Newbie Blackberry Wine SG?

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DanRM

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Hi all, I've had a go at making a gallon batch of blackberry wine. I have never had a go before so I've been following a vague recipe from a book but have come a little confused. I have just finished the primary fermenting in a bucket with daily stirring. Up until the 7th day where I was due to strain into a demijohn, it was bubbling away great. On the 7th it had slowed right down.

Now on day 9 (2nd day in the demijohn) I havn't noticed any bubbling from the airlock yet. I took a sample and the hydrometer is currently at .990. Original gravity was 1090.

Is this right or have I messed something up?

Cheers
 

Whitehrs

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Sound like it has fermented right along. I'm pretty new 9 months. But at .990 you are already dry, and from 1.090 you are somewhere between 14 - 15% which is the tolerance limit on a lot of yeasts. SO, I'd say go into the carboy (secondary) airlock it, and rack it in 3 -4 weeks with kmeta. testing SG everytime. Then do that every 3 months for 2 more racks and you should be good to go. Yoou can now think about how you want your wine. IE. sweet, semi-sweet or dry. Then start making a plan on how you want to achieve the level of sweet you want. If you are into dry, then you are on the money cause you got dry right now. I would recommend a flavor pack (F-pac) to give it a little sweeten and flavor with what should be your last rack.. Then bottle away. Good luck n ot drinking it all before then. Please if I'm wrong someone correct me.. You could even OAK that wine a little also. I would start that now.. I just bottled a blue berry, and I am thinking that It's time to get another in so I have some to hold me til next year.. to do a about 3 or 4 5 gallon batches.. Anyway, now is the time to think flavor adjustment and bulk aging.
 

Scooter68

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Yer - Done Dan - .990 is finished! You have a dry dry blackberry wine.

As Whitehrs said you are ready to rack. How many pounds of blackberries did you use? 4 1/2 to 5 lbs will yield a very good wine. If you used more the only thing you might have to watch is the acidity.

Have you checked the pH yet? Or the TA? Either one will work to get an idea of any adjustments needed, if any, in the aging process.

I've made a couple of 1 gallon batches and both turned out excellent. (Along with the blueberry, peach, black raspberry....) One thing that you will need to decide before bottling time (Should be aged at least 3-4 months) is if you want a slightly sweeter wine or pretty dry wine. Fruit wines seem to have less flavor until slightly backsweetened. But above all you need to make it meet your taste desires. I have made my blackberries into semi-sweet at a backsweetned SG of 1.002. You can get there at least a couple of ways. As mentioned an F-pak, or simple syrup, or White Grape juice concentrate. I used the latter and was blessed with a very fragrant wine that had a faint but definite Jasmine or Honeysuckle scent but when you tasted it the wild blackberry flavor came roaring in strong and solid. But above all make it your own.

Sounds like you are off to a great start. Congrats!!! AND WELCOME TO THE FORUM !!!!
 
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DanRM

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Ah excellent, so just to clarify... I now leave it in the 2nd fermenter for another 2 weeks.
Then rack it off into another demijohn, fit an airlock and then repeat every 3 months until clear.
Then finally rack it with sodium metabisulphate and potasium sorbate before adjusting sweetness to preference prior to bottling.

I used 4.5lbs of berries to begin with, I will invest in a ph tester for in the future as I'm looking to try new recipes but at the moment I'm pretty much learning as I go to each stage.

Thanks
 

Whitehrs

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Ah excellent, so just to clarify... I now leave it in the 2nd fermenter for another 2 weeks.
Then rack it off into another demijohn, fit an airlock and then repeat every 3 months until clear.
Then finally rack it with sodium metabisulphate and potasium sorbate before adjusting sweetness to preference prior to bottling.

I used 4.5lbs of berries to begin with, I will invest in a ph tester for in the future as I'm looking to try new recipes but at the moment I'm pretty much learning as I go to each stage.

Thanks
In a nutshell.
 

