Strawberry&Mint and Blackberry Wines - First Try

Discussion in 'Country Fruit Winemaking' started by Doxle, Nov 5, 2018.

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  1. Nov 5, 2018 #1

    Doxle

    Doxle

    Doxle

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    G'day All,

    This is my first post, and I want to make it clear that, whilst I am going to post my method and recipe below I DO NOT advise you to follow it yourself because its not yet proven - I am very much a beginner.

    Rather, the purpose of my post is simply to invite critique and advice or just general comment. I am soaking up as much knowledge as I can and would love to hear what you folks have to say.

    OK, with that out the way - I took the plunge and began two batches of fruit wine over the weekend, Strawberry and Mint and Blackberry. Here is what I did.

    Strawberry&Mint:

    1) I boiled 3.5 litres (0.92 Gal) of spring water and dissolved 800g (1.75 pounds) of white raw sugar.
    2) After letting the water cool slightly I added it to the primary over the top of 1.5kg (3.3 pounds) of organic frozen strawberries (store bought), and two big handfuls of washed home grown mint leaves with stems removed.
    2.5) Using a potato masher I did my best to crush all the fruit, it was not terribly effective. I sanitised my hands and used them which worked a lot better.
    3) To this I then added 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient, 1 teaspoon citric acid, 1 gram of red tannin and a campden tablet. This was left to sit for 12 hours.
    4) I then added 2g of pectinase and left for a further 24 hours.
    5) I added 2.5g of wine yeast and sealed the primary with an airlock.
    6) after 24 hours the must is foamy and when stirred sounds very slightly slightly effervescent, like stirring sparkling water.

    Blackberry:

    I followed the same recipe and method as above, however I did not add citric acid or tannin to the blackberries. The must looks and sounds very similar to the strawberry wine.

    However, my first lesson learnt came in checking the weather forecast for the week. The next 3 days are due to be hotter than usual (its well and truly coming into Summer here in Australia) and the temperature forecast between Mon-Wed is set to be 21(low) to 31(high) degrees Celsius. (or 69.8 - 87.8 degrees F)

    Damn. That was the first time it occurred to me that there are better times of the year to make wines, and now is probably a bit too hot. Nonetheless, both wines are in a dark, cool part of the house secured with an airlock and my quick temp measurements during the day did not see those areas as high temperature... the highest was about 74 degrees F. Thats ambient temp however so I'm interested in measuring the liquid temperature.. I've been thinking about a few ways I could track this.

    Anyways, its a first attempt so if the wines don't work out, at least I have learned some lessons. They both seem very happy at the moment but I am concerned they will ferment too quickly which will not result in a soft finish, which is what I was hoping for.

    I'll update this thread however and keep you posted!

    ---1st edit:

    - From my reading today, it seems that white and fruit wines prefer lower temperature fermentation. It sounds like I should freeze some of the fruits when they become available and make those wines in the cooler months, not make them at the beginning of Australian Summer :|

    - Also, although i DO have a hydrometer I was too excited at the time and forgot to take the SG reading before adding yeast. I also didn't test the PH. I've ordered a (budget) refractometer and also PH tester ($60 AUD total).






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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
  2. Nov 5, 2018 #2

    Stressbaby

    Stressbaby

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    There are ways to keep the wine cool. One method is to freeze water bottles, then sanitize them and put them in the container, rotating them every 8-12 hours.

    Some here will tell you to simply cover the primary rather than using a lid with airlock. Personally I think for these wines you are OK with the lid/airlock you have. You will be opening them a couple of times a day to stir and punch down anyhow.
     
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  3. Nov 6, 2018 #3

    Doxle

    Doxle

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    Thanks @Stressbaby, good points. Appreciate the feedback!

    I know there is a beginner wine making forum, but it occurred to me that fellow newbies might have a look at this so I wanted to add the following. Feel free to correct me if I get anything wrong:

    Some further explanation

    After crushing the fruit and adding the water sugar mix, I added 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient, 1 teaspoon citric acid, 1 gram of red tannin and a campden tablet.

    Why? Well...

    - the yeast nutrient is added to help prepare the crushed fruit mix (must) for the addition of yeast later on - pretty self explanatory.
    -the citric acid is supposed to add some... acidity, and the acidity level of your must is important for developing flavor. I should have measured the acidity at some point before adding the yeast (but I didn't). If you are curious about this there are a few good posts/articles around about optimum acidity levels for various types of wine.
    -the tannin adds "astringency", again to develop the flavor. I should have added some to my blackberry must. Perhaps I could for secondary fermentation? Not sure if thats too late.
    -the campden tablet is to kill any unwanted bacteria/bugs and prevent your must from spoiling before the fun begins, or half way though.

    This was left to sit for 12 hours.

    Why? Well...
    (Some people, not all) believe that the next step, (adding the pectinase - which draws out colour and flavor from the fruit) is inhibited by the effects of the campden tablet. So you let it sit about 12 hours to let the campden tablet (which is sodium metabisulfite for the record) finish killing all the bad stuff and ensuring you get the best result from your pectinase.

    So you add your pectinase and then you wait ANOTHER 24 hours

    Why? Well...

    The pectinase needs time to do its work and draw out the flavour and colour before your add the yeast and start the reaction. After 24 hours you should be ready to begin the process, which means adding your yeast.

    At this point its wise to measure the specific gravity (which I guess is the...sugar density) of the must using a tool called a hydrometer or refractometer. This gives you a base reading of how "sugary" the must is before the yeast get in and start doing their thing. I forgot to do this because I am silly.

    Hope that helped someone who is starting out understand the recipe a bit better.
     
  4. Nov 9, 2018 #4

    Slappy

    Slappy

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    Don't worry about the heat I'm in South Australia and make wine from spring through to autumn. Including 1/4 - 1/2 tonne grape batches. I'd only be worried if the temp was really high I've not had issues up to 32 °c. Nothing wrong with your process but some will say your fruit is a bit light on. Most aim for minimum 4 pounds per gallon or higher from what I've seen. I've done blackberry and mulberry at 5-6 pounds per gallon and the blackberry in particular was full of flavor. Did strawberry at around 3.3-3.5 pounds per gallon but I added 1 pound of raisins to it and it tastes pretty good from the small sample I had. Next time around will add more fruit though.
    I hope it turns out well I wouldn't have thought to try strawberry and mint.
    Ps. Hang onto a couple of bottles of blackberry for a good year. You'll thank yourself for it. I've found my berry wines are better and better with every few months so am trying to save more of them.
     
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  5. Nov 13, 2018 at 11:31 AM #5

    Doxle

    Doxle

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    Thanks heaps @Slappy - sorry for the late reply, I had a run in with my appendix so I’ve been offline a few days.

    Your comment about fruit sounds spot on, I tasted the wine before racking it and was disappointed. The fruit aroma was fantastic but the taste was very dry and thin. Almost watery. I was holding out hope that I might ferment it for a few months and then backsweeten them and the flavours would return.... not sure if that will happen though. I’ll start a few new bathes regardless.

    Thanks for the great tips.
     

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