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AlphaGrayWolf

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I am starting my first try at real wine from berries - a 1 gallon batch (actually ~1.25). I am going to use 1118 and since I read that one packet is enough for 5 gallons, should I just use 1/4 packet? I tried a batch from juice a while back, using a different yeast, and used the whole packet. There was a ton of yeast left in the bottom and took a while to clear. Would using less yeast reduce the clear time? Also, should I do primary with the lid tightly on the bucket or loosely?

Thanks in advance!
 

Scooter68

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Yes, 1/4 of the packet should be fine. Too much won't create more lees, there's only so much food for them to eat and multiple with so when the job is finished so are those little yeasties.
I would cover it with a towell and tie the towell down with a cord/string/yarn/rubberband
Best way to help it clear is to add your pectic enzyme now, before you start fermentation.
By the way Blueberry tends to be very acidic so DO NOT add any acid unless for some reason the pH is over 3.6

Keep in mind that even that one smallish bag of Blackberries will dominate over the blueberry taste. If you can, I would go straight blueberry and see how that tastes first. You have plenty of time to do a blackberry batch separately and blend the two later. I love blackberry wine but blueberry in it's own right is pretty awesome.
 

AlphaGrayWolf

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Cover it with a towel for the length of primary fermentation? I've added PE as well as acid blend, yeast nutrient, and Campden per instructions in recipe book that came with kit. Tomorrow I add yeast. I read that about blackberries so that's why I went with only 20% blackberries in the mix.

Actually here is what I used:
4 lb. blueberries, frozen
1 lb. blackberries, frozen
14 cups water
2.5 lbs sugar
1/2 tsp acid blend
1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
1 campden tablet

As of right now, 5.5 hours after starting, SG is at 1.090 - I am guessing that might go up before I get to adding the yeast (which I will test again prior to doing so)
 
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Scooter68

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Check your pH - Biggest reason blueberry wines fail to start fermenting is too much acid. I've had a couple down at 3.18 before fermentation. They fermented OK but many folks report issues starting a blueberry ferment and almost every time it comes back to the must being too acidic.

Yes, A good rule of thumb is to get your SG pretty close to where you want it. Leave it overnight then check it again after 12-24 hours.

A good starter mix also helps a ferment get off to a solid start.
I normally use:
2 oz water warmed so it's very warm but NOT too hot to put on the inside of your wrist. (100 - 110 max)
1 oz room temperature must
1/8 tsp yeast nutrient)
1/3 of 1/8th tsp of Fermaid (I know that's an odd measurement but say a dash is really ambiguous and probably too much)
Stir well
Add Yeast
Cover and let sit until it starts to foam up. Most times I get 6 oz glass 3.4 full with the foaming mixture in 30 mins.
 

Scooter68

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Remember that once fermentation starts, pH measurements are of no use unless the fermentation fails to start. The fermentation generates a lot of acid. (Imagine a initial pH of 3.2 dropping down to 2.98 - that sort of change.
None-the-less a digital pH tester is, for beginners and those with less sensitive tongues, almost as important as the hydromenter. Paper test strips are pretty much worthless with dark or red wines such a you making. They only work with white and very light colored wines and then just get you in the ball park. I know - I've tried to us paper test strips and after half a dozen tries they now just sit in my box of supplies.
 

AlphaGrayWolf

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Ok, I pitched the yeast last night and I am thinking there may be a leak in the lid seal somewhere, because although I can see the head on the must when I open it, the airlock water goes down only so far and holds. I am assuming this is because of the fruit as opposed to starting with juice, which fires off like a bandit when yeast is pitched? Also, I am confused - I see YT vids using both airlock and tight lids as well as vids using only a towel during primary. What are pros/cons of each?
 

Ajmassa

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Ok, I pitched the yeast last night and I am thinking there may be a leak in the lid seal somewhere, because although I can see the head on the must when I open it, the airlock water goes down only so far and holds. I am assuming this is because of the fruit as opposed to starting with juice, which fires off like a bandit when yeast is pitched? Also, I am confused - I see YT vids using both airlock and tight lids as well as vids using only a towel during primary. What are pros/cons of each?
Some people take comfort in seeing the bubbler active. But snapping the lid tight can be a hassle removing it to stir multiple times a day. A towel or a loose lid is nice for easy access and still keeping bugs out. Otherwise the decision is completely at the winemakers discretion. You don’t need to avoid o2 until later on after fermentation and co2 has dissipated
 

pgentile

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You got the right yeast for your first batch. As was mentioned before 1/4 packet will be fine. Whole packet fine too.

