Elderberry Wine (berry)

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tjpackham10

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Hi everyone, I'm Tracey from UK.
This is the 3nd time I have tried to make wine and as our first batch of Elderflower wine went well we thought we'd try Elderberry as wanted to make a red.
We started the wine 6.11.2019 2.5kg berries, 9 litres water, 1 packet red wine yeast, 2tsp yeast nutrient.
SG 1100 we did not add a Camden tablet.
12.11.2019 SG 1150
8.12.2019 SG now 1100 1st racking
17.12.2019 2nd racking
Wine smells yeasty and slight fizz
Added 1 tsp pectolose and put demijons into a warm cupboard as we were not sure the fermentation was still going.
17.2.2020 3rd racking
Wine still tastes fizzy and bitter may be stuck so added restart solution 100ml of boiled warm water and 3 tsp sugar. Also left a bigger air gap at top of demijon.
13.3.2020 wine looks clear but still tastes bitter, not fizzy and still a little yeasty.

As this has been on going for 5 months I'm wondering if I should just give up on this batch and start again later in the year with new berries.
Any tips and help would be great!
Keep safe everyone!15851295697936734708131368447792.jpg
 

Arne

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Draw a glass and add a bit of sugar to it. Not enough, add a little more sugar. Keep trying and see if that cures it. Arne.
 

salcoco

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what is the sg now? my guess is at the beginning no measurements for acid or ph were made.. must may have been to acidic to let yeast get good start. also racking at sg=1100 not wise. best to let fermentation continue even if slow. also did you re-hydrate yeast properly. I usually add to 109DEGF water for 15 minutes. I would consider this a experience and try again.
 

Rice_Guy

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* a slow/cool winter fermentation is still a fermentation, you seem to indicate gravity went down
* SG 1.100 on June 11th is high, you may have yeast get stuck and wind up with a sweeter elderberry. If I read correctly the gravity went up in december, this was likely CO2 on the hygrometer. A Champaign yeast has enough strength to finish a 1.100 starting gravity.
* my elderberry has bitter/tannic flavor, this is normal. Fizzy suggests lots of CO2 which also creates bitter flavor notes, , I would microwave 100 ml to boil off the CO2 and cool then reevaluate taste.
* at this point you have an interesting possibility. You could add enough fruit juice to cut the starting June sugar to a normal 1.080 to 1.090 and dilute the bitter to where you like it.
 

tjpackham10

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Draw a glass and add a bit of sugar to it. Not enough, add a little more sugar. Keep trying and see if that cures it. Arne.
Hi thanks for your message. If I were to try adding sugar to a glass how do I work out how much to add to 2 demijons? How long do I continue before bottling?
 

Scooter68

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Personally my method is to make a simple syrup (SS) (2 parts sugar / 1 part water.) Then I draw 1/2 cup of wine (working in cups/gallons here) and use a syringe to add measured amount of SS to that 1/2 cup. (Maybe 2-3cc at a time) Once it's almost perfect use that to calculate what you need for the rest of the carboy. Best to stop just short of perfect.
Again on aging, I like to wait at least 10-12 months. I also don't back sweeten until then so the wine has lost that sharpness and smoothed out some. To me that makes your back sweetening both easier and more accurate. Of course stabilize with K-meta and K-Sorbate before doing the back sweetening.
 
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hounddawg

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yup everything they said, on my elderberries i like mine to age a few years, each year it gets smoother and better to me, i do a few elderberry and blackberry together in the ferment barrel, , then just a year or two helps greatly,
Dawg
 

garymc

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1. You don't say what your finishing sg is, but if it was stuck and there was a lot of sugar left, it would taste sweet, so I think it finished.
2. 1.100 sg starting will give you a lot of alcohol if it finishes below 1.000. A lot of alcohol will make it taste harsh. No changing that except backsweetening.
3. The wine hasn't aged sufficiently and the yeast taste means your yeast hasn't settled and been racked off. I suspect some yeast is still floating around with a CO2 life jacket. You need to agitate it somehow to remove CO2. Vacuum pump if you have one, pick it up and shake it if you're Lou Ferrigno, or stir it vigorously. Then another month or 3 of settling and a rack. Taste and see if you want it dry. Then if you want it sweet, add stabilizers (I use k-meta and k-sorb) and let that settle a few days. Then add sugar however you choose. I make a syrup and put in enough to raise it to 1.000 and taste, add taste, add taste. Stop adding sugar while it's still a little harsh, see below. Let it settle a few days rack or bottle as needed.
4. A wine, even aged 6 months to a year in a carboy can taste "green." Usually, 3 to 6 months in a bottle will mellow it considerably.
 

