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Thread: Help blueberry wine

  1. #1

    Default Help blueberry wine

    I need some help with a blueberry wine. I have had bad experiences with getting blueberry wine to start fermenting before. So I would love some tips.

    I got some questions:

    I got some froozen blueberries on hand. Do I need to use pectolase when the blueberries have been froozen?
    Can Pectolase develop any chemical flavours or off flavours if overdosed?

    -Can I make pulp from the blueberries or will that kill the yeast/make it to difficult to ferment?

    This is the proposed recipe I'm thinking about using is:
    -------------------------------
    Recipe:
    Volume ~30 liter(~ 8 US gallon)
    9 kg (19.8 lbs) honey
    9 Liter (~2.4 US gallon) froozen blueberries OR all the blueberries I have + blueberry substitute
    750 g(~1.6 lbs) raisins

    SG: 1.100
    Alcohol goal 12-14% abv

    Yeast ?
    -------------------------------

    -I have these yeasts available:
    Each packet 5 g
    Lalvin: Many * k1v-1116, 2 * ec-1118, 1 * 71B
    Red star: 1 * Montrachet, 1 * pastour champagne, 1 * cote des blancs

    -I was thinking about mixing yeast. Is it any problems involved in that(Like kill factor)?
    Example: start with 5g 71b and 5g Montrachet and finish with 5g k1v-1116 after primary or after 72 h activity.

    -I might not have enough blueberries so I was wondering if it is anything good I can use to substitute a portion? Any thing complementing blueberries?
    Like raisins, tea, herbs(strong herb tea), spices, friuts(banana, ...) ...

    -Is it OK to ferment it for 72 h in an 40-50 liter bucket(leaving 20-40% air in the bucket)?

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    PS. Anybody have any experience with thoose cheap yellow digital ph meters sold on ebay?

    Thanks

  2. #2

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    okay you may not get many responces with the title of this thread as it is a mead forum and your heading says wine although from what i geather from you recipe you are making a mead melomel which is a mead with fruit in it. see if you can change your heading or possibly start a new thread with the heading "blueberry melomel" sorry i could not help you more as i havent started my first mead yet but i do know a trick or two about forums. good luck with your mead.

  3. #3
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    Hi, jens183!

    Well, despite jthoward013's concern, eventually we do get around to looking at all the posts on the site, regardless of the title! But the general advice is good - try to title your posts in a way that makes them mead-specific (unless you are specifically looking for advice on a non-mead beverage); it will get them noticed quicker.

    You have lots of questions - many of which are already answered in the Newbee Guide to meadmaking. If you haven't already done so, I'd suggest that you follow the link to it over on the left side of this page, and read all the sections several times to pick up all the good advice over there.

    Now let me try to address some of your questions. I'll take them in the order that you asked them.

    First, it is still a good idea to use pectolase with fruit, even though it has only been frozen (not heated), because although heat tends to make pectins even more difficult to deal with, there is some pectin in many fruits, and that pectin can become problematic if left untreated. It is possible for the pectic enzymes to influence the flavor profile of your mead if you overdose, but the amount of overdose that would cause a taste problem is large - on the order of 5x the recommended dose, or more. So this is not usually a concern.

    Making a pulp from the fruit (i.e. mashing it up and fermenting on the fruit) is actually likely to support a healthy fermentation, rather than hinder it. The reason is that most fruits supply trace minerals and other compounds that are beneficial yeast nutrients. The only thing you should take care to do when you ferment on the fruit, is to "punch down" the fruit cap that will appear at the top of your fermenter several times daily, to keep it mixed in with the must. This will both help with extraction of beneficial color and flavor compounds, and will also keep the fruit moistened, and less likely to support the growth of spoilage organisms. Still, after the point of maximum extraction (usually on the order of 4 to 7 days with most fruit - somewhat longer with citrus), you'll want to remove the fruit layer, to prevent it from releasing certain sulphur compounds that will spoil the taste of your mead. T

    Your recipe looks good to me in general, although I would not add the raisins. They really won't add anything other than an oxidised fruit flavor (think sherry) to the resulting mead, and that might cover up the more delicate blueberry fruit contribution. If I could get more blueberries, I'd use them, but even at your relatively light concentration, the blueberry influence will come through. I don't think you need to mix in more different fruits, but you can certainly feel free to experiment - and add something else if you wish. Although your calculated initial gravity is around 1.100, I would recommend measuring the SG of the must with a hydrometer just before pitching your yeast, to make sure that you have a better idea of the SG before fermentation starts.

