Recipe Question: adding sugar in increments

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MaryWether

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Hi folks, been reading for a while, this is my first post. :n

I'm wondering if anybody has insight on a recipe.

This recipe is what got me into winemaking in the first place last summer. My friend told me she had a good recipe for blackberry wine, and I had access to wild blackberries, so I requested a copy. The site it came from has been down for some time, but the full text was posted by the in this Yahoo answer: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061004024331AAo634j. I'll post the full text below as well.

This was my first time making wine, so I followed the recipe as dictated. I didn't have a hydrometer, so I don't have any SG readings or know the ABV. However, I was very happy with how it came out (though most of the batch was spoiled by a stanky rubber bung. :m ); a nice sweet/desert wine. I wanted to do the same recipe this time around, just not quite as sweet.

In preparation for this year's batch of blackberries, I was reviewing the recipe, and having read a LOT of wine recipes and made several batches of other wines in since, I was struck by the unusual instructions for adding sugar.

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Per gallon, the ingredients are:

• 4 1⁄2 pounds of blackberries
• 2 1⁄2 lbs. of sugar
• 7 pints of water

Directions are to add 1/3 of the total sugar to the must, then pitch yeast.

Wait 7 days, strain out the berry pulp, add another 1/3 of the sugar, add airlock.

Wait 10 days, siphon off of sediment, add final 1/3 of the sugar. Then wait till fermentation ceases and bottle.
-----------------------------------

I can't recall seeing another recipe that calls for adding sugar in increments like that. Obviously some call for sweetening after fermentation is over, but I haven't seen one that spaces it throughout fermentation like this.

Have you seen a recipe like this before? Any thoughts on why they would prescribe that? I liked the way the recipe came out and want to get similar results, but I don't want to do this rigamarole if there's no reason for it (and it would be ridiculous trying to calculate ABV if I keep adding sugar throughout, right?).


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Full Recipe Text
(original source: http://familyherbalremedies.com/blackberry_wine_recipe.html)

Mighy Fine Homemade Blackberry Wine Recipe...
I live in the Pacific Northwest, land of berries. My favorite summer preserve to make is Blackberry Wine. So many people who have sampled my wine have asked me how to make blackberry wine, that I now want to share my homemade blackberry wine recipe. I call it my “Mighty Fine Blackberry Wine.”

You know I like to make it simple for you.

There was a time when fermented beverage making was simple and widespread. Brewing was a sacred job in the household, often done by women. Did you know that except for Australian aborigines and some native North Americans, that practically every human indigenous group brewed fermented beverages?

For the history of brewing, I HIGHLY recommend Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, by Stephen Buhner. An enlightening read with amazing recipes.

In recent years, wine making has become a male, techy thing. Guys love those home brew stores with all the gadgets. I think that whole aspect turns women away from it. So, I will show you that this does not have to be complicated and you need no special techy equipment.

What about yeast?
In a nutshell, to make wine, you need to make a sugary environment. Then you add yeast. The yeast eat the sugar and the “waste” is carbon dioxide and alcohol. Yes folks, you’re drinking yeast excrement. But hey, at least it tastes good.

So, let’s get started using blackberry juice as our sugar water.

The recipe I am giving you is to make ONE GALLON of wine. However, what you see in my pictures is making five gallons.

What you’ll need:

• 4 1⁄2 pounds of blackberries. That takes about an hour or less to pick.
• 2 1⁄2 lbs. of regular old sugar, the white kind.
• 7 pints of water
• a red wine yeast (regular yeast will work too, but not as good)

Equipment:

• Polyurethane pale from a home brewing store (OR A CLEAN BUCKET)
• A glass carboy from a brewing store (Or a gallon glass jug that apple juice is often packaged in. The organic juice form my co-op is anyways)
• An airlock from a brewing store (or a balloon or some cotton wool.)
• A siphon from a brewing store (or five feet of clear plastic tubing from a hardware store)

Later: wine bottles, corks, a hand corker
Optional: Campden tablets and Star San Sanitizer

So, the stuff from the home brew store is ideal, and doesn’t cost that much. BUT if you have no brew supply store, then just use the alternatives I gave.