Rice_Guy

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Hi thanks for your message. If I were to try adding sugar to a glass how do I work out how much to add to 2 demijons? How long do I continue before bottling?
* if you don’t have much equipment some jelly jars have volume marks, otherwise a measuring cup. Sugar can be volumetric. Your goal is to find the sweetness (gravity) which tastes best.
* percent of sugar versus specific gravity is linear. image.jpg
* you can always add more. Your choice is limited if you overshot
 

tjpackham10

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1. You don't say what your finishing sg is, but if it was stuck and there was a lot of sugar left, it would taste sweet, so I think it finished.
2. 1.100 sg starting will give you a lot of alcohol if it finishes below 1.000. A lot of alcohol will make it taste harsh. No changing that except backsweetening.
3. The wine hasn't aged sufficiently and the yeast taste means your yeast hasn't settled and been racked off. I suspect some yeast is still floating around with a CO2 life jacket. You need to agitate it somehow to remove CO2. Vacuum pump if you have one, pick it up and shake it if you're Lou Ferrigno, or stir it vigorously. Then another month or 3 of settling and a rack. Taste and see if you want it dry. Then if you want it sweet, add stabilizers (I use k-meta and k-sorb) and let that settle a few days. Then add sugar however you choose. I make a syrup and put in enough to raise it to 1.000 and taste, add taste, add taste. Stop adding sugar while it's still a little harsh, see below. Let it settle a few days rack or bottle as needed.
4. A wine, even aged 6 months to a year in a carboy can taste "green." Usually, 3 to 6 months in a bottle will mellow it considerably.
 

tjpackham10

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Thanks for the info. I have just checked it again and the SG is just below 990.
Should I now leave it for a few more weeks and then try sweetening? When should it be bottled? I started it in November last year.
Thanks
 

Scooter68

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Thanks for the info. I have just checked it again and the SG is just below 990.
Should I now leave it for a few more weeks and then try sweetening? When should it be bottled? I started it in November last year.
Thanks
Based on that SG reading the wine has completed fermentation and other than racking every 3 months remove sediment, it just needs time. No less than 10 months at the least. Add a dose of K-Meta at each racking.
Rushing it will just get you a sharpish wine that time will smooth out. That's why I recommend leaving back sweetening until just before bottling, sometime beyond 10-12 months. Without some experience in reading a new wine, it's harder to know just how sweet you need it to be to be at its peak. (Most fruit wines are more flavorful with a little bit of back sweetening.
 

winemanden

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Is it me, am I groggy in my isolation. Starting SG 1.110 or 1.150 then back to 1.110. now finished at 0.990. Does it taste very alcoholic? Must be 18/19 ABV.
 

sour_grapes

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Is it me, am I groggy in my isolation. Starting SG 1.110 or 1.150 then back to 1.110. now finished at 0.990. Does it taste very alcoholic? Must be 18/19 ABV.
Well, that is a big difference. That 0.040 alone makes a difference of about 5% in finished ABV. Do you know which one it was?
 
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tjpackham10

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Based on that SG reading the wine has completed fermentation and other than racking every 3 months remove sediment, it just needs time. No less than 10 months at the least. Add a dose of K-Meta at each racking.
Rushing it will just get you a sharpish wine that time will smooth out. That's why I recommend leaving back sweetening until just before bottling, sometime beyond 10-12 months. Without some experience in reading a new wine, it's harder to know just how sweet you need it to be to be at its peak. (Most fruit wines are more flavorful with a little bit of back sweetening.
 

tjpackham10

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Hi we don't have k meta but we do have campden tablets. How much should I add each racking? There is also a very small amount of gas in the wine about 1 bubble every 14 seconds.
 

Rice_Guy

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a campden tablet is half a gram of K metabisulphite, they can be broken like pills
I add about 0.2 gram per gallon at racking, , , ie one tablet can do a 5 or 6 gallon at racking

if you have 3 to 4 bubbles per minute you probably have a month for the last sugars to get consumed, , , i don’t rush and rack while watching the bubbles.
Hi we don't have k meta but we do have campden tablets. How much should I add each racking? There is also a very small amount of gas in the wine about 1 bubble every 14 seconds.
 

tjpackham10

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Hi thanks, I was in the middle of racking when I messaged you so just added a campden tablet to each demijon. I won't add any at next racking.
 

winemanden

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In the UK Campden tablets are Sodium meta. Bit different, but the figures are for a US gallon. Over here its Imperial gallons, bigger than the US, 4.5 litres app. US is 3.785 app.
No problem, it's just me isolation nit picking🙏😀😀😀
 

winemaker81

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No problem, it's just me isolation nit picking
Keep nitpicking. Remember the Mars Climate Orbiter that crashed because someone forgot to translate units? Given that this forum is world-wide, it's good to mention units to avoid unfortunate mistakes.

wasting wine is a crime .....
 
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