help required with regards to blackcurrant wine from fresh fruit

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gandy666

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Hi there, I have around 10KG's of blackcurrants that I want to brew up with, but I have a questions I hope someone can help me with. I've brewed with success in the past with the wine kit cans, but never with pure fruit. My questions are as follows:

  • I'm going to put the currants into a bucket with some boiling water and pectonase to break it down, once it cools. In order to get the maximum juice out of the berries, i was going to run a hand blender through them, but I am concerned that it will be difficult to clear the the wine at the end. Am I better to mash the berries with a potato masher then put them through a muslin strainer, or is using a blender ok? Or should I add the water, fruit, pectonase, leave for a while and gently squeeze the currants so there is not too much sediment or fruit matter in the must?
  • Blackcurrants in Scotland are quite bitter, and acidic. Some recipes call for adding extra lemon juice. Will this have an effect on the fermentation? I intend to use just over a kilo of sugar per imperial gallon. I have a hydrometer and have seen posts on here with instructions for use, which i will look at later on.
  • Various recipes call for varying amounts of fruit by weight. Does it matter if I put extra fruit in - will this improve the taste or will it have a detrimental effect on the fermentation process?
  • Any hints or tips for making wine with this kind of fresh fruit? i will be using a nutrient and a general purpose yeast from my local brewstore.

many thanks
 

salcoco

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freezing the fruit should ,help when defrosting the membranes of the fruit will breakdown releasing juice. additionally when defrosting add about 1kg of sugar per gallon and some pectin before adding water. the sugar will also draw out the fruit juice along with the pectin. once fruit up to room temp proceed with remainder of additions. if fruit are acidic I would not add lemon juice but wait until after fermentation and wine is clear to make any taste additions. good luck
 

Rice_Guy

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* heat will melt and solubilize pectin. It will clear better if frozen a week then thawed then crushed and pectase added. Pectase is a protein and will break down with heat.
* a potato masher will work, a blender will work. The biggest need is to treat all the fruit. This year I am running my fruit through a snow cone machine (small screw/ grinder). Last year I only picked an eight liter batch, , ie small enough that it had a potato masher. Ten kilo is a lot to do by hand.
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* I will use a nylon bag at the end of primary to strain/ filter. I have not tried fermenting in the bag but conceptually like the method.
* yes black currents are acidic. (What variety?) I don’t have a lot of numbers on black currant,, 2018 pH 2.98, 2019 pH 3.03, Titratable acidity 2.85%, 2020 pH 3.30, TA 4.26%, this year is in the freezer yet. I do NOT add lemon! Last year I added watermelon pH 6.8 to dilute the acid. Do you have a way to do pH? If so the target is less than pH 3.5.
* you can use more fruit. I would call this a rich style. High fruit forces me to add more sugar to backsweeten the wine to accomplish flavor balance. Black currant is a high flavor fruit. In this part of the world two kilos per gallon is a starting point. ,,, the last few years I do the primary strong as 14% finished alcohol and high solids and then top off with water after racking. ,,, If you read between the lines I am making a carboy full and keep that as a fixed then vary the water as needed.
As Sal said good luck, black currant has a strong flavor which not all US folks like, “musky” ,,, the favorite way folks in the vinters club use it is in a mead, not straight.
 
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Welcome to WMT!

I'm not generally in favor of boiling fruit for winemaking, although a few fruits apparently benefit from it. I suggest freezing the fruit, which will break down the fruit.

Use a masher -- all you really need is to break the skins. A blender may break up seeds, which often produces an off flavor. While I've not made current wine, this is often true, so it's better to play it safe.

Definitely use pectinase/pectic enzyme. My suggestion is to freeze the fruit, place it in your fermenting bucket with the pectinase and let it thaw. When thawed, crush the fruit (potato masher should be fine), add K-meta or Campden, then inoculate the next day.

I prefer to ferment the entire fruit, as the process extracts goodness from the skins and pulp. Strain it afterward.

I found 1 recipe for blackcurrent wine that said lemon juice was optional, another 2 did not list it in the ingredients. It may be best to leave it out.

Go careful on the sugar, as it's a lot easier to add more than take some out. Although you've experience with tinned fruit, this is your first time with fresh fruit. I suggested an OG no more than 1.100. Get that fermentation started and run it to completion. If you want a stronger wine, step feeding is a better choice. And your succeeding batches can start higher.

Amount of fruit? The recipes I found call for 0.9 to 1.35 kg/ US gallon. Since you are using Imperial measure, we need to increase amounts by a factor of 1.2.

IMO the 0.9 to 1.35 kg/US gallon is too little fruit -- the resulting wine is lacking in fruit flavor. A common recommendation on this forum is 2.3 to 4.5 kg for most fruit. If you go with the lesser value (2.3 kg), multiply that by 1.2, so you need at least 2.75 kg/Imperial gallon.

Strain the resulting wine through a fine mesh bag, then press the pulp to get more wine from it. The fine solids that make it through will settle.
 

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