Don't forget know is the time to collect you used bottles from the bottle banks which will be overflowing!
Many of you who have used my wine pages must be wondering one if I'm still alive and two if I'm still making wine. Well the answer to both questions is YES.
The only difference now is that I make my wine in Five gallon plastic containers.
The basic recipe for all wine is 3lbs of fruit to one gallon of water. So in my case now I need 15lbs pounds of fruit to make my bulk 5 gallons.
My favourite wine's, RED is blackberry and Black current and of course now is the time to gather your Blackberries 18.08.18.
All of the procedures are the same as for making a 1 gallon measure of wine x 5 I freeze all the fruit to get as much flavour as possible for the basic product be it Rhubarb ,black currents, or black berries.
I then add 2 lbs of sugar for each 3lbs of fruit, fully dissolved in water to the fruit. bringing the SG up to 185-190 add dissolved sugar to reach the figure required as you defrost some fruits you will see quite a lot of juice simply allow for that in the amount of water you add but is not a scientific problem just estimate the amount and you will still have great wine. But remember the old rule you can always add sweetness to your wine you cannot reduce it so if you like a DRY WINE THEN LOOK FOR THE 185 SG ( specific gravity ) to start as measured on your hydrometer.
Start your Yeast off using some of the liquid from your fruit and sugar water mix, if you have difficulty getting your bulk mixture to start fermenting, start off a demijohn first let it stand and ferment and when it is working well add in to your bulk mixture which at this point is in a large plastic storage box which hold approx 35 litres, with a lid, In this case the black-berries are still frozen and can take two days just to thaw.
This is how your berries will look when they float to the top of the bin , this is caused by the yeast working, give then a stir twice a day and the colour will go from the berries in the juice leaving the berries looking rather anemic. They have two more days to go then I will take them out of the bin and put the liquid in to a five gallon plastic drum from that point on you have to do nothing only be patient and wait, although even at this stage you can drink a sample. Do not add sugar at this stage as the wine will mellow and you can then decide, if drinking with food you do not want it sweet, 1002-4 on the hydrometer is sweet below 1000 and you are getting a dryer wine, 994-6 and you have a dry wine.
The first lot of blackberry is down to 1001-2 and that is just right to drink with food , slightly sweeter to drink as a desert wine .BUT tastes can vary so try your wine before you add sweetener or sugar
I do take readings on the hydrometer to see how the fermentation is progressing but there is no need, the yeast will die when the alcohol reached 12-13% it then forms a sediment in the bottom of the barrel once you have reached this stage siphon the now wine off the sediment into a clean barrel or container I do not bottle at this point and there will be more sediment as time passes. Eventually the wine will clear and then if you wish you can bottle. DO NOT bottle is there is any sign of fermentation or the bottles will burst.
This is my second batch of blackberry wine this year 2018 although these are cultivated blackberries from our garden there are some great blackberries about.
Do remember fermentation stops for a reason the temperature of the liquid is too low for the yeast to remain active, it is not dead and will reactivate once the temperature rises.
All the sugar has been consumed converted into alcohol. Where you believe this is the case, take a sample and add a small amount of dissolved sugar, if the yeast activates then add more sugar to you bulk mixture BUT do this gradually over a few days rather than in one lot in this case "small is better", or you may finish up with a sweet wine.
where the yeast has died due the alcohol level in the bulk mixture.
What you see on the right is what you are aiming for This is last years Blackberry 2017 the SG is very low 991 but the wine is great with food. When you can read the hydrometer through the glass and wine your on to a winner.
Once the wine is fermenting I normally leave the fruit berries in the mixture for 3-4 days, max 6 days, stirring at least twice a day then I remove the bulk of the berries or fruits, Veg in the case of the Rhubarb and discard having first squeezed out as much of the juice as possible. If you wish to crush the fruit then it does not present a problem but you will get more sediment when you remove the fruit from the fermenting mixture.
I then transfer the mixture to a 5 gallon drum/container and fit an air lock and allow it to fully ferment out which can take as little as 3 weeks dependent on the weather. Where the weather is cooler it can take a lot longer but be patient it will ferment out given time, at some points where the weather is cool you may find that is standing dormant nothing much going on, just leave it will restart as the weather warms up.
At the end of the day you will finish up with fine wine, Don't under estimate the alcohol content it can be deceiving so don't Drive after having drunk home made wine, even small amounts can add up. tasters or samples as I call them.
I have just sampled some black current wine, which is not yet fully fermented and already that is registering 2 on my alcohol meter. This will show on a police breathalyser so be warned Home made wine is alcoholic.
When the reading reaches 8 on my meter I'm drunk, and there is now way I would even get in the car let alone drive, Remember you only have to caught in the drivers seat with the keys to be found guilty of drink driving.
Left in the large container the wine will clear when all the sugar has been consumed and converted into alcohol, then carefully transfer into a clean 5 gallon container.
the sediment in the bottom I put onto a large bottle of demijohn and then take off and remaining juice /wine when the sediment has settled. discard the remains which is dead yeast cells and in the case of black berries and Black currents seeds which if planted will still grow!