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James Otremba

Mar 25, 2009
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I just finished making the must for a berry wine (Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, and Blackberry) all out of fresh frozen berries. Well the recipe which was kind of a mix and match of a couple recipes and some "simple" fraction math to come up with a "original" recipe... Anyway I came up with using 5 1/2 cups of sugar - so I boiled 5 cups with some water and dumped it in. Then I topped it off with water. Now I figured I would shoot low and just add sugar if I had to but apparently I didn't shoot low enough as my SG ended up being 1.120 it is just a one gallon batch and I have it sitting with a campden tab right now. Well I am kind of thinking that 16% alchohol just might be a little overpowering. I only have the one jug to use for this so splitting it really isn't an option plus I am pretty sure I would lose some flavor from doing so.

My big question is... Is there a certain yeast that I can use which will die out at right around 11 or 12 percent alchohol and leave it maybe just a little sweet? Or would that be way too sweet?

This is a big drawing off of the forums personal experience to still hook me up with a big old 5 bottles of good berry wine...

Oh, and if you think it will taste ok with really high alcohol that would be a route I am willing to go with it as well... I guess maybe I would rather it be too strong alchohol than too sweet... I don't know I would just like to hear some of your opinions on it.

Thanks, James
You could add a little water to dilute it, it won't take much. You will likely have some loss after racking anyway. Just guessing (I didn't research this) I believe Lalvin 1122 yeast tops out around 12%.

From my calculations you would indeed end up at 16% alcohol with this SG. When using a yeast that gives up at 11% you would have a wine that would have around 60-80 gram sugar per liter as residual. That would make it way to sweet.

Have you tested the acidity ??? Maybe it is to high and then
diluting with water is indeed an option.

You could also dilute with apple juice or any other juice with a low sugar content.

How many gallon is it ????

Well, its a one gallon kind-of experimental batch I am making. I am going to try to master it and then make a 6 gallon batch. I really like berries.

I have it sitting with the yeast, I went with a lavin that on the package that it can make up to 18% alcohol content... :)

So I figure that if it ends up being too dry I will just back sweeten it with wine conditioner or something.

Do you suppose that'll work...

I do have another question.... Has anyone ever made wine in mason jars??? Cause I though about pulling some out and putting it in one to about 800ml and then just racking it to the end and filling one bottle... then I could just put more water in the gallon batch...
You could do it in some mason jars but leave enough room for foaming up. You really should get a primary bucket especially if you plan on doing a6 gallon batch. If you do have one then use it as a huge primary bucket is fine for primary fermentation. I would dilute this as thats way to high of an abv for a fruit wine. Always work up to an sg and noever do the sugar dump. A good starting sg for a fruit wine is 1.085.
How do you suppose it would work if I bought 2 , 1 gallon carboys, split what I've got when the primary fermentation is over and top both up with some kind of berry juice... and adjust sg to a reasonable number and allow it to ferment in the secondary till it finishes, or will that just simply not work.
You will not want to play around with restarting a fermentation as its a PITA most of the time. If you like sweeter wine then adding the juce afterwards will lower the abv of the wine but you must add sulfite and sorbate before doing so.
Well so I just went down to look at it a few minutes ago and it was bubbling up to the top... So I did end up splitting some off into an 800ml mason jar and topping them both off with water - good thing I had too much sugar in there anyway huh...

Now I will get one more bottle of wine out of the deal too... or maybe I will just drink the mason jar while I'm bottling the gallon.. or maybe it will work well to top up when I am racking...

So anyway life is good...

You should cover the mason jars with a paper towel or something that will keep nasties out of there!
I just tasted the berry wine and it is just good... wow...

I am really looking forward to how this one tastes when its finished... Thanks for your advice everyone I really appreciate it...
I will say that a nice way to add a little extra body to a Blackberry wine is to add a little Extra light Malt extract to it when it is finished or in place of some of the sugar up front.
I will say that a nice way to add a little extra body to a Blackberry wine is to add a little Extra light Malt extract to it when it is finished or in place of some of the sugar up front.

what is this stuff you speak of Wade? gotta remember, i only use apple cider, and fresh fruit. what is malt made from? (man, i gotta sound stupid!) i use elderberrys to give the body to my blackberry. kind of the same thing?
Malt is a cerael grain that is used in making beer. The grains are made to germinate by soaking inwater and then dried. This results in a sugar very heavy in Maltose. It can be bought in either dry form or syrup form but dry keeps better. elderberry works good to and also helps with better color profile.
I dont think the molasses will do the same and have never heard of treacle in my neck of the woods, looked it up and it looks to be similiar to brown sugar. I dont think it would be the same though as Ive used brown sugar and it didnt really do anything for body IMO.
OK I dropped in a campden tablet and potassium sorbate to stop fermentation... It was starting to taste too alcoholic. I plan to backsweeten with some wine conditioner. I also topped it up with some cheaper chablis that shouldn't hurt the flavor too much I thinks. So now its in the clearing stage.

For my next question "SuperClear" at least if memory serves me - the two seperated pouches that have some sort of liquid in them one to be introduced to the wine and stirred around before the other - Well how does that affect the flavor if at all? and is it going to be a big deal to put the whole thing into a 1 gallon batch?

- I haven't added(or purchased) this stuff yet I would just like to know if this would help kind of speed things along or not... so I can get my carboy back before next year (and start a new batch)
James, I missed this post sorry as did many people. Sometimes if you dont get an answer just bump the thread by just making another post in there with a few words like "anybody there". But anyways, campden and sorbate usually wont stop a fermentation in progress unless its on its very last leg and still not advised to do so. A whole package of SuperKleer would be too much as it will leave way to much sediment in there and be overkill. When used in the right amounts it wouldnt be of noticeable taste difference as Ive done side by side comparisons.
Wow its really great to know.Thanks for this information.Its great to know.Its really very informative.