I would at least try to order a red wine yeast by Red Star if you can. Just Google “homebrew supplies’ in the top right Google Search Box and you can come up with lots of options should you want to get stuff from a brew supply store and have none near you. Also check out all the ads on the top and to the side of this page. My local guys… http://www.mountainhomebrew.com/ They'd be good to check for blackberry wine recipe supplies.

PART 1 of the blackberry wine recipe: Here’s what to do: (Read these directions all the way through first)

1. Gather your blackberries
2. Crush the berries by hand in your bucket or pale and then pour on one quart of boiled water that has cooled. Mix it well.
3. Campden tablets kill any unwanted yeast. I made this wine for years successfully without them. Other wines I have had problems not using them. So, it’s your call. If you want them, crush one tablet and dissolve the powder in a little bit of warm water. Mix this with the fruit.

A note on cleaning equipment… For years I just poured boiling water in my equipment to clean it off. It worked just fine. I did have a batch of elderberry wine go bad two years ago on me on the early stage. Was it a wild yeast? Well, whatever it was, it was unwanted.

The wine store guy said it might have been because I did not use campden tablets? Did I not properly sterilize my equipment? Well, I don’t know. And it’s up to you. Clean things out with boiling water or use the Star San Sanitizer that you can get from that Homebrew shop I mentioned.

You can certainly do fine with out it. However, in the future, if you make a bad batch, you might want to consider it.

4. Leave the mixture alone for a couple hours. No worries if bleaching takes place.
5. WHILE you are waiting for those 2 hours to pass… take one third of the sugar and boil it for one minute in 3 pints of water (that’s 48 ounces). Allow this to cool to room temperature.
6. WHEN IT HAS COOLED… take a packet of the yeast and empty it into 4 ounces of warm water. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
7. Pour the syrup (sugar water) into the pulp.
8. Pour in the yeast. If you do not wait for the syrup to cool first, you will KILL the yeast. It is ALIVE.
9. Cover this with a clean cloth.
10. Let it sit for 7 days in a warm place.

Part 2 of how to make blackberry wine: AFTER SEVEN DAYS…

1. Strain the pulp though a fine muslin or other material and wring it out dry.
2. Compost the pulp.
3. Put the strained wine into your gallon jug.
4. Boil another 1/3 of the sugar in ONE PINT (16 oz.) of water. LET IT COOL.
5. When it cools, add it to the rest. If you do not wait for it to cool, then you’ll KILL your yeast.
6. Plug the top of the jug with an airlock or some cotton wool. I like the airlocks. They are cheap and clean. Just put a bit of water in it so the bobber thingie can go up an down. You can also put a balloon in it. It will trap all the CO2 in the balloon. The airlock lets it out. If you use an airlock, you should see the wine bubble, bubble, bubble!
7. Let this sit for 10 days…

Part 3 of the balckberrry wine recipe: AFTER TEN DAYS

I will post photos for this section later. When you get to this stage, check back.

1. Siphon out your wine into a spare jar or pot. Make sure you are keeping your equipment clean. To siphon, put you spare jar LOWER than your wine. Put the siphon on the wine and direct the bottom to the jar. With your head lower than the wine, suck hard on the tube making sure you do not drink the wine. The wine will flow into the tube and into your jar. Let the wine flow and leave the sediment in your jug. It should be obvious what to do.
2. Clean out your jug you used. Sterilize it, then return your wine to the jug you used before.
3. Boil the remaining one third of the sugar in the remaining pint of water. LET IT COOL.
4. Add it to the wine, plug the jug back up like you did before.
5. Leave it in a warm place until FERMENTATION STOPS! You’ll know cuz it will stop bubbling.

Part 4 of the blackberry wine recipe: AFTER IT’S DONE BUBBLING…

1. Siphon into another spare jar leaving sediment behind.
2. Get your bottles, clean them and sanitize them. Wine can still go bad if put in tainted bottles.
3. Put a funnel in the bottle, and fill each bottle to the neck.
4. Cork each bottle.
5. DRINK!

CONCLUSION of how to make blackberry wine…

The wine will get better with age, but I hear berry wine only is good for a couple to few years. I have no idea. I drink all mine within the year.
 

