Help. My wine is bitter after primary fermentation?

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Nov 16, 2015
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I started a gallon of blackberry wine with 9lb blackberries, and 3.5lbs of sugar with teaspoon of citric acid and juice of half a small lemon. I used port yeast.

At first the must was very sweet. I did the primary ferment in a bucket for 9 days and when I put in into the demijohn (carjohn) it tasted slightly bitter.

I'm guessing as it ferments and the sugar gets even less it will become even more bitter.
Is there anyway I can reduce the bitterness? Some people say tannin removes bitterness but others say it causes bitterness and dryness.

Any ideas?

(It's my first attempt at this type of wine)


Junior Member
Jun 9, 2016
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Are you sure it's not just going dry? All that sugar should be gone after the ferment. It could also still be fermenting and not a good time to taste. It could also be full of gas and would have an off taste. But most likely it just needs time. 6-12 months from now you won't believe its the same wine. Have you checked the pH?


Senior Member
WMT Supporter
Jun 10, 2015
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South Louisiana
You didn't post any information on starting specific gravity, assumption is that you didn't take any readings.

Blackberries have an average Brix of 10 (SG of 1.04).

Your 3.5 # of sugar in one gallon of water will give you a SG of 1.127.

Not knowing what "port" yeast you used, but assuming it's capable of the highest alcohol fermentation levels (18%), you'll end up with an alcohol content in the 18% range with residual sugar in the wine.

The sugar water alone would yield an alcohol content of between 18.4 and19.2%. Needless to say, with the blackberries in the must as well, you have more sugar in your must than your yeast will be capable of fermenting.

Having said that, your wine, when fermentation ceases, will be very young and will need some time to mature before the eventual taste will become evident. In lots of fruit wines, the addition of sugar to the wine helps smooth out the wine and bring out the natural flavors of the fruit. I would not add any tannin to the wine at this time.

In your case, I wouldn't add any more sugar, you should already have a lot left over after your yeast is finished with all it can handle. Let it finish, rack and sulfite it and let it age before trying to mess with the taste. Get a hydrometer if you don't have one and see how much sugar is still left in the wine.

9 Pounds of blackberries seems like a decent amount for a gallon of wine, and that's good, because if your yeast does its job, you'll need some body as well as sweetness to handle the 18% ABV.


Just a Member
Aug 19, 2012
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Are you sure it is bitter rather than sour? All of my blackberry wines have starting pH 2.78-2.90 range. I add calcium carbonate to raise the pH. In your case, citric acid (as powder + lemon juice) would only serve to drive that pH lower. I would imagine this wine to be very acidic and sour.

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