    For this, a more delicately fruity recipe, I'd recommend the use of 71B as your yeast. I would not recommend experimenting with mixing yeast strains, unless you've either done it before and you are looking for a specific blend of characteristics, or you have lots of different mead batches already under your belt. It is better to find out what a single strain will contribute first, and save the mixing for more advanced experimentation later. Be careful not to leave your must on the lees for very long after fermentation is ended - 71B can introduce some unpleasant flavors if allowed to autolyze (i.e. breakdown) in your mead. Generally that doesn't start to happen for 4 to 6 weeks, so you don't need to worry about it excessively, but make sure to rack your mead off of the lees as soon as it appears to be mostly clear.

    Primary fermentation in a bucket is fine. Unlike with beer, mead (and other wine-like beverages) actually benefit from exposure to oxygen early in fermentation, as the yeast uses it up in the process of reproduction and aerobic fermentation. 7 to 14 days is about what it usually takes to finish primary fermentation, so you should be fine leaving it in the bucket for about that amount of time.

    Hope that helps - I'll let others chime in with answers to any questions that I've overlooked! Good luck with this batch!
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

  4. #4
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    One of the advantages to using a bucket for your primary fermentation is you can put the fruit in a brew bag so you don't get blueberry gunk all stuck in your racking tube. I prefer muslin or cheesecloth but have had successful brews using clean tea towels or pillowcases.

    And you don't have to get it out of the bucket at 72 hours, you can leave it there a week or two without hurting anything so long as it's under airlock.

    You may want to make a smaller batch if you really want the blueberry to come through. Generally you want 1.5-2 kg of fruit per gallon, I'm not sure how many kg are in a litre of blueberries though . I turn my wild blueberries into straight plain old wine and then take the brew bag out of the wine, pour a kilogram of honey and 3 litres of water over it and ferment it again for a lighter melomel.

    And every post will get read eventually. Some of us have an obsessive/compulsive thing going on where we can't go to bed without reading all the new posts
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G

  5. #5

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    Thanks

    I was wanting this blueberry-wine melomel to be a kind of a "bread and butter" wine/melommel that is a totally delicious wine for me to enjoy.
    I think the only experimental thing with a blueberry wine is if I can manage to ruin it ... other than that it is going to be delicious(I think).

    The recipe is based on a modified combination of recipe 1 & recipe 3 http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/request108.asp .

    Quote Originally Posted by jthoward013 View Post
    okay you may not get many responces with the title of this thread as it is a mead forum and your heading says wine although from what i geather from you recipe you are making a mead melomel which is a mead with fruit in it. see if you can change your heading or possibly start a new thread with the heading "blueberry melomel" sorry i could not help you more as i havent started my first mead yet but i do know a trick or two about forums. good luck with your mead.
    I tried to change the title, but did not find a way to do it.
    I might have to substitut a little of the honey for sugar to if I dont have enough and I dont want to use my reserved "speciality" wild honeydew honey.

    I dont know the definition of minimum honey/US gallon that has to be in it to call it a melomel vs just a plain wine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post
    One of the advantages to using a bucket for your primary fermentation is you can put the fruit in a brew bag so you don't get blueberry gunk all stuck in your racking tube. I prefer muslin or cheesecloth but have had successful brews using clean tea towels or pillowcases.

    And you don't have to get it out of the bucket at 72 hours, you can leave it there a week or two without hurting anything so long as it's under airlock.
    Can I replace the brew bag with a nylon straining bag and leave it in the bucket for 1-2 weeks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post

    You may want to make a smaller batch if you really want the blueberry to come through. Generally you want 1.5-2 kg of fruit per gallon, I'm not sure how many kg are in a litre of blueberries though .
    I got "only" a big bucket and a 30 L(~8 us gall) glass carboy free. So its has to be 30 L.
    I just tried to weigh the blueberries, but its a bit hard because they a froozen in uregular shaped freezing bags, but more or less 0.5-0.75 kg/liter blueberries => ~0.7 kg(1.5 lbs) blueberries/US gallon. Dont you think the blueberries are going to come through?

