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silverbullet07

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I was wondering how do you normally decide how much water to add to the blueberries to give you an exact amount of liquid.

Example, if I plan on 4 gals of blueberry wine, 3 gal for carboy with an extra gal to use for top ups. I wanted to use 7lbs per gal of blueberries. If I crush 28 lbs of thawed blueberries, and place in fermentation bucket, not all the juices have been extracted. How do I know how much water to add to give me that 4 gals? Does that eventually just come with trial and error and taking good notes or is there a technical way to calculate it?

Seems if I just fill to 4 gals, When I pull my mesh bag with skins the volume would drop quite a bit. If I pull the berries out before to add water, I may add to much. So just wondering how the proper way to determine the addition of water.

Also would using a refractor be the correct way to measure the brix when you have a bunch of berries to determine how much sugar to add. Since the berry sugar has really not all been extracted, I am thinking I would get a few berries and crush them up and measure the brix from the berry and somehow calculate how much water I'm adding and then what I want it to be and come up with amount of sugar to add? Am I off base?
 

Johnd

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I was wondering how do you normally decide how much water to add to the blueberries to give you an exact amount of liquid.

Example, if I plan on 4 gals of blueberry wine, 3 gal for carboy with an extra gal to use for top ups. I wanted to use 7lbs per gal of blueberries. If I crush 28 lbs of thawed blueberries, and place in fermentation bucket, not all the juices have been extracted. How do I know how much water to add to give me that 4 gals? Does that eventually just come with trial and error and taking good notes or is there a technical way to calculate it?

Seems if I just fill to 4 gals, When I pull my mesh bag with skins the volume would drop quite a bit. If I pull the berries out before to add water, I may add to much. So just wondering how the proper way to determine the addition of water.

Also would using a refractor be the correct way to measure the brix when you have a bunch of berries to determine how much sugar to add. Since the berry sugar has really not all been extracted, I am thinking I would get a few berries and crush them up and measure the brix from the berry and somehow calculate how much water I'm adding and then what I want it to be and come up with amount of sugar to add? Am I off base?
First, we use a rule of thumb for figuring out how much more volume to make to end up with the final wine volume we desire. It's 65% - 70% of the original must volume. This assumes that you'll lose 25% - 30% of your volume due to racking and pressing. It works on grapes, but is a little heavy handed when making wine that has lots of added water. If you wanted to make a straight blueberry wine, little to no water added, it would take in the neighborhood of 60# to get 3 gallons.

To answer your question, if I were shooting for 3 gallons finished wine and wanted to have 7# of blueberries per gallon, this is what I'd do:
Mush up 28# of blueberries in a bucket and measure the volume of the mush, which I'm guessing will be somewhere around a gallon. If 65% of that mush ends up as wine, you'd get .65 gallons from it. I'd then add 3.35 gallons of water, for a final must volume of 4 gallons. Check and adjust your pH to be 3.3+, blueberries are notable for high acid / low pH, getting it up to 3.3+ will help your yeast out tremendously. Adjust the BRIX up to your desired level so you get the ABV% you're looking for. Add some pectic enzymes, mix well and let sit 12 hours before adding your yeast.
The refractometer is a good way to check your BRIX prior to fermentation, and just know that it'll probably rise a tad once the enzymes do their thing. After fermentation starts, switch over to your hydrometer for BRIX / SG readings, as the refractometer readings are skewed by the alcohol in the wine. There are formulas to adjust the readings, but I prefer to just switch to the hydrometer.
 

Scooter68

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Sorry I wrote this yesterday but never "posted it "
Johnd has a good method for estimating.

You are partially correct. But with or without the juices extracted the volume is correct. What I personally do with my blueberries is start with somewhere around 6.5 /bs per gallon and for a 3 gallon batch I bring my starting volume up to about 3.5+ gallons. More than that is fine, you won't be sorry if you have more than needed for topping off as you rack and age it. You can put the extra in a smaller container and age it just like it was a regular carboy. No I don't know a technical way to calculate it. Keep in mind the water content of fruits and berries can vary from year to year based on weather, picking time and storage/handling conditions. As for pounds per gallon - If I want 4 gallons at 6.5lb per gallon then I will start with 26-28lbs for 4 gallons of finished wine. See next paragraph for my method of estimating ending volume.

You might try freezing the blueberries for a few days to a week, thaw then mash well. After you've done that then, as a test - Lift out the bag with the berries and you can get a crude idea of the volume loss you can expect. keep in mind that the berries in the fermentation bag will lose a lot of that juice and you will be left with more juice than it looks like from this crude test. Remember to do this test AFTER you have thoroughly crushed the berries, not before.

