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Why not mash or juice the fruit?????

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msinc

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Interested in trying some blackberry wine. There is a ton of wild ones that are ripe right now. I have looked at a bunch of youtube videos and I notice that they all just add the whole berries and kind of stir them around some...it appears when they strain it that for the most part the berries appear almost intact. Why not mash, press or juice them first so you are working with juice instead of a complete berry that looks like it pretty much stays intact??? Maybe another way of asking is, is there a reason to leave the berries intact instead of turning them to juice and using that????? Thanks in advance for any info.
 

vacuumpumpman

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I do the same as Craig ^ even blue berries will break open during the freezing stage
 

Scooter68

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Whole berries, fresh into a fruit bag will mash up pretty easy by hand. Or you can use an old wooden potato masher or a conical ricer (The latter will get a bit messy) Or as said freeze them. Blackberries will have very little pulp after they break down, basically just the seeds and fiberous heart of the berry is all I have left.

Just avoid blenders or juicers that will destoy the seeds. Depending on the volume you are working with I've found hand mashing with a potato masher works well.

And you are right - A lot of YouTube videos demostrate what NOT to do. Beware those that make it sound super simple. It isn't backbreaking but all too often the methods used are questionable at best. Also, although opinons vary... using at least 5 lbs of berries per gallon works very well. You can go higher but it depends on what you want. The more lbs/gallon you use the more you need to watch things like Acidity.
 
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NorCal

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Interested in trying some blackberry wine. There is a ton of wild ones that are ripe right now. I have looked at a bunch of youtube videos and I notice that they all just add the whole berries and kind of stir them around some...it appears when they strain it that for the most part the berries appear almost intact. Why not mash, press or juice them first so you are working with juice instead of a complete berry that looks like it pretty much stays intact??? Maybe another way of asking is, is there a reason to leave the berries intact instead of turning them to juice and using that????? Thanks in advance for any info.
There is making a drink with alcohol and there is making a balanced, pleasant wine that you are proud of. Most all on the forum will spend the extra time and care to make the best wine the fruit can possibly make.
 

msinc

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Thanks for the info and replies...I thought there must be a reason...seeds break open and may cause a taste I don't necessarily want, or one that wont help the end result.
 

Scooter68

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Thanks for the info and replies...I thought there must be a reason...seeds break open and may cause a taste I don't necessarily want, or one that wont help the end result.
You just need to know the nature of the fruit you are using. Some "Seeds" are easy to remove and make sense like plum, cherry, peach, apple. Others are much harder to filter out like strawberry, blackberry, blueberry. One approach is to crush by hand or with a press. (Do Not blend or subject any seeds to metal blades slicing seeds open) THEN remove the fruit bag promptly at the end of primary fermentation This applies for fruits with hard to remove and seeds that may impart undesirable qualities to the finished wine. Some seeds are just so fine that it's virtually impossible to strain them out in a home winery situation without a lot of time and expense for filtering.
 

msinc

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Several posters mention a "fruit bag"....I am guessing this is some sort of fine mesh or screen like device that you crush the fruit in and leave it in the batch to soak while fermenting????? Any particular fruit bag better than the others??? Where can I get one???? as always, thanks in advance for any info!!!
 

Ajmassa

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Mostly every local homebrew shop carries them. And morewine.com would also have just about everything you would need. Here's a pic of a Muslin bag- stretchy made from a cheesecloth type material. Small seeds would definitely come through though.
And the other pic is a mesh brew bag. There's finer material mesh as well- just like paint strainers- for the seeds scooter mentioned.

IMG_4309.jpg

IMG_0324.jpg
 

Scooter68

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for my next blueberry batch I think my plan to lower the amount of seeds will be as follows:
1) Mash all the blueberries in a single fermentation bucket (No. 1) then place pulp into mesh bag.*
2) Squeeze out as much juice as possible from the filled bag.
3) Put the fruit bag into Fermentaton bucket (No. 2)
4) Strain the juice left in the bucket No. 1 through a paint filter or muslin cloth filter to remove the seeds in the juice. Filter into Fermentation bucket No.2
5) Add everything on the recipe except for the yeast. Wait overnight per normal. Pitch the yeast

I don't expect to get all the seeds out this way. Maybe not even quite 50% but, I hope that by doing this I can reduce issues with the pH numbers dropping in the first few days of fermentation.

Anyone else with suggestions on a better method other than steaming the juice out?

I'm open to ideas. Since I have over 30 Blueberry bushes that hopefully will average around 10lbs each as they mature.... Blueberry wine is going to be a considerable part of the wine I make in the future. I already have a 3 gallon batch into the aging process for this year. Might just start another smaller batch of 2 gallons in 2 carboys and run one without and one with this filtering process just to see what happens.

*Perhaps making a muslin cloth into fruit bag might work as well and contain the seeds within. Still filter but use the muslin bag to reduce the sediment and seeds seepage in during primary.
 
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msinc

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Scooter68, I have to ask...what's the problem with "steaming the juice out"???? Sounds like you don't want to do it this way, is there a reason???? Thanks.
 

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Starting with frozen berries, mine are thawed and all additions are made to properly adjust pH and BRIX, along with pectin enzyme. At the end of fermentation, I press just like grapes, rack like grape wine, and have no problems controlling the pH or seeds.
 