BernardSmith

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Recipe reads like someone who originally made this wine used a yeast that was unlikely to survive in an alcohol bath of about 4 or 5 percent ABV so to be safe the original wine maker added sugar in batches... A bit like getting a recipe from your grandmother where a key idea is to cut the recipe in half and cook the dish in stages and the reason for that is that she never had a large enough pot to cook it all at once...
Fascinating that the recipe focuses on time and not on any change in specific gravity, so the writer of the recipe is likely to be someone who makes wine with a folk understanding...
 

MaryWether

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Recipe reads like someone who originally made this wine used a yeast that was unlikely to survive in an alcohol bath of about 4 or 5 percent ABV so to be safe the original wine maker added sugar in batches... A bit like getting a recipe from your grandmother where a key idea is to cut the recipe in half and cook the dish in stages and the reason for that is that she never had a large enough pot to cook it all at once...
Fascinating that the recipe focuses on time and not on any change in specific gravity, so the writer of the recipe is likely to be someone who makes wine with a folk understanding...

Interesting –*the recipe calls for "a red wine yeast (regular yeast will work too, but not as good) " so you may be right.
 

MaryWether

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Yes, there are reasons for adding the sugar and yeast nutrient incrementally.

Can you expand on what those are?

I've seen recipes that call for nutrients in increments but haven't seen ones that do the sugar incrementally like this, so I'm curious. I'm also trying to figure out whether adding the sugar all at once at the beginning vs. incrementally will have a profound effect on the finished taste (since I want to match my original batch fairly closely).
 

wineforfun

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Can you expand on what those are?

I've seen recipes that call for nutrients in increments but haven't seen ones that do the sugar incrementally like this, so I'm curious. I'm also trying to figure out whether adding the sugar all at once at the beginning vs. incrementally will have a profound effect on the finished taste (since I want to match my original batch fairly closely).

Curious about adding the sugar in increments also. Only time I know of doing this, or anything like this, would be when making a port style wine.

I would always add all the sugar up front. Ferment dry, then backsweeten if desired.
 

garymc

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I try not to do incremental sugar and nutrient because of the hydrometer problem mentioned. But if circumstances require it one might. One reason would be a concern that a particularly foamy must might go through the airlock or foam over the primary. Ways to avoid this concern would be having a big enough primary, fermenting at a lower temperature, and incremental addition of sugar and nutrient. Another reason would be a must that is prone to adverse chemical reactions due to stressed yeast (bad smells.) Some fruits are known for that and a preventive measure is the incremental feeding.
I was hoping someone more knowledgeable would step in, because I'm no expert on this and there are people here who have more expertise in this area than I do. I may be wrong, but I think one of the fruits prone to adverse chemical reactions is blackberry.
Sometimes, when I transfer from primary to secondary and the wine is totally dry and finished fermenting, but for some reason I'm not ready to add k-meta yet, I'll add a small amount of sugar to the secondary just to push a little carbon dioxide out and (in my theoretical opinion) provide a protective layer of CO2 in the secondary. But that's not the same as 1/3, 1/3, 1/3.

At the bottom of this page is a list of "Similar Threads" and when you click on them and read them, those pages will also have "Similar Threads" with some different threads added.
 
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MaryWether

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I try not to do incremental sugar and nutrient because of the hydrometer problem mentioned. But if circumstances require it one might. One reason would be a concern that a particularly foamy must might go through the airlock or foam over the primary. Ways to avoid this concern would be having a big enough primary, fermenting at a lower temperature, and incremental addition of sugar and nutrient. Another reason would be a must that is prone to adverse chemical reactions due to stressed yeast (bad smells.) Some fruits are known for that and a preventive measure is the incremental feeding.
I was hoping someone more knowledgeable would step in, because I'm no expert on this and there are people here who have more expertise in this area than I do. I may be wrong, but I think one of the fruits prone to adverse chemical reactions is blackberry.
Sometimes, when I transfer from primary to secondary and the wine is totally dry and finished fermenting, but for some reason I'm not ready to add k-meta yet, I'll add a small amount of sugar to the secondary just to push a little carbon dioxide out and (in my theoretical opinion) provide a protective layer of CO2 in the secondary. But that's not the same as 1/3, 1/3, 1/3.

At the bottom of this page is a list of "Similar Threads" and when you click on them and read them, those pages will also have "Similar Threads" with some different threads added.

I see, thanks for the insight, gary. I'll definitely check out the similar threads!
 

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