Started blackberry and blueberry from fruit.

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Ivywoods

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This is the first wine I've started from actual fruit instead of juice. I have 5 gallons of blueberry and 2 gallons of blackberry that I started 2 days ago. The fruit is in mesh bags. I've been stirring and squeezing the bags twice a day . I am wondering if there is a way to keep the fruit and bags submerged. Both appear to be actively fermenting and the bags fill up with CO2. Is it even necessary to keep it totally submerged?

Also I plan to rack to a carboy when the SG gets down to 1 or less. Some of the fruit escaped from the hole where the mesh bag ties. What is the best way to strain this out when I rack the wine?
 

Rembee

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As long as you are stirring and pushing the bags down twice a day there is no reason to worry. It is not necessary to keep it submerged as long as the top of the berries in the bag do not dry out.
If you are using a racking can to rack over to the carboy, give the fermenter a tilt while racking the last quarter or so and the escaped fruit should be left behind.
I call this a dirty rack and it is ok to have some solids transferred over to the carboy. You will have to rack again in a few weeks anyway to get off of any gross lees that settle out in the carboy. This racking will take care of anything that was racked over the first time. Just make sure to tilt the carboy once again with the bottom of the cane on the tilted side of the carboy. You should be just fine using this method.
 

Ivywoods

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The bottom of the cane on the up side or the down side of the tilt? I don't know if this fruit will float or sink by then. Seems like it would float but I don't know.
 

Rembee

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On the down side of the tilt. Keep the cane just off the bottom of the fermenter. As the level of the fermenter goes down, you can slowly lower the cane until you start seeing settlement being picked up into the cane. Once you see the settlement up in the cane, pull the cane up and stop the racking. You can then pour the remainder of whats left into a jar, lightly cap it and place it in the refrigerator. After a couple of days all the solids will have settled out in the jar and you can recover the wine that resides on top. Then you can pour it back into the carboy to recover that wine.
This is a personal choice. One that I practice occasionally.
 

Ivywoods

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Thanks Rembee. That sounds like the way I have done it in the past. I just wasn't sure if a stray blueberry or piece of fruit might get sucked up in the cane. I put the last of my wine to rack in a jar in the fridge, too. I have never put it back in the carboy though. I just call it my BOB (bottom of the barrel) and drink it, minus the sediment.
 

Scooter68

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Blackberry & Blueberry are about impossible to totally keep in even a cloth bag so some seeds will make it into your carboy. I've even had a few seeds in my wine 2-3 rackings in. (Stubborn little @#*@)(#*)@() In any case tilt the bucket and keep an eye on what is coming up the racking cane. When you see the really cloudy stuff starting up the tube, stop the racking. At that point you have a decision to make based on the volume of cloudy must left in the bucket. If you have a spare carboy that you can fill at least 3/4 full you could rack the rest of the cloudy must into that and let it sit over night to settle.
(I'm assuming that your fermentation at this point is virtually over and the SG is at 1.010 or lower)
As long as the carboys are at least 3/4 full a day or two like that won't be an issue. Then you can rack more of the cleared wine from the last cloudy carboy into the first carboy with the clearest wine.
You'll never have perfectly clear wine on that first rack of course but when you are racking a fruit based wine batch you will certainly see when that cloudy must starts up the tube. That's the best cutoff indication to move into a second carboy. If the ferment is really over, then at that racking you can put the cloudy wine into the fridge to help clear that container.
 
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Ivywoods

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No, It's only been a few days and I was going to wait a week to check the SG again. It is still fermenting rather aggressively. I am also thinking that perhaps I could put a mesh bag into the opening of the carboy and the end of the racking tube into the bag, securing it so the whole thing doesn't end up in the carboy. I think that would catch most of the seeds and berries, as long as I don't get a blueberry sucked up into the cane and plug the whole thing! I have a day off next Wednesday so that is probably when I will get it into a carboy.

As far as tasting as it progresses yes I've learned tincture of time can make a big difference!
 

Scooter68

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Well on way would be to use the largest fine mesh strainer you have to capture the gross stuff. I've done that but it's slow going as you have to dump and rinse that strainer often. Even a mesh bag is going to let a lot of blueberry seeds through.
If you use a strainer it helps to have a second set of hands to assist with the process. As to exposing the wine to air during that, I wouldn't worry about it. You aren't talking about more than 5-10 mins to do that.
The other part is that pouring the wine from a bucket through a strainer into a second bucket will also help de-gas the wine as well. At least you will probably remember what to do next time around. :slp

Oh and MERRY CHRISTMAS One and ALL!
 

Ivywoods

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Well on way would be to use the largest fine mesh strainer you have to capture the gross stuff. I've done that but it's slow going as you have to dump and rinse that strainer often. Even a mesh bag is going to let a lot of blueberry seeds through.
If you use a strainer it helps to have a second set of hands to assist with the process. As to exposing the wine to air during that, I wouldn't worry about it. You aren't talking about more than 5-10 mins to do that.
The other part is that pouring the wine from a bucket through a strainer into a second bucket will also help de-gas the wine as well. At least you will probably remember what to do next time around. :slp

Oh and MERRY CHRISTMAS One and ALL!
I used the bucket and bag method last night. My blackberry was already at .996 so I poured it through a fine mesh paint strainer into another bucket. From there it went into two 1gallon jugs. It wasn't quite full so I added a pint of grape juice from my grape vines to top it off. It is continuing to ferment now in demijohns. I will wait to do the blueberry. I will have 5 gallons of it, but it is only at 1.020. It might be ready by Wednesday to strain and rack into the carboy. Thanks for the idea!
 

Scooter68

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I used the bucket and bag method last night. ...

Well now you've gotten rid of the gross lees in your blackberry. With the blueberry those tiny seeds will get through so don't be shocked when you see them in your freshly racked wine. They tend to fall out with the yeast residue at the end of the ferment. I've had more trouble with bits of blackberry in my wine than with blueberry seeds during aging. Sounds like two more successful ferments moving along nicely.
 

Raptor99

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I use a nylon mesh brew bag to hold my fruit in primary, and the blueberry seeds do not get through. When I made a raspberry seed, all the tiny seeds remained in the mesh bag. You just need a bag with a fine enough mesh. And as @Scooter68 says, if a few seeds sneak through it is not a problem.
 

Ivywoods

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I use a nylon mesh brew bag to hold my fruit in primary, and the blueberry seeds do not get through. When I made a raspberry seed, all the tiny seeds remained in the mesh bag. You just need a bag with a fine enough mesh. And as @Scooter68 says, if a few seeds sneak through it is not a problem.
Yes, I used a fine mesh nylon bag, but in my enthusiasm to stir and mash I popped some through the hole where it was tied. I strained it through the same type bag and I think it's good to go now!
 
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