    Recipe 3 http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/request108.asp is based on volume.

    This blueberries is what I have left from August picking and I dont think I can get any more reasonably priced anyway. So I would Im looking for alternatives to adulterate it a bit and still have a nice tasting product.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post

    I turn my wild blueberries into straight plain old wine and then take the brew bag out of the wine, pour a kilogram of honey and 3 litres of water over it and ferment it again for a lighter melomel.
    So you basically add your honey after primary?

    Quote Originally Posted by wayneb View Post
    Making a pulp from the fruit (i.e. mashing it up and fermenting on the fruit) is actually likely to support a healthy fermentation, rather than hinder it. The reason is that most fruits supply trace minerals and other compounds that are beneficial yeast nutrients.
    Ok. I thought the pulp would give it less oxygen and free more of the antimicrobial/conservative components of blueberries. Last time I tried to make blueberry wine it did not start to ferment, but I had whey much more(1L berries/L liquid) blueberries in then ...

    Quote Originally Posted by wayneb View Post
    Your recipe looks good to me in general, although I would not add the raisins.
    That was from recipe1 http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/request108.asp to give it body I guess. Should I drop it?

    Quote Originally Posted by wayneb View Post
    Although your calculated initial gravity is around 1.100, I would recommend measuring the SG of the must with a hydrometer just before pitching your yeast
    Im going to add honey/sugar till I get to SG:1.100 .

    Quote Originally Posted by wayneb View Post
    I'd recommend the use of 71B as your yeast
    I only have 1 * 5g packet 71B , it will take 1-2 weeks if im going to order more.
    Would you still recommend that.
    I can always make a big 1.2 US gallon starter from it.

    The reason I wanted to mix the yeast was because I only had 1-2 packets of every yeast except k1v-1116.

    Would blueberry wine taste good with some heavy toasted oak?

    Jens

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jens183 View Post
    I tried to change the title, but did not find a way to do it. I might have to substitut a little of the honey for sugar to if I dont have enough and I dont want to use my reserved "speciality" wild honeydew honey.
    Nothing wrong with using a little sugar if you've run out of honey, but you'd probably do better if you got some cheap supermarket honey to supplement with.



    Quote Originally Posted by jens183 View Post
    I dont know the definition of minimum honey/US gallon that has to be in it to call it a melomel vs just a plain wine.
    I don't think there is an actual definition. It's got honey, it counts, as far as I've been able to ascertain.


    Quote Originally Posted by jens183 View Post
    Can I replace the brew bag with a nylon straining bag and leave it in the bucket for 1-2 weeks?
    Pardon me for assuming you wouldn't have a nylon straining bag Yes, that's just fine.



    Quote Originally Posted by jens183 View Post
    I got "only" a big bucket and a 30 L(~8 us gall) glass carboy free. So its has to be 30 L.
    I just tried to weigh the blueberries, but its a bit hard because they a froozen in uregular shaped freezing bags, but more or less 0.5-0.75 kg/liter blueberries => ~0.7 kg(1.5 lbs) blueberries/US gallon. Dont you think the blueberries are going to come through?
    One way to find out And if it turns out that you can't taste any blueberry, you can always add more next picking season, you'll get more blueberry flavour if you add them in secondary anyway... Although if you should happen to procure a 1-gal carboy or two, there's no reason you can't do small batches in a large primary as long as you rack to carboys with reduced headspace within a couple of weeks.


    Quote Originally Posted by jens183 View Post
    So you basically add your honey after primary?
    Sorry to confuse you. I often make a batch of wine/mel with the fruit in the brew bag, rack the wine/mel to secondary, and then make a new batch by adding a kilogram of honey and some more water to the once-used fruit, and ferment it again.


