Blueberry wines, two at a time

Discussion in 'Country Fruit Winemaking' started by iridium, Jan 15, 2019.

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  1. Jan 15, 2019 #1

    iridium

    iridium

    iridium

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    So I have taken the plunge and have started two different blueberry wines. The first will be a dessert wine style, thanks to the suggestion by @Scooter68 and the second will be a regular blueberry wine. Both are aiming to be about 1.5 gallons at start of fermentation.

    I had thawed 7 pounds of blueberries before I decided to split the batches. While they were thawing I added 2 tsp of pectic enzyme and 2 crushed campden tablets. I added another 1.5 pounds of frozen berries and divided the berries and juice equally by weight. After that I decided to start with the dessert wine and let the regular wine continue to thaw.

    The dessert wine received 1.5 tsp of calcium carbonate to get the pH above 2.8 where it was registering. That was way too much so I added 1.5 tsp of acid blend and another 1.5 tsp of lemon juice. That brought it down to 3.8 which I though would be good. I also added 8 cups of water and 4.5 cups of sugar. OG is 1.110. That should get me about 14.5% abv if a ferment to .994. Pitched R56 yeast from Vintner's Harvest and stirred. Today was first day of fermentation and it has that wonderful bread smell and appears to be actively moving along. I ferment in a bucket with a cloth over it so i don't have the airlock action that others see.

    The regular wine was ready to go today. I only added .5 tsp of calcium carbonate and 2.5 cups of sugar. i still added 8 cups of water. Stirred and pitched the same yeast.

    I am excited to see how this turns out and will keep posting as I move along.
     
  2. Jan 15, 2019 #2

    Stressbaby

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    Haven't used R56 before but looks like its alcohol tolerance is 13.5%. So you'll end up with some RS in the dessert wine.
     
  3. Jan 15, 2019 #3

    Scooter68

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    My only concern is that originally I thought you were going to split 10 lbs between 2 One gallon batches and that would work but not be a really strong wine. With 7 lbs you are talking going to have less than 4lbs per gallon and that might result in a less than full-bodied flavor. Any way you could add more blueberries to at least the dessert wine batch might yield better results.
     
  4. Jan 28, 2019 #4

    iridium

    iridium

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    So I wanted to provide an update. I did end up splitting the blueberries between two batches. I also added more blueberries so that I had six pounds of blue berries and must for each batch. The dessert wine had an OG of 1.10 and the regular blueberry wine had an OG of 1.080. For the first week the SG only reduced by .02. There was activity but it was very slow. I added fermaid-k to each batch after a week and the activity picked up. After a week, yesterday, I measured SG and it was a .996 for the regular wine and .994 for the dessert wine. They are now under airlock in carboys. There dos not appear to be any fermentation continuing.

    As others well know there are a lot of lees settling out. I don't know that I will maintain a full gallon for each batch. i am thinking in a week or so I will rack off the lees. I will top the dessert wine with the regular wine even though that will reduce the ABV. I will just keep about a half a gallon of the regular wine for aging.

    This has been nice and I am looking forward to this aging for quite awhile and then tasting the results.
     
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  5. Jan 28, 2019 #5

    Scooter68

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    At the point you've reached airlock activity is going to be very slow.
    With your dessert wine it would be nice if you can coax it to ferment all the way to .990 - for a ABV of 14.41% but take what you can get. Given the Yeast you used that may not happen but be patient and give it a few days.

    Good idea to use the Regular batch to top off the Dessert wine. The flavor shouldn't suffer at all and the ABV impact will be low too.

    You might try racking off the gross lees. Some times that racking will actually spur a bit more activity to finish the ferment.

    You can take those gross lees and run then through a fine wire strainer and then put the strained liquid into your fridge for 2-3 days. Should settle out and clear more for you. Since you are almost finished fermenting the Airlock should protect you while you wait out the settling of the chilled, strained lees. The process is a little messy but it can provide you a lot of good topping off liquid for the second racking.

    Future trick you can use = Carlo Rossi wines come in 4 Liter glass carboys. If you start out in that you'll be 7 oz above a gallon and then you can rack down to 1 gallon carboy.

    I do all my primary fermentation in a bucket (2 gallon for 1 gallon batches & 5 gallon for my 3 gallon batches) By starting out with at least 1 1/4 gallons volume my first racking usually end up with a full 4 liter carboy. Just something for future use perhaps.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019
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  6. May 22, 2019 #6

    iridium

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    Update time again. I just racked the wine again. I am still holding solid at a half a gallon of the regular blueberry wine and 1 gallon of the dessert wine. The specific gravity has remained unchanged.

    I tried the wines and they tasted very thin. I am hoping this improves when I back sweeten with a blueberry syrup. however, i was surprised by the thin taste.

    Other than that it is going well. I will probably bottle at the next racking in three months.
     
  7. May 22, 2019 #7

    Scooter68

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    Unfortunately that is to be expected with the amount of fruit you used per gallon. Back-sweetening will help a little but it's still going to be a light bodied wine at 3 1/2 lbs per gallon.
     
  8. Oct 2, 2019 #8

    iridium

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    Final update,
    As expected, the blueberry flavor was thin and weak and I didn't think that backsweetening with just simple syrup would work. So I made a homemade blueberry syrup. This had nothing in it but blueberries, sugar, water and lemon juice so no foreign substances into the wine. The syrup was strained through a chinois so that cut down on a lot of solids in the syrup. I combined that with some simple syrup and used that for back sweetening the wine. It worked. My taster in chief thought the results were good and so i bottled it up.

    The bad news is that I had to combine the dessert and the regular at the end to get everything to work. So I think this is a good first experience with blueberry wine. i learned a lot and still have 7 bottles of pretty good blueberry wine to enjoy.

    Thanks to all for your comments, suggestions, and tips.
     
  9. Oct 2, 2019 #9

    Scooter68

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    Hopefully you did dose it with K-Meta and K-Sorbate before bottling???

    You may get some precipitation of solids/debris but the key here is that you got through that first batch. That's one of the hazards of a hurry-up to bottle process. That f-pack needs to be truly clear of all potential precipitates.

    Would recommend that, no matter how good it seems now... Keep at least on bottle for a full year from the time fermentation ended and if you can, keep another for 18-24 months. The changes truly grand. Rounding off of sharpness, even sweetening up (at least the perception of it) and it just will mature into a really great wine.
     
  10. Oct 2, 2019 #10

    iridium

    iridium

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    Yes I did dose with both k-meta and sorbate before bottling. I definitely don’t need any bottle bombs.

    Thank for the reminder of hurry up bottling. I agree I should have let it settle and the. Rack. However that was not an option this time. I will plan better next time.

    I will definitely save a bottle or two. I have been enjoying the wine making and so have lots of bottle to enjoy in the meantime.
     
  11. Oct 3, 2019 #11

    Scooter68

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    Your story is not unfamiliar to me in one sense. I bottled my first blueberry wine at 4 months and we opened a bottle within that first month. Good.... BUT when I opened another bottle about 6-8 months later it was totally different in the best ways.

    So as a learning experience this may turn out to be very helpful to you.

    Keep pitching that yeast!

    (I'm starting a batch of Tart Cherry here in the next couple of months [from bottled concentrate])
     

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