Using a refractor is fine, I just do the mashing, stirring add sugar and get it to the SG I want with my hydrometer. THAT is on day one of the prep. I then let it set overnight at room temp (treated right from the start of the process with K-Meta to kill bad yeast/bacteria) then on day two I take a final SG and pH reading before pitching the yeast. Most times my SG will rise a few points 1.090 - 1.096 perhaps. The pH is what you need to keep an eye on. If it gets below 3.25 you might have trouble getting the ferment to start.
 

silverbullet07

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Lift out the bag with the berries and you can get a crude idea of the volume loss you can expect. keep in mind that the berries in the fermentation bag
Do You squeeze or press the juices out of the bag at this time to get more juice then what you got from mashing them? Or, do you just leave in the mesh bag and let the fermentation do it naturally? I squeezed the heck out my blackberries trying to figure out how much juice might be in the bag. Then when I squeezed my pears to replicate what I did with my berries, I got pulp all in my juice.

This was basically how I tried to calculate my additional water for my blackberries i just did. When I first started the fermentation, I thought I had added 1/2 gal more water then I wanted to. I had lifted the bag and I was at 4.5 gal after everything. I was wanting to have 3 gals to bottle so I thought I had added more water then I needed but after racking off lees, I only have 3 gals and 12 oz left. seems you lose quite a bit.
 

Scooter68

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Squeezing the bag before the fermentation starts isn't going to help a great deal unless the berries have been soundly crushed to pieces. You would be better to follow JohnD calculations to get pre-ferment estimate.
Keep in mind that 7 lbs per gallon is a very very strong wine the acidity might well cause your ferment issues if you go that strong, but if you are willing to adjust the pH for by all means go for it. I say that to suggest that if you can get through a second racking (first on end of ferment, second about 2-3 week later at most) and still have any extra wine to top off with, you should be fine. This is heresy to some but topping off a very strong blueberry wine with 4-8 ounces for a 3 gallon batch should not dilute the flavor much at all (8oz = 2% of a 3 gallon batch). That's not a popular idea but.... it will work. OR just use an inexpensive white wine to top off. A white wine is not going to negatively affect the flavor and it will preserve the ABV better than water. Unless you want a very high ABV or you start with a low ABV (below 12.5%) a little water won't hurt for one or two rackings.
 
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silverbullet07

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Thanks. I had to adjust my blackberry because the ph was a little low. So I do have what I need to raise it if I need to. When you use 6.5 lbs a gallon is that a great tasting blueberry? Seems like you recommend 6-6.5 lbs. If I plan on 4.5 gals, that would but me at 6.22 lbs a gallon so right in your recommendations.

Thanks for you input.
 

Scooter68

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It is very solid flavor. I have made black raspberry and a triple berry (Blackberry 4lbs, Black Raspberry 3lbs, and Red Raspberry 1.5 lbs) that is a flavor bud stomper - you know this isn't some nice light wine - in practical terms I don't think I'll ever use that much again - with those types of berries 5-6 lbs per gallon is VERY VERY good.. Blueberry at 6-6.5 isn't going to grab your taste buds and shake them but is is VERY solid in flavor.

Just remember that with blueberry you are going to have to back-sweeten a little. If you like a sweet wine then take it as sweet as you want. If you prefer a dry wine perhaps stop no higher than an SG of 1.005. Of course what matters in back-sweetening is what YOU like, not what someone tells you is good. My first batch of blueberry wine was with about 4.5 lbs and the flavor was hiding on me until I back-sweetened it. Then it was very good, not strong but still very good. I've tried 7.5 or 8 lbs I think one time and personally I found it to be a waste of berries - For me it's just great at that 6 to 6.5 lb per gallon rate. Your tastes may be different and that's what makes this so interesting.
 

mainshipfred

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I went back and checked my notes on my first and only blueberry I did in March. 50 lbs of berries (it could have been 60 since I kept on adding more) and 2 gallons of water yielded about 6.5 gallons of finished wine, still in bulk. I had to add the water because I used too much sugar and the brix was too high. Not sure if this helps.
 

silverbullet07

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I went back and checked my notes on my first and only blueberry I did in March. 50 lbs of berries (it could have been 60 since I kept on adding more) and 2 gallons of water yielded about 6.5 gallons of finished wine, still in bulk. I had to add the water because I used too much sugar and the brix was too high. Not sure if this helps.
Thank you. I did read your thread you started on it.
 

silverbullet07

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It is very solid flavor. I have made black raspberry and a triple berry (Blackberry 4lbs, Black Raspberry 3lbs, and Red Raspberry 1.5 lbs) that is a flavor bud stomper - you know this isn't some nice light wine - in practical terms I don't think I'll ever use that much again - with those types of berries 5-6 lbs per gallon is VERY VERY good.. Blueberry at 6-6.5 isn't going to grab your taste buds and shake them but is is VERY solid in flavor.

