Saturday, August 9, 2014

#28 Blackberry Wine - Recipe

Recipe     -     Process     -     Tasting

As I noted when I made the apple cider, fruit wines are awesome because they're so easy to make.  They take a bit longer to age than most beers, but there's not really a lot of actual work to be done; just pitch the yeast and let nature take it's course.  They can also appeal to non-beer drinkers and people who don't know how to eat--I mean are allergic to gluten.  My last couple batches have turned out reasonably well, so it's time for the next round: blackberries.  My family loves raspberries, so my original goal was to make a raspberry wine, but they're incredibly expensive and I couldn't find a good deal anywhere to buy them in bulk.  Fortunately blackberries grow everywhere around here, and my friend Kristin happens to have a particularly rich blackberry patch by here parents' house that we can raid.

I think blackberry wine is going to be a little bit tougher to pull off than the cider and pineapple wine were though.  Blackberries contribute color and flavor to the wine by fermenting on the skins, much like grapes, and controlling the amount of time spent on the skins is important in shaping the flavor of the finished product.  With no experience in real wine making--grape or blackberry--this will be a bit of a krapfenschutz.  (I do not think that word means what I think it means.)

According to this blog, the full sugar and acid content of blackberries can be extracted in the first 24 hours after macerating the berries and adding pectic enzyme to further break them down.  After that, the color will continue to darken for a couple more days, but he writes that this is largely independent of flavor.  It seems like tannins could continue to be extracted as it darkens, but that's just a personal guess.  With that said I plan to leave the juice on the skins for 5 days, then let it ferment out another week before racking.

As for yeast, I've read advice from a number of places and it seems that most wine yeasts will work well.  I ended up going with Lalvin 71B since it eats a small portion of the malic acid in the berries to give it a smoother character if the berries are a bit tart.  It also does not produce a kill factor, so if I take the spent skins and reuse them in a beer, the wine yeast won't massacre the ale yeast.

The rest of the ingredients and process are pulled from Jack Keller's full bodied blackberry wine recipe.

Blackberry Wine
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal

Amt                   Name
30 lbs                Blackberries
10 lbs                Sugar, Table (Sucrose)
5.00 Items            Campden Tablet
5.00 tsp              Pectic Enzyme
1.0 pkg               Lalvin 71B-1122

Estimated Cost: $10

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