Smoky Blackberry Wine

5 Feb

A friend of mine told me about a blackberry wine she had tried at a local winery that had a smoky taste to it. The winery claimed that there had been a bush fire near where the blackberries were growing and the blackberries had retained some of the smoke. I put my blackberries in the smoker with cherrywood chips for 45 minutes. This recipe makes two gallons.

10lbs blackberries, frozen
2 campden tablets, crushed
1 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp acid blend
1 tsp yeast energizer, sugar to SG 1.090

water to 10 litres
K1-V1116 yeast

Add ingredients except yeast into primary and let sit overnight.
Then add the yeast.

I’ve decided to add bentonite when I first rack the wine into a carboy. The blackberries have a sweetish smoky smell that is a little bit mouthwatering. I think this will turn out well.


Blackberry Wine

12 Dec

I started my blackberry wine on November 30, 2011.


18 lbs blackberries, frozen (this helps to break down the blackberry for fermentation. )

1 lb raisins

2 campden tablets

1 tbsp pectic enzyme

1 tbsp acid blend

sugar to 1.10 SG

KV1-1116 yeast

water to 4 gallons


Thaw the blackberries overnight in the primary, in water. Add campden tablet. The next day, add everything else. I stopped fermentation at SG 1.010 to retain some sweetness and aroma.

First racking done December 11, 2011 into 4 gallon secondary.

The Brew Cabinet

3 Nov

It’s important to be sure that your brew cabinet will support all your carboys or this could happen:



The new structure is better because the space is utilized more effeciently:


Clearing wine

3 Nov

This is the most challenging part of making wine for me. Why won’t the wines clear all the way? They seem to just stop about here.  Aside from bentonite I am at a bit of a loss. Will time clear this wine?


Pomegranate Wine

16 Oct

My friend Carolyn suggested I make pomegranate wine around a year and a half ago. Finally I came across some ingredients I could a) afford and b) process fairly easily. I had imagined hours leading into days picking out the seeds from pomegranates costing $4 each so I was happy to come across some pomegranate juice. It is from concentrate, so any purists reading look away now.  This is my recipe:

4l pomegranate juice from concentrate

Sultana raisins (I added around 325-350 g), chopped

Sugar to SG 1.090 (I added 1C sugar)

1 1/2 tsp acid blend

1/8 tsp tannin

1 tsp yeast energizer

Lalvin K1-v1116 yeast

So, it took about 3 minutes to get this together. I emptied the juice into a primary. I added the sugar to the desired SG. I then added everything but the yeast, which I will add tomorrow. I plan to keep an eye on this and stop fermentation at around 1.020. If it is still watery then I will add more sugar. The wine needs legs and a nose, after all.

Oct.24/11. Racked into carboy. SG 1.010.

Fermenting to dryness

16 Oct

Most of the non-grape wine recipes I find suggest that one ferments to dryness and then add sweetener to the desired level of sweetness. I’m wondering if this is the best thing to do.

In May I made a strawberry wine that I bottled in August. For whatever reason, I didn’t take an S.G. reading at the time and just racked it into a carboy. In August the wine was clear and ready to bottle (thank you bentonite!) the aroma of strawberries swirled into your nose like a perfume. I wondered why when all my other wines tend to have a “boozy” smell to them instead of this fruity goodness smell. I checked the SG and it was at 1.020. Somewhere I read for dessert wines that this is where someone should stop fermentation. Now I am wondering about fermenting to dryness anyways because most homemade wines are blunt on the tongue if no sweetener is added. The next few wines I make I am going to stop the fermentation at either 1.010 or at 1.020 SG to see if the aroma of the fruit will remain.

Pluot wine

26 Sep

Ever heard of a pluot? Neither had I until I saw a plum-like fruit marketed towards children as “Dino Eggs” due to their size and their speckled, reptile-egg like colouring.  When I researched it I discovered it was a hybrid developed in the 1980s from plums and apricots (around 80% plum and 20% apricot) and that there are several varieties of pluots available. The local store was selling a variety with a name I loved, “Flavour Grenade”.  Since it is closest to plum, I used a plum recipe:

5lbs pluots

Sugar to SG 1.100 (Around 3C-ish)

1 1/2 tsp acid blend

1 tsp pectic enzyme

1/4 tsp yeast energizer

1/8 tsp grape tannin

1 Campden tablet, crushed

Lalvin 71B-1112 yeast (You could use Lalvin K1-V1116 if you wanted)

water to 4 l

Bentonite (around 2 tbsp)

I juiced the pluots with the Champion juicer. If you don’t have the best home juicer available, don’t despair: you can merely chop the fruit (removing the pits) and place them in the primary. Pour 1 kettle of boiling water over them. Add sugar, stir until dissolved and let sit until cool.

Once the pluots were juiced, I added the sugar and everything else but the yeast. Let stand 24 hrs to let the Campden tablet do its magic. Pitch yeast when the temperature is within range.

Cover, stir, and ferment to desired SG (in this case 0.990)

Racked into carboy. Bentonite added.

Nov. 3/11. Racked and clearing wonderfully.