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RickD

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I'm about to start my very first batch, ever (1 gal carboy), of wine. Blackberry, with most steps from the DDDB recipe found on this forum. Just a couple of quick questions...

1. I intend to use frozen berries, a la HEB/Kroger/Walmart/etc. Are there any special precautions to be taken during thawing? e.g., K-meta? My current plan is to simply let them sit in their unopened bags in the fridge until thawed.

2. Do such berries require cleaning/sanitizing prior to mashing? My current plan is to rinse and sanitize (Na-Meta), but after thinking about future plans for a Strawberry wine from frozen strawberries, I'm beginning to think sanitizing is not necessary.
 

Scooter68

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As long as your containers and tools have been sanitized there probably isn't any need to use k-meta on those berries except in the case that you plan on leaving them overnight after thawing as your sugar and other additives are incorporated.

Leaving things overnight is often a good practice for two reasons only one of which applies to you.
First - fresh fruit or fruit you prepare yourself may well have some stray bacteria and/or wild yeast that may cause issues or spoil the wine.
Second (And this is what applies here) Even if you have the berries well thawed, mashed well and sugar dissolved well into the must, it's not uncommon at all to see the SG and/or pH change after sitting overnight. Normally that would result a higher SG than you had the day before. The only issue that causes that you might think that the fermentation hasn't progressed from that first days reading a day or two later when in fact your real starting SG was actually a little higher, no harm no foul there. The pH may also change as the fruit breaks down a bit and if the pH rises to above 3.6 your wine might be prone to spoil quicker and lack the full taste it should have (Might taste "Flabby")

So for those reasons I would always add k-meta to a fresh fruit wine batch.

For a juice batch (Canned prepared juice) I don't bother with the k-Meta and overnight waiting. I try to wait 2-4 hours to make sure my SG is good but that's about it. I prepare it and pitch the yeast that day

Now for your situation - you are much closer to the prepared juice situation than fresh fruit with the exception that the fruit needs to be well thawed, berries well mashed and sugar well desolved. You can go with no k-meta and no overnight wait but adding k-meta and waiting overnight is not going to cost you anything but some time and a dose of k-meta.
 

Rembee

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You do not have to sanitize the berries. After they are thawed out you can rinse them under cool tap water. Also, save any juice that may be in the bag. You can use this juice in your must. It makes life a whole lot simpler if you have a brew bag or straining bag to place the berries in. Then placing the bag into the fermenter. It keeps all the seeds and pieces of berries from floating and sinking to the bottom of the fermentation bucket.
 

cmason1957

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I often will invert some sugar and pour that over frozen berries. So you take 24 cups of sugar, add 12 cups of water, add 4 or 5 capfuls of lemon juice, heat until below boiling, hold for 10-20 minutes. Now pour that hot sugary water over the berries, thaws them really quickly. breaks apart the sugar into a simpler form for the yeast to eat. 2 birds one stone. I never add all the sugar I think I'll need, usually 50-75% of the expected total. Let cool overnight, add rest of sugar to what I want my starting SG to be.
 

Rice_Guy

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RELAX
* you will recover more berry if you transfer them into the primary frozen. Thawed berry has lost some juice which stays in the packaging.
* industry assumes that we have cleaned frozen grocery store product well enough so that it can be consumed as is. Frozen/ thawed berries could have 50% loss of yield since freezing does tissue damage.
* meta is good for the primary. The purpose is to act as a fence to encourage growth of selected yeast, ,,,, we do not put in enough meta to actually sanitize the fruit!, ,,, if we had enough to sanitize covid long haulers who have lost taste would be able to feel it in their mouth, meta is nasty stuff.
* the fruit which goes into commercial wine has a lot more insect parts/ dirt than what you are going to see with hand selected garden produce, or retail grade frozen food. We have guide lines as to how many stink bugs we can add to must before there are flavor issues, and how much insect damage we let in a kilo of rice, and how many ground up insect fragments are allowed in a kilo of cake flour, etc. Machine processed foods have contaminants!
* wine because of its chemical make up is a preservative, processes like clarification, filters, racking, flotation, pressing are intended to produce crystal clear wine but the “dirt” removed is micro biologically clean.
 

Scooter68

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Thanks for that info Riceguy - I think I may stick to my 'clean' homemade wine now. :s

But I do agree - Standards vary so much from on part of the food industry/Food Service business to another. But as we have seen the old world wine process was not, is not all that purity that folks imagine either. And yet amazingly we survive - because our body has some amazing tolerances for foreign things.

And yes about k-meta. I've made the mistake of breathing within a foot of a just opened bag of K-Meta powder. Thought I was going to keel over.
 

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