Skip to main content

Blackberry Wine 1.0

Adventures in Homebrewing had 96-ounce cans of Blackberry Wine base on sale for $10, because they were past the sell-by date.  I decided to chance it and buy two of the cans to turn into blackberry wine.  When opened, the cans smelled perfectly fine, so I think the wine is going to turn out well.  We'll see.

Ingredients (per 5-gallon batch)

1 can of Vintner's Harvest Blackberry Wine Base
8 pounds of cane sugar
3 tsp. Citric Acid
4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient (DAP + Fermaid O)
2.5 tsp. Pectic Enzyme
1/2 tsp. Wine Tannin
1 packet CR51 Vintner's Harvest wine yeast
Enough RO water to reach 5 gallons in the fermenter

  • Original Gravity: 1.086 SG for one batch, 1.077 SG for the other
  • Final Gravity:  0.988 SG estimated
  • Batch Size:  5 gallons per batch
  • ABV:  13.5% estimated
  • Fermenters Used:  Two 7.5 gallon SS Brewtech Brewmaster Buckets
Preparing the must was pretty straightforward.  I heated three gallons of the RO water to about 120F and began dissolving the sugar in it.  When the sugar seemed dissolved, I added the Citric Acid, Yeast Nutrient, Pectic Enzyme, and Wine Tannin.  I then pumped it into the fermenter and topped off with room temperature RO water to the 5 gallon mark.  The yeast was pitched and the fermenter contents stirred with a sanitized steel spoon.

Post-Brew Notes and Observations

12/23/2020:  The batch filled to the 5-gallon mark had an original gravity of 1.076 SG.  The other batch was filled to around 4.75 gallons and had an original gravity of 1.086 SG.  I was surprised there was so much actual fruit in the container (see photo below).

12/24/2020:  Fermentation is underway.  By noon, the gravity in one batch had dropped to 1.066 (from 1.086) and the other from 1.076 SG to 1.047 SG.  The primary difference between the two was that the second batch (1.047 SG) was a few degrees warmer from the start.

12/25/2020:  One batch (the one starting at 1.076 SG, which we'll refer to from here on as the Blue batch because it has a Blue Tilt Hydrometer in it) is down to 1.038 SG and 71F (5.4% ABV).  The other batch (which we'll refer to as the Red batch) is down to 1.063 SG and 66F.  I'm planning to attach a fermentation wrap heater to both batches later today to hold them at the same temp for the remainder of fermentation.  According to the manufacturer, the best results are obtained with this yeast at 61-75F.  I'm planning to aim for the middle of that range, or 68F.

12/26/2020:  The Blue batch is at a gravity of 1.037 SG today. The Red batch is at 1.064 SG.  I added temperature control to both this morning, aiming for 68F in both fermenters.  As of this writing, the Red batch is 68F and the Blue batch is at 67F.  I'll need to bump them up to the desired temps soon.  Since my temperature probe takes a while to settle in, I wanted to give both controllers time to establish a solid base reading before tweaking temperature settings.

12/27/2020:  The blue batch is down to 1.026 SG today, and the Red batch is at 1.055 SG.

12/29/2020:  The blue batch reads 1.012 SG today, and the red reads 1.035 SG.  Both are being held at a temperature of 72F.

01/02/2021:  The blue batch reads 1.003 SG and the red reads 1.013 SG.  Both continue to hold at 72F.

01/12/2021:  The blue batch is reading 1.000 SG (and has for a few days).  The red batch is reading 1.005 SG.  Both continue to hold at 72F, though I plan to disconnect temp control from the blue batch today since it seems to be finished fermenting.

01/15/2021:  The blue batch has been holding at, or just below, 1.000 SG. I dosed the wine with Turbo Clear to strip out the yeast and sediment, clarifying the wine.

02/27/2021:  I bottled the wine today, using a mix of Grolsch style bottles and standard beer bottles, since they were what I had on hand (and I don't own a corker).  The wine had a nice flavor and was quite clear.  There was a clear, but not strong, blackberry note to it and a red-wine-like tannin note.  I am looking forward to seeing what others think of it once the pandemic is over.

Popular posts from this blog

Yellow Label Angel Yeast vs. Typical Brewing Yeast

I currently have my second batch of rice wine fermenting with the "magical" yellow-label Angel Yeast from China, and wanted to share some of the more unusual aspects of using it.  If you've never seen or used this yeast, I suspect you're not alone.  It ships in a 500 gram package that looks like this: What makes it "yellow label" is that yellow box you see in the upper left corner of the package.  This implies that it's yeast for distilling (though you do not need to have a still or distill the output to use it).  As I understand it, inside the package is a mix of yeast and other materials which will convert starch into sugar and directly ferment it, without the need for a traditional mash step.  This can radically shorten your brewing time.  For my most-recent batch of rice wine, I heated 3 gallons of water to 155F, poured it over 13+ pounds of uncooked rice straight out of the bag, let that soak for an hour, rehydrated some of this yeast in warm water,

Making Alton Brown's Immersion Cooker Fennel Cardamon Cordial

Alton Brown's "Good Eats" series is my favorite cooking show.  I love the way he explains the "why" and "how" of a recipe in detail, which helps you understand (if things don't go right) where you may have gone wrong.  In his episode on immersion cooking (also known as sous vide), he shows you how to make a cordial in an hour using an immersion cooker. It took me a while to locate all the ingredients here in Columbus.  I ended up getting the fennel and vodka at Giant Eagle. The cardamom seeds, pods, and anise stars came from Amazon.  The Fennel fronds and bulb came from Trader Joe's at Easton. Ingredients 32 ounces of 80-proof vodka 2 cups of fennel fronds 10 green cardamom pods 3 ounces granulated sugar 1 tablespoon fennel seeds 1 teaspoon black cardamom seeds 1 whole star anise Begin by loading your sous vide vessel with hot water and set your immersion cooker to 140F. While the cooker is getting up to that temperature, meas

2021 Batch 1 - Rice Wine made with Yellow Label Angel Yeast

I've become a big fan of the Still It channel on YouTube.  About a month ago, Jesse posted a video about how he made rice wine using nothing more than water, rice, and a purported "magic" yeast from China called Yellow Label Angel Yeast. Perhaps even more amazing was the fact that he was able to make the rice wine without gelatinizing or mashing the rice.  He shows three batches in the video.  One was made by cooking the rice before adding the yeast mixture. Another was made by adding uncooked rice to boiling water.  The last was made by adding uncooked rice to room temperature water.  All three fermented out to roughly the same amount of alcohol in about two weeks. He was amazed by this, as was I. I resolved to buy some of this magical yeast from and try it out. In the Still It video, the rice is ground up in the grain mill into smaller chunks to make it easier for the enzymes in the yellow label yeast to convert and ferment.  I'm changing this up s