go right to the bottom of your airlock stopper or air pressure fluctuation might push wine up into the airlock itself.

Just keep tabs on it and from here on out about every 90 days rack to a fresh carboy and add k-Meta. That sharpness will dissipate as the wine ages - most of it's the CO2 (like the bite of a highly carbonated drink)
 

Scooter68

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Tad on the acidic side but as a new wine, I'd let it go for now. Wait at least 4-6 months before trying to obtain a reading. Too much CO2 hanging around in a new wine.

SG - It's done fermenting if it doesn't change in 3 days time.
 

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Just wondering how long one would leave there blueberry starter in the primary pail before moving to the car boy with air lock, and if it is a good idea to add the airlock to the primary pail lid. Also when starting a blueberry wine does one use boiling water over frozen blueberries or do you let the water cool after boiling and dissolving sugar in it. Lastly what about using honey instead of sugar?
 

Scooter68

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My approach is fairly simple - I heat a cup of water in a microwave for about 2-3 minutes and then stir in the sugar(2 cups). Let it sit for 5 minutes and stir again to finish dissolving the sugar. IF needed you can re-heat the mix in a microwave for about 1 - 1 1/2 minutes to finish that.

Since I put my berries in a fermentation bag I try not to pour super hot Simple Syrup (SS) liquid on that bag but rather add the other items and mash the bag while the Simple Syrup is cooling somewhat. If the berries are frozen I would dissolve the proper amount of K-meta (or crushed campden Tablets) in a few ounces of water and pour that over the blueberries. Then the simple syrup solution - still warm can be poured over the top. Cover and let that sit overnight and mash well, take your SG & pH readings before you toss the yeast. Until the berries are thawed and well mashed you can't get a solid reliable SG reading so go a little low on the SS addition at first.

The move to a carboy is something that varies from batch to batch for me and different folks have different processes. To me the KEY is not just the SG reading, but; the amount of foaming activity you are observing. So I might move one batch at an SG of 1.020 and another at .998. BUT what I don't want is a foam fountain caused by a re-enrgized batch. Sometimes a fast ferment will bottom out at .992 - .990 before I can move it and that's fine. The key is if the activity is slowed greatly then that protective blanket is thinned out and you are better off to rack and get an airlock on it.
 

MineWine

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I racked it today into a carboy with 5 campden tablets and 1 egg white to clear it up. I tasted a sample which was a tad tart and a tad high in alcohol but good none the less. I topped off with a bottle of store bought cabernet.

To answer your questions: I move to a carboy after the fruit sinks in the primary, or the day after. I put a lid on the primary but never have used an airlock until moved into the carboy. When using frozen blueberries I poured a few gallons of boiling water over the slightly thawed berries, then topped of with tap water. I haven't ever used honey, always granulated cane sugar.

This is my fifth batch of wine and first from berries.
 

Scooter68

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With fruit wines (The only kind I make now) I always leave the fruit in until it's time to rack to a carboy. Get every last bit of flavor, color, etc from that fruit. I try to mash well before putting them in the bucket (Inside a paint straining bag) In this photo I am mashing about 1-2 lbs at at time then pouring them into the bucket with the bag. This batch was 3 gallons with 21 lbs of blueberrys 5lbs of sugar. Pitched the yeast yesterday evening (10:00PM) and had a nice foam cap on it this morning.(10:00AM) Going to step feed this batch to get the ABV up to 15-16 % if I can. Will make a nice dessert wine with a Kick your A flavor and ABV.KIMG1455.JPG
 

MineWine

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Day 159

I bottled today into 25 750ml bottles. Corked most and used the cork/caps on a few. The last one was not full and a bit cloudy.
The wine was clear for the other bottles, including some clear bottles. It's got a full bluish/red color. The aroma is nice. It's high in alcohol. It has a good flavor, a bit tart, but not terrible. I think 3-6 months in the bottles will help it.
 

Scooter68

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Sounds like a good wrapup to a batch. Did you back-sweeten it at all?
That last bottle being cloudy suggests that another racking and about 3 more months might have helped with that remaining sediment. I've tried to stick a minimum of 9-12 months before bottling any wine. Just so much difference in the back-sweetening process that way, much easier to be more accurate.
 

MineWine

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Hi Scooter68, I agree I should have racked once more prior to bottling. I added 1 egg white two rankings ago which helped it clear up. I did not sweeten it. I'll add a picture of one of the clear bottles when I get a chance.

Now, on to the Black Currant kit!
 

Scooter68

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20/20 hind sight. Just take it under consideration for next time around.

Ooooh Black Currant. I make it from a can of Vintner's Harvest Concentrate. Only problem I have is fermentation tends to stall on me. SOooo Next time for me I'll be doing step feeding to push it up to 15+% ABV and then sweeten it. Makes an awesome dessert wine.
 

Scooter68

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Nothing special. I pretty much follow the recipe on the label for a 3 gallon batch (Gives better flavor)

Just have found in 3 batches now that I cannot get it to finish fermentation if I go too heavy on the SG right off the bat. So, as I have done now with two other wine types, I use a step feeding process. Take the SG initially to 1.080 or 1.085 Somewhere modest in final ABV range, Then as it ferments down to about 1.030 add more sugar (I always use simple syrup (SS) as there is no waiting time for the sugar to dissolve.) Then Re-measure the SG and note that rise.While a simple syrup will add 1 cup of water to your batch, that won't dilute the wine flavor to any appreciable extent when you are making a 3 gallon batch. ( I use a 2 cups sugar - 1 cup water for my SS mixture)

The good thing is that your volume loss will be less starting with a prepared juice as there is no pulp. So if you increase you starting volume to about 3 1/4 - 3 1/3 gallons you should have a full 3 gallon batch once you rack to a carboy. Find some smaller glass containers (Recently found some empty "Kombucha" bottles at recycling center and the tops fit my drilled screw on caps or the 1 gallon drilled silicone bungs just great.) Having those handy means that you can be more selective in your first racking to the carboy and put the lees into the small 12-16 ounce bottles. Place those in the fridge over night and you should see some serious settling that will allow you to reclaim more of that wine. Then you can use those bottles for topping off .... and a little early taste-testing.
:dg
 

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