With wine, like @Ajmassa says, loose lid or towel is fine through primary fermentation.

On any subsequent blueberry batches consider grape concentrate instead of straight water and sugar.

Blueberry wine gets really good after 8-10 months of aging.

Good luck
 

montanarick

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I ferment my whites in a carboy with an airlock. For reds I ferment in an open container with the lid set loosely on top - fermenting cap lets me know what's going on
 

BernardSmith

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If you pitched one quarter pack of yeast, OK, but a) you really cannot over-pitch yeast (unless you dump a kilo of yeast into a gallon carboy) and you can cause the yeast stress if you pitch too little but b) you really need to be careful that the pack you opened remains bone dry and does not become a magnet for bacteria which might then affect the flavors that your "yeast" will produce when you take some more from the pack for any next batch of wine.
 

AlphaGrayWolf

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I pitched maybe half a pack, thinking I am going to start a batch from grape juice as soon as Primary done on this batch, will use the rest in that batch. Sealed in ziploc bag
 

Scooter68

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Use what you need from the yeast packet, Fold it down, put a clothespin or paper clip on it, put it in zip lock bag in the fridge. Pretty low chance of bacteria that way and why waste yeast?
 

Scooter68

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Sounds great - pH is reasonable given lots of CO2 is still present and SG is certain sign of fermentation completion. Rack off the lees into a carboy, Dose with K-Meta and let the aging begin.
 

Scooter68

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"Secondary" refers to that period of time when fermentation occurs slowly - Some folks consider that to be the point where the SG hits somewhere between 1.020 and 1.010 - they refer to that as secondary. The other fermentation is MLF (Maloactic Fermentation) - not commonly done or needed with Blueberry/Blackberry wines.
Fermentation of your wine is finished .990 is about as low as it goes.
K-Meta is added once the fermentation is over to prevent spoilage while you age the wine of if you are going to bottle it now and age it in the bottle. I would simply recommend aging it for at least 6-9 months. I have rushed a blueberry wine (My 1sdt batch) and it was Ok at 4 1/2 months but at one year it was a totally different taste - far better.

Looks good.

If you have space you can put that bottle into the fridge and it will settle more quickly so it will be ready to use to top off in 3-6 weeks when the main carboy sediment has settled out. Most often I rack to the carboy and rack once more in 3-6 weeks once the majority of the sediment has dropped out. More will drop out over the next 2 months after racking at 3-6 weeks but I just like to get it away from the sediment as soon as possible. My personal belief is that the berries have given your wine all the good they can give by now and it's time for the berry pulp and sediment to go away. Others approach it differently but that's the thing about wine making - many ways to make good wine.
So My racking routine looks like this on a time scale:

1) Fermentation 3 days to 4 weeks in a bucket- Rack to carboy if things slow and No more foam forming at 1.010 or lower
2) When SG stabilizes (3 days no change in SG) anywhere below 1.000 rack again into another carboy and add K-meta
3) After fermentation is over wait 3- 6 weeks for most sediment to drop and rack into a fresh carboy - NO -Meta needed.
4) Rack at 3 months from end of fermentation.
5) Repeat racking every 3 months and add K-Meta each time.
6) Since I end up back-sweetening most wines I rack again at about 10-11 months from end of fermentation (Assuming the wine has fully cleared) At this racking I add the K-meta and K-Sorbate to stabilize.
Wait 2-3 weeks then bench trials to back-sweeeten.
7) Bottle after back-sweetening. (OR wait 7-10 days to allow back-sweetened wine to drop any 'surprise sediment/crystals then bottle)

Goal, if all goes well is to bottle at 12 months +/- 2 weeks IF the wine is clear.
 
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Ajmassa

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@Scooter68 has you covered pretty well it seems. An easy tip to remember racking schedules is by the 3-3-3 method.

directly after fermentation and wine is moved from the bucket into glass—-
just remember “3-3-3”

Rack in 3 days
Then rack in 3 weeks
Then rack in 3months concurrently

Plenty of wiggle room here too. But it’s a nice default to eliminate confusion.
[Copywrite @salcoco]
 
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