Blackberry question (mead Vs Wine)

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Bodenski

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Good morning. A quick question for the brain trust. I just picked up some wonderful looking/tasting blackberries this weekend from a local-ish farm stand. (It was on HWY 17 driving from Virginia Beach to the DC area.) I plan on making something with it, and the question is this: Should I use sugar or honey to get the SG up?

I'm thinking about making the Jack Keller medium bodied version. (Mainly because I have about 10 lbs and the heavy body one called for 6 lbs/gallon. If I go medium body I get two full gallons and can still make a little cobbler!) But I'm not sure yet if I want to use the 2-1/4 lbs sugar that his recipe calls for or should I use 3lbs of honey instead. (It would probably be wildflower honey from Trader Joes. I have no good amount of local honey yet. I think 3 lbs is roughly a little more fermentable sugar than 2.25 lbs of table sugar, but not enough to squabble over.)

Have other made both and have a preference for their blackberries?
 

Scooter68

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1) Don't thin your wine out that much. Especially with domestic Blackberries. You will need at least 5 lbs per gallon to get to the end with a good wine.

2) As to sugar - Pick the ABV number you want and go by that. Forget Keller recipes for sugar numbers. - pick the target ABV and add until hit the starting SG you need.

Also if you are going to top up with water be sure to remember that in figuring the losses from lees. Thankfully Blackberries are relatively low in lees. Alternatively you could use a white wine that won't change the flavor much. (I normally just use water and make sure I have enough berries and alcohol to offset any dilution)

At the end I've used a couple of ozs of White Grape juice concentrate for backsweetening in place of my simple Syrup mix normally not more than 1/3 of my total backsweetening from the White Grape juice concentrate. You will need to backsweeten a little to enjoy the full blackberry flavor. (My SG at bottling is normally adjusted between 1.003 - 1.005 - that gets the flavor back without making the wine too sweet.)

Seriously, don't thin the wine down that much I don't think you'd be happy with the results.
 
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Bodenski

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The last several meads I made I should have gone lower for the ABV and then back-sweetened. The yeast was more active than expected, so it's not as sweet and higher alcohol than planned. I do think I'm going to go a little lower ABV (11% I think) for this and then back sweeten.

I don't wan't to buy any grocery store berries to supplement what I bought at the produce stand, so I won't be going any higher than the 5 lbs/gallon for my two gallons. My flat was just a little over 10 pounds once we stopped eating them! I would have bought more but that was all the cash I had and I was trying to get home.

Since I don't have any 2-gallon carboys, I think I'll make two separate batches - one with sugar and one with honey. And next time I head that way I'll be sure to have more cash on me! I would have loved to have picked up more! (And it isn't close enough to quickly head out to get more. :(
 

Scooter68

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Since I don't have any 2-gallon carboys, I think I'll make two separate batches - one with sugar and one with honey. And next time I head that way I'll be sure to have more cash on me! I would have loved to have picked up more! (And it isn't close enough to quickly head out to get more. :(
Great idea. I used to use only 1 gallon carboys and only added five 3 gallon carboys this winter. Only problem is that now 4 of them are filled so I have to keep number 5 available for racking.
 

Bodenski

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Great idea. I used to use only 1 gallon carboys and only added five 3 gallon carboys this winter. Only problem is that now 4 of them are filled so I have to keep number 5 available for racking.
I only have one 5 gallon carboy, so I rack into a bucket, clean the carboy, and then transfer it back. SO you could do another one!
 

Scooter68

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At present I have no fruit begging to become wine. Checked by a local fruit stand (One that had a great price on overripe peaches last year - They moved to a new location and apparently have higher "costs" so I guess I'm good for the time being. 18 1/2 gallons aging and 1 gallon finishing fermentation this week.
 

Bodenski

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SO I started a 1 gallon mead recipe and will start a 1 gallon wine once I get this first batch into secondary. The mead I did 4.5 lbs/gallon and added half a banana for mouth feel. I think I'll do 5 pounds in the wine.
 

Scooter68

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Think you'll be happy with the 5 lbs /4.5 lbs. I've go to talk the wife into letting me have enough of her wild blackberries she has picked. I may have to accept last years berries but they will work fine. She picks the wild berries and I grow the blueberries. Just froze 3.4 of a gallon of blueberry juice. Need to check the freezer for more "Old stock" in the freezer that I can thaw, juice and have ready to start later this fall. Already have 3 gallons of blueberries aging, It will bottle February/March next year. (Probably on one of those dreary days when I can't do anything outside.)

Our old friends just closed on selling their house in Fairfax, moved to Tampa. He finally retired last year and decided to leave the NOVA area madness.
 

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