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jskags

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My wife and I have lived on our place for over 20 years and have built a nice little 3 acre orchard of black berries, blueberries and fruit trees. I've always wanted to make wine and I decided this is the year to start. I will be starting with Blackberry. I have about 50 pounds of leftover frozen blackberries from the summer. Last week I used a recipe i found online to make my first 1 gallon batch. It is fermenting. I found out quickly that I need more than just a simple wine making kit and a few blackberries. I need some mentors. I will probably continue with this first one to just keep learning but plan to start a second 1 gallon batch this coming week. My first question, how is everyone testing ph? I bought test strips but that did not work out too well as my blackberry juice dyed the strip almost instantly.
 

ChuckD

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Welcome to WMT!

There are several recent threads on pH meters. I’m not sure how to link but you can search on this site and I’m the results should give you the most recent. I and several others use the Apera pH60 but there are other good ones. Expect to pay $75 or more for a good meter.

there is a lot of good information here and many knowledgeable wine makers ready to help. Including many fruit wine makers. I would chime in but I haven’t made blackberry wine. Although if I knew someone with a small orchard and 50 lbs of frozen blackberries I probably would 😉😉😂
 

sour_grapes

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Welcome to WMT! Feel free to ask your questions!

Yeah, litmus test strips don't really work on dark wines, plus they are not sufficiently precise for your needs. @ChuckD 's answer regarding pH meters is good. I will comment that there are cheap pH meters available (e.g., on Amazon) for ~$15. These are okay-ish to get started. I have had bad luck with them failing quickly, and so don't give them strong recommendation.
 

jskags

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Welcome to WMT!

There are several recent threads on pH meters. I’m not sure how to link but you can search on this site and I’m the results should give you the most recent. I and several others use the Apera pH60 but there are other good ones. Expect to pay $75 or more for a good meter.

there is a lot of good information here and many knowledgeable wine makers ready to help. Including many fruit wine makers. I would chime in but I haven’t made blackberry wine. Although if I knew someone with a small orchard and 50 lbs of frozen blackberries I probably would 😉😉😂
Thank you so much.
 

hounddawg

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welcome to WMT,
the biggest problem with the cheep meters is to take the batteries out at the end of the day, I've still got a cheap one now for about 6 years, i order a buffer solution of 4'1, that is close to. what you need for wine, 3.2 to 3.6 , i make only country wines, blackberry comes into it's own, blackberry can bulk age a year and is good, 2 year is much better,, i got blackberry, strawberry, and a few more that's been bulk aging for close to 3 years now, your whites are good at around a year,,, always go heavy on your fruits or berries,
Dawg
 

jskags

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welcome to WMT,
the biggest problem with the cheep meters is to take the batteries out at the end of the day, I've still got a cheap one now for about 6 years, i order a buffer solution of 4'1, that is close to. what you need for wine, 3.2 to 3.6 , i make only country wines, blackberry comes into it's own, blackberry can bulk age a year and is good, 2 year is much better,, i got blackberry, strawberry, and a few more that's been bulk aging for close to 3 years now, your whites are good at around a year,,, always go heavy on your fruits or berries,
Dawg
Thanks Dawg
 
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Welcome to WMT! You've come to the right place!

A suggestion -- post your questions in the Beginners and Country Wines forums. Everyone is cool here, and questions will be answered, regardless of where you post. However, you'll get better attention in the appropriate forums.

You also have a homework assignment -- browse the first couple pages of the Country Wines, Beginners, and General Winemaking forums. Read the threads that sound interesting. Some things will confound you, but you'll pick up a lot of knowledge, and it will help you figure out what questions to ask.

Another suggestion -- read and ask questions before starting your next batch. It's easier to set you on the right path than it is to fix problems, although we certainly do that as well!
 

G259

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I would LOVE to have your problems, lol!

The above is correct, read, read, read.
It really is not that hard, just sanitation and keeping oxygen out after fermentation.

I did the same as you, I started with 1 gallon batches.
After you get comfortable, you will want 5 gallon batches, and maybe even barrels!
 

Fencepost

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Yep, get the Apera 60 meter. I do mostly blackberries and it really helps... you can even "dial it in" if you like it sharper or smoother wines, from my experience. Had it for about a year and next to All-in-one, and floor corker, it is a must have... And start shopping craigslist/fb market place for carboys... you'll be needing them in the near future ;)
 

jskags

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BTW, it is great to freeze the fruit beforehand, it breaks down the fruit, and allows greater juice extraction.
Thanks. I read that on here. Great info. I also forgot to mention that I steam juiced 50 pounds and froze the juice as well. My thought is eventually to try using this. It takes up a lot less freezer space and could be canned too.
 

hounddawg

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Thanks. I read that on here. Great info. I also forgot to mention that I steam juiced 50 pounds and froze the juice as well. My thought is eventually to try using this. It takes up a lot less freezer space and could be canned too.
any fruit or berry that has pectin in it will set the pectin and could cause hazy wine,
Dawg
 

Scooter68

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I know steamers are commonly used for extracting juice especially from certain fruits and veggies that are hard to otherwise process. BUT, personally I believe that heat is not your friend when it comes to the more delicate fruits and flavor/aroma components. Just my personal feeling on that.
Not sure what fruit you are talking steaming - Blackberries??? IF that's the fruit - there's certainly no need with them. They breakdown nicely with probably the least amount of pulp/residue of any fruit other than perhaps strawberries.
Elderberries - Now that's one fruit I haven't used 'fresh' but from what I read here, that's a candidate for steaming to avoid the dreaded "Green Goo"

Again if you are new to wine making - be patient and ask questions before committing to a process or batch if at all possible. I know some folks have had wonderful and challenging opportunities with free or great deals on fruits, but other than those sort of situations - be patient - after all that wine will take at least 6-12 months before you will have a wine really worth drinking so, make sure that wait ends in the best possible results, by posting your questions on here and waiting for a good variety of answers or a solid consistent set of answers. There are many ways to get a good wine but there are also many ways you can make it more difficult than necessary or end up with poor results.
 
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