    Quote Originally Posted by jens183 View Post
    Ok. I thought the pulp would give it less oxygen and free more of the antimicrobial/conservative components of blueberries. Last time I tried to make blueberry wine it did not start to ferment, but I had whey much more(1L berries/L liquid) blueberries in then ...
    If your berries were all mashed up that should have worked. There's a fruit winery a few hours from me and they use pure fruit juice (no water added) for blueberry wine and aside from the chunky stuff there's not all that much difference. Although personally I found it unpleasantly musky.

    Quote Originally Posted by jens183 View Post
    That was from recipe1 http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/request108.asp to give it body I guess. Should I drop it?
    I've never found my blueberry wines lacking in body. Pear and pumpkin, yes, but I'm pretty sure blueberry's fine. It's up to you, they're kind of a pain to work with and at that amount you probably won't notice much anyway (I use a lb per gallon when I'm trying to add body). I kinf of like a slight oxidization flavour in my wines but most of the time that's considered a fault.


    Quote Originally Posted by jens183 View Post
    Im going to add honey/sugar till I get to SG:1.100.
    That's a sensible number, shouldn't be too hard on your yeasties, will probably ferment dry.

    Quote Originally Posted by jens183 View Post
    The reason I wanted to mix the yeast was because I only had 1-2 packets of every yeast except k1v-1116.
    If you're mostly set up for large batches like this you might want to buy your yeast in pairs... that said, there's nothing wrong with using K1V, it's a good solid yeast with minimal fussiness, and if you don't like it dry, you can always stabilize and backsweeten (or stabilize and add more fruit later).
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post
    ... but you'd probably do better if you got some cheap supermarket honey to supplement with.
    Thats a good idea(I diddent even think about it)!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post
    One way to find out And if it turns out that you can't taste any blueberry, you can always add more next picking season, you'll get more blueberry flavour if you add them in secondary anyway...
    How about adding a portion( 1/4, 1/3 or 1/2 ?) into primary for extra yeast nutrient(as wayneb said "support a healthy fermentation" ), "acclimatize" the yeast to blueberry juice and then the rest into secondary for 2 weeks(I can also taste how much more I need)?
    Or just add it all to the secundary?
    And add more next picking season if needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post

    Although if you should happen to procure a 1-gal carboy or two, there's no reason you can't do small batches in a large primary as long as you rack to carboys with reduced headspace within a couple of weeks.
    Ok. Going to remember that ...

    I'll also thought that the both raisins and blueberries would give the wine a bit of "red-winery" flavour that might complement each other well?

    Any spices or herbal teas that can be used?

    Jens

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jens183 View Post
    How about adding a portion( 1/4, 1/3 or 1/2 ?) into primary for extra yeast nutrient(as wayneb said "support a healthy fermentation" ), "acclimatize" the yeast to blueberry juice and then the rest into secondary for 2 weeks(I can also taste how much more I need)?
    Or just add it all to the secundary?
    And add more next picking season if needed!
    Certainly a thought, but if you're going to start it as a traditional and then add all or most of your fruit in secondary, you're going to want to get some yeast nutrient and maybe also yeast energizer, raisins might not be enough food for the yeast. If you can't get that easily (not sure where in Europe you are), get your hands on some bread yeast and boil the crap out of it or microwave it thoroughly (in water of course) so that the wine yeast can cannibalize it.

    Quote Originally Posted by jens183 View Post
    Any spices or herbal teas that can be used?

    Honestly for a first time with the fruit I'd keep it simple...
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post
    Certainly a thought, but if you're going to start it as a traditional and then add all or most of your fruit in secondary, you're going to want to get some yeast nutrient and maybe also yeast energizer, raisins might not be enough food for the yeast. If you can't get that easily (not sure where in Europe you are), get your hands on some bread yeast and boil the crap out of it or microwave it thoroughly (in water of course) so that the wine yeast can cannibalize it.
    Just about the traditional:
    From this post I get the impression that about 4 oz / US gallon of chopped raisins will more or less provide enough nutrient for the yeast in a traditional with just honey & raisins.
    I also do have some commercial yeast nutrient wyeast beer nutrient blend (I dont know whats in it), but here I cannot get the common talked about yeast nutrients DAP, fermaid K.
    If I'm going to use wyeast beer nutrient blend do I have to increase the dosage to compensate for higher gravity/higher cell count in meads/wines than in most low gravity beers?

