critique/inputs for blackberry wine

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vernsgal

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In 2 weeks I'm planning on making my 1st blackberry wine.Is my recipe missing anything or wrong in amounts.It's for 3 gal.
18 lbs blackberries
7 lbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp.pectic enzyme
1 tsp acid blend
3 tsp nutrient
sparkolloid
1/4 tsp k-meta
1 1/2 tsp k-sorbate
yeast Lalvin EC-1118

place fruit in nylon bag,sqeeze gently in primary.Add 1 gal warm water,pectic enzyme,acid blend and nutrient.Boil 1/2 gal. of water,add sugar and add to primary.Add remaining water to 3 1/2gal.Test SG.1.085-1.090 Wait 24 hours and pitch yeast.Mix and sqeeze nylon bag twice a day until SG=1.015.Rack to carboy and finish fermenting to .990 Add K-meta and sorbate,and degas wine. Add sparkolloid ,when clear add f-pak. Bulk age 3 months add another 1/4 tsp k meta and bottle.Age
Did I miss anything?Too much? Should I add anything?oak?chocolate?coffee?
All inputs are appreciated.
Thanks everyone Kim
 

vernsgal

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stupid typo. name is supposed to be below the thanks everyone :D
 

Turock

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This wine will probably NOT need acid blend. Most blackberries have TOO much acid right from the beginning. It's important to have a PH meter when making this wine because you need to adjust the PH--which usually starts around 2.8 or 2.9---with calcium carbonate to a PH of about 3.4

The acid on blackberry is malic--a very harsh acid. So a good culture for them is 71B because it metabolizes some of the malic--about 20%---which makes a smoother wine without the resulting harshness that can be leftover when using other cultures.

Adding water will dilute this wine, producing a very light-tasting blackberry. When we make this wine, we use 10 pounds per gallon and use no water. This gives a big-flavored wine that tastes just like the fruit. Because we use high poundage, the wine can be very dense, so use bentonite in the primary to give the wine more clarity.

I'm against manual degassing of non-kit wines. We rack the lees off, then allow it to age for at least 9 months. By that time, the CO2 is gone and the wine is clear. Wines need to age up and stablize before sweetening and sorbate additions. Stablization is achieved only when the bulk of the yeast cells are racked off. Only then will sorbate work correctly. Don't be in a hurry with this wine--let it age up and generate its flavors. There is no way you should be adding sorbate when you rack to the secondary--this is totally wrong.

E C Kraus has a real nice discertation on sorbate in the blog section of their website. You should do some reading on proper use of sorbate so you understand how it works and when to use it.
 

TommBomb

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Hey turok, forgive me I don't understand. What do u use to top up the primary fermentor if not water?
 
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If I would have made my blackberry according to the directions giving. I would probably throw it away.
Recipes are just that, and a lot of information is left out.
A grilled steak recipe tells how to grill steak, but not how to light the grill.
I wish I would have found this forum a month ago.
 

vernsgal

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Thanks turok for your input. I understand adding water waters down the wine but I am just looking for a medium bodied outcome though so wouldn't some water be needed? I am a total newbie on fruit wine making since all past wines have been done with kits, that's why I thought I'd put out my recipe 1st and get mistakes and inputs added before beginning.The basics of this recipe I got from this site.I have been reading and taking notes now for months (and obviously have sooo much more to learn) (also note taken on removing acid blend)this is why this site is so good.It helps newbs like me
 

vernsgal

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If I would have made my blackberry according to the directions giving. I would probably throw it away.
Recipes are just that, and a lot of information is left out.
A grilled steak recipe tells how to grill steak, but not how to light the grill.
I wish I would have found this forum a month ago.
I don't believe I asked for criticism:re
 

Julie

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If I would have made my blackberry according to the directions giving. I would probably throw it away.
Recipes are just that, and a lot of information is left out.
A grilled steak recipe tells how to grill steak, but not how to light the grill.
I wish I would have found this forum a month ago.
I don't believe I asked for criticism:re
She is right jamesngalveston, she asked for help not to be disrespected.
 

Julie

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Besides what Turock has said, I wouldn't add 7 pounds of sugar, I would take a reading of the juice and add enough sugar to bring sg approx. 1.080.

Sugar levels in fruit will vary year by year, no two growing seasons are exact thus sugar levels will be different. So when you have a recipe that states how much sugar to add, it is based on the year the fruit was produced and that is what was needed to bring the sg to the desired level.

I won't go over 12% ABV on this and I would think about oaking it.
 

oldwhiskers

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There's a lot of knowledgeable people here and differing opinions, but there is a definate need to test the PH, TA and SG of the must. Sometimes making a small batch as a test run helps prove your recipe.
 
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I meant no disrespect at all. I was talking about my recipe I used, Not yours......
I made my first batch exactly like directions and it was a disaster.

I found out later, i did not need the acid blend with blackberries.
And i did not need the pectic enzyme with pure juice.
 