Scooter68

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Yes- You've got it AND I would invest in that pH tester soon. Before you start another ferment. You can spend a ton on one or go the inexpensive route. There are some folks who will tell you you need to spend at least $50+ for a good one but I don't buy into that. Technology has become more affordable and unless you are doing 50 gallons at a time the super super accuracy isn't that critical. My pH tester was $19.99 on Amazon and in a years time it hasn't drifted off a great deal BUT you just have to check it. Solutions for checking it will cost you about $6.00 +/- . With a pH tester you will know BEFORE a problem smacks your tongue with a harsh taste.

SG and pH are the two most critical things to check AND of course what your tongue tells you. By the way - DON'T let friends taste your unfinished wines. (Be there done that - they get turned off because they don't understand how wines ferment, age and change in taste as they age)
 
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DanRM

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Thanks guys, I'll be certain to add the tester to my list. One more question (for now). When I swapped into the 2nd ferment I had a about 1 1/2 litres left over after filling my gallon one. I wasn't sure what to do with it so i just popped it into a spare 1 gallon demijohn and fitted an airlock.
I then read somewhere that it must be filled else the air in it will spoil the wine..

Is that true? and would that be ok to use to top up with after racking, providing that I rack this one also? Or have I ruined that bit by leaving it in a gallon jar only filling it about a quarter full?

Thanks
 
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Johnd

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Ah excellent, so just to clarify... I now leave it in the 2nd fermenter for another 2 weeks.
Then rack it off into another demijohn, fit an airlock and then repeat every 3 months until clear.
Then finally rack it with sodium metabisulphate and potasium sorbate before adjusting sweetness to preference prior to bottling.

I used 4.5lbs of berries to begin with, I will invest in a ph tester for in the future as I'm looking to try new recipes but at the moment I'm pretty much learning as I go to each stage.

Thanks
Just to clarify:

After you've left it in the 2nd fermenter for another two weeks, and you then rack to a demijohn, you need to add sulfite at that time (1/4 tsp per 6 gallons), and don't use "sodium metabisulphite", use "potassium metabisuphite". Sodium can be used for sanitizing, but don't put it in your wine. Most of us use potassium for both sanitizing and wine uses.

Each three month racking should include the addition of KMS (unless you have tested your wine and it doesn't need it).

When you execute your final racking before bottling, add your KMS and sorbate, adjust sweetness to your preference, then bottle.

I apologize if I've misunderstood your post, but it looked like you were racking repeatedly without KMS, and not adding it until the very end, right before bottling, and sodium metabisulphite has a taste that will impact your finished wine.
 

heatherd

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Thanks guys, I'll be certain to add the tester to my list. One more question (for now). When I swapped into the 2nd ferment I had a about 1 1/2 litres left over after filling my gallon one. I wasn't sure what to do with it so i just popped it into a spare 1 gallon demijohn and fitted an airlock.
I then read somewhere that it must be filled else the air in it will spoil the wine..

Is that true? and would that be ok to use to top up with after racking, providing that I rack this one also? Or have I ruined that bit by leaving it in a gallon jar only filling it about a quarter full?

Thanks
You risk oxidation if your demijohn is not topped up, but it's not an instantaneous thing. Ideally you'd top up that vessel or get a smaller one. Be sure that you give this wine the same kmeta and sorbate so that it is stabilized.
 

Whitehrs

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Thanks guys, I'll be certain to add the tester to my list. One more question (for now). When I swapped into the 2nd ferment I had a about 1 1/2 litres left over after filling my gallon one. I wasn't sure what to do with it so i just popped it into a spare 1 gallon demijohn and fitted an airlock.
I then read somewhere that it must be filled else the air in it will spoil the wine..

Is that true? and would that be ok to use to top up with after racking, providing that I rack this one also? Or have I ruined that bit by leaving it in a gallon jar only filling it about a quarter full?

Thanks
This is where the 1.5L Carlo Rossi bottle is awesome.. Just go buy a couple 1.5L of Carlo Rossi of your fav, enjoy and use the bottles.. As long as you airlock it, and do not move it around alot you should be fine. The SO2 will push the extra oxygen out sufficiently and you should be ok. At least I am sure I read that somewhere.. I also believe that if you are careful with what you are doing, you will be fine. You actually have to work at oxidizing your wine, or be vary careless.
 

