Starting in August 2004 I intend adding to the recipes as I make the wine for 2004.
Blackberry Wine. (1.gallon) 4.5litres = 6 x 75cl bottles.
You will need to gather approx 3lbs of blackberries for each gallon of wine you want to make, the amount obviously depends on how much time and energy you are prepared to devote to picking your now ripening berries. I have already started gathering from my thorn less cultivated briar, the larger berries we eat now, but the smaller berries even the over ripe can be crushed down to a pulp placed into freezer bags and placed in your freezer until you have gathered sufficient then you can make your wine in one mark the bags so you have a record of the amount although a few berries or even an odd 1/2lb will make little difference to your finished wine.
Even if you are going on holiday a don't want to make your wine now don't worry just pop the in the freezer but crush them to a pulp fist this will make your job easier later on.
Now we have nearly collected enough blackberries to start our first 5 gallons of red wine for 04. I have also collected 1 1/2lbs of elderberries ready to mix with the black berries to add flavor , but as they are very strong we do not need many. as I indicated earlier my blackberries are selected we eat the large really ripe one and crush the rest then put the resulting juice and crushed berries in the freezer till we are ready to start the wine.
We now sufficient fruit to start the wine, all of which has been crushed and placed in the freezer for at least 24hours, this has the affect of softening the fruit and ensures we get maximum juice from it
Requirements for this Red wine:-
15-16lbs give or take, of red fruit,
I have used:-
12.5lbs of Blackberries.
2.5lbs of Blackcurrants
1 lb of Elderberries.
16lbs of fruit in all
Pectolase, 1 t/spoonful per gallon
Yeast Nutrient, 3 level t/spoonfuls
4 Crushed Campden tablets
to kill off any wild yeast that are already present on the fruit
We then add sugar to achieve a hydrometer reading of between
when the mixture is tepid warm. In the instance of my red fruit mixture it took 7 Kgs to reach 1090, the max I have ever had to add to a mixture.
Recipes in books are fine but they rarely take into account how sweet or otherwise the fruit is, Remember we have been eating the really ripe berries so the remaining ones needed a bit more sugar. Also the Elder & Blackcurrants always take more sugar.
I have uncovered the mixture to take this photograph but remember to keep it covered or the fruit flies will have a heyday and turn the whole lot to acetic acid /vinegar.
A point to note, because we are using all of the fruit skins & pipes, we have their bulk in our mixture, this is going to affect the level marks on our containers as far a fluid level is concerned, you therefore need to measure the fluid you add our your finished wine could be over or under the quantities you are wanting! Does it matter? No. Providing the finished wine is to your satisfaction, but we are looking to make at least 5 gallons from that quantity of fruit or the flavor of the fruit will be too intense & overpowering. If we get five and a half gallons that's a bonus, but make sure you get at least the 5 gallons.
You can of course add some more water later but then that affects our hydrometer readings and we will not be able to determine the alcohol content of our finished wine.
All of the methods and preparation remain the same as with our other wines, we are going to leave the berries and skins in the mixture for three or four days then we will squeeze them dry and remove them, that is so that the tannin in the skins is no so imparted into our wine wines that contain high concentrations of tannin such as red grape can produce great hangovers, I have always put this down to the tannin in the wine and so control the amount that reaches my wine. So far my theory has worked.
Remember to keep a little of the mixture back for your yeast starter, which we can start more or less straight a away. It's a fine warm day 30/08/04 so I have already started mine, ready to put into the wine in the morning when it's working vigorously.
when you see thousands of bubbles as is seen in this photo, going up from the bottom of your starter & forming a head on the surface of the vessel its ready to apply it to your mixture.
Right now having added the yeast starter, the fruit is going to be pushed to the top of the vessel/bucket by the fermentation process.
We can see from the fruit in the large bucket that the fruit is being pushed to the surface by the fermentation process We now need to carry out the treading process, but are going to use our hands, ensure that all whole blackcurrants and blackberries are broken up by squeezing with your hands, the elderberries are to hard but some will break up, this needs to be done a couple time a day, when we do get round to removing the fruit in three days time it will have given up all its fruity juice and a lot of it's colour.
This is the waste sieved off of the red wine mixture, I take the biggest of the fruit which will have risen high in the bucket and place into a straining bag, I then squeeze as much juice out of the waste as possible. Now if your mixture is short on quantity you can place the bag into a bowl with a pint or so of cold water and rinse out yet more of the colour and flavor from the waist, add 50 milligrams of castor sugar
to the cold remains and then add to your wine to make up the correct volume. ( castor sugar will dissolve easily in cold water )in this case five gallons. Don't add further volumes of water unless necessary, its makes calculating the alcohol very difficult if not impossible.
If you have sufficient mixture simply discard the waste product. The wine mixture from which the largest of the particles of fruit along with the pipes has now been removed is placed into our large freshly cleaned barrel and an airlock fitted. A quick check with the hydrometer shows us that the specific gravity has already fallen from 1090 to to 1060 so our red fruit wine is already well on its way. If you have more fluid that the 5 gallons don't worry we will still loose some during the clearing process.10th of September
goodness only knows where the years gone, and our 1st batch of mixed red fruit is down to a specific gravity of 1006 but is fermenting well, even though today it is cooler outside.,We are looking to see the SG drop about another 12 points bringing it down to 996, by that time it will either stop fermenting and start to clear in that the yeast will have been killed off by the alcohol or will remain dormant but remain cloudy indicating that the yeast is still floating around in the wine. If the latter is the case then I will feed the wine with small amounts of suger keeping a record of the total amount added. I will keep you imformed as to what happens.
16th Sept 04
Now since I spoke to you last the Red Wine has finished . It stopped of it's own accord and started clearing so the yeast was dead!
I have since removed it from the lees. (Remaining sediment collected at the bottom of the barrel) and added One crushed campden tablet per gallon and added Fermentation Stopper. one tsp per gallon, after all we dont want it restarting in the bottles. The sample of the wine is in the glass and my replacement flask, accident forced me to to replace the flask and hydrometer, this one came from the charity shop and luckily I had a spare hydrometer. The Red Wine looks and tasts good I'm sure it is going to be a good wine in weeks to come. Also we should not get carried away with the tasting, records show that this wine is 13% alcohol, we started it off at 1090 and it finished at 992 a difference of 98, 98 divided by 7.45 = 13% no doubt about it.
I am going to leave it in the barrel to clear father for a week or so and then transfer it into demijohns to age.
This Red wine has finished up so well balanced that it has cleared sufficiently for me to place it into demijohns today 19th Sept this has freed up the barrel ready for the next batch which I have yet to start.
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