Just remember that with blueberry you are going to have to back-sweeten a little. If you like a sweet wine then take it as sweet as you want. If you prefer a dry wine perhaps stop no higher than an SG of 1.005. Of course what matters in back-sweetening is what YOU like, not what someone tells you is good. My first batch of blueberry wine was with about 4.5 lbs and the flavor was hiding on me until I back-sweetened it. Then it was very good, not strong but still very good. I've tried 7.5 or 8 lbs I think one time and personally I found it to be a waste of berries - For me it's just great at that 6 to 6.5 lb per gallon rate. Your tastes may be different and that's what makes this so interesting.
thanks again. I will be starting this one up as soon as my Pear get Done fermenting.
 

silverbullet07

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Starting my blueberry wine now. I thawed my blueberries and crushed them and added to my fermentation bucket. The must shows 3.5 gal on the bucket. Refractor measured SG 1.047 I mixed up a gal of water and 4lbs sugar. Added it and SG is 1.087. I added potassium Metabisulfite and will let it sit a while before adding my pectin Enzyme.

Tomorrow I will get my final reading and zero everything in.

What differences does Tannin vs Raisins provide. I see some add tannin and some add raisins. @Scooter68 You seem to use tannin. Have you used raisins and if so do you like the tannin better? Just wondering which way I should go with my fist batch.

Got me a little press to press the blueberries when finished in primary.

s-l1600 (1).jpg
 
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Scooter68

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Looks good - Nice press. By the way check the pH ASAP that's much harder to adjust, if needed, than the SG.
I don't add raisins, only tannin. That's based on my choosing to go with the opinion that it makes no sense to add an oxidized fruit (raisins) to a wine. I may be wrong but that's just my choice.
I did take the 'cake' of pressed blueberries from one 3 gallon batch and use that with some White Grape Juice concentrate to make another blended batch. Jury is still out on that one but that is an option once you press those blueberries.
 

silverbullet07

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I checked the PH and TA. Right now PH is 3.64 and TA = .3% I will probable add another 1/2 gal of water and some more sugar and check it again. Any idea what this 3.5 gal must will bring in juice. Not sure to add 1/2 gal or another gal. Right now my bucket is 3 1/2 must and 1 gal water.
 
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Scooter68

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You pH should be much lower especially with blueberries. I've not heard of many, if any, blueberry batches that naturally started out that high. Normal range if you used more than 6 lbs per gallon would be below 3.4. Most folks have trouble with blueberries because they are so acidic not at all unusual for a batch to have an initial reading (before fermentation) of 3.3 or lower. Did you use a pH meter and did you check the calibration on it? That's just way high for blueberries
 

silverbullet07

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Yes I know. Double checked the meter and calibrated. These are store bought frozen blueberries. With 1 gal water.
 

silverbullet07

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I rechecked. Squished up some berries and juice to see if it made a difference. It did not. Ph 3.65 - 3.64. Checked a 6.86 ph solution right on the money. Don’t know where these are grown but they came from Sam’s club. Seems like I do not need to add acid or calcium carbonate. TA is 3 g/l or .3%.
 
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Scooter68

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I would add a little acid. Best range for the must would be 3.4 - 3.6 you are not that high but.... better to be a little safer. Not a great deal but a bit to get it a little below 3.6 That might be my OCD kicking in.
 

silverbullet07

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I would add a little acid. Best range for the must would be 3.4 - 3.6 you are not that high but.... better to be a little safer. Not a great deal but a bit to get it a little below 3.6 That might be my OCD kicking in.
I was sort of thinking the same thing. Any idea why these would not be more acid? Is is difference between tame and wild? Or where they were grown?
 

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I was sort of thinking the same thing. Any idea why these would not be more acid? Is is difference between tame and wild? Or where they were grown?
All of the reasons you suggested and probably a couple more related to a water wash they may have received when the processor was prepping the blueberries prior freezing.
 

Scooter68

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Hard to say. These days store bought fruit undergoes Lord only knows what sort of treatements, washes etc. Not to mention the GMO on the plants. I really try to stay away from any prepared frozen fruits. Last time I did mangos I tried using the frozen chunks - once they are thawed out you realize they aren't fully ripe mangos so they lack the flavor and sweetness of a fresh mango. So with berries - I wish I could tell you but I'd be totally guessing.
 

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