Scooter68

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This is where the 1.5L Carlo Rossi bottle is awesome.. Just go buy a couple 1.5L of Carlo Rossi of your fav, enjoy and use the bottles.. As long as you airlock it, and do not move it around alot you should be fine. The SO2 will push the extra oxygen out sufficiently and you should be ok. At least I am sure I read that somewhere.. I also believe that if you are careful with what you are doing, you will be fine. You actually have to work at oxidizing your wine, or be vary careless.

Or go to your local recycling center. :mny

Not that the Carlo Rossi isn't worth the money but I find all sizes of bottles to use. Even picked up a couple of half bottles there. Just don't use a metal lid on anything. If you use something like a pint or quart mason jar, cut a baggie in half and use half to separate the metal from your wine. I keep my 'extra in the fridge if I can't put a proper airlock on it. (After adding my KMS to the entire batch)
 

DanRM

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Just to clarify:

After you've left it in the 2nd fermenter for another two weeks, and you then rack to a demijohn, you need to add sulfite at that time (1/4 tsp per 6 gallons), and don't use "sodium metabisulphite", use "potassium metabisuphite". Sodium can be used for sanitizing, but don't put it in your wine. Most of us use potassium for both sanitizing and wine uses.

Each three month racking should include the addition of KMS (unless you have tested your wine and it doesn't need it).

When you execute your final racking before bottling, add your KMS and sorbate, adjust sweetness to your preference, then bottle.

I apologize if I've misunderstood your post, but it looked like you were racking repeatedly without KMS, and not adding it until the very end, right before bottling, and sodium metabisulphite has a taste that will impact your finished wine.
Thanks John thats cleared it up even more for me. I've ordered up some potassium metabisulphate to use on each racking. I didn't know of kmeta that well as all the homebrew uk shops/sites that came up in my search only list sodium met/campden tablets. Any tips on getting the right amount for 1 gal if its only 1/4 teaspoon for 6?

Cheers
 

Johnd

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Thanks John thats cleared it up even more for me. I've ordered up some potassium metabisulphate to use on each racking. I didn't know of kmeta that well as all the homebrew uk shops/sites that came up in my search only list sodium met/campden tablets. Any tips on getting the right amount for 1 gal if its only 1/4 teaspoon for 6?

Cheers
First, I use the powdered form of KMS. When I'm doing smaller quantities, I use my scale. If you haven't got a scale, measure 1/4 tsp, and dump it in a plate, separate into 2 equal piles, divide one pile into 3 equal piles and use one of those. Definitely not scientific, but it'll get you there.
 

Rodnboro

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Thanks guys, I'll be certain to add the tester to my list. One more question (for now). When I swapped into the 2nd ferment I had a about 1 1/2 litres left over after filling my gallon one. I wasn't sure what to do with it so i just popped it into a spare 1 gallon demijohn and fitted an airlock.
I then read somewhere that it must be filled else the air in it will spoil the wine..

Is that true? and would that be ok to use to top up with after racking, providing that I rack this one also? Or have I ruined that bit by leaving it in a gallon jar only filling it about a quarter full?

Thanks

For smaller amounts, you can also use wine bottles with #2 stopper and airlock.
 

drainsurgeon

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Or go to your local recycling center. :mny

Exactly what I do. I go to my local recycling center about once a month and they have a whole dumpster full of glass products. I usually pick through and put 2-3 dozen "good" bottles in a box and bring them home. In less than an hour I can clean them up, sanitize and de-lable them.

Last week I just happen to pick up a couple of Carlo Rossi gallon jugs that I will use for extra that I can't fit into my carboy. Or if I can't find my raspberry's on sale pretty soon, I maybe trying a 1 gallon batch.

In Mexico, they called me a "Cheepa Scapa" :D
 

Whitehrs

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Yep any size carlo rossi bottle you can get.. or similar glass.. be creative. It is nice to top off with your the same stuff.
 

Scooter68

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By the way those Carlo Rossi bottles are actually 4 Liters not 1 Gallon. You end up with about 7 oz left over when you bottle. (YAY!) Makes a nice finish to the bottling process to have two modest size glasses of that wine. Most new wines I bottle have a little more maturing to do but the wife and I know what has been bottled.
 
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