View Full Version : blackberry wine with honey

09-15-2013, 03:05 PM
I can't stop thinking of things that I want to ferment!

I have been looking up fruit wines and am really intrigued by the idea of a blackberry wine. I can get the berries reasonably priced frozen. I want to make five litres total volume.

I want to use about 2.5kg of berries and end up with something around 14%. I will crush berries, cover with boiling water, leave to cool and steep for two days then strain off the liquid on to honey. I have been tinkering with the mead calculator and I think I need about 3.5lb of honey. Sorry for mixing metric and imperial, I prefer metric though the calculator seem to give honey value as pounds.

So first. Does that sound like it would work to give me a dry red wine? I know I really can't call it a mead but I will be adding honey rather than sugar!

Secondly I will be buying pectic enzyme before I start this. Do I add that at the start? I have also been told adding a crushed Campden tablet at the start is a good idea. Does that sound about right?

I am getting used to the hydrometer measurements. For a quite dry 14% finish what starting gravity should I be aiming for? I am buying some k1v-1116. Will that yeast be satisfactory? I am finding it difficult to find yeast nutrients here. I did find one brand called youngs. I haven't bought it yet. When do I add food for yeast? How often?

I know I have lots of questions and newbies can be annoying but I appreciate your patience as I learn!

A Stephenson
09-15-2013, 04:31 PM
Hi Cosmogirl,

Blackberry season is upon us here in the UK. I am making some Blackberry wine and a Blackberry melomel.

For Blackberry wine 2.5kg of berries for 5 liters, would give you a full bodied red. A lower amount of Blackberries would make a lighter wine that would go better with honey. In my opinion, having made wines and mead over 12%, I would keep the alcohol down to 12%.

If you wanted to make a lighter fruity mead with Blackberries, I would advise using 1-1.5kg of Blackberries for 5 liters and about 1 kg of honey. Process the berries as you suggested and then add honey until the SG is 1090. Use a whole sachet of yeast and it well ferment dry.

Pectic enzyme will help tackle the pectin in the blackberries and aid in clearing. The campden tablet just ensures than wild yeast and other bacteria do not spoil the wine during fermentation. Add both at the start but wait 24hrs after adding the campden tablet before adding yeast.

K1V-1116 is a good yeast, 71B-1122 may be better, certainly is for making regular Blackberry wine. By the way add the yeast nutrient at the start. The berries should also provide some nutrients.

As you are using shop bought blackberries you can try a few batches and experiment, see what you end up with.

If the melomel you make lacks acidity, you can add Tartaric acid to give it a little bite.

09-15-2013, 04:36 PM
It was more a full bodied red that I was aiming for. I would love to get out and pick my own berries but living in a city centre makes that difficult.

In your opinion should I forget about substituting honey for the sugar?

A Stephenson
09-15-2013, 05:05 PM
For a full bodied red, you may want to look at a stronger honey, possibly heather.

Again as you are using shop bought Blackberries, make a batch with honey and one with sugar. 71B would be a better yeast, as it is meant for young red wines that mature quickly.

09-15-2013, 05:21 PM
Brilliant. That's exactly what I will do. Two batches is always better than just one! Do you think one feed of the youngs nutrients I found will do the job? Or do I need to feed several times?

The starting gravity really loses me. I can't wrap my head around it. What starting gravity am I aiming for? What about of sugar will allow the yeast you recommend ferment dry? I can backsweeten or add acid as necessary at the end.

I wish I could absorb all the knowledge from these forums in a weekend! I just want to get things right

Chevette Girl
09-15-2013, 06:56 PM
If you're aiming for a dry wine, you just need to go to the mead calculator and enter your yeast's % tolerance (or lower, to be on the safe side) in the Potential Alcohol Conversion section and that will tell you what SG you're aiming for to get that % of alcohol, you want to keep your actual initial SG lower than that or else you might have enough sugar that your yeast can't eat it all and it will be left sweet. If you're using a yeast that can get to 14% and you only give it enough sugar to reach 12% if it ferments dry, then it's more than likely to actually ferment dry. I think K1V can hit 18%, there's no reason you can't use it but I think A. Stephenson's suggestion of 71B is a good one if you want to drink it early rather than age it a long time. Aiming for 12% or less is also a good idea if you don't want to wait forever for it to age, just because a yeast CAN go up to 18% doesn't mean you always HAVE to do it. My favourite way of making sure something will go dry is keeping it to 1 kg honey per gallon... I think that gives around 10%, plus whatever sugars come out of your fruit. And wines and meads with a lower alcohol content like this often don't need as much time to mature.

There's no reason you can't use honey, but as A. Stephenson suggests, you'll want a honey that's strong enough to stand up to the blackberries. Comparing a blackberry wine with a blackberry mel is another thing on my list... this is the list that never ends :p

Vance G
09-15-2013, 06:57 PM
Go to the mead calculator and the tutorial and you will have such answers at your fingertips.

09-16-2013, 02:53 AM
Vance I have read the newbie guide several times. I just want to check things before I go ahead as I want to get things right. I appreciate that new people are annoying but I am nervous. I don't want to waste ingredients.

I will aim for 12% as per advice and buy alternative yeast. I really like blackberry wine so I am very excited about this.

Vance G
09-16-2013, 12:45 PM
Newbies are NOT annoying. Some old grouches get annoyed but that is a separate, largely unrelated matter.

I appreciate not wanting to waste engredients. 12% is a good ABV to shoot for if you don't want to melt boiler plate iron. The mead calculator and the tutorials will give you the information you need not to waste ingredients. If all else fails, just ask Medsen Fey, Chevette Girl, Akuek, fatbloke, among others, directy what you should do and help will be forthcoming, is my guess. Just do your homework and keep asking questions. People like to help.

09-16-2013, 03:47 PM
Thanks vance for assuring me that newbies are welcome!

Currently I have 71b, some pectic enzyme, youngs yeast nutrients and Campden tablets on way to me. So my home brewing kit is growing :)

My blackberries are in the freezer so I hope that I can get a good bit of juice from them

09-17-2013, 04:29 AM
As an alternative (or if you have some excess blackberries) you could try making the following, "Wolf Moon Mead": http://gotmead.tumblr.com/post/28715376568/wolf-moon-mead

I have a batch of this fermenting now and all looks good so far...

If you are living in the northern hemisphere then of course it is blackberry season now, and I always find that wild blackberries have a much better flavour than supermarket ones...it is a bit of effort to pick them wild but the results will be better.

Chevette Girl
09-18-2013, 12:25 AM
Newbies are NOT annoying. Some old grouches get annoyed but that is a separate, largely unrelated matter.

There are enough newbees around here that any old grouches either embrace the idea of helping newbees not be newbees anymore, or they just don't come by. Self-correcting problem. This isn't World of Warcrack :p