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I did not mean any disrespect at all.
I was talking about my recipe, not yours.
I followed mine to the tea, and it was horrible.
I later found out that I did not need the acid blend because blackberries have so much malic acid all ready.
I did not need the pectic enzyme, because I was using pure juice, not whole fruit.
And i did not add enough sugar. even though following recipe.
Sorry ...did not mean to offend
 

BernardSmith

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It seems to me that the important point that I get from all these discussions is that recipes themselves are really only useful as starting points, as ways of capturing principles rather than as treasure maps to be followed precisely so that you will always find the buried cask. It seems to me that the important thing is to aim for certain targets - the level of alcohol (the amount of sugar), the level of acidity, the richness of flavor (the amount of fruit/gallon) and the like - and those targets are always going to be based on the fruits and juices that you have here and now, coupled with the taste that you prefer and you enjoy. The berries you have may be incredibly rich in sugars and juice and acids or the berries I have may not be. You may prefer your wine sweeter but less fruity, someone else may like it more dry and more fruity, another may prefer it more acidic and much sweeter. Others may want the buzz of a higher ABV and simply use the fruit as a vehicle for the alcohol...
 

Julie

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It seems to me that the important point that I get from all these discussions is that recipes themselves are really only useful as starting points, as ways of capturing principles rather than as treasure maps to be followed precisely so that you will always find the buried cask. It seems to me that the important thing is to aim for certain targets - the level of alcohol (the amount of sugar), the level of acidity, the richness of flavor (the amount of fruit/gallon) and the like - and those targets are always going to be based on the fruits and juices that you have here and now, coupled with the taste that you prefer and you enjoy. The berries you have may be incredibly rich in sugars and juice and acids or the berries I have may not be. You may prefer your wine sweeter but less fruity, someone else may like it more dry and more fruity, another may prefer it more acidic and much sweeter. Others may want the buzz of a higher ABV and simply use the fruit as a vehicle for the alcohol...
Thank you BernardSmith, you hit that nail dead on!
 
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I have never been one to follow others, I like my own direction better.
I agree with all you said .
I recieved my supplies today for 2 5 gallon batches.
5 gallons of dragon blood, I had a chemist come and do the measurements for 5 gallon, vs 6 gallon from whole fruit.
I am also starting 5 gallons of strawberry/blackberry from juice.
Now that I have a few weeks of questions answered here, and 2 weeks of reading...Im ready to try my own hand.
Thing is....I want more buckets and carboys and fruit.
This maybe a hobby after all.
Thanks for the info.
 

vernsgal

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Thanks everyone for the inputs. I will be picking up a PH meter tester before starting.Bernardsmith I think you got it! I read this somewhere while surfing and took note of it "it's important to remember that the way a bottled wine tastes is about the relationship of things like pH and TA to other factors like alcohol, tannin, extract and sweetness. There's no chemical formula to make great wine—not yet, anyway."
I will be starting this in 2 weeks and will definitely keep posted. Mostly because I'll have more questions I'm sure. lol
 

Turock

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There is no need to top up the fermenter. When we make fruit wines, we always freeze the fruit first because it yields a lot of juice. There is no need for water, then.

We stopped using recipes many,many years ago. Recipes are OK to follow when you're a new wine maker just to get the process under your belt. But recipes don't make great wines. To make great wines, you need to go "off recipe." Most of the time you are upping your poundage and eliminating water additions because those 2 things really give you a delicious wine.

However, water still has its uses. Red raspberry comes out much better when you use the old standard recipe with the water addition.
 

Turock

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vernsgal---Well, if you want to add water to yield 3 gallons because you want a medium bodied wine, I guess you can go that way. I always look at this wine the way we've been doing it for 20 years and not with the eyes of a new winemaker. You should do it the way YOU want to. Then you can evaluate it and see if you like it that way or move to doing it with no water.

I'm glad you asked for help BEFORE approaching this wine instead of asking for help trying to adjust it post ferment. Blackberry is one of those wines that if you DON'T properly adjust the acid pre-ferment, you'll never be able to adjust it afterward because that dictates the use of POTASSIUM carbonate and you can't use that much of it to move the PH by several tenths. It's only to be used for tweaking.

So it's very good for you to understand,while you're a brand new winemaker, that all adjustments--on EVERYTHING you ferment---needs to be done pre-ferment. Then you won't have problem wines that you're trying to fix in the post-ferment. Designing your wine happens at the primary--it's the only GOOD chance you have at making your wine turn out perfect. So adjust the PH of this wine with CALCIUM carbonate--be careful with it--you can over-shoot the PH. Add very small amounts--like 1/4 tsp--at a time. Stir very well--retest. When you begin to approach your target PH, add smaller amounts. Use your hydrometer to set your brix. Split your nutrient---so the yeast is constantly fed thru the ferment. Good luck--hope this turns out good for you.
 

SBWs

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This is a very interesting thread, I've enjoyed reading the comments. When I started out in the hobby 3 years ago it was to make a blackberry wine from all the wild blackberries that grow around here. In 3 years I've learned a lot but by all means I'm still not where I want to be with my blackberry wine.

Here are a few things I've learned that have improved on the outcome.
1. Never hurts to add 1 banana per gallon (adds body)
2. pH should be between 3.4 and 3.7 (I like 3.6 to start, can always add acid easier then taking it away later and I normally add a f-pac made from steamed juice which adds acid )
3. More fruit is good until it starts effecting the acid to a point where it's hard to get to the proper pH. In my opinion, proper pH is by far more important in the end than using more fruit, it's all about balance.
4. Lalvin 71B-1122 as someone already mentioned.
5. Needs to be aged, not a early drinker by any means.
6. Hungarian Medium Toast Oak (this is a personal taste thing)
7. Use eggs whites as a clearing agent, they do wonders with blackberry wine in softening the bitterness (I use powdered egg whites found in the local supermarket)
8. Glycerine can be used to aid astringency and body.

While some of these are more in the line of tricks to fix wines, they are good to know when starting out.

Good Luck
 
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