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Starting with frozen berries, mine are thawed and all additions are made to properly adjust pH and BRIX, along with pectin enzyme. At the end of fermentation, I press just like grapes, rack like grape wine, and have no problems controlling the pH or seeds.
Ditto. And my rosé is made just like rosé from grapes. @Johnd, what do you adjust your pH to for the blueberry wine?
 

Johnd

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Ditto. And my rosé is made just like rosé from grapes. @Johnd, what do you adjust your pH to for the blueberry wine?
I use potassium bicarbonate, in small quantities, mix well and measure often until I get into the 3.1 - 3.2ish range. My inlaws berries usually come in around 2.9 or so, it's not a big adjustment and is pretty easily accomplished.
 

pip

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I've made, maybe a hundred, batches from freshly picked wild blackberries, as the OP questioned, and i reckon its good to gently mash the fruit and add boiling, or near boiling, water and also k-meta once its cooled a bit. (i dont use a fruit bag for fresh blackberries) The big question is quality vs quantity. The more fruit you add per gallon of water the better the quality, that is body and flavor. With fresh berries, that's the big issue, in my opinion.

I'm a drinker, so i make sure i've got lots and lots of bottles on the shelf for my everyday drink but i also like to make wine that is really appreciated by others and that i can open for myself and friends on special occasions. So if you have heaps of wild blackberries to hand i reckon you might consider making a few different qualities. Put on lots of different buckets, with different quantities and strengths and different additives like spices and oak chips and tannins etc.

Having access to wild blackberries, as i've recently discovered, is an absolute privilege, make the most of it.

Also, finally, after grape, its my view the blackberry is second on the list of fruits that make good wine.
 

wineforfun

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Several posters mention a "fruit bag"....I am guessing this is some sort of fine mesh or screen like device that you crush the fruit in and leave it in the batch to soak while fermenting????? Any particular fruit bag better than the others??? Where can I get one???? as always, thanks in advance for any info!!!
Check your local hardware store, ie: Menards, Home Depot, etc. I pick up a 3pk. of paint strainer bags at Menards for $3.
 

Scooter68

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Scooter68, I have to ask...what's the problem with "steaming the juice out"???? Sounds like you don't want to do it this way, is there a reason???? Thanks.
Short answer - The equipment and the time to juice. Also I like to avoid heating up any fruit that doesn't have to be heated. The wine I make may not be a "Health Drink" but I still don't like to do anything that might affect the final flavor.

I may be standing alone in the field but I prefer not to tamper with the natural flavors of the wine I'm making. I know we all add the basic chemicals and some embellish the flavor (Oak Chips, other fruit flavors etc) more than others for their own reasons and I have nothing against that at all. Just for me I prefer to keep is simple as much as is reasonable.

I just got back from buying a bushel of overripe peaches from a local orchard (Not too cheap anymore at $33.00 for a bushel-approx 55 lbs before de-stoning and cutting out bad parts) All I will do to those is de-stone, chop fairly fine and put in a fruit bag to mash. I blended some of the last batch BIG mistake so much air in there it was almost like a pudding in consistency. Couldn't get a solid SG reading for at least 24 hours after that.
 

msinc

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.......The more fruit you add per gallon of water the better the quality, that is body and flavor. With fresh berries, that's the big issue, in my opinion.......
It seems like to me that, as above, the more fruit you can get into a liquid and into the wine the better???? Let's just suppose you could separate the seeds from the fruit first, wouldn't it be best to pulverize and/or completely liquefy the fruit as much as possible??? Or, is it a thing where you get to a point that most of what you are getting in there {if you could do it this way} would just fall out as "tailings" and get removed anyway in the clarification process???
I mean, I don't mind spending the extra time it takes to do this, after all...I am the one that will be drinking it. It just appears that a lot of fruit gets thrown out when it is simply soaked in the jug. Then again, maybe this is how you get the best {and only the best} flavor into the wine????
Thanks a million for all the replies and info!!!!!

.....All I will do to those is de-stone, chop fairly fine and put in a fruit bag to mash........
Okay, so at this point if you had a juicer could/would you simply run the fruit pieces thru the juice machine???? Seems like it would be faster and render more liquid??? Don't even need to chop fine, just has to fit down the chute.
 
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mikewatkins727

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. . . Okay, so at this point if you had a juicer could/would you simply run the fruit pieces thru the juice machine???? Seems like it would be faster and render more liquid??? Don't even need to chop fine, just has to fit down the chute.
I have used the technique of putting my apples through a juice machine. I will tell you it is not faster. The reason I used this method was I was harvesting my own apples from a few tress and not getting bushels at a time. I got ounces of juice at a time but I froze the juice until I got a gallon's worth. The problem was the amount of pulp I had to dispose at a time. However, the end product was worth the effort and I bought a better juicer.

The pulp went to the chickens which composted it in 24 hours!

Mike
 

Scooter68

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If you have a juicer and the time it's up to you. I try to use what I already have and if you already have a juicer then the others have told you about the time it take.

I'm cutting up peaches today and will then 'Juice' them with a stainless steel 'ricer.' (See picture) Sure it's a little work but for me this is the way. Better control of what happens to my fruit and again I don't expose the fruit to high temps. I want the pulp and skins in my wine bucket to draw all the flavor out that I can. Ideally the residue from my fruit bag would sucked of it's flavor and 'essences' into the wine.

By the way I am 100% retired so I have time. Money isn't a serious issue but I don't want to invest a ton in this hobby either. Gotta get back to slicing and jucing the peaches. (52 pounds of peaches before destoning etc)

cone-strainer-pestle-set-5.jpg
 
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