Blueberries this time around. These were not fresh picked, they have been in my mom’s freezer for a little about a year, but I still wanted to try this flavor of wine. I’m also making this a stronger wine, with a potential ABV of almost 20%. Here’s the recipe:
To begin, I put all of the berries into my steam juicer frozen. I then turned on the heat and let it begin warming up, and then juiced the blueberries for a little over an hour. This yielded about 1½ quart of nice dark blueberry juice. The pulp left behind still had a lot of blueberry flavor, however, so I am not sure if I should have juiced them longer. I tasted the juice I got and it tasted good, so I went ahead with what I had.
The blueberry juice was collected in my 3-gallon primary bucket. I added some ice and cold water to bring the temperature down to about 80 F. I then mixed in enough sugar to reach my target OG of 1.140, which happened to be 3.5 pounds of sugar. After getting my desired gravity, I added the pectic enzyme, yeast nutrient, and grape tannin.
I tried something new this time: testing the acidity of my wine. I had bought a wine titration kit so I was able put it to use for the first time today. I tested my must and the initial TA was 0.1%. I have read that the desired TA (Total Acidity) for fruit wines is 0.60%. I also read that adding 1 tsp of Acid Blend raise the TA of one gallon of wine by 0.15%. I therefore added 1 Tblsp of acid blend to reach a TA of 0.55%.
I also omitted the Campden tablets this time. My logic is that the steam juicing process pasteurizes the juice so there is no need to sulfide the mixture to kill bacteria. I will try it and see how it works, but I’m fairly confident the results will be fine.
9-8-10: Put into primary and pitched yeast. OG measured at 1.141.
9-10-10: I haven’t seen any bubbles from the airlock after 48 hours. I think it might have something to do with having only one gallon of wine in a 3-gallon bucket, perhaps its not getting a good seal? Either way, I racked the wine into a one-gallon carboy instead of the bucket and attached my blowoff tube to the top. It seems that the fermentation is just starting slowly, because even after transferring it I am not seeing any gas being produced. I’ll keep an eye on it.
9-11-10: The wine is fermenting steadily since last night. It must have just been a slow start; there were no bubbles rising in the must after initially transferring to the carboy, but now the yeast is bubbling away. Hopefully it won’t get too active and start foaming through my blow-off tube, but this could happen as it is a higher gravity wine than the others I have been doing.
9-24-10: Racked the wine off of the yeast and checked the SG, which was a very high 1.137. It seems like this wine hasn’t really started fermenting yet, though I have been seeing small bubbles rising in the carboy since I transferred it a couple weeks ago. I’m not sure why it wouldn’t start, I didn’t do much different with this batch (maybe the new yeast I used? or the high gravity? or the acidity?). I guess I’ll just let it sit for a while and see if it starts going.
10-2-10: SG measured at 1.136 … still not going. In an attempt to save this wine, I added a packet of Cote des Blancs wine yeast to the must and mixed it in well. I removed the airlock and attached the blow-off tube in hopes some activity will finally occur.
10-7-10: Even though there has been some renewed bubbling after adding the second pack of yeast, testing the SG today revealed that it was still at 1.136. I am thinking that there might have been preservatives on the frozen blueberries I used to make this wine with. That would explain why this wine just hasn’t been able to get going.
10-17-10: I’ve been shaking the jug every day and making it foam up, but that hasn’t had a real affect on the fermentation. SG still at 1.136.
11-6-10: SG measured at 1.132.
5-11-11: SG measured at 1.128, still not fermenting after eight months. It still forms bubbles when swirled, but only then. I tasted some of the must and tastes like sweet blueberries with a hint of yeast. I’m going to give up on this one, maybe try a new batch sometime with only fresh blueberries and see if I can get it to work. I’ll see if I can use this must for any dessert recipes or anything so as not to waste it.