    *About the bread yeast:
    Did you mean traditional with just honey and bread yeast? If so how much bread yeast do you recommend is needed / US gallon.

    *I going to try to get some yeast energizer the next time I head over to the brew store.

    *I probably end up mixing different nutrients like beer yeast nutrient, blueberries, boiled bread yeast in the primary ...

    **Also another thing I was wondering:
    I got a sherry wine kit that expired 01.jan.2012(The expiration date on the back of the kit) . It contains 1 liter(~1 quart) of sherry/wine consentrate.
    The wine consentrate contains the additives(E330 Citric acid, E202 potassium sorbate, E211 Sodium benzoate). The consentrate is in a plastic bottle with no information on it.
    Is the wine consentrate still good/ok to use(for the next mead/wine "project")?

    Jens

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jens183 View Post
    Just about the traditional:
    From this post I get the impression that about 4 oz / US gallon of chopped raisins will more or less provide enough nutrient for the yeast in a traditional with just honey & raisins.
    I also do have some commercial yeast nutrient wyeast beer nutrient blend (I dont know whats in it), but here I cannot get the common talked about yeast nutrients DAP, fermaid K.
    If I'm going to use wyeast beer nutrient blend do I have to increase the dosage to compensate for higher gravity/higher cell count in meads/wines than in most low gravity beers?
    *disclaimer - I have not used beer nutrient nor have I made beer, but I suspect that wort contains a lot more of interest to yeast than honey water does so yes you probably would want to use more than is recommended for beer. Yeast nutrient and energizer are formulated towards grape wine must anyway so we can safely use more than the recommended amount.

    Quote Originally Posted by jens183 View Post
    *About the bread yeast:
    Did you mean traditional with just honey and bread yeast? If so how much bread yeast do you recommend is needed / US gallon.
    Some is better than none, here's a link with some suggestions but I don't think it's possible to put TOO MUCH in, it'll settle out and whatever the yeast doesn't use will be left behind when you rack.


    Quote Originally Posted by jens183 View Post
    **Also another thing I was wondering:
    I got a sherry wine kit that expired 01.jan.2012(The expiration date on the back of the kit) . It contains 1 liter(~1 quart) of sherry/wine consentrate.
    The wine consentrate contains the additives(E330 Citric acid, E202 potassium sorbate, E211 Sodium benzoate). The consentrate is in a plastic bottle with no information on it.
    Is the wine consentrate still good/ok to use(for the next mead/wine "project")?
    The presence of potassium sorbate kind of concerns me as it's not condusive to happy yeasties but perhaps once it's diluted it's fine... I've used some pretty old wine kits (backlogged ) the only thing to be concerned about is how old your yeast is, I used a 2 years expired packet of yeast on a sherry kit I'd had around for too long and it took a while to kick up but it did eventually get its thing done. If it smells OK it's probably fine but if it's for sherry it may be pre-oxidized to get the sherry flavour and you may or may not want that in whatever you use it in.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post
    *disclaimer - I have not used beer nutrient nor have I made beer, but I suspect that wort contains a lot more of interest to yeast than honey water does so yes you probably would want to use more than is recommended for beer. Yeast nutrient and energizer are formulated towards grape wine must anyway so we can safely use more than the recommended amount.
    Ok.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post
    Some is better than none, here's a link with some suggestions but I don't think it's possible to put TOO MUCH in, it'll settle out and whatever the yeast doesn't use will be left behind when you rack.
    So basically two flat teaspoons / US gall?


    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post
    The presence of potassium sorbate kind of concerns me ...
    I quess its fine since it sold as a consentrate in a winekit and not like marmalade or something they would want to conserve indefinitely/forever. The rest of the kit I dont need(I can use the yeast as yeast nutrients!).

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post

    ...but if it's for sherry it may be pre-oxidized to get the sherry flavour ...
    Good point!

    Ok, I'm going to make this batch tomorrow. I'll bee back if trouble arrives.

    Thanks for all the help!

    Jens

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