Beer Log

About the Brewer

A designer by day, Dave Shea makes beer too. While no one would expect this stuff to win awards, it is at least getting drinkable.

027 – Blackberry Wine

During the the tail end of the summer last year I picked a few pounds of blackberries and added them to a porter. This year I used just a pound in a saison, but as I was picking I started thinking about other fermentation experiments, and realized the the 1 gallon jugs I’ve been collecting during various cider experiments would lend themselves well to a bit of playing. So the idea of making a blackberry wine was born.

A bit of research on various home brew forums seemed to indicate that the recipes on this page are the go-to for a lot of people, and the finished product is well-reviewed. I’ll admit to being skeptical; grape wine doesn’t require the addition of sugar, so aside from a cheap source of fermentables I’m not sure why these blackberry recipes would call for it. I don’t know quite what to expect, the forum posts provide assurances that the hot alcohol goes away after a year or so, but I’m not sure I believe the finished product will benefit from it.

I decided to faithfully follow the recipe for this first batch, but I have a fairly strong feeling that I’ll be doing another all-berry batch before too long. The berries I picked were definitely on the early end of blackberry season, and most still had a bit of tartness to them. I think that’ll work well in the wine, but the lower sugars in the berries also knocked almost ten points off my original gravity. Which means even more of the sugar-derived alcohol will be apparent.

Initial fermentation was fine, if a bit warm due to some late summer weather. The recipes mention racking off the yeast, but that wasn’t an option due to my small batch size. I transferred from a 5 gallon initial fermenter into a 1 gallon bucket, and though the recipe says I should expect maybe an extra 750mL bottle, I actually collected three of them. I followed the numbers, so I guess taking the trub added more volume than it should have.

I went ahead and blended both this one and 029 in the end — some time in October the batches were blended and transferred to 1 gallon jugs to bulk age on oak. They’ll be bottled in spring 2013, and cracked some time in the winter.

The Recipe

  • 4lbs fresh blackberries
  • 2.25lb sugar
  • 3.3L water
  • 1/2tsp pectic enzyme
  • 1/2tsp acid blend
  • 1 campden tablet
  • Lalvin Bourgovin RC 212

The Numbers

  • Brewed: 11 Aug 2012
  • Batch Size: 1 gallon
  • Fermentation temperature: 24 C
  • Primary: –
  • Secondary: –
  • Target OG: 1.090
  • Target FG: 0.998
  • OG: 1.082
  • FG: 0.992
  • ABV: 12%

Final Result

Blended with 029